Israel, foreign policy, deficits draw Rep. Westmoreland’s attention
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-3rd District) had a foreign policy question for members of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce in Fayetteville May 20.
“How do others look at us?” Westmoreland asked, narrowing the focus of the international perspective to Israel in conjunction with the statements by President Obama that Israel’s borders be set like they were prior to the 1967 war.
“Will we be a strong ally for Israel, our most reliable ally? The Golan Heights (the high ground in the West Bank) provide a clear view of Israel,” the Grantville congressman said.
Broadening his focus and assessing the Obama administration’s perspectives and inclinations pertaining to world events and America’s place in those affairs, Westmoreland said, “I think the entire world is confused about what our foreign policy is.”
Moving to domestic issues and the continuing resolution to keep the federal government running, Westmoreland noted that the Democrats last year never passed the deficit-ridden Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
“I figured (Democrats) would pass the budget after the November elections but they didn’t,” Westmoreland said. “I think the Democrats made a conscious decision not to pass it, thinking Republicans would shut government down.”
As for the increasing debt ceiling, the Congressman said, “We’re robbing our future generations,” adding that the Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling another $2 trillion.
“We need to prioritize spending, then we will find out what’s the non-essential part of what we’re doing. Will Obama do that? I don’t know,” said Westmoreland. “The Democrats will extract as much political capital as they can.”
What is certain, Westmoreland said, is that Congress must get a handle on entitlements such as Social Security and Medicaid.
“Republicans are telling the truth and some people don’t like it,” he said of the calls by Republicans to revamp programs like Social Security and address the recessionary economy. “Some people say ‘raise taxes’ but we’ve got to stop the bleeding first, then worry about the revenue. I don’t think we’ve got a revenue problem, we’ve got a spending problem.”
Citing Medicaid as an example, Westmoreland said the federal program was originally intended to assist the “sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor.” Many states today have expanded the program so much that they are running out of money, he said.
“So give the states a block grant. I think that makes more sense,” said Westmoreland, noting that such a move would likely spur innovative approaches and a more viable methodology in addressing the issues surrounding Medicaid.
And citing the business climate across the country, Westmoreland said small businesses need certainty.
“Our job (in Congress) is to bring certainty and stability and confidence to the American people,” Westmoreland said, again broadening his comments while challenging Democrats to step up to the plate of public accountability.
Turning again to the economy and the national debt, Westmoreland responded to those audience questions saying, “It’s like an aircraft carrier. We can’t turn our debt on a dime. (Republicans) are trying to do it in a reasonable way and in an organized manner. What scares me is that I don’t know what the next Congress will do, so we’re trying to develop an economic roadmap that the next Congress will follow.”
Westmoreland in his remarks covered a wide-ranging number of topics that included foreign policy to the national debt and entitlement programs to Congressional accountability.
Westmoreland in a portion of his comments centered on America’s standing in the world and the actions of the Obama administration that sometimes tend to downplay the significance of the nation’s treaties with our allies and underscore the technological capability that is held by the world’s only remaining superpower. Whether in the conflict areas of central Asia such as in the recent raid that killed Osama bin Laden, in the Middle East or elsewhere, America’s technology and weapons systems provide the edge in the world, he said.