Friday, October 31, 2014

Jenkins knocks spending, says she has plan for prosperity

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 5/14/2014

The path to American prosperity begins with cutting federal spending, Lynn Jenkins said.

The three-term Republican Congresswoman brought her plan for fixing the U.S. economy to Ottawa Tuesday for a town hall visit at Ottawa City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St. U.S. Rep. Jenkins, R-Kansas, who represents the 2nd District of Kansas, including Franklin County, said her tactics would help lower the federal government’s spending to 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP.

The path to American prosperity begins with cutting federal spending, Lynn Jenkins said.

The three-term Republican Congresswoman brought her plan for fixing the U.S. economy to Ottawa Tuesday for a town hall visit at Ottawa City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St. U.S. Rep. Jenkins, R-Kansas, who represents the 2nd District of Kansas, including Franklin County, said her tactics would help lower the federal government’s spending to 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP.

The nation’s debt is projected to reach 100 percent of the U.S. GDP, she said — unless major changes come to the federal tax code and spending habits.

“Obviously that’s unsustainable,” she said. “If you get to 100 percent of your GDP, you have a problem.”

Jenkins’ plan includes balancing the budget in 10 years without raising spending; cutting out wasteful spending that should be done at the state level; fixing the tax code to stimulate job growth and increase wages; protecting and strengthening priority spending programs like Medicare; and reforming welfare programs to work toward the benefits they promise.

“I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not perfect, but it’s the only one that balances,” she said.

Economic expansion is the best solution to resolving the nation’s debt, Jenkins said.

“You have to grow the economy. That’s how you get out of these things,” she said. “Have businesses create jobs and grow the economy, invest in property, equipment and people. But the only way that is going to happen is if we get the federal government out of the way and create the proper business environment for the free market to work.”

A few members of the crowd said they were upset with the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and asked Jenkins what she and Congress can do to make changes — both with the House leader position and the nation’s overspending.

“There is no move [to replace Boehner],” Jenkins said. “There is nobody else who wants the job.”

On cutting spending, she said some progress already had been made, but “autopilot programs” like Medicare are where work remains.

“We’re still underwater because those autopilot programs are taking on water a lot faster than we can cut,” Jenkins said. “It’s the autopilot that is eating our lunch.”

Another town hall participant told Jenkins he was tired of Republicans acting like Democrats, noting he finds it difficult to believe no one wants a leadership position like Boehner’s. Jenkins said times have changed, and the Speaker of the House job doesn’t wield the authority it did in the 1990s when Newt Gingrich had the position and Republicans followed his lead without asking questions.

“[Boehner] and I don’t agree on everything,” she said. “The fact is, the Speaker [of the House] is no longer the powerhouse. I’m perfectly happy saying this with [Boehner] in the room, because he knows it. It’s not the powerhouse it once was.”

Today’s House members are more likely to respond to their constituents’ whims rather than those of the party leadership.

“It’s really neutered the leadership positions,” Jenkins said. “But I think you get a better product when you do it that way.”

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