Jenkins hears from concerned Jefferson countians

by Dennis Sharkey

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins will head back to Washington, D.C., next month with a sack of concerns after a stop in Oskaloosa last week.

About 40 people stood and sat elbow to elbow in the Oskaloosa Public Library conference room last Friday to hear from their elected representative to Congress and to voice some frustrations.

Lynn Jenkins

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins points to a pie chart that illustrates the breakdown of federal spending to a group of people who gathered at the Oskaloosa Public Library Aug. 19.

Jenkins started out the nearly hour-long meeting with charts illustrating the federal debt and a time line of revenues and expenditures with future projections.

About 20 percent of federal spending according to her charts is spent on defense spending and another 20 percent on discretionary spending. The other 60 percent makes up social programs like social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Jenkins said most of the fighting in Washington is over discretionary spending. She said a conversation needs to be had with the American people concerning the social programs but legislators could face losing their jobs.

Jenkins said under the Republican plan no changes would occur to social security for those over 55. However, she said the retirement age could be raised gradually over time for those under 55.

“We think there is room for people my age and younger to work two years longer,” she said.

She also said the plan would include income adjustments for wealthy people who do not need social safety nets.

“We’re not thinking Warren Buffet is waiting for his social security check or Medicare payment,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said there have been false rumors spread about the Republicans’ plan for Medicare and that vouchers are not a part of the plan.

“You would be guaranteed healthcare,” she said.

Jenkins also addressed revenues and taxes. She said she favors comprehensive tax reform that includes corporate and individual changes. Jenkins said the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

“I don’t know why any business would operate here when they can go over there and the difference in taxation and the affective rate could fall right to their bottom line,” she said.

At times Jenkins’ language suggested that she is not in favor of raising any taxes but she did say she was in favor of cutting out loopholes and bringing down the tax rate for everyone.

“We’re not sure why GE isn’t paying any tax,” she said.

Jenkins said when Congress returns the House will be focused on jobs but won’t support legislation that would have government create jobs. She would rather address barriers to job growth. She said regulators in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture need to be reined in.

“It seems like every industry is really feeling the lack of common sense coming toward their businesses,” she said.

One woman who described herself as a Tea Party supporter told Jenkins that she did not support the debt ceiling vote that Jenkins ultimately voted in favor of. She urged Jenkins to keep telling Democrats to take the Republican’s plan or get nothing. She like many others in the room said she does not have faith in the Super Committee that was formed.

“I want them to be the party of no,” the woman said.

Jenkins said she voted for the debt ceiling compromise because of the adverse effects it would have had on the economy but said no one supported the Super Committee and that it was a demand of the Senate Democrats.

“No one liked the super committee except for Harry Reid,” Jenkins said. “I think it was unanimous that everyone else did not like it.

“We probably needed to have a different expectation,” Jenkins said about not being able to move more of the Republican agenda forward. “The House can do nothing to drive an agenda forward by themselves. You can’t make Barack Obama or Harry Reid do anything.”

Jenkins’ meeting seemed to be going smoothly until a woman who described herself as “an embarrassed registered Republican” began questioning her about a specific bill she voted for that concerns an oil pipeline.

Jenkins instead focused on a comment the woman made before the question about the debt ceiling. The woman tried to cut Jenkins off, but the Congresswoman continued. When the woman insisted she answer, Jenkins went into partisan mode.

“I hope you would ease up a bit on your rhetoric here,” Jenkins said to the woman. “(Republicans) actually have a plan to do something.”

Jenkins’ comments drew jeers from some in the crowd. A couple of people again asked Jenkins why she would not answer the woman’s question.

“Don’t chastise her for doing exactly what you’re doing,” one man said.

Jenkins never answered the woman’s question and referred her to Nunes’ plan that was presented last year.

Jenkins spoke briefly about the Affordable Healthcare Act and predicted that the Supreme Court would rule the individual mandate would be ruled unconstitutional.

Another man asked about energy policy in America and asked what the plan was for America.

“There’s no plan for the way we do things,” the man said.

Another man questioned Jenkins about rising prices of goods and commodities.

“Your plans are not going to work unless we get something to help with goods and services,” the man said. “Every single thing that we touch is going up. Right now the government is for the rich people.”

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Posted by on Aug 28 2011. Filed under Government, The Independent. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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