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News from Congressman Greg Walden

Welcome to the first edition of my political newsletter.  My goal with this and my campaign Facebook Page is to create another way to hear from you as we make the tough choices to get America on the right track.  I also want to empower you with the facts behind the decisions Republicans in the House will make.

Repeal of Obamacare

On Wednesday, the House voted 245-189 to repeal the Democrats’ job-killing, government takeover of healthcare.  This vote fulfilled of an important commitment we made to the American people in the Pledge to America.

Now, here are the facts according to the House Budget Committee:

Democrat claims of deficit reduction ignore the fact that this new law is packed with smoke and mirrors to hide the true cost.  The estimates exclude the $115 billion needed to implement the law; double-count $521 billion from Social Security payroll taxes, CLASS Act premiums and Medicare cuts;

Moreover, the budgetary estimate relies on a decade of tax hikes and Medicare cuts to offset only six years of new spending.

In a thorough opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, former head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, made a compelling case that the repeal of ObamaCare will save the country hundreds of billions of dollars. He writes: “A close examination of CBO’s work and other evidence undercuts this budget-busting argument about repeal and leads to the exact opposite conclusion, which is that repeal is the logical first step toward restoring fiscal sanity.”

Last Friday at our GOP planning conference in Baltimore, Governors Haley Barbour, R-Mississippi, Rick Perry, R-Texas and Bob McDonnell, R-Virginia, expressed deep concern about how this new law creates havoc with state budgets and further restricts states from working to find savings and efficiencies in Medicaid.

Now that the repeal measure has been approved in the House, the committees will go to work in an open, transparent process developing replacement legislation that doesn’t put a Washington bureaucrat between

you and your family physician.

If you want more specific information I would suggest going to the House Budget Committee’s GOP website:  www.budget.house.gov.

Cutting Wasteful Washington Spending; and Growing Private Sector Jobs

Republicans are already at work on cutting spending.  I led the successful effort to cut Congressional budgets by a minimum of 5 percent.  My resolution passed in the opening days of the Congress, cutting at least $35 million.  And that’s just a start.  I can tell you having chaired the GOP Transition Team that we have started a process to cut much more than that by bringing the kind of small business practices to bear that I used every day in 22 years of owning my own business.

In the next few months you’ll see the Republican leadership in the House go to work to repeal what’s left of TARP; reduce spending to 2008 levels; create new short- and long-term spending reduction enforcement tools; and put a stop to wasteful “stimulus” spending.

But please understand that the Democrats still control two-thirds of the government.  We only control the House; they have control of the Senate and, of course, the White House.  But we will use every tool at our disposal to cut deficit spending.

And unlike the Democrats in the House last year, we will pass a budget, and it will lay out a framework to drive down the cost of government.  It is morally wrong to continue runaway deficit spending and leave the mounting burden of debt to our kids and grandkids to pay.

And how bad is it?  At our planning conference we heard dire warnings from some of the nation’s foremost economists, including Art Laffer, Larry Kudlow, Larry Kotlikoff, Keith Hennessey, and Kevin Hassett, to name a few.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that under either existing policies or the President’s budget, spending will steadily outpace tax revenue over the next decade and beyond.  Under the President’s most recent budget, the debt will reach $20.3 TRILLION in 2020, equivalent to about 90 percent of the nation’s economy.

So what would it take to just balance the budget?  (I get asked that a lot.)  According to the Budget Committee’s Budget Primer, here’s what it would take:

“To close the gap in a single stroke-through a package of spending reductions all in one budget-would require the equivalent of a permanent 22% across-the-board spending cut affecting every Federal Government program:  defense, Social Security, Medicare, education, Federal law enforcement, veterans benefits, and so on.  If Social Security were exempted, all other programs would have to be cut by approximately 23 percent.  If both Social Security and Medicare were excluded, all other programs would have to be reduced by about 45%.

“This illustration is not intended to dismiss balance as a worthy goal, or to suggest that spending reduction is not the way to reach it.  It simply demonstrates the magnitude of the problem, and points to the need for a sustained commitment to address it.

“Clearly, tax increases are not the answer.  CBO’s estimates show that even if current tax rates were allowed to rise (through the expiration of the 2001/2003 tax rates), and the AMT (alternative minimum tax) were no longer indexed for inflation-a policy combination that would result in a $3.9 trillion tax increase over the next 10 years-spending through 2020 would still exceed tax revenue by a total of about $6.2 trillion.  CBO has estimated that closing the long-term fiscal imbalance would require more than doubling current marginal income tax rates.  For instance the current 10 percent rate would have to increase to 25 percent; the existing 25-percent bracket would rise to 63 percent; and the top tax bracket would have to be raised from 35 percent to 88 percent.

“Put simply, the fundamental budget problem is the unrelenting rise in spending-and it will take determined spending restraint to solve it.”

You can put me solidly in the camp that keeps our Pledge to America to cut spending, not raise taxes, and get the federal government to stop killing jobs.

Here is an excerpt from Speaker John Boehner’s address at the planning conference in Baltimore:

“Washington has an illness. The illness is spending. The debt is a symptom of that illness. The American people want it cured. President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been on a job-destroying spending spree that has left us with nothing but historic unemployment and the most debt in U.S. history. If they want us to help pay their bills, they are going to have to start cutting up their credit cards. ‘Cutting up the credit cards’ means cutting spending – and implementing spending reforms to ensure we keep on cutting. We know the American people will settle for nothing less.”

We have to get the private sector economy going again.  In December we succeeded in preventing an enormous tax increase from hitting Americans, especially those who create jobs. It wasn’t a perfect measure, but any stretch, but we didn’t even control the House at that point.

Going forward, you’ll see committees in the House focus in on onerous and overreaching, job-killing rules and regulations.  This is another topic the governors implored us to tackle.  The Obama administration is trying to accomplish through rules and regulations what voters rejected at the polls in November.  And we’re going to do everything we can to stop them, and put up alternatives that encourage investment in American jobs and innovation.

It’s not good enough to just say “NO.”  We have to do everything in our power to get this country back on track and get Americans back to work.

Think how many billions of dollars we can shave off the deficit if people have a paycheck again, and don’t have to take government assistance?

I’ve probably gone on too long, but hope you find this information helpful and will use these points to rebut the arguments of the other side, whether in letters to the editor or in other community discussions.  As the only conservative Republican in the Oregon congressional delegation, it gets a little lonely at times making the counter arguments.  I can use all the help I can get!

Remember you can follow me on Twitter and my Facebook Page.  I want to hear your thoughts.  It’s our country.  Let’s make the next chapter its best.

Best regards,

GW Signature Blue

Paid for by Walden for Congress – PO Box 1091, Hood River, OR

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