Roby shares insights on debt ceiling

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2011

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby was the guest of the Troy Rotary Club Tuesday and offered her views on the debt crisis and then took questions from the floor.

Roby, R-Ala., told the Rotarians that most Americans believe that any increase in the debt limit should be accompanied by significant reductions in federal spending.

“I share that view,” said Roby, who voted in opposition to legislation that would increase the national debt limit from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion.

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Roby said that she could not support an increase in the debt limit unless it is accompanied by significant and substantial reforms that “put the nation back on track to fiscal responsibility and economic security.”

Roby said that during the debt crisis debate, she voted on two separate proposals that would significantly cut future spending, put the nation on firmer financing footing and avoid a potentially catastrophic default. Each was killed by the Senate.

“The House of Representatives approved two solutions to the crisis,” she said. “First, we passed the ‘Cut, Cap and Balance Act,’ which would cut $111 billion in spending next year, establish a cap on spending to save $5.8 trillion over the next decade and send a Constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states.

“It was a strong bill and I was proud to support it. We could have emerged from this crisis with our head held high, confident in the knowledge that we had taken steps to make America stronger and more prosperous for future generations. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats killed it.”

In its wake, the House approved a version of Speaker John Boehner’s plan, which Roby said was “far from perfect” but still guaranteed at least a dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of debt increase.

“Again, Senate Democrats killed it,” she said.

Roby took questions from the floor, the first related to benefits paid to the 100 Senators and 435 members of the House.

Roby responded that the members of Congress receive the same benefits as other federal employees and pay Social Security.

Roby said that compliance with EPA regulations is taking dollars out of business coffers that could be spent in the creation of new jobs and that the corporate tax structure must be changed to level the playing field in an effort to keep jobs at home.

“We must put money back in the hands of the private sector which creates jobs,” she said. “Government doesn’t create jobs.”

When questioned about her recent meetings with the President, Roby said that she met the President and First Lady at a reception for the freshmen members of Congress the night before the State of the Union speech.

“In the receiving line, President Obama asked if I’d changed (since coming to Washington) and I told him that I still shop at the grocery store on Sunday,” Roby said and added laughing that the President then introduced her to his wife.

“At the White House picnic my daughter, Margaret, had a conversation with the President but I don’t know what was said,” Roby said.

Roby is a member of the bi-partisan Committee on Education and Workforce. She told the Rotarians that she works to find common ground.

“When we disagree, I put on the others’ shoes and walk around in them and try to find some understanding as to where they are coming from,” she said.

Roby said that she cuts in the defense spending would be destructive and not in the best interest of the United States.

In response to a question about foreign aid, Roby said only 2.2 percent of the federal budget is devoted to foreign aid. She said there is no black and white to the issue. It is a gray matter and that the sense of stability of struggling countries could be destroyed without a U.S. presence.