Roby addresses budgetary concerns

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pike County Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Adam Drinkwater, Congresswoman Martha Roby and Chamber President Kathleen Sauer pose for a photo after the Chamber’s Legislative Breakfast Wednesday morning where Roby was the guest speaker.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby was quick to admit she wasn’t sharing good news Wednesday morning.

“I’m not real sure the outcome of the (presidential) election is going to affect the lame duck (Congress) one way or another,” the 2nd District Republican told members of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce who gathered for the Legislative Breakfast.

In her update to the more than 70 people gathered for the breakfast, Roby shared her frustration at the stalemate in Washington and the inability to address legislative issues as far ranging as the budget and the Farm Bill.

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“Sure, we have a lot of work to do, and I’d much rather be up there getting it done,” she said. “But time after time after time this year the House has passed legislation that is just sitting there in the Senate …

“The president is running against a ‘do nothing’ Congress, but it’s Mr. Reid sitting there doing nothing.”

Roby singled out Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, as contributing to the stalemate in Congress by not acting on the “over 30 jobs and energy bills” passed this year by the House. “He won’t even let them come to the floor for a vote.”

In beginning her update to the crowd, Roby said she understood small business owners’ concerns and frustrations. “The only thing that is certain is the uncertainty the federal government has provided you over the past few years, and that doesn’t seem to be getting any better according to you.”

But issues such as the inability to address budgetary concerns – and the impending sequestration that begins Jan. 1 – simply compound concerns.

“If this sequestration happens in January we will hollow out our military and we will not be able to snap our fingers and get it back,” she warned. “We must figure out how to legislate around this first year of sequestration.”

Roby said she hoped congressional leaders would return in November with the “will to act” on the needed legislation to resolve the pending concerns about sequestration.

She also vowed in November to push for passage of the Farm Bill legislation proposed by the Agriculture Committee. ‘We have passed out a farm bill,” she said of the committee on which she sits. “It’s good, not perfect, but good.”

The bill passed 35-11 from committee “and that’s about a close to bipartisan support as you’ll find in this Congress.” It contains what Roby calls “significant reforms” but also provides “certainty in very uncertain times to our farms.”

Adding that she realizes the issue is “a political hot potato,” she believes it must be addressed.

“America’s ability to provide food for Americans is a national security issue,” she said.