Amodei: Current federal spending unsustainable

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealCongressman Mark Amodei speaks Wednesday morning at the Carson Nugget during the Chamber of Commerce town hall meeting.

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealCongressman Mark Amodei speaks Wednesday morning at the Carson Nugget during the Chamber of Commerce town hall meeting.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., told a group of 250 Wednesday that current levels of federal spending are unsustainable but Congress hasn’t had the courage to make the tough decisions that will fix the problem.“When you have to borrow 42 cents of every dollar you spend, that is unsustainable,” he said, adding that while the nation’s population has grown about 12 percent during the past decade, federal spending has nearly doubled.Amodei said nearly two-thirds of the federal budget is in programs such as Social Security, welfare and Medicaid-Medicare, and members of both parties have to recognize that and at least talk about what changes can be made to reduce costs. While he said Social Security has “a good healthy cash-flow,” the same can’t be said for Medicare.“We’ve got to sit down and do some work on health care,” he said in a breakfast address sponsored by the Carson Nugget and the chamber of commerce.One big problem with the Affordable Care Act, he said, is that no one knew all its details when it passed.“There have been constant surprises in it,” he said. “The economic impact of health care on the middle class is, in my view, going to be pretty profound.”Amodei said he voted against the compromise package drafted by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell because there weren’t cuts in it.“I ain’t voting for more taxes and spending and no cuts,” he said.He said he also objects to the fact that that deal and numerous other congressional decisions over the past couple of years were done behind closed doors.“The first problem I think we have at the national level is this obsession with drama,” he said. “The normal process is not one where you wait ‘til it’s down to the nth degree and come out from behind closed doors and say, ‘Here’s the deal.’”He also said that while the president and House have presented budgets for consideration, the Senate has not.Amodei added the recession, in his eyes, is far from over.“You’re not going to cut your way to a balanced federal budget and you’re not going to tax your way to a balanced budget,” he said. “Let’s quit focusing on political points until we get the economy going.”“Until we concentrate on getting the private sector back on it’s feet, we’re going to struggle.”Amodei said he still believes one key to helping businesses and encouraging them to hire is to cut burdensome regulations of the EPA, Labor Department and land agencies such as BLM.But he said doing that and reforming entitlements to lower costs will require political courage.On that note, he said his advice for the 434 other members of the House and 100 U.S. Senators is, “If you do something that you think is right and get fired (voted out) for it, accept that.”


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