Kansas First District U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp was in Hillsboro for a town hall meeting Tuesday, hammering home two of his greatest concerns: the growing federal deficit and overregulation by government agencies.
“Frankly, your nation is essentially broke. It is bad now, and unless we make some serious changes it’s likely to get worse,” Huelscamp said. “Even folks at the Joint Chiefs of Staff say the single biggest threat to our security is our debt.”
Huelskamp pointed to overregulation in agriculture as a problem.
“The EPA has proposed to regulate farm dust. I’d love to regulate farm dust, just make it rain at the proper time, we’d take care of it,” Huelskamp said.
“If you want to keep the EPA from regulating farm dust, you take their money away,” Huelskamp said. “When bureaucrats have that much authority, there’s a real threat to our way of life, whether or not we agree with the regulation.”
Huelskamp spent the bulk of his time responding to questions and comments from approximately 45 people who attended the meeting.
A common theme was concern about President Barack Obama and the direction of his administration. Some comments were harsh in their criticism.
“Frankly, we have a Marxist in the White House, and it can’t just be politics as usual. The country’s not going to survive,” one attendee said.
Huelskamp deflected the criticism and focused on the substantive issues raised by attendees, such the state of the economy. He said small business is critical to a strong recovery, but that business owners have told him they are reluctant to hire.
“They say we need some certainty in terms of regulation, we need a moratorium on new regulations, we need some certainty on taxes, we need some certainty on health care.”
Huelskamp voiced his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“I believe we should repeal the president’s health care law and start over with something that’s consumer-friendly,” Huelskamp said.
Tabor College President Jules Glanzer asked if Congress was considering eliminating charitable contributions from the tax code, in a fashion similar to what has been proposed in Kansas by Gov. Sam Brownback.
“That’s pretty destructive for higher ed, it’s also destructive for the churches in the community and any nonprofit organization. That’s devastating to a lot of the generous people in the state of Kansas,” Glanzer said.
“There is talk of that, and why is there talk about changing the tax code? 77 percent of the American people say it’s a mess, throw it out,” Huelskamp said. “I am in favor of talking about each of those deductions, because the tax code is a mess.”