Congressman Brett Guthrie, who represents the 2nd Congressional District that includes the western part of Jessamine County and encompasses Wilmore, had lunch at Wesley Village last Thursday, Oct. 25, with members of the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce.
Just two weeks before the general election, Guthrie said he wasn’t there to ask for votes but to talk about the mind-set about the budget and the “demagogues” in Washington.
“I’m not here to spin you, gimmick you, tell you stuff you can’t verify,” Guthrie said. “Just to give you my perspective.”
Guthrie said he wanted to compare budgets, but since the Senate “hasn’t had a budget in over three years, that means nobody has had a budget.”
This has made it hard to make any plans for the military or for the long-term budget in the House of Representatives, Guthrie said.
Guthrie compared the current Obama administration’s budget with the “Ryan budget,” or the House Republican budget.
“I am what I am, because I believe what I believe,” he said. “But I think we have to get things solved.”
At the luncheon, Guthrie deconstructed the budget set for by President Barack Obama that calls for a tax increase on individuals making $250,000 or more a year from 35 to 39.6 percent.
“What I believe is that raising the income tax without changing the system will adversely affect people in that $250,000 income bracket,” he said. “To be generous, that only creates $80 billion revenue — that’s the most generous. Last year, we had a $1.1 trillion deficit, so the president’s budget still has a trillion-dollar hole in it.”
The congressman went on to say that Obama’s proposed budget expects to cut $4 trillion off the next 10 years.
“Maybe ... if we had budgeted to be in Afghanistan for the next 10 years that would be a savings, but we weren’t going to be spending that money anyways — the budget plans for us to be out by 2014,” he said. “Those are the gimmicks and the tricks they use when talking about the budget.”
Other issues Guthrie talked about were Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, stating that if the country followed the current plan that in 30 years the cost will eat up 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — the country’s traditional revenues.
“That’s every penny paid to the federal government in tax dollars would go to just paying for those programs,” he said. “So when my daughter is my age, 100 percent of all federal revenues will go to pay for my generation to be retired.”
However, under the House Republican plan, by paying off national debt and balancing the budget outside of 10 years, his daughter’s generation would have zero debt, Guthrie said.
“You ask people now if they think their children will have a better future than them and not many of you will raise your hands,” he said, “but you ask me, ‘Does America have a bright future?’ I say it does.
“I’m the eternal optimist.”
After budget talks, Guthrie opened it up for questions.
One was posed by State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville.
Damron, who on numerous occasions has publicly given his support for the Republican congressman, asked about the plan for the state road plan because in Jessamine County there are several big road projects, including the I-75 connector and the U.S. 27 eastern bypass, that are tied to federal funds.
“It’s a constant concern by the state legislatures — we have a six-year plan here and it’s predicated on certain strings,” Damron said.
Guthrie said that just before the assembly adjourned they passed a two-year plan, though they had hoped to pass a five-year plan.
“The arguments there are between where the money goes, to roads or bike and things like that,” Guthrie said. “So we ended up with two-year plan, where all the money flows to Frankfort, with no earmarks.”
After the luncheon, Damron said he was happy to know they had passed the two-year plan and also that Jessamine County was going to benefit in the 2nd District with Guthrie as its congressman.