View From the Capitol - Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's Newsletter for the Week of April 8-12, 2013
Two months after it was due, President Obama finally sent his Fiscal Year 2014 budget to Congress this week, and it is disappointing. It fails to address many of the cost-drivers increasing our debt and it never balances. The President’s budget not only falls short of seriously addressing deficits, it adds $8.2 trillion to the debt. This keeps our country on a path of never-ending deficits and will continue to grow our massive $16.7 trillion debt. Furthermore, it cuts spending for our military and could very well restrict our Constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense.
To make matters worse, the White House budget calls for higher taxes - $1.1 trillion in new taxes on top of the $1 trillion in taxes from ObamaCare and more than $600 billion from the President’s recent tax hike. It contains increased spending - $964 billion above projected growth. Simply put, his budget would take more hard-earned dollars from Fourth District families to spend more in Washington. It’s taking our country in the wrong direction.
The budget passed by House Republicans will help create jobs while preserving programs like Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations. And, it achieves balance in ten years, prioritizes our national defense, grows our economy and leaves more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans. Fourth District Missourians with their common sense know that it is illogical to assume higher taxes and out-of-control spending will solve our nation’s debt crisis. It’s time to get our country back on the right path.
On another issue, I want to share some information with you on the decision to close the airport control tower at Columbia Regional Airport and more than 140 other airports across the country in June. I am co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to restore funding for the tower in Columbia and other contractor-operated air traffic control towers that were targeted for closure as a result of sequestration cuts.
The decision to close the contractor-operated control towers in Columbia and elsewhere presents safety concerns and makes no sense from a cost perspective. In fact, a 2011 report by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General shows contract towers cost on average $537,000 a year to operate, compared with $2 million for comparably busy FAA-staffed towers. These towers are cost-effective, yet, they are being forced to bear a disproportionate share of the sequestration cuts. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is cutting 75 percent from the Contract Tower fund when sequestration only requires a 5 percent reduction. The FAA got this wrong.
Our bill reprioritizes funding within the current FAA budget to restore funding to the contract tower program for the duration of FY 2013. I am glad to be a part of this fight, because preserving jobs while protecting the safety of America’s flying public is the right thing to do.
Finally, I recently had the honor of congratulating three of the six Fourth District students who have been extended offers of appointment to the U.S. Service Academies. Sam Schmidt of Concordia and Nolan Peters of Waverly have received offers from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. Jeff Replogle of Phillipsburg has been offered an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. These fine young men serve as an inspiration to all of us and reinvigorate hope for our country with outstanding young men like this leading the way.
I also congratulate three young men who were unable to attend this reception I hosted for the Fourth District’s Service Academy nominees. Ted Gallagher of Kansas City and Devonte Baity of Waynesville have been offered appointments to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point while Joseph Hunter of Harrisonville has been extended an offer to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
My prayers and best hopes go with them as they embark on a path that will offer them the finest educational experiences anywhere and see them defending our country as the military leaders of tomorrow.
Have a good week.