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Previously: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town halls in Clinton and Warrensburg (August 10, 2011)

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) held a series of town halls on Wednesday in the 4th Congressional District. We attended the afternoon town halls in Clinton and Warrensburg. There were dissenting views and push back at both town halls, but the one in Warrensburg was by far the more raucous.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) at the Community Center in Warrensburg, Missouri on August 10, 2011.

The transcript:

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): Hello everyone. Good afternoon. How are you? [applause] Thank you, guys, for coming out. It’s a beautiful day. Isn’t this beautiful? Ah, I think we all were sick and tired of this hundred degree heat and, uh, it’s been fabulous. But I appreciate so much you coming out today and spending a little time, uh, together so that we can get to know each, about each other a little better. Uh, you know, it is such a privilege and an honor to represent you and work for you in Washington, D.C.  And I know I’ve just been there since January and I’m, I’m new and so I haven’t had a chance to get to know all of you yet and so, thank you for coming. Uh, this is very important. Obviously it shows that you guys are patriots, you care about your country and you want to see us move forward and be as strong as possible, not only for now, but for future generations. And that’s what this is all about, it’s keeping America strong and, and even brighter in the future.

Uh, what I would like to do today, uh, in this hour we have, and I wish I had more time, but, is to maybe start off with some information that I put together in a little PowerPoint. Uh, some facts that I’ve learned since I’ve been in Washington, uh, these past seven months on the budget and kind of where we’re at, where our money goes, some of the discussions we’ve been having on the debt ceiling, things like that and that’ll take about twenty minutes. And then, uh, spend the rest of the time just answering questions hearing your ideas, listening to you, uh, because I believe the best ideas come from you guys, from the heartland. The ideas for our country, the solutions, do not come from Washington, D.C. There’s, uh, enough people with ideas been running things for too long and so we need some new ideas. So, I thought maybe we would do that, if that’s okay with you [crosstalk].

Voice: No, actually, actually…

Representative Hartzler: First, wait, I wanted to introduce state senator David Pearce (r) here. Thank you for coming. [applause] David is doing a fabulous job for, for all of us down in Jefferson City and appreciate his leadership and the good work he’s doing. Thanks, thanks for coming out today as well. So, anyway, uh, I’ll answer your question and then, uh, we’ll get started if you want to.

Voice: I can look at your, uh, PowerPoint online. I think there’s a lot of people here that got a lot of questions instead of looking at a PowerPoint we can watch online. [applause]

Representative Hartzler: Well. Unfortunately [crosstalk]…

Voice: It’s, it’s here, right? [handout] This is the PowerPoint, right?

Representative Hartzler: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not [crosstalk]…

Voice: Okay, so we have it.

Representative Hartzler: It’s not online, but, and there’s more information, so we’ll run through it quick. I can understand. I want to get to everybody’s questions and hear your comments and we’ll have time for that, so, let’s just move, move quickly and you might, hopefully, find some information that’s helpful to you.

This is the first slide that I found that I thought was very interesting. Uh, this shows where our money goes. And how much goes to different categories. This is, uh, last year’s, well, two years ago budget, if you consider it was voted on two years ago, it was twenty-ten. Basically, uh, three and a half trillion dollars. The red part is what we call non-defense discretionary, that’s what Congress spends a lot of time discussing because that’s the area where we can change the funds fairly easily just by an up or down vote. We can cut spending or raise spending. This is what I would consider all of Washington, your, all your departments, Department of Education, transportation, Congress, foreign aid, everything would be in the red category there. This is how much for national defense. By the way, I don’t think I said that I feel  very honored to get to sit on the House Agriculture Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. Uh, and that is very much an honor. I appreciate that opportunity to stand strong for Whiteman Air Force Base, Ft. Leonard Wood, and all our veterans, and our men and women in uniform. Uh, but, I will just say a little quick thing about the defense, the budget, the amount of money we’re spending now per GDP is less than it was back in, uh, nineteen sixty-four. And so every year by percentage GDP it keeps going down and I have concerns with that. I think according to Constitution there’s only a few things Congress should be doing and one of them is to provide for the common defense. So, I don’t believe we need to, especially when we’re fighting wars on two fronts, or, if you count Libya, three, uh, it, it’s time if we need to be cutting our spending on national defense. So I just want to share that with you.

Uh, Social Security, of course, money comes in for that. So, we got that. Medicare, Medicaid, net interest, and, as you can see, it’s rather small right now, that’s the interest on the debt. I have some concerns with that though if our interest rates go up, what that could do to our national budget. It could eat up a lot more of it. And the other mandatory program, uh, they lumped a bunch of programs there where Congress has approved in years past and we don’t vote on every year. They just say if you qualify for xyz then you get x dollar benefit. So, they put in there everything from Pell Grants to unemployment, uh, food stamps, welfare programs, farm subsidies, all of those type of programs that  are mandatory they lumped them together. So, you can kind of see where the money is going. Now, here’s the problem, though. The next slide shows here’s how much is coming in. The green is our total amount of tax revenue that you and I send in every April fifteenth and businesses send in. Only makes up part of what we’re spending so the rest is borrowed. That’s why we’re now borrowing forty-two cents on the dollar at the federal level just to keep all those programs going that you just saw. That’s why we’re in the problem that we are, I mean, you and I don’t do that at home. I mean, we can’t keep borrowing forty-two cents out of every dollar. It’s unsustainable [crosstalk] and…

Voice: Is Social Security in that two point two trillion?

Representative Hartzler: Uh, that’s a good question. I’ll have to check on that. I think it is.  [crosstalk] Anyway, no.

Voice: I don’t think so. You said [inaudible] our tax money by April fifteenth.

Representative Hartzler: Anyway. Well [crosstalk], yeah…

Voice: Taxes are April fifteenth [crosstalk]. Social Security’s not a tax, right. But it is our money. So, where’s that flow in the flow?

Representative Hartzler: It is part of the revenue that’s in there. So, I may have misspoke as far as April fifteenth. But, anyway, you can see we got a deficit. That’s the bottom line, bottom line.

We have a debt crisis. It’s fourteen point three trillion dollars now. Uh, it’s a non-partisan or, problem in that we had Republican Congresses, we’ve had Democratic Congresses for
years that have spent more money than has come in. And so, that’s where we’re at today. It’s taken us a while to get there, but, uh, we gotta little spending problem here and there’s at least two areas of concern with that. Having that much debt is hurting jobs. I talk to a lot of small business owners and they’ll say this uncertainty, they’re not sure what’s going to happen, uh, if there’s gonna be a huge influx, uh, in the stock market that’s gonna hurt them. Whether there’s, you know, not gonna be able to get credit. Just having this much debt is causing them to not hire people. We need that. So, that’s a [crosstalk] concern. [crosstalk] Well…[crosstalk] There’s a lot of…

Voice: It’s not uncertainty about the economy, it’s a lack of con [crosstalk], consumer demand. [crosstalk] [voice: “Yeah.”][applause][voice: “Yeah, all right.”]

Voice: Consumer demand is lacking because people do not have jobs. They don’t have the money to [crosstalk]…

Voice: People don’t have money.

Representative Hartzler: Okay, let me [crosstalk]…

Voice: You all were supposed to [inaudible] [crosstalk]on jobs when you came in office. [voice: “Yeah.”]

Representative Hartzler: Wait, wait, wait [crosstalk] just a minute.

Voice: Jobs!

Voice: That’s what you said.

Voice: You said you were jobs, you didn’t [crosstalk] say anything about fighting the President.

Representative Hartzler: All right [crosstalk]. Listen, listen [crosstalk]…

Voice: When, when you ran your campaign [crosstalk] the only thing we heard was jobs, jobs, jobs [crosttalk], jobs, jobs. [crosstalk] You get into office and the only thing we hear out of you now is abortion [inaudible].

Voice: We were gonna fix it, that’s what you said.

Voice: You said you were a teabagger and that you were gonna fight the President. Why?

Voice: Quiet down and listen.

Voice: [crosstalk] …farm subsidies.

Representative Hartzler: Uh, we are gonna have [crosstalk][inaudible] conversation and then there’ll be time for any of the comments. But I’m gonna say this, we’re gonna have a respectful town hall here [crosstalk] [voice: “You don’t like (inaudible)”] and we’re gonna listen. I want you to have lis, respect everybody. Listen. And then I’m gonna listen to you. [voice: “You’re not doing a very good job”] And that’s the way this town hall’s gonna be run. If you don’t feel comfortable with that you’re welcome to not participate. But I want to hear your ideas and [crosstalk]… [multiple voices, some inaudible]

Voice: Well then good, then let’s begin. [crosstalk] Then let’s begin, let’s begin.

Voice: Let’s let her talk first.

Voice: [crosstalk]…our ideas.

Voice: Who owns our debt? [crosstalk]

Representative Hartzler: We have forty-seven percent [crosstalk] of our foreign debt [crosstalk] is caused, held by the [inaudible]. Okay.

Voice: She’s our representative in Congress [crosstalk] isn’t she?

Voice: And she’ll let you talk in a minute.

Representative Hartzler: Shh. All right. China owns twenty-nine percent of our foreign debt. That is a real concern to me. I said I’m on the Armed Services Committee and I’ve got to sit in a lot of hearings and I can tell you, I don’t know what China’s doing, but it’s concerning. They are building fourteen nuclear submarines right now. We’re building one. They have been devoting over twelve percent of their budget to national defense. Uh, they just introduced their version of a stealth aircraft fighter plane recently. And they just unveiled a twelve hundred mile aircraft carrier busting bomb. So, it’s a little concerning that they hold this much of our debt. In fact, with the interest that we pay China we would be able to buy three, or they could buy, three joint strike fighters and still have fifty million dollars left over. So, um, there’s a lot of reasons I think that we need to get out of debt. But certainly this obligation, um, to China is a concerning one. In fact, Admiral Mike Mullen, who’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he just went off I should say, uh, but he, last summer, this time, he said, I think the biggest threat we have to our national security is the national debt. And when you think about it that’s, that’s a pretty important statement. So, there’s several reasons that we need to get control of this huge debt crisis, one it’s hurting jobs, but also, I think it hurts our national security.

Okay, how many would agree with this statement? We have a debt crisis because Washington spends too much, not because Washington taxes too little. Raise your hand if you agree with that.

Voice: Both.

Representative Hartzler: Um [crosstalk][inaudible]…

Voice: Hey, there’s people in the room that disagree, who disagrees with that. [crosstalk] There are people who disagree with that.

Voices: Yeah.

Voice: You gotta be fair, you gotta be fair. No, no, no, you didn’t ask that question, Representative Hartzler. You didn’t ask that question.

[multiple inaudible voices]

Voice: I gotta right to speak.

Voice: And you gotta right to shut up.

Representative Hartzler: Shhh. Guys. We’re in the fourth district.

Voice: Yeah, we are.

Representative Hartzler:  C’mon [crosstalk] we’re good people, we’re good people,  so let’s get along here, all right. Okay.

Now, here’s a, a slide that kind of shows the tax revenue since nineteen forty-seven, that’s in the green, historically about eighteen percent of the GDP. And you see the spending that’s been going on. This is this year, but projected, if we don’t make some changes, it’s expected to go off the charts. So, that is what is concerning and in order to keep pace to balance the budget we would have to raise taxes on everybody sixty percent. And even if you taxed all the millionaires and billionaires that you hear about in the news everybody likes to pick on, nobody’s millionaire billionaire, um, that would not balance the budget it is that far out of whack. We are. You could, you know, take all their money. So, we definitely have a spending, uh, problem. Just so you know, ’cause there’s a lot of, uh, class warfare going on, lot of rhetoric. The top ten percent, whether you like ’em or not, think they ought to be taxed more, just so you know, uh, they right now pay seventy percent of all the taxes that come into the country, so. [crosstalk][inaudible]

Voice: But they pay a lower [crosstalk], a lower tax rate. They pay a lower tax rate than I do.

Representative Hartzler:  No, no, [crosstalk] no, out of the total amount of money that comes in, uh, tax revenue, seventy percent of it comes from them. So, what, anyway, we’re not gonna get into whether that’s good or bad, but just [crosstalk]…

Voice: You’re saying it’s bad, though.

Representative Hartzler: Federal, let’s move on…

The transcript of the town hall will continue in subsequent posts.