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

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 1 (August 11, 2011)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Warrensburg, part 2 (August 12, 2011)

Vicky Hartzler is trying trying to scare you (August 13, 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.

“…you know, the, President Obama walked out of some of the talks. Anyway, yeah…”

Really? There was one meeting where after two hours of republican intransigence President Obama got kind of pissed off and left that particular meeting (the “don’t call my bluff” incident) but that’s a lot different than walking out on negotiations themselves, you know, cutting off talks. As Blue Girl is fond of saying, “When the president leaves the room the meeting is over…”

Only the republicans cut off the dialogue, once when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (r) did so in the talks with Vice President Biden and twice when Speaker Boehner (r) did so. You don’t think Speaker Boehner or Representative Cantor would dispute that, do you?

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

The third part of the transcript:

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): Okay, wrap up your questions.

Question: My question is, my question is this, how are you going to fix the gridlock and how are we going to get things done? Because it doesn’t matter what we think, nothing’s getting done.

Representative Hartzler: Well, thank you. I appreciate, uh, your comment. First of all, I got my Master’s degree in teaching from here at UCM and I taught school for eleven years and, uh, certainly appreciate what you’re saying, big supporter of education. Uh, a, the, what you saw we ended up with a, a compromise. I mean, it came, it, it’s not a, I mean, it’s ugly. I always tell students, they come down, I was a state rep for a while, come down to [voice: “We know.”] the capitol and say, there’s two things you should never watch being made, that’s sausage and law. Because it’s ugly. But in the end it usually turns out. And, uh, you know, we didn’t have TV cameras back in Thomas Jefferson’s day, everything, there’s always been in this country and that what makes our country great, partly, is that different ideas that are able to come forward. And so you see that now on TV and out, you know, in on Twitter and Facebook. We have such, such more, uh, focus on it than perhaps in the past. I think we’ve always had different ideas, but in the end things do, do get done. Um, the thing is with this debt ceiling is that several of us feel so passionate about it, it’s like, well, do you come together and compromise on something that is less than what the credit rating agencies have said you need. And then you’re worried that credit rating is gonna fall and potentially what happened is gonna happen, the stock market would fall and you guys [crosstalk]…

Voice: It was because of the inability of the Congress [crosstalk] to get along.

Question: That’s because no one would listen…

Representative Hartzler: …So that’s part of the[crosstalk] reason we, well, we, ’cause [crosstalk]…

Voice: That’s what[crosstalk] [inaudible]…

Question: It should not have come to twenty-four [crosstalk]before we went into default. That was ridiculous.

Voice: That was money that was already spent.

Representative Hartzler: Well, you could talk to the Senate and the White House because they have to listen, too, and [crosstalk]…

Question: They do. They all do. [crosstalk] Oh, absolutely, they all do…

Representative Hartzler: …you know, the, President Obama walked out of some of the talks. Anyway, yeah.

Question: …But what I’m saying is that you can say that and you can keep throwing the blame around, the House of [crosstalk] Representatives and the Senate,

Representative Hartzler: Well, but, I hear you want me to, to cave into what they want so we don’t argue.

Question: No, I did not say that…[crosstalk]

Voice: Compromise.

Voice: Oh, come on.

Question: No, I did not say that.  I said [crosstalk][inaudible]…

Voice: Compromise is a two way street, people.

Question: You’re not even listening to me. You’re not listening to me.

Representative Hartzler: Okay, say it one more time and then [crosstalk] there’s a lot of hands up.

Question: [inaudible] That’s, great, what I did not say I want you to cave to anything else, I said I want our government to listen to us and look out for our best interests and listen to one another and not be so completely dogmatically stubborn that they won’t listen [crosstalk]…

Voice: That’s not caving.

Voice: They didn’t listen to the last election very well.

Representative Hartzler: Let me listen.

Question: …That’s not caving, that’s listening. It never should have come up to twenty-four hours before default.

Representative Hartzler: Well, I agree with you there. I sure wish we could have come up with some [inaudible]. Yes…

Question: I’m an educator also, thirty-four years. I, I, have fond memories of it, great memories of it. One thing that, you know, I’m embarrassed by our behavior first of all. [voices: “Yes.”]  I mean, this was worse than unruly school children [applause][inaudible].  I don’t care what your belief is or your, your ideology there’s gotta be some respect tossed back and forth or you don’t get any respect. [applause] The question I have is this. And I have, I have lots of questions, what about us, foreign aid for China. How ridiculous. I Can’t believe [inaudible crosstalk] it…[crosstalk]

Voice: That is dumb. [crosstalk] Dumb.

Representative Hartzler: It’s not, it’s [inaudible]…

Question: …I heard it. I read it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we have five hundred and thirty-five people in Congress that don’t even question that. I’m not talkin’ at you, I’m just talkin’ about all five hundred and thirty-five as well as our President and his entire cabinet. Why, why is it? That, that’s ridiculous.

Representative Hartzler: Yeah.

Question: The next thing is, I saw in the paper where the debt limit had been raised so many times over the last ten years when the Democrats were in control, they both worked, when Republicans were in control, they both worked. They’re not, it’s vice versa, opposite, opposite. [voice: “That’s right.”] So, this thing has not been created in the last two and a half three years. It’s been created in the last forty years. And, I’m, quite frankly, I’m, I’m not a Republican, I don’t want to be affiliated with them. I don’t want to be affiliated with the Democrats. I’m an independent thinker. And I don’t think that a party should ever control how you vote. Or, [voice: That’s right.”] [ap
plause] how any of the Democrats vote. [inaudible crosstalk] So, it’s obvious that Congress is, is at a gridlock. Do I trust that they’re gonna solve this? [voices: “No.”] No. But, we’re gonna have a financial calamity that’s gonna be far worse than the Great Depression ever was if we don’t get our act together and listen to each other and finally reach some kind of a resolution to this problem. We spend too much money. Now, I, I have a nice retirement, my wife’s a retired school teacher. I wouldn’t be opposed to somebody raising my taxes if, if there was a balanced budget that, that I knew that that money would be spent wisely and not squandered off because it’s not their money. And I, and I think that, I’m not talkin’ about you, but I’m talkin’ about all these long term career politicians, they spend it like it’s not their money. It is our money. It’s not theirs. And I want it spent wisely. So, if there’s one thing you can carry back to Washington that’s it. I’m sick and tired of Republicans, I’m sick and tired of the Democrats. When are we ever gonna get together and reach a compromise? And if it, if it means raising taxes a little, but cutting a lot of spending, I’m for it. I want this country back to where it was.

Voice: I second everything. [voices: “Yeah.”][applause]

Representative Hartzler: Well said. Thank you. Thank you very much. And I think, uh, and you may see taxes on the table, for those of you who want pay more taxes or see more taxes.

Question: I don’t want to. [crosstalk] I would be willing [crosstalk] if I know it’s spent wisely.

Representative Hartzler: Well, I, know what you’re saying. [crosstalk] I hear you. Well see, that’s my concern because [crosstalk]…

Voice: Never will be. [crosstalk] Never will be.

Representative Hartzler: …people have said that if you, uh, you know, raise the taxes then you have more money for more programs [voice: “Yep.”] So I wouldn’t feel comfortable, eh, in, we’ll see, down the road what proposal comes out. I hear you, those of you who want higher taxes, maybe I’ll vote for it, but I would not support it unless I knew specifically that those extra money they, people be sacrificing to pay, to send it, going to pay off the debt.

Question: Exactly.[crosstalk] Exactly.

Representative Hartzler: Go to the debt [crosstalk], don’t go to some new program to keep the same [inaudible].

Question: Exactly.

Representative Hartzler: We’ll see what [crosstalk][inaudible]. Thank you, [inaudible] you. Sir.

Voice: Tell your leadership that, don’t tell us that.

Question: [….] And, uh, I have a couple of questions. One, the most recent discussion on debt decrease, one point two trillion dollars decreased over the next ten years. That’s not a decrease, it’s just a [inaudible], a not a, as high an increase. But, only in Washington can a, a less than increase be called a decrease. So, one, what are you specifically willing to cut? And the second thing is, uh, you make over a hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, now, I don’t know how many other people in the room make that much money. [voice: “Nobody.”] But, people on Social Security, fixed incomes, disability and military retirees have not a pay raise in two years. My wife’s a school teacher and hasn’t had a pay raise in three years. [inaudible] Congress has voted the last fifty years a pay increase every year. [voices: “Yes, that hurts.” (inaudible)]  So, in addition to the balanced budget when is Congress going to join the American people taking pay cut [voices: “Yes.” “No health care.” “Cut their retirement”] or , [voice: “No health care.”] and, or, [voice: “Pension.”] well, pension’s beside, I have a great pension, I’m retired military, I have a fantastic pension. [voice: “Glad you do, I don’t.”] Well, you had a choice. Uh, so, when is Congress gonna do that in addition to the balanced budget. You know, the favorable rating of Congress is less than ten percent right now. Why don’t you ask us for a pay raise? I mean, seriously. You work for us. [applause] [inaudible crosstalk] I can’t go tell government I want a pay raise [crosstalk], so.

Representative Hartzler: Right [crosstalk], well I haven’t voted for any pay raise, you know, I just got there, you know, myself. This was the system that was there, but, I think you made some excellent, excellent, uh, excellent points. So, I’m certainly listening and, yes, there.

Question: Wait a minute. So, how, you didn’t answer my question? [audience laughter] What are you, what are you will, [crosstalk] specifically willing to cut?

Representative Hartzler: [inaudible] Oh, willing to cut, willing to cut. Thank you. I got it. I got it. Oh, I got sidetracked. [crosstalk] Yeah, yeah.

Question: That’s okay. I understand.

Representative Hartzler: Well, we have voted for several cuts since different appropriations bills have gone through. I don’t remember all of them. But I think everything should be on the table, even, uh, [voice: “Farm subsidies?”] yeah, there’s, there’s cut, yeah, you’re gonna see that and the farm bill’s gonna be renegotiated next year. You’re probably gonna see direct payments, a lot of it, go, if not. There’s gonna be a lot of cuts there, uh, and there need to be. [crosstalk]

Voice: Big oil subsidies?

Representative Hartzler: There’s, uh, yeah, probably, so, I mean,  everything needs to be on the table. But, uh, [crosstalk]…

Voice: They have thirty-five.

Representative Hartzler: …the big cost drivers are entitlement programs and nobody wants to talk about and is afraid they won’t get reelected and they’ll be demagogued and there’ll be ads run against them and things. So, we need to reform and look at those programs, too. We can’t totally cut the budget. If you go back to the pie chart you could total, if you remember the, the red was on this side, you could totally mothball Washington, the ride pie piece, and national defense and you still wouldn’t balance the budget. All the money is going to all the entitlement programs now and it’s expected to expand. There’s ten thousand baby boomers joining Medicare and, uh, uh, Social Security every day now. And, uh, anyway, it’s a, it’s a big problem. We need to reform them so they don’t go bankrupt, [crosstalk] [inaudible] anyway.

Voice: How would the balanced budget solve that problem?

Representative Hartzler: It would force some reforms to take place so those [crosstalk][inaudible]?

Voice: What, what kind of reforms? [crosstalk] We’re talking about how much money Representative Hartzler?

Representative Hartzler: [crosstalk][inaudible] I didn’t call on you.

Question: My question is, how is the government going to take out [inaudible] Roosevelt, all the money goes in, they cannot borrow [crosstalk]…

Representative Hartzler: I’ll repeat his question, I know you can’t hear. Go ahead. I can [inaudible].

Question: They cannot borrow for anything. But yet the President puts it on the table.

Representative Hartzler: No. [crosstalk] Right.

Question: No, it should be, it’s already in there. In fact if you go back, nineteen eighty-three, Ronald Reagan signed into law [inaudible] put all that into a trust fund. That means that they cannot borrow or anything else. What goes in, it can only come out.

Representative Hartzler: Well, here’s some facts, uh, let me, uh, share, [….] was asking about Social Security and how can they spend that money when it’s supposed to be set aside and things and that, that’s comes up at every town hall and I’ve been learning more about that myself. And so let me share with you, whether it is right or wrong, the money right now does come in through general revenue and then it’s credited to Social Security. Every year until last year there was a surplus. There was, uh, less money going out than was coming in. And so what has happened, whether you like it or not, don’t, don’t kill the messenger here, but anyway
, the federal government has used that money but given an IOU to the Social Security saying, okay we owe you this amount. Starting last year when there was more money going out than coming in for Social Security the Social Security trust fund started calling in their IOUs so the federal government’s paying them that. And that’s what they’re saying, there should be enough IOUs to pay, uh, to reimburse, to go out, ’til about twenty thirty-seven is what the Social Security trustees have said. And that, at that point there’s no more IOUs and it will all be supplemented by general revenue. So that’s why some people are saying we need to start talking about what can be done for future generations, not for you guys now on Social Security ’cause you’re good, you’re, you’re go, gonna have all your benefits and it’s gonna be there. But, we’re talking for the younger generation by the time, you know, twenty thirty years from now they’ll be not enough money coming in to take care of that. So should there be some tweaks to the system for the [inaudible] different age group or whatever. And it’s fairly easy to fix, uh, it’s a defined contribution system and defined benefit system so you could tweak it, uh, to make it, uh, you know, [inaudible] fairly easily. Whether pol, politicians or Washington has the courage to do that or not it’s debatable because in our budget in the House we passed a measure saying, Social Security trust fund you need to do a study and see if this is gonna stay solvent or not and if not, you need to come up with a plan for the future how to keep it solvent. That’s all the, the Republican House budget said. Uh, but even with that there was some ads put out to certain districts, there was, you know, just telling lies, saying, your representative is trying to kill Social Security. So, it’s hard to do. It’s the right thing to do, to be proactive, but it’s hard to do politically ’cause people demagogue it and, unfortunately.

Question: Then why [inaudible] we don’t get a pay raise?

Representative Hartzler: Oh, that [inaudible]. Pay raise. Pay raise, ok.

Question: But the other thing is, and I wish I had [inaudible] some [inaudible] they automatically get three percent [inaudible] plus they take a grand stand of voting it down.

Representative Hartzler: Yeah.

Question: But, yet, if you check your Constitution it says that Congress cannot raise their pay as long as they’re in office. It has to go to the next election.

Representative Hartzler: Huh.

Question: That’s in the [crosstalk] Constitution. [inaudible]

Representative Hartzler: I’ll check, I’ll check into that [crosstalk]. That hasn’t come up. I know we’ve cut our budget by sev, by five percent first week I was there. Then we cut our budget again [inaudible] so that the Congressional budget offices we have cut it, ourselves as well, kind of setting an example there. Did you ask a question right before that? What was that? Real quickly I was gonna say, oh, oh, the cost of living and then I need to go on to some other people. But, the cost of living adjustment is something I’ve looked into, too, because I hear a lot. A lot of people call in, say, how’s come we’re not getting a cost of living adjustment? And, uh, that is very concerning. That is figured, I’ve learned, by comparing the third quarter performance from one year to the other on the, uh, standard cost of living. So, you’ve got, uh, July, August, [inaudible] right now we’re in the middle of that time frame. And they’ll compare the cost of things during these three months with how much it cost last year. I am hopeful, I’m hopeful , we’ll find out in January, but that there might be a cost of living increase next year, ’cause I don’t know about you, when I go to Wal-Mart to shop it is costing more. I mean, everything costs more so you can’t tell me that [inaudible] costs aren’t going up and that we don’t need an increase there. But that is not [inaudible crosstalk] determined by Congress it’s set up in law and there’s a separate, uh, board that reviews that every year. But, I, uh, I’m certainly hopeful that you’ll get a, a raise next time. Yes…

“…One thing that, you know, I’m embarrassed by our behavior first of all. [voices: “Yes.”]  I mean, this was worse than unruly school children [applause][inaudible].  I don’t care what your belief is or your, your ideology there’s gotta be some respect tossed back and forth or you don’t get any respect…”

Ah, a concern troll.

@MBersin Michael Bersin

Rep. Hartzler (r) townhall in Wbg: supporter criticizes those who spoke out as rude. Forgot about teabaggers and health care town halls? 2 hours ago

Voice: It, it’s been twenty minutes. You’ve been twenty minutes, Representative Hartzler.

Representative Hartzler:
Well, I keep being interrupted. [laugh] You know, uh [crosstalk]…

Voice: Unruly school child

Well, that’s a familiar phrase from someone speaking out of turn, isn’t it?

The final portion of the transcript of the town hall will follow in a subsequent post.