Bishop informs Rotarians about the fiscal problems caused by partisanship

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A legislative update was given at the Rotary Club meeting by U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop, (D/Ga. 2nd District).

Congressman Bishop began by stating his frustration, along with that of the general public, with the stalemate he sees in Washington. He described it as “a lot of rhetoric,“ but no action.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, he zeroed in on the situation he described as not having the budget and appropriation funding necessary to promote the general welfare of the people. He stated the process has been divided and paralyzed by partisanship.

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Reminding the group that in 2013 the country was on the breach of a government shut down for failure to pass the budget in the required time, when the resulting sequester mandated cuts to programs across the board.

He described the situation as a guillotine between those on the left and those on the right as to which cuts were to be made and how much. He said across the board budget cuts without analysis causes problems and reaching compromise to lift the sequester difficult to do, stressing, “But, we need to do it.”

He further addressed the impact on cuts to agriculture, as he sits on the agriculture committee, as well as the cuts to the military. ”We must get a handle on making the government more efficient,” he added. “That requires eliminating the waste and fraud and making it possible for government to have the tools to operate.”

He emphasized the cuts across the board made by the sequester. The 2010 budget was set at 1 Trillion, 90 billion dollars. Last year it was 1 trillion, 13 billion. The military is downsizing from 490,000 troops to 450,000 and Ft. Benning will be losing 3400 in personnel this year.

“We will not have the training, readiness and equipment needed to maintain fighting tools,” he said.

Cuts to agriculture will affect food safety, according to Bishop, who added that more and more of our food is being imported from countries that do not maintain the same safety levels as the U.S. He also describes the legislature as being comprised mainly of those from urban and suburban areas who are unacquainted with the problems and needs of those in the rural area.

Education also needs adequate funding in order that our youth are able to get the top rate education necessary to compete in the workplace.

He spoke of the challenge coming from China, which holds the large portion of our debt and predicted the biggest threat to our national security is actually our national debt.

He warned that China wants to displace us as a superpower and by their holding our debts they have mastered our economic system without changing theirs. In the future it is a possibility that our dollar could be replaced by their currency.

In answer to a question from the audience regarding what impact the opening of Cuba will have on the United States, Bishop replied it is a tremendous opportunity, especially for agriculture. He went on to describe a past trip to Cuba where he saw first hand the products Cubans are doing without due to years of embargo. “This is a great opportunity for our country both economically and as a national security,” adding China has done business with Cuba for a long time.

“We must forget about who is republican or democrat, stop finger pointing and work together,” he said. He described politics as “who gets what, when and how,” urging putting the right people in pace to make improvements.

He recommended an organization called “No Labels,” made up of republicans and democrats who are willing to lay aside labels and make government better and more efficient. “Our mission must be to fix and not fight.”

He believes that unless this generation does what is necessary, we will find ourselves going the way of the former English and Roman Empires.