David Gerson, a candidate in Minnesota’s August 14th Primary Election for the Second District outlines his reason for seeking a seat in Congress :
“I want to expose the last ‘elephant in the room’ in the Republican party—That the Bush administration and the current Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was and is complicit in enacting reckless fiscal policies which have mortgaged our future, disintegrated the middle class, promoted unnecessary wars and increased the size and power of the federal government.”
The seat is currently held by John Kline and Mr. Gerson can point to Mr. Kline’s recent vote on the Defense Authorization bill.
There were a number of amendments, but one that stands out ties in all the points that candidate Gerson made – entrenched powerbrokers reckless fiscal spending as the results of a military war that in the end will require additional mortgaging of our future.
As a backdrop to the Defense spending bill, consider that the recently enacted appropriations for highway infrastructure. No doubt, every driver can attest to the need for investments in roadways, bridges, etc. — in fact, businesses and drivers want more investments. Historically, the funding source for infrastructure has been the Highway Trust fund, which collects a tax on gallons of fuels sold. Although Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton were able to get Congress to enact rate changes, the rate has not changed since 1993 where it currently stands at 18.3 cents. In fact, President Clinton targeted the tax increase to help reduce the deficit, but revenues were later recaptured by the Highway Trust Fund. Therefore, now with the support of Representative Kline, the surface transportation bill reauthorizes programs through FY 2014 at slightly above current spending levels. Because current spending levels far exceed the Highway Trust Fund’s revenues, the bill guarantees future bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund from the general U.S. Treasury.
This is fiscally irresponsible … as vehicles have improved efficiency (less gas per mile) and construction and maintain costs have increased, the tax rate is insufficient for full funding … resulting in a lower share of project costs thus increasing the portions that the States pay. The House could have chosen to seize the opportunity afforded by record-low borrowing costs to finance the construction of the 21st-century transportation network suitable for a 21st-century economy and a fully funded five-to-six-year transportation authorization … but that would have required cuts or tax increases.
Of course, Representative Kline could have sought reductions in other programs that he deems wasteful, but it was easier to pass the problem on to the future.
Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI-01) recently reminded John Kline and the other Members :
according to a 2011 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the cost of our crumbling infrastructure right here in America is real. By the year 2020, our Nation’s crumbling surface transportation infrastructure is slated to cost the United States economy more than 876,000 jobs and suppress the country’s growth of gross domestic product by $897 billion.
These costs are only going to increase more and more if we don’t take the action to make the much-needed and long-deferred investments in our own transportation systems and our own infrastructure. When we look at the bigger picture, including water and wastewater, energy, schools, ports and more, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that over the next 5 years we would need an investment of $2.2 trillion just to bring our Nation’s infrastructure to a condition they describe as “good.”
Every year that we wait to take meaningful steps to do this, the cost to taxpayers and to our economy keeps growing and growing and growing.
Congressman Cicilline’s comments were made in support of an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill (H R 5856) would eliminate the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund, saving $375 million.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to the continued appropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Afghanistan infrastructure fund while our national infrastructure is crumbling here in America.
We have already spent billions of dollars toward rebuilding the infrastructure of Afghanistan. As we begin drawing down combat operations in Afghanistan, it’s the responsibility of the Afghan people to build, operate, and maintain their own civilian and military institutions, and their own infrastructure.
Over the past 18 months, constituents have expressed to me tremendous frustration that we’re devoting so many of our resources and so much of our energy to rebuilding the infrastructure in Afghanistan.
They ask why we are dedicating so much to nation-building halfway around the world when there are so many families right here in our own country who are struggling to find work and make ends meet.
We need to do nation-building right here at home in America. This amendment is a strong step in support of reinvesting in our own economy and our own infrastructure right here at home.
The amendment was a small step – $375 million — but a step toward Congressional fiscal responsibility.
48 Republicans agreed that this was wasteful spending including noted members of the Republican Liberty Caucus : Ron Paul (TX-14), Chairman of the Highway and Transit Sub-Committee John Duncan (TN-02), Justin Amash (MI-03), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Mick Mulvane (SC-05); and other prominent Republican leaders including Paul
Broun (GA-10), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Dennis Ross (FL-12) and James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) — all voted against the underfunded Transporation bill and the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.
Representative Amash explained his reasoning, “continuing to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure while its government is not an unwavering ally—and while our own country’s infrastructure needs funding—is a poor use of taxpayer money.”
John Kline voted to build bridges in Afghanistan.
Minnesotans have heard the Kline message … “Obama bad, GOP good.”
Mr. Kline wants to portray this election as being about OUSTING Barack Obama …. However, fiscal conservatives know that it is about WHO gets elected to be their voice in Congress that counts.
For the August 14th Primary, the question should be who should be onthe November ballot — someone who is more vested preserving the entrenched interests in Washington that Representative Kline truly Represents.
Or … to acknowledge that David Gerson is making valid assessment :
John Kline has Raised Taxes! Though he claims he is for lower taxes, his voting record clearly demonstrates that he is not. Kline repeatedly votes for bigger government, wasteful budgets, and inflated legislation that increases the federal deficit.
John Kline is a Rubber Stamp Politician! Kline always votes with John Boehner and their special interest groups. He does not represent the people of his district.
David Gerson is a pro-free market Conservative. Gerson understands the dangers of crony capitalism (corporatism). David works for Main Street and would vote against future bail-outs.
He is a proven leader of integrity who will not compromise his principles. He is intrinsically motivated to participate in the transformation of the Republican Party from the party of privileged large corporate interests to the party of the people, by the people, and for the people to create a more even playing field in our pursuit of happiness.