Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 15, 2013

Black talks budget at town meeting

By Michael R. Moser
Editor

CROSSVILLE — Congressman Diane Black made her second visit to Cumberland County in as many weeks, holding a town meeting at the Palace Theatre where discussions centered around the economy and the federal budget.

The Congressman arrived early, exchanging hugs and shaking hands, before opening the formal program with a slide presentation featuring graphs and figures on what she says is right with the Republican sponsored budget proposal, and what is wrong with the Democrats' plan.

According to Black, 48 percent of the debt is to foreign holdings which is not only a debt issue, but a national security issue as well.

She told the gathering that the debt to date is $16.7 trillion, with $86.7 trillion in what she called unfunded liabilities.

Concerning the sequestor — cutting of budget funds — Republicans in the house have proposed $984 billions in cuts to take placed over the next ten years. President Obama has, instead, cut 2.3 percent of nearly all federal programs across the board.

"That is not the way to do that," Black said. She favored an intensive review of all federal programs to determine which ones are not doing the job they were created to do, and which ones need to be adjusted or eliminated.

She described the plan as "surgically" meeting the demands of the sequestered law.

Black said she also supports a "no budget, no pay" law for Congress and the Senate to abide by.

Black also favors balancing the budget within the decade, repeal of Obama Care and comprehensive tax reform.

Black also fielded questions from the audience, including one from Howard Barrett who asked about the FDIC policy on taking customers' savings to bail out banks. Black stated she had not heard of this but that she would get her Washington staff "right on this." She added that, if true, such a thing would be "ludicrous."

One attendee by the first name of Pablo asked if it would not be a better immigration policy to offer visas or citizenship to skilled immigrants and Black agreed. "We are educating a lot of top students and they are going home," Black said. "We are losing."

Susan McCullough asked if individuals should be held responsible for their own health and healthcare policies. "If you are a waist size, you should pay more," McCullough said.

Black countered that she preferred to reward those maintaining fit health rather than placing penalties on those who struggle with the issue.

After the question and answer session, there was a short time left for attendees to seek help with personal issues involving the federal government, and to informally talk with the Congressman.