Boustany: ‘Conservative leadership’
Congressman Charles Boustany (R-Lake Charles) said sessions have been busy, and some members don’t show up for votes.
Boustany participated in a breakfast forum presented by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce, Franklin Republican Women and AT&T at the Forest Restaurant in Franklin.
He introduced a bill he called “no show, no pay” to curb lack of attendance.
Boustany related a story from 1943, overheard by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, where a young captain told his men, “We do not pray for victory, nor for our individual safety. But we pray for help, that none of us will let a comrade down, that each of us will do his duty to himself, his comrades and his country and so be worthy of our American heritage.”
He called it the “most beautiful statement of the American spirit I have ever heard.” That spirit has always stood up to drive the American people against, challenges, he said.
The challenge is the same today, Boustany said.
“Now we’ve got competition,” he said. “We’ve got a languishing economy, (high) unemployment, people are concerned about their future. Here in the newly-comprised 3rd Congressional District the number one issue right now is, ‘What’s going to be the future for me, in my job, in the economy?’”
He said restoration of American competitiveness and putting the country back into a leadership role is his primary goal.
He said Rep. Paul Ryan, the presumptive vice presidential candidate, supported him in his re-election, and Ryan is focusing attention on getting the country on a “restoration course.”
The debt and deficit problem must be tackled, Boustany said, that doesn’t “throw people off of Medicare rolls that currently receive benefits, doesn’t hurt those who are on Social Security and puts those programs back on a sound basis for the future.”
Then-House Minority Leader John Boehner asked Boustany to lead an effort to community Republican Party opposition to Obamacare, which was successful. He said that is what he offers to the position, “conservative leadership in Congress that gets results that you can trust.”
During his first term Hurricane Rita inundated a large part of his district. Boustany said he had to fight for every bill in the House to also be applied to Hurricane Rita relief instead of just Hurricane Katrina.
He pushed for coastal restoration legislation which was adopted at the state and federal level, he said.
Boustany said restoring the economy will require an energy strategy. “When Nancy Pelosi was in charge of the House there was an attempt to raise $60 billion in new tax money (from) oil and gas companies. I single handedly defeated that tax.”
There are too many regulations, Boustany said, and they keep proliferating. These need to be subjected to cost-benefit analysis, and proposed a moratorium on any new regulations “until we get a handle on this.”
He is a member of the Ways and Means tax writing committee and has been working for two years to rewrite the tax code. “To lower rates,” he said, “the top rate would be 25 percent… clean up the mess in the code, all the carve-outs and handouts. Give us a tax code that will allow American business to grow and create jobs.”
Boustany said “it’s not enough to buy American, we have to sell American. It helps our farmers, who sell to 95 percent of consumers around the world. It helps our manufacturers and will bring back a renaissance in manufacturing in this country and create really good high paying jobs.”
America should grow exports rather than be a net importer, he said.
“To do all that we have to have infrastructure,” he said. “I put together the largest U.S. maritime coalition in the country and in history to solve the problems we have with our waterways silting up. A big company in Houma lost a big contract because there was no guarantee they could get the goods out. The Mississippi River is silting up and a million dollars per day is lost in economic activity.”
He said he’s achieved legislation to address siltation and continues to work on the problem.
Boustany said, “We’ve got all kinds of corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in the tax code, Medicare and Social Security. I got the Senate and President Obama to sign a welfare reform bill. Who thinks that someone receiving welfare funds should be able to cash out at a strip club, a casino or a liquor store. Does anyone agree with that?”
The United States has not passed a budget in four years, and “the president hasn’t even offered a budget that works… we were facing a serious problem last August. Government was going to shut down, we had hit borrowing limit. Conservatives like myself and Paul Ryan recognized the gravity of the situation and knew we had to do something. We worked hard and got the Democratically-controlled Senate to agree to the largest spending reduction in American history… to help vote for the balanced budget amendment… and if we were going to raise the borrowing it had to be matched by spending cuts.”
Boustany said “that process has been messy, yes, and a final determination has not come about yet.”
He said every Republican in the House reported Ryan’s budget and “in effect voted for an increase in the debt ceiling. That is built into it. Congressman (Jeff) Landry voted for the Ryan budget.”
Boustany said as congressman “you’re going to get someone you can trust, has credibility and can get results.”