PARKERSBURG - Speaking to the West Virginia Firefighters Convention Friday at the Blennerhassett Hotel was U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., who touched on efforts to cut the federal budget deficit and to protect jobs.
During his speech, McKinley said firefighters have a job that is one of what he called incredible sacrifice and said he was dedicated to make sure cuts in spending would not impair public safety or national defense. He said he wanted to target fraud and waste.
"We are being challenged a lot right now," he said. "By the end of the year we have to make some spending reductions and it's very difficult to determine how we are going to do that, but I want you to understand one thing we are not going to do is cut back on safety."
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., spoke at the West Virginia Firefighters Convention Friday in Parkersburg.
McKinley said it is most important to bring federal spending under control and keep it under control.
"We have a problem with spending and we are spending money we don't have. Currently we borrow 42 cents of every dollar we spend from places like Japan, Korea and China," he said. "We need to look at cutting spending with a $1.4 trillion deficit."
McKinley said $1 million would equal a four-inch high stack of $1,000 bills and the current federal deficit would equal a stack 64 miles high.
At A Glance
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., spoke at the West Virginia Firefighters Convention Friday at the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg.
McKinley said he was for making cuts that would not impair public safety or national defense but wanted to focus of cutting fraud and waste.
McKinley said the plan to cut the defense budget by $600 billion over 10 years would gut the military.
"That's how much money we are spending that we don't have," he said. "We have to cut back."
McKinley said he is most concerned with the possible cuts to military spending. He said the plan calls for $600 billion over 10 years beginning Jan. 1. He added the military budget is only $600 billion.
"Defense is one thing constitutionally we (Congress) are obligated to provide," he said. "Over the life of that, the military will be gutted and we can't afford to have that."
McKinley said on Thursday the House of Representatives passed a bill to cut $300 billion.
"If we allow the military cuts, that will be 200,000 less troops to man the walls around the globe, 15 ships taken off the sea and dry-docked and 1.5 million civilian jobs that will be lost."
With the people who lost civilian jobs with the military and those discharged from the military in the job market, McKinley said that has the potential to damage the economy and hamper the recovery.
McKinley also spoke on what has been called the Environmental Protection Agency's war on coal.
"The mission of the EPA is to stop America from burning coal and they don't have any qualms about that," he said "Imagine what would happen to our economy if they are successful with that.
"What money are we going to have for our police and firefighters and what money would we have for our school systems when our businesses and manufacturers close and what happens to our utility bills as we switch over from coal to gas," he asked.
McKinley said the switch to new facilities to use gas to generate electricity will cause costs to increase and could keep businesses from opening manufacturing plants because of the cost of electric.
On jobs McKinley said he has broken with the Republican Party and he will do it again if necessary.
"If I think they are right I will be with them, but if I think they are wrong I am going to vote West Virginia," he said. "I've done it and they've called in for it but I've walked away and I said I'm proud of my vote and I'm not taking it back."