PARKERSBURG - A U.S. congressman talked to local business leaders about the issues lawmakers are facing in Washington, D.C., and ways issues can be addressed.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., met with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley's Board of Directors at a luncheon Monday at the West Virginia Credit Union League building on Cedar Grove Road near West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
The congressman talked with local business and nonprofit leaders as well as other community representatives about what is going on in the U.S. Congress and how things done in Washington, D.C., are impacting people and businesses in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., met with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Board of Directors at a luncheon Monday at the West Virginia Credit Union League building on Cedar Grove Road.
"I think if you are going to represent a district then you had better understand it," McKinley said. "You had better sit down with people like this and talk with them.
"We have been having small round table meetings like this and we are just learning. I truly believe the thought process in Washington, D.C. is completely different than what it is back here in the district. These are the people, these are the problems we are trying to address. Every time we do it, we learn something."
McKinley said some of the dominate issues are whether Congress should vote to extend the Bush tax cuts, whether to raise the debt ceiling, taxes, Social Security, regulations being put on coal/businesses and the politics that goes into everything. McKinley also talked about working as an engineer in his company longer than some elected officials in the U.S. Capitol have been alive.
"What I am trying to demonstrate to people is that you don't have to be a politician to be successful in Washington, D.C.," McKinley said. "You can take some small business experience, and real life experience, and solve problems."
He said he fought to get on the energy and commerce committee, because it was a committee dealing with issues that would impact West Virginia.
"I think I have become outspoken," McKinley said. "I am not afraid to speak my mind."
Government spending has continually grown and Congress needs to address it, he said.
"It really is out of control," McKinley said. "(Speaking of his time as a West Virginia legislator in the 1980s) we learned that you have to be able to say 'no.'
"We had a balanced budget and we had to work within that budget. In Washington, D.C., they don't know how to say 'no."'
McKinley said the money isn't available to fund everything. The nation's defense could take a hit if automatic cuts are initiated to address the debt concerns, he said.
"Can cuts be made? Yes they can," he said. "I don't think we should have these broad brush, sweeping cuts.
"Use a scalpel to take out the excess."
The most important issue people are worried about is the economy and jobs, McKinley said.
It has been 41 months since the economy has been over 8 percent unemployment with 23 million people who are unemployed or underemployed, he said.
During a slide presentation, McKinley showed a picture of a house on fire. He said the fire represents the nation's economy.
Many people who they surveyed said the economy is improving, but the recovery is "lumbering along" at an exceptionally slow pace, McKinley said.
Many don't think more government stimulus packages are the answer, he said. People want to see a plan on how these problems are addressed. If they don't like one side, they want the other side to be able to explain its plan, as opposed to just going after politicians, he said.
Regulations are preventing businesses from expanding or new businesses opening because of the uncertainty, McKinley said. Some regulations reach beyond what is possible with current technology stopping businesses, like coal-fired generating plants, from being implemented.
"People want to know what the plan is," he said of the economy, health care and more.