U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, said Wednesday he is opposed to any plan to increase the national debt limit without trying to address the debt problem first. (Doris Maricle / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:51 PM
JENNINGS — U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, said Wednesday he is opposed to any plan to increase the national debt limit without trying to address the debt problem first.
Vitter fielded questions and listened to concerns from constituents during a packed a town hall meeting in Jennings.
Many of those attending were concerned about the looming projections that the U.S. government will hit the national debt ceiling by the end of the year unless Congress finds a way to lift the $14 trillion debt limit and avoid a financial crisis.
"We aren't doing anything to solve the real problem which isn't the ceiling, its the debt," Vitter said. "My position is pretty simple - no way, no how am I going to vote to increase the debt limit unless we are doing something to deal with the debt. That is the problem. The ceiling, the limit isn't the problem."
The government needs a "step down" plan so that it can get the debt problem under control, but that will not happen overnight, he said.
"We're not going to balance the budget in a month or a year, but we need a plan that can get us there and on the path in the right direction," he said.
The problem with an unbalanced budget is not new, Vitter said. He said President Obama has never presented a balanced budget to Congress in his two terms in office.
He said if every Louisiana family and every small business has to sit around the kitchen table and figure a balanced budget out, Congress should, too.
"My view is the same as the vast majority of every Republican, "I am not voting for a debt limit increase until we are doing something about the debt," he said.
He said Congress needs to take control of spending and debt and encouraged others to take the same position.
"If everybody in Congress took that position, we'd do something about it," he said. "We would demand it."
Voicing his stance on Obamacare, Vitter said he is a big opponent of President Obama's new health care law.
"I'm for delaying, repealing, defunding…anything that we can accomplish in that direction," he said.
The maze of mandates, burdensome regulations and trillion dollar tax increase would hurt the economy, Louisiana's workforce and businesses, he said. Businesses would have to reduce hours, cutback on hiring and lay off workers.
Vitter said he has fought and voted against Obamacare, including authoring a "leading bill" to repeal the law.
Vitter said efforts to provide specific exempt or waivers to congressmen, their staff, the president and vice president and all political appointees from Obamacare are "absolutely ridiculous."
He is proposing legislation to be introduced in September that would prevent the waivers and require those officials to buy health insurance through the exchanges without taxpayer-funded government contributions.