Last Modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:31 AM
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany promoted himself here Friday as “a conservative who gets results” and said he is “someone you can trust.”
The four-term congressman faces four opponents in his Nov. 6 re-election bid, and one of them is a House colleague, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia.
Boustany, R-Lafayette, told the GOP Roundtable that Americans are scared right now, wondering whether Social Security will be there for them and concerned about the future of Medicare. Business people are worried about their livelihoods, and citizens fear their children and grandchildren will inherit the country’s mounting debt.
Eighty percent of the nation’s deficit is caused by Medicare spending, and something has to be done to fix the program, he said. Republicans have the solutions that will protect Medicare and Social Security, he said. Those entitlement programs consume two-thirds of the national budget, he said. And when defense is taken out of the mix, there is only 12 or 13 percent left to work with.
The quickest way to reach a balanced budget is for Congress to approve U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed spending plan, Boustany said. It passed the House, but wasn’t considered in the Senate. It puts entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare on a sound basis, he said. A growing economy will also help, and that requires job growth and an increase in manufacturing, he said.
The country hasn’t had an energy policy and needs one that doesn’t punish the existing energy industry, he said. President Obama wants to pass rig taxes, saying proceeds would be used to promote drilling safety. Boustany said the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t agree with the plan, and the plan isn’t necessary for safety on drilling rigs off the coast.
Boustany said tax reform is another major issue, and he has been working on a plan with others on the House Ways and Means Committee for two years that will be introduced in the next Congress.
He also serves as chairman of the committee’s Oversight Subcommittee, which oversees certain actions of the executive branch, including the functions of the IRS. He said he is particularly concerned about the IRS trying to increase its role in enforcement of the president’s health care reform law.
Presidential executive orders are overturning congressional actions, and it’s time to get back to constitutional government, he said. Government regulations are also a problem, he said, and there needs to be a moratorium on those regulations.
Boustany said Americans will measure up to the challenges as they did when confronted with the growing Japanese auto industry, the Iran hostage crisis and the oil shortage in the Richard Nixon years.
“Those generations of American stood up, and now we have our challenges,” he said.
The congressman also talked about his efforts to keep Calcasieu and Lafayette parishes — and everything in between — in the redrawn 3rd Congressional District. A plan to put Calcasieu in a district based in Shreveport would have helped Landry in the coming election.
“We convinced the Legislature not to divide us and that the Calcasieu Ship Channel didn’t belong in Shreveport,” he said.