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U.S. National Debt:

Interest In What Is Happening In Washington

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

I recently held my third tele-townhall meeting of the year.  These regular meetings areone of the ways I hear the insights of Idahoans.  I value this input greatly.

The primary purpose of the tele-townhall meeting held on September 18 was to discuss issues before Congress this fall.  This includes discussions about new gun restrictions, engagement with Syria and federal budgeting issues.  During the tele-townhall, I heard concern about Congress' inability to enact a budget and questions about other issues affecting the fiscal crisis.  It is past time for Congress, like many American families and small businesses, to have a budget by which it operates.  Without that budget, we do not have the procedural abilities to force Congress to live within its means, prompting year-end battles, like the continuing resolution and debt ceiling battles, which are not the proper ways for Congress to make policy. 

Our national debt is $17 trillion and growing.  Congress has not effectively dealt with the federal spending problem, and we continue to face demands for increased taxes rather than controlled spending.  To grow our economy and reduce our deficit, we must enact a comprehensive plan that stops federal deficit spending and provides the necessary tax and entitlement program reform to put our nation on a more competitive fiscal path.

Additionally, we discussed efforts by some to enact additional gun restrictions.  The tragic Washington, D.C., Navy Yard shooting launched a renewed engagement in further gun control efforts.  I strongly oppose further gun control measures at the federal level.  Rather, we need to address the true causes of violence and not continue to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.  Focus must be on improving earlier identification of mental illness threats, stronger and more effective intervention and improved prevention. 

I heard concern about U.S. engagement in Syria.  The only time that the U.S. should be engaged militarily against other nations is when our national security requires it.  At this time, the justification has not been made for military action in Syria.  The President agreed to work to try to find a way to bring about Syria's voluntary compliance with chemical weapons bans.  This is the appropriate direction toward resolution of the issue, but let's not forget with whom we are dealing. 

I also heard from a small business owner frustrated with tax increases affecting the ability of small business owners to operate their businesses.  I am deeply concerned about increased taxes on America's small businesses restricting business activity and resulting in shrinkage of our economy.  I will continue to fight for reform of our tax code, in which we simplify the code, broaden our base, lower tax rates and make America stronger and more competitive.  

We also discussed questions about Obamacare, energy policy, oversight of the Federal Reserve, immigration laws, accountability for government agencies and gridlock in Congress.  To listen to the audio from this tele-townhall and past tele-townhall meetings and sign up for future tele-townhall meetings, please visit my website,  The website also provides information about accessing my Facebook and YouTube pages and includes a link to follow me on Twitter.  Information on contacting me via email, phone and mailing addresses can also be found on my homepage.  This website also features audio of teleconferences, recent correspondence on top issues, links to legislation and other resources to assist Idahoans who need help with federal agencies. 

The input of Idahoans is very valuable as we tackle significant national challenges.  I thank the many Idahoans who take time to be engaged in strengthening our nation.  Please continue to contact me and share your thoughts and ideas. 

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