ALEXANDRIA — The importance of the 2014 election cycle in determining the future direction of the country is being stressed by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks.
Brooks, R-5th District, met with the Madison County Tea Party on Wednesday in Beulah Park’s auditorium to discuss a variety of issues.
Brooks said many people serving in Congress care about doing the right thing, but have different philosophical approaches to accomplishing goals. She said it’s difficult for the two political parties to reach a common ground on many issues, including entitlement reform.
“The Republican Party wants smaller government; reduce the federal debt and have a balanced budget,” she said.
Brooks said Republicans are trying to determine how to get people off of food stamps and unemployment insurance and back to work.
She said previous farm bills, which provides the funding for food stamps, had a provision requiring people to work, but many states granted waivers so able-bodied adults didn’t have to work.
“We want that inserted back into the farm bill,” Brooks said. “We want to encourage people to get the training they need to return to work. There is a culture that we need to change in this country.”
When asked about stopping what a tea party member saw as the advance of socialism, Brooks said it’s not easy to pass legislation when there is a divided government.
She said Republicans are the minority party in Washington, D.C., and that the U.S. House has voted more than 40 times to repeal or reduce funding for Obamacare, but no action is taken in the Senate.
“We need to make great strides in 2014,” Brooks said. “Elections matter. If we can pick up six or seven seats in the Senate, it would make an impact on (President Barack) Obama’s last years in office.”
Asked about immigration reform, Brooks said the Republican-controlled House will not consider the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate.
“The House is addressing each issue separately,” she said. “The Homeland Security Committee has passed a border security bill that I hope the House will consider.
“It requires Congress to define what makes a secure border,” Brooks said. “There is no plan for border security. The bill adds more resources for border security.”
When asked if she follows constituent views or the party leadership on legislation, Brooks said her office keeps track of comments for and against specific issues.
“The party’s responsibility is to listen to the people,” she said. “I won’t vote for anything that goes against the Constitution.”
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