Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Election 2010 | lemieux | senate | interview | spending

LeMieux: Obama Must Show He's Serious About Tackling Debt

By David A. Patten   |   Saturday, 20 Nov 2010 12:01 PM

Outgoing U.S. Sen. George LeMieux says the federal government must return to “sound, realistic principles” or else it will “fail all Americans.”

The Florida Republican joined Newsmax.TV for an exclusive interview following the weekly meeting of conservatives at Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform headquarters in Washington, D.C.

LeMieux says no one wants to see the government shut down, an alternative that some grass-roots conservatives have put on the table. But it is reasonable to pair increases in the debt ceiling with correspondent spending cuts, he says.

Doing so, he says, would “show investors around the world that we are serious about tackling our debt.”

The alternative to reining in spending is to sit by as the mounting national debt “overwhelms this government to the point that the government won’t be able to function, he says.

“We’ve got to something serious,” reflecting the growing urgency in Washington about addressing red ink. “We’ve got to do it now.”

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appointed LeMieux to fulfill the term of former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez. In January, LeMieux will give way to Marco Rubio, who beat Crist on Nov. 2.

But before LeMieux leaves Capitol Hill, he wants to get is fellow senators on the record regarding his proposed austerity measures, so that voters will know which senators support real reform.

LeMieux proposes rolling back all federal spending to 2007 levels. Doing so would lead to a balanced budget by 2013, he says.

“And it doesn’t seem like that should be that hard to do,” he says. “Were things really so bad with the way the government was providing services just three years ago? Most Floridians would like to make as much as they made in 2007, as they made in 2010 when times are really tough.

“So let’s go back, let’s cap all spending,” he tells Newsmax in the exclusive interview. “That will make Congress do its job. Congress will have to evaluate all these different priorities, make sure these funding programs are smart, efficient, and effective, and figure out what ones they can get rid of. Congress doesn’t do that now.”

LeMieux says he will submit his legislation in the lame-duck session and work to bring it to the floor “so we can get people on record about where they really stand.”

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