America's economy needs serious spending cuts and conversation about resolving the ever-climbing debt ceiling, says U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Wagner, a Republican who served as a former U.S. Ambassador to Luxemburg, told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that she's concerned as not only a legislator, but as a mother of three, about the country's financial strength.
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“I’m disappointed at the president laying down ultimatums without having serious dialogue,” Wagner said. “The American people voted last election for divided government, overwhelmingly to keep a House majority, and also to reign in government spending.”
Along with their vote, Wagner said, Americans think the government is too large and too intrusive in their lives.
“This debt that we have that is more than $16 trillion,” Wagner said. “We have five years in a row where it’s a $1 trillion plus deficit, and it’s a lot and a burden on our children . . . we’re looking at over $51,000 per child that is already on their tab to pay forward, so we’ve got to do a better job and we’re going to talk about serious spending cuts.”
However, President Barack Obama wants Congress to raise the debt ceiling without making spending cuts, and some House Republicans have said they're willing to come close to defaulting on debt to force the president to make some cuts. Wagner, though, says the GOP shouldn't let the government default or shut down.
“We certainly aren’t at that point and I think discussions about default and cliffs do nothing but scare the American people,” Wagner said. “What people elected us to do is to get the job done and they want us to come together to really tackle the big issues.”
The question of financial stability comes down to jobs, growing the nation's economy and eliminating debt.
Aside from the economy, Wagner said she's also concerned about the President's plans for gun control, including 19 steps he plans to take.
“We haven’t had a bipartisan conversation,” she said, noting that mental health issues and the things young people are exposed to on a daily basis are topics that need to be addressed.
“I find it very disappointing that the president and certainly the vice president’s camp force hasn’t even sat down with the House Republicans to really have a dialogue about all of these issues,” she said. “I'm really hoping that we’re going to be able in a bipartisan way to discuss all of these issues."
In other matters, Wagner said she's pleased to be on the Financial Services Committee, as, outside of New York, St. Louis is the largest ballooning area in terms of the financial sector and its growth.
The committee is expected this year to work on housing reform and a movement toward reforming Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac and move them back to the private sector.
“Obviously, so much of that was at the root of our financial crisis some short years ago,” said Wagner.
She also said the committee is going to deal with over-regulation, especially the overreach of the Dodd-Frank bill and its regulation of financial institutions.
“Both of these areas are key areas that are going to be a real focus going into this 113th Congress,” said Wagner. “(There are) so many rules and regulations that are really a burden on growing this economy, so we’re going to look at that in a very strong and aggressive way.”
Wagner also addressed the role of Maggie's List, a PAC that supports conservative women in elections. The PAC supported her, and she hopes it has more of an impact, because she'd like to see more females involved in Congress.
“I’m grateful for the role that (Maggie's List) is playing not just in promoting women in getting involved in politics, but also their approach,” said Wagner. She said women are effective legislators because they know how to multitask, bring groups of people together, and they know how to get things done.
“That's what the American people are crying out for,” she said. “They want the hard issues dealt with and the role of women in Congress and in any kind of elected position is only going to grow.”
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