Georgia Senator David Perdue addressed many of the same concerns he voiced in last week’s Senate speech during a Monday morning appearance at the Atlanta Press Club. Saying that the country was in a full blown crisis, Senator Perdue maintained that Washington was focused on the wrong priorities, partially because of a desire in Congress to demonstrate activity instead of results, and partially because the self interest of many in Congress takes precedence over the national interest. After almost a year as the Peach State’s junior Senator, Perdue remains optimistic that it is possible for the House and Senate to do the right thing in a non-partisan way.
Repeating the theme of his Senate floor speech, Perdue railed against the $18 trillion national debt and almost $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities the country will need to address at some point. Finding a solution will require a combination of changes in process, along with changes in policy in five areas: changing the way federal dollars are allocated and spent, growing the economy, finding a fix to Social Security and Medicare entitlements, cutting the cost of health care, and cutting other spending.
From a process side, the senator called for a change in the way Washington’s budgeting and appropriation process works. Since the current system for passing a budget was instituted in 1974, the full process has been successfully completed only four times. One reason for that, Perdue maintained, was that while the majority party can pass a budget that specifies where federal money will go with 51 votes in the Senate, it takes 60 votes to pass an appropriations bill. If the budget reflects only the desires of the majority party, the minority can prevent the spending bills from passing.
To grow the economy, Senator Perdue supports changing the way profits from American companies doing business overseas are taxed. Lowering the tax rate on repatriated profits will provide an economic boost. Perdue also wants to trim back the regulatory state, which he called the fourth arm of government. Perdue said that agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency are in effect writing more laws than Congress, and that these regulations were sucking the life out of businesses. Finally, he called for tapping into the energy boom as a method of getting the economy going.
Calling for spending cuts, the Senator noted that the country is spending between $200 and $300 billion in redundant agencies. Senator Perdue says he is continuing to examine opportunities to reduce spending. For Social Security and Medicare, the Senator wants to ensure the safety net portion of the two programs survives for people who are entering the workforce today.
In the end, Perdue said, it’s up to the voters and citizens of the country to hold Congress and the President accountable. “I’ve never been more optimistic,” he told the audience. “It’s a very exciting time–economically, politically, socially–because we’re examining themselves and Americans have always come out of these crises better, stronger, and the next generation benefits.”