U.S. Rep. John Kline Talks Debt Ceiling, Jobs in Lakeville
The 2nd District Republican also spoke to South of the River Chambers of Commerce members about education at a breakfast on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) gave his take on a number of hot-button topics during a presentation to business owners, elected officials and community members at a South of the River Chambers of Commerce breakfast on Wednesday in Lakeville.
“In these challenging times, it is extremely critical to have members of Congress fight for American business and their employees,” said Darlene Miller, President and CEO of PERMAC Industries in Burnsville, as she introduced Kline to the audience of about 150 at Brackett's Crossing Country Club. “This year there are many battles. And Congressman Kline continues his support of key business issues.”
The fifth-term congressman is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee and he focused his remarks on the main issues facing that committee, including the economy, job creation and education.
“We can’t talk about anything in Washington or America right now without talking about the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” Kline said. “That’s debt and all that surrounds it.”
Kline said that raising the debt ceiling limit was an “enormously unpopular thing to do” and defended the battle that was waged in Washington that had the global economy nervous.
“We were looking for every way to try to keep from raising the debt limit,” Kline said. “Many of us felt like this was an opportunity to start to change how Washington spends your money."
Kline laid out measures that he said can help control runaway spending and reduce the deficit, such as the debt limit being tied to approximately $917 billion in cuts, the formation of a “super committee” to find another $1.5 trillion in cuts and an October vote on a balanced budget.
Kline pointed to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as the main programs that need fixing. The battle isn’t over, he said.
“This debt ceiling battle will go on, and go on, and go on until we fix this problem,” said Kline. “If we don’t rewrite the laws to reform these entitlements, there’s nothing that stops the government from running out of money year after year after year.”
Kline said government has to get out of the way for meaningful job creation to happen and help speed up the economic recovery. Many government regulations are impeding job growth, he said.
“What is happening right now with [the Obama] administration is what I and others call a blizzard of regulations,” Kline said.
He pointed to corporate giant Boeing’s bid to move their Dreamliner operations to South Carolina earlier this year as one example of government putting the economy on hold. The company had planned to hire 4,000 workers before acting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel Lafe Solomon alleged in a complaint that Boeing’s move was in response to union demands at their Washington state facility.
“I think most Americans would find it astonishing that one guy can draw this conclusion and have an impact of such huge proportions,” Kline said.
“[Republicans'] idea of a job bill is something that gets government out of the way so you can create the jobs,” Kline told the chambers. “It’s the people in the chambers of commerce that are the ones that create jobs.”
The hot topic in education is the “No Child Left Behind” measure passed in 2001; Kline said it's “universally recognized that it has to be fixed.”
“The education gap between the United States and other countries is growing and it needs to narrow,” Kline said.
Kline said government can do better to reform acts such as NCLB and others to give local schools the freedom and flexibility to manage better. He called NCLB an “extraordinary intrusion of Federal government into education.”
“We’re in pretty bad shape and it needs to be fixed,” said Kline. “But the fix probably isn’t a Washington fix. The fix is here. We have some great schools here.”
Kline predicted that NCLB as it is shaped today will soon be gone.
“That’s work under way,” he said. “It’s a big fight, but I’m glad to be in it.”