Powerful, sobering remarks from Congressman Chris Smith

Rep_Chris_Smith_addressing_House_subcommittee (800x508)Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), Dean of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation will address the NJ Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Walk to Washington Dinner this evening.  His remarks as prepared for delivery are as follows:

On a myriad of fronts, the number of seemingly insurmountable challenges facing America today demands sober, serious and sustained problem solving by Congress, the President and stakeholders of every stripe.

Thankfully we have highly motivated and informed experts from the private sector including and especially the Chamber of Commerce showing the way forward.

Like you, I’m a big fan of principled bipartisanship.  Working across the aisle for important causes and goals often yields positive results.

However, in both Washington and Trenton, healthy partisanship has a place as well.  A benign adversarial system—with an emphasis on benign—ought to produce well-vetted policies that serve the public.  At least that’s the theory.

But we live in an age of the perpetual political campaign where truth and the common interest often take a hit. Enabled in part by distortion, surface appeal argument,  the 24/7 cable news cycle  and an increase in negative political advertising, the public is increasingly ill served and tackling tough issues with good faith compromise has become more elusive than ever.

On the national debt, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) a few weeks ago cautioned with understated alarm that our massive current-day debt of $17.5 trillion will skyrocket to $27 trillion in just ten years.  The interest payment alone will be $876 billion in 2024—an amount greater than the combined budgets  this year for Homeland Security, HUD, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture,  all discretionary spending for HHS including the National Institutes of Health, Science agencies and the Department of Defense.

Ballooning annual interest payments as far as the eye can see are unconscionable.

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Posted: April 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Powerful, sobering remarks from Congressman Chris Smith