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Fri January 18, 2013
Congressman Whitfield's Full Interview Includes: Dispute with Corp, Gun Laws, Debt Ceiling
Kentucky First District Congressman Ed Whitfield (R) says he’s against closing off waters close to Cumberland River dams to boaters and fisherman. Army Corp of Engineers officials say the restrictions would include closing off 400 feet of water upstream and 700 downstream from Barkley Dam.
Congressman Whitfield says the enforcement changes are unnecessary. He says,
“There have been like three deaths since ’96 and there’s been one death at Barkley. The goal is no deaths. But there has not been any number of deaths or increase in dangerous activity or deaths to justify changing this management plan.”
The Corps of Engineers says the access restrictions are already part of their river management plan, but have not been enforced. Whitfield says he plans to meet with the head of the Corps early next month to request that they don't change the management plan and allow boaters to fish near the dams.
As the President lays out his administration's plan for increased gun control laws, Kentucky’s First District Congressman Whitfield says he’s opposed to any change in gun laws.
“It’s just like anything else. If there people who, if they are determined to do something or have some mental illness, they get guns and there’s going to be some real tragedy out there and we’re all shocked about what happened in Connecticut,” Whitfield said.
Whitfield says the court systems uphold our current laws and he doesn’t see a need for change. President Obama though, wants to close loopholes in background checks, ban assault style weapons and high capacity magazines, make schools safer and increase access to mental health services.
Congressman Whitfield sided with the party faithful for the fiscal cliff vote. However, his long- time colleague Hal Rogers of Eastern Kentucky sided with the delegation’s democrats. Whitfield cited five reasons for voting against the bill.
1. It raised taxes
2. It did not reduce spending.
3. In fact it increased spending.
4. It was filled with corporate welfare
5. It was business as usual on Capitol Hill in my view
Whitfield says there are no hard feelings toward his colleagues who voted for the measure, but he felt like the house should have sent back the final bill to cut back on some of the spending included in the bill.
Whitfield simply thinks that the 1.2 trillion dollars in reduced spending, sequestration, will take effect.
“I think the reason we find ourselves facing sequestration was that all efforts to reduce spending have failed. And so the President is the one that made the suggestions that if we can’t reach an agreement on the spending and the taxes then we’ll just have a sequestration. I think there is enough support in the Congress to let the sequestration take effect because many people view this is as the only way we are going to be able to reduce spending.”
Whitfield understands that not raising the debt ceiling could hurt the U.S. more than raising the debt ceiling.
“So when you talk about not raising the debt ceiling, you in essence are saying we are not going to give the government the authority to pay the debt and if we did that, since we have to borrow a lot of money we would make it much more difficult for the U.S. because we’d have to pay higher interest rates which will make it worse.”
Whitfield hopes to attach an amendment onto the debt ceiling legislation that would require the president to declare the U.S. debt during his annual address to congress. The declaration would be an itemized list of the current public and private debt, and a prediction of debt regarding future liabilities.