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Monday, May 20, 2013
View From the Capitol: Meeting with constituents, voting no on Congressional pay increasePosted Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 5:24 PM
This past week, I had the opportunity to meet with many of you as I traveled through the 4th District.
In Pulaski County, I hosted a jobs roundtable that was attended by small businessmen and women, local elected officials, and others who want to see more jobs created locally and across our country.
We covered quite a bit of ground, with many of the people in attendance expressing their frustration with out-of-control federal government rules and regulations. An example of this frustrating and obtrusive Washington overreach through regulations included one business being required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to conduct an eight hour class in which employees were taught how to duck walk. This was done at Tyson Manufacturing because there had been a problem with floors getting wet. Another example involved a rule that a line be spray-painted 10 feet from the edge of a flat roof with two people required to watch those on the roof to make sure they would not fall off. Yet another egregious example of a government overreach was brought up by a contractor who told the roundtable of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement that would essentially prohibit playgrounds from using sand underneath their playground equipment.
Banking representatives in attendance spoke of how rules created by the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act are making it difficult to lend money to small business owners and others in smaller communities. One banker also told of how industry regulations have gotten to the point that 20 percent of his bank's employees are spending their time making sure that paperwork is being completed. I am very concerned that federal rules and regulations are going to force community banks out of business. These are major issues I have been talking about and will continue to address.
Legislation reining in government regulations is among the many job-creation bills that have passed the House, but are awaiting action in the Senate. In fact, there are almost 30 such common sense bills that Senate Leader Harry Reid is sitting on, refusing to give up or down votes. I agree with the business leaders, at the roundtable, who say it is time for the Senate to start working on behalf of the American people. Government must get out of the way and allow business to function, to hire, and to prosper.
I also visited with city leaders in Hickory County who expressed frustration with how the high price of gasoline has made it more costly for people to drive to and from work. I share their desire to see a more proactive energy policy in America. I reminded them of the many energy bills that have been passed by the House but are sitting in the Senate, awaiting action. It is time to use the resources our country has been blessed with and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
In Lebanon, I visited with senior citizens at the Hughes Senior Center. The highlight of my visit was meeting World War II and Korean War veterans. We cannot thank them enough for their service.
Additionally, I had the privilege of touring a manufacturing plant in Buffalo. This facility makes important safety equipment for our military. The hard-working employees there are making a difference for our national security. We should all be so proud of their efforts.
Later that day I visited with officials at Fort Leonard Wood and, that evening, spoke to the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). This organization has been supporting our men and women in uniform and their families for more than 61 years. It was a privilege to address them, thank them for their service, and let them know of my commitment to a strong national defense and our veterans.
In other news, the country received sobering news regarding our economy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook, projecting an annual deficit in excess of $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. The CBO also projected weak economic growth and continued high unemployment.
This fourth consecutive year of debt above a trillion dollars should serve as a reminder that our country cannot afford more of the same failed fiscal and economic policies outlined by President Obama in his State of the Union address. More of the same is not the solution to America's economic woes.
The House took an important stand, this week, to pass legislation to contribute to the reining in of runaway government spending. I was joined by many of my fellow representatives of the people as we voted "no" to a congressional pay increase. People in Missouri's 4th District and across the country are having a tough time making ends meet and it is only appropriate that their representatives do the same. Our vote extends the current pay freeze through the end of 2013. Freezing federal salaries is the right thing to do. We need to cut all aspects of federal government. This week's action is just a start.
We also learned, this week, that Ameren has put forward a revised Project Boundary Plan for Lake of the Ozarks -- a plan that will take 1,200 homes out of the federally regulated boundary along the Lake's shoreline. What this means is that these homes will not be in jeopardy of being torn down. I am pleased these homes are no longer in jeopardy but believe there are still issues that warrant further study. Property owners need to know their property rights are secure from federal intrusion. I will continue to closely monitor this issue.
It is always a pleasure to hear from you and to listen to your views and concerns. If you plan to visit the Washington area, please stop by our office at 1023 Longworth House Office Building. In the 4th Congressional District, you are welcome to come by our offices in Jefferson City, Harrisonville, Lebanon, and Sedalia. You can also keep up with us by going to our website at www.hartzler.house.gov
Vicky Hartzler is the U.S. representative for Missouri's 4th Congressional District. She was raised on a farm in Archie, and lives with her husband, Lowell and daughter, Tiffany, on a working farm in Cass County. She is a graduate of both the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1983 and Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) in 1992, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Education from MU and a M.S. in Education from Central Missouri. For more information, visit http://hartzler.house.gov.
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