Mike Rogers, the Congressman from Alabama’s third district, addressed a joint meeting of the Talladega Kiwanis and Rotary clubs Tuesday afternoon as part of his regular tour through the district during the summer recess.
His remarks would touch on “policy, politics, the future and your questions,” he said.
Rogers serves on the Agriculture Committee, and stressed that many people did not realize how important agriculture is to the state.
“People used to think of this as a textile area, and there were still a lot of mills in the district when I was first elected. Now there are only two left. The automotive industry has replaced that to some extent, and we have the defense industry and world-class health care, especially in Birmingham. But agriculture is 42 percent of our economy, and I want to make people aware of that and appreciate it.”
This is one why reason why passage of the farm bill is so important, and why the farm bill is one of the few pieces of legislation to have been passed, he said. A continuing budget resolution and the defense authorization bills are pretty much the only other things that have passed.
But Rogers warned against the common perception of a do-nothing congress paralyzed by gridlock. “This is what the voters want,” he said. “Maybe not individually, but collectively. In the 2008 to 2010 election cycle, you had a liberal president and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of Congress. You had them passing things like the stimulus, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and more federal government. The voters asked to put the brakes on, by flipping the House to the Republicans and the Democrats kept the Senate.”
Divided government is the result, and "the continuing resolutions are what we get instead of a budget as a result,” he said. “A new budget would be the responsible thing to do, but continuing resolutions are what we have,” he explained. “We’ll probably have to wait until after the fall elections to do that. People need some time to digest all the changes.”
“You may be aggravated that we didn’t overturn Obamacare or Dodd-Frank. You want less government, but people from Massachusetts and Oregon want more. Half the people in this country love the president, and half of the people hate him. But everyone hates congressional Republicans, because half the country wants us to stop him and the other half doesn’t want us to keep trying to stop him.”
Even if the Senate flips this year, which Rogers said he believed it would, he advised not to expect too many big changes. Even if some of the president’s signature accomplishments are repealed, they will still be vetoed, he said. Thus, he said, it will not be until the next president is inaugurated that major repeals are likely to take place.
“We pass business, tax, policy bills all the time,” he said. “We can’t get them through the Senate, but we might be able to get them to the president’s desk now, and make him sign them or veto them. At least that way, people will know where to lay the blame.”
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