As members of the U.S. House and Senate return to Washington this week, Congressman Diane Black is hopeful that a deal can be reached on federal spending levels by Friday in order to avoid a government shutdown.
Congressman Black visited DeKalb County Friday to meet with constituents as well as local public officials and business and industry representatives.
In a brief interview with WJLE afterwards, Congressman Black talked about efforts in the U.S. House to get federal spending under control.
The U.S. House has already taken action to cut $100 billion dollars from this year's budget, a measure which has been sent to the Senate. However, since senators have been on recess and haven't had a chance to consider it yet, Congressman Black said lawmakers will most likely adopt a continuing budget resolution in the meantime. "Last week we sent a bill over to the Senate that cut about $100 billion out of the current budget. It's our job to give them what we think is reasonable, what we think is good for this country and we hope that they (Senate) will be reasonable people and go along with us so that we can balance this budget."
"It may be that the Senate will not have time to fully take up our HR 1 which is the bill that we sent to them recently. They have been out on recess and they may not have time to fully take that up so what you may see is a short term continuing resolution, maybe for a two week period of time. But in that will also be cuts. That will give them more time to fully discuss the bill that we sent to them" said Congressman Black.
Congressman Black said members of the House do not want a government shutdown. Their only intent, she said is to get spending under control. "A government shut down is certainly not our intent. Our intent is to balance the budget and that's the reason why we work so hard. We had ninety hours of debate on this last week. Debates that went until four thirty in the morning because we were serious about getting to the Senate what we consider to be a reasonable continuing resolution. Our job was to give them something we thought was reasonable. It is certainly, absolutely not our intent to close down the government. We want to do what the people are asking us to do and that is to be responsible."
Congressman Black said controlling federal spending is what her constituents are most concerned about. "Probably the most important issue that everybody has on their minds is the amount of spending and the fact that we are out of balance. When you look at the $14.5 trillion dollars in debt that we currently have piled up, $1 billion dollars a day, it's hard for most people who are just everyday people like myself and you to even think about $1 billion dollars. Yet, we're continuing to spend that day after day. Whether people are democrats or republicans or independents, I'm hearing from folks saying, "hey, get this debt under control." Our grandchildren and our children don't need to pay for this down the road, we need to be responsible adults and do the thing we need to do right now to balance the budget."
During her visit to DeKalb County on Friday, Congressman Black met with local elected officials as well as business and industry representatives to give them a chance to share their concerns with her. "I am here to listen to the elected officials, the business men and women in town, and constituents. I'm taking it very seriously that when we have this week off and can be back in the district that I am here, hearing from people. That's important. As a representative, that's my job. So I'm visiting as many counties as I can every time I'm back in the district, which is one week a month and we'll continue to do this."