By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – Congressman Alan Nunnelee assured a group of business leaders on Thursday he will vote against any tax increases.
“The worst thing we could do in a tough economy is to raise taxes on anybody,” he said Thursday to the group that met with him at the Three Rivers Planning and Development District conference room.
The Republican from Tupelo hit on several issues, including health care and regulation, with the debt ceiling being the top concern, Nunnelee said.
“The administration has put on the table a plan with spending cuts and tax increases, but the manufacturers I’ve talked to said that any tax increases will mean only more layoffs,” he said. “In my opinion, we should start with spending cuts.”
President Obama and Republican leaders are trying to negotiate a deficit reduction package to help tackle the $1.4 trillion national debt. As part of the package, Obama wants about $400 billion in tax increases paired with more than $1 trillion in spending cuts. Republicans like Nunnelee are balking at the tax increases.
Ryan plan started a ‘conversation’
In addition, Rep. Paul Ryan recently proposed a controversial plan that called for cuts in entitlement programs, including the politically sensitive Social Security and Medicare programs.
Some supporters say no sacred cows should be spared, including the defense budget.
Nunnelee said Ryan’s plan was a point of conversation but not the definitive answer to solve the country’s looming deficit.
“In terms of defense, the No. 1 priority is that the lives of the men and women of this country are safe and to provide security, so we need a strong national defense,” he said. “However, there are things we can do at the Department of Defense to save money.”
As for Social Security and Medicare, Nunnelee said the nation must make good on its promises to the people who worked and paid into the programs.
They should get the benefits they were promised, he said.
“But if we don’t do something about Medicare, it will disappear in nine years,” he added.
As for a potential financial default if the nation’s debt ceiling isn’t raised, Nunnelee said nobody can say for certain what might happen.
“We’ve never faced that before,” he said. “But if we don’t have the courage to deal with it now, the potential is that someone outside our country will do that. That’s what’s happening in Greece now.
“So, the long-term plan to get out of this is for spending cuts to be greater than the ceiling we raise on debt, and to get a balanced budget amendment.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.