U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) began his Washington wrap-up during a visit to Moultrie on Thursday by bluntly saying, "Things are a mess."
We have been a pretty dysfunctional Congress and I don TMt know what we can do about it, he says.
Chambliss says money has been on the minds of Americans and is so especially during the holiday season; particularly when it comes to the payroll tax cut debate.
To think that their payroll check is going to diminish come Jan. 1 is not something anyone is looking forward to, he says.
On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner agreed to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts. The two-month extension Chambliss says is a temporary fix.
There are ways to make this happen, and I think this is the right thing to do right now; long term it probably is not. We need to see a reduction in spending on the other side of the ledger this year to replace that money in the Social Security Trust Fund and there are no plans out there to do that, he says.
Another point of discussion for Chambliss was the nation TMs $15 trillion debt. He says it will take a lot of sacrifices from everyone in three specific areas: federal spending, entitlement program reform and broadening the tax base.
We need to reduce federal spending. It TMs way out of control. Unfortunately if you cut out all federal spending it would not fix the problem, he says.
He says this along with reforming entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and social security and broadening the tax base will help get the fiscal house in order and work to repair the deficit.
"We have to figure out a way to broaden our tax base, put people back to work, energize the economy and raise revenues by doing that," says Chambliss. "In order to do that it's going to require a major overhaul of the tax code, it's going to require a major overhaul of these entitlement provisions and people are going to have less support coming from the federal government."
Chambliss says selling bonds to assist the U.S. debt problem may turn from a solution to a problem.
If we're going to continue to sell our bonds to people across the world, particularly the Chinese they're the largest foreign buyer of our bonds they will tell us how we're going to fix it if they're going to continue to buy our bonds and we do not need to be put in that position, he says.
Chambliss also took time to discuss the situation in Iraq and the recent withdraw of troops. He says pulling the troops out gives free reign for the terrorists to operate as they want because the U.S. did not have sufficient time to train Iraqis.
We were getting close but we weren TMt there, he says. Chambliss " also the Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee " says he does commend the uniformed men and women for their work overseas, taking the intelligence gathered by the committee and working well with it.
Chambliss says he TMs aware his ideas and opinions aren TMt shared by all, but he says that TMs part of the job.
If you TMre not catching flack from someone in Washington, you TMre not doing your job, he says.