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WORDS FROM WASHINGTON

A missed opportunity to present real, bi-partisan solutions

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cartoon courtesy of Cagle Cartoons

Tuesday, Feb. 12, President Obama gave his State of the Union address. What the president proposed was no olive branch for real, bipartisan solutions.

Instead, he laid out an agenda that does not focus on cutting spending and rather proposed more tax increases to pay for additional government programs. I think most Americans would agree that Washington D.C. does not have a tax problem - it has a spending problem.

Last November, the American people re-elected President Obama to the White House and kept Republicans in charge of the People's House. Since then, my Republican colleagues and I have tried to find common ground and look for ways to work with the president to solve our nation's pressing fiscal problems.

However, it's hard to negotiate when the president has failed - for the fourth time in five years - to follow the law and send a budget proposal to Congress by the Feb. 4 deadline.

In my view, President Obama's speech failed to seriously address the real issues that are top priorities for Americans: ending wasteful government spending, creating good-paying jobs and growing our economy.

Democrats in Washington D.C. refuse to get serious about our out-of-control government spending and some fail to even acknowledge our nation has a spending problem. Yet, if we stay on our current path, the national debt will eclipse $17 trillion by the end of this year - an all time high. The president missed an opportunity to propose real spending reforms to start bringing our debt down.

Hard-working Central Washingtonians know it's irresponsible to spend money you don't have and kick solutions down the road. We must get our nation's wasteful spending under control and implement responsible budgetary savings necessary to ensure our kids and grandkids have the same opportunities that we have.

The president also failed to put forward policies that address America's high unemployment rate, which has hovered around 8 percent since he took office in 2009. With slowed economic growth last quarter, consumer confidence falling and a government that spends and taxes too much, it's no wonder small businesses aren't eager to make investments and hire workers.

In these challenging economic times, job creators need certainty. Democrats in Congress need to focus on growing good-paying, private sector jobs instead of growing the size of government.

Congress must look at ending burdensome regulations that prohibit economic growth and cripple small businesses with unnecessary paperwork. We must also focus on permanently simplifying the tax code by eliminating loopholes and reducing overall tax rates.

During his address, President Obama clenched onto his liberal agenda advocating for more of the same - more government spending and more government growth. These policies are not the bi-partisan solutions we need in order to spur private sector growth, get our fiscal house in order and enable small businesses to create jobs.

I will work with my colleagues in the House to develop a common-sense budget proposal that focuses on cutting wasteful government spending and creating policies that provide more opportunities for future generations.

I invite the president to join us in these endeavors. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer.

- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents

Central Washington's

Fourth Congressional District.

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