Over the last few years, as the dominant party in power in Washington, Democrats have racked up a dismal record on job creation and spending. It’s something they don’t want to talk about with New Mexicans, which is probably why only one of New Mexico’s four Democrats in Congress is willing to face the public and answer tough questions at town hall meetings.
Former U.S. Rep. Manuel Lujan established a standard for constituent service and accessibility that former Rep. Steve Schiff and I continued for 40 years. Our representatives in Washington work for us. Whether we agree or disagree with what they’re doing, we deserve to be heard and they have an obligation to listen.
Rep. Martin Heinrich recently stated that he had no time for town hall meetings and no time to take questions from his constituents.
The excuse is new, but the absence isn’t. Heinrich hosted only one town hall in the summer of 2009 before voting in favor of the health care bill that increases taxes, cuts Medicare and unconstitutionally expands federal government power.
Martin did have enough time to write an opinion piece for the Journal defending the job Washington Democrats are doing on job creation. It’s not an easy record to defend.
Since President Obama was sworn in, the number of unemployed Americans has increased by 1.9 million. And what has been the Democrats’ answer to this crisis? Spend more money. So much more that the federal debt has increased by $4 trillion during this same period. That’s $46,754 in increased debt per American in just two years.
While every family in America has been cutting back and businesses have had to let loyal, longtime employees go, Heinrich supported a federal government spending spree – a 24 percent increase in federal spending in just two years.
The much-touted “stimulus” plan, which Heinrich enthusiastically supported, has been a failure with an $831 billion price tag. Democrats predicted that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent. Instead, it has stayed above 8 percent for 30 straight months, the longest stretch of joblessness at this level since the Great Depression.
The stimulus was a bad idea, and here’s why: It mostly went to keeping government workers employed at the expense of private sector job growth.
Government cannot create wealth; it can create the conditions for small businesses and entrepreneurs to invest and create jobs. That means pro-growth tax policies, and fair, predictable regulations.
Obama and the Democratic majority, of which Heinrich was a part, levied a new health care mandate on every business and citizen starting in 2014, which discourages companies from hiring and may bankrupt one in five hospitals. They pursued an ambitious regulatory agenda that creates uncertainty and stifles everything from oil and gas exploration to Boeing’s expansion in South Carolina. They vilify free enterprise and wonder why our economy is sputtering.
Heinrich says that Republicans in the Congress do not have a jobs agenda. He’s just wrong. This year alone, scores of different pro-growth job creating bills have been passed by the House. They range from legislation to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses so they can create more jobs, to reforming the tax code in order to encourage job creation, and increasing domestic energy production in order to create jobs and wean us off foreign oil. But what do they all have in common? The Senate, controlled by Harry Reid, refuses to consider a single one of them.
I don’t agree with the big-government, heavy-regulatory approach of Heinrich. But I am one of his constituents, and the people of the First District deserve a chance to ask him questions, and hear directly about what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Until he stops hiding, we’ll have to let his record speak for itself.
Heather Wilson was a U.S. representative for New Mexico District 1.