There are many problems in Washington, D.C., and there’s no such thing as a quick-fix for them, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins told local Rotarians on Tuesday morning.
Any solution will take time, Collins said, but the biggest problem with congress is the disconnect.
“We don’t communicate very well,” he said. “We don’t communicate with people, we don’t communicate with each other and we definitely don’t communicate in ways like this that I’m hoping to communicate with you this morning.
“There are issues that we can solve, but we’ve got to be willing to have a dialogue about it and admit where the problems are.”
Collins, a Republican from Gainesville whose 9thDistrict covers north Forsyth, shared with members of the Rotary Club of Lanier-Forsyth that every issue the nation faces are fiscal problems. Those include including hot-button issues such as immigration and health care.
At $2.2 trillion, Collins said 2013 is the highest revenue year the federal government has seen. But it only covers mandatory spending, he said, adding that the additional $1.2 trillion to fund discretionary spending such as the military, court system and FBI, will come from borrowing.
“September is going to be a very difficult and ugly month in Washington,” he said. “This is a time in which we have a continuing resolution, which ... is a very awful way to fund the government, and the unfortunate part is that we can’t pass all the appropriations bills.
“Congress is in charge of the purse strings and yet we have continually given away a great deal of that authority because we won’t pass the appropriations bill.”
Collins was introduced by Republican District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming. The two became close friends while serving together as freshmen lawmakers in 2006.
Hamilton said he’s glad Collins is reaching out to Rotarians in Forsyth.
“I have found them to approach policy issues in a very practical manner and are very thoughtful in their questions and comments,” Hamilton said. “They are a great place to learn what the hard-working citizens, families and business owners think and what’s important to them.”
Collins touched on Syria, a situation he described as a “mess.” With all the different groups in the country, it’s difficult to know where to start, though he noted that chemical warfare is off limits.
“I am very disturbed right now at the all-of-a-sudden awakening of this administration to the problem of Syria,” Collins said.
Military engagement presents a tough situation, he said. It’s difficult to tell the good from the bad, and weapons provided could be turned around and used on America.
“There are also countries all over Africa right now in which the governments have killed many, many thousands of people,” he said. “I don’t hear that moral outrage and justification for sending our troops.
“Just because a lot of people have died in the country, are we going to be ... morally honest with ourselves and say the reason we’re going in is because this person is killing all these people yet we have other countries in the world that we’ll gladly ignore?”
Collins also talked about the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care plan dubbed Obamacare. It should be delayed and defunded, Collins said, adding that nobody knows what the health care exchanges will look like. With enrollment beginning Oct. 1, “that should disturb every one of us.”
“This certainly is a fight worth fighting,” Collins said.