Friday, February 13, 2009

New Blog

This blog and the First District Blog will be combining into a new Mississippi Congress Blog that will post on all four districts. All old posts and comments will be moved as well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Harper on Stimulus Package

Congressman Gregg Harper wrote in Saturday's Clarion Ledger why he voted against the Stimulus Package.
Last week, I joined 177 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in opposing the economic stimulus package rushed to the floor by the liberal Democratic leadership.

This bill bypassed the standard committee process. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., forced this bill to the floor without time for the House of Representatives and you, the voters, to have a full understanding of exactly what is hidden within the 647 pages of a bill that would ultimately cost taxpayers nearly $1.2 trillion in new federal government debt.

Not only does this legislation expand numerous federal programs, it creates 32 new government programs. During a time when Americans are losing jobs and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, we should not expand a federal government that is already too large.

I joined House Republicans in supporting an alternative plan that would create double the number of jobs at half the cost. However, the Republican plan was defeated on the House floor.

As I have said before, the American people know we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.
It encouraged David M. Caballero of Jackson to respond with a letter-to-the-editor.
Third District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper listed on his Web site a few reasons why he voted against the stimulus bill.

Let me list the items he forgot to mention: $153 billion to help states provide medical care; $103 billion to repair roads, bridges, and waterlines; $159 billion in educational grants so our children can afford college; and $275 billion in tax cuts.

Did Harper forget Mississippi? We desperately need help with our medical system (annually ranked one of the worst in the nation); our roads, even in the capital, are a disgrace; our children are unable to afford college because of low-paying jobs and increasing tuition.

Rep. Harper ran on new leadership but he is just more of the same Bush-style incompetence. Even though 33 percent of the stimulus bill is tax cuts, Harper won't accept it. If he cannot have his 100 percent tax cuts, then the people get nothing.

He threatens us with poverty and depression unless he has it his way.
I have a suspicion that David M. Caballero did not vote for Gregg Harper before this anyway. But that's just me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Conservative Divide: Childers-Thompson / Harper-Taylor

In the first defining vote of the year, Bennie Thompson (D) and Travis Childers (D) voted for the trillion dollar deficit stimulus package; Gene Taylor (D) and Gregg Harper (R) voted against it. Zero Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for H.R. 1, and 11 conservative Democrats joined the GOP in voting against it.

Taylor had some choice words on Obama's trillion dollar deficit, "President Obama ran on change. This isn't change. George Bush during the height of the war cut taxes, increased spending, doubled the national debt on his watch. And this is just more of the same, in my opinion...This is nuts."

Childers said he "teetered" with his vote, "Here's what just pushed me I guess, and I don't mind telling you, I really kind of teetered for the last couple of days on this. But this is what just finally made me vote for it. Number one, it's not a finished product. It goes over to the Senate. I hope they can take the bill and perfect it. I hope they can make it better at least."

Harper was more direct, "I wish Congress would open their eyes to the wasteful government spending that is contained in this bill and that will drive the country further into debt. The American people know we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meridian Q&A With Harper

The Meridian Star recently interviewed Gregg Harper.

The Star: Do you plan a home in Washington, or will you be commuting?

Harper: "I'm definitely a commuter. The plan right now is to fly in on Monday and fly back either late Thursday or sometime Friday. Then, on the weekends, I'll be working from home. But it's important that I make time for my family. That is a must."

The Star: What is the most important piece of legislation Congress is dealing with at this time?

Harper: "One of them is the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) that we voted on last week. (The legislation is a $31.5 billion measure to expand the program for another 4 1/2 years). I support the reauthorization of SCHIP, but the version that the liberal Democrats put forward so expanded the program — took it from $30 billion to $65 billion — and will now cover folks that make close to $80,000 a year, and adults. The thing that bothered me the most is that they're saying $5 billion of that will go to provide benefits to illegals. It also removes the face-to-face meeting, which absolutely opens the program to fraud. We have to remember that this was a Republican-led bill more than a decade ago as part of the Welfare Reform Act.

It was a very good concept to take those on welfare and prepare them for the workforce. And it's now, as most government programs do, grown into something too big.

The Star: What is the most pressing issue that your constituency will be facing in the coming year that you hope to address?

Harper: "Most of our folks back home — yes there were foreclosures and lost jobs — but most were doing OK until $4 a gallon of gas. That hurt our students, our low income folks, our seniors ... and we haven't fixed it. We're already seeing it inch back up. We've done absolutely nothing to fix it. We have some folks over here in government policy positions and their goal is the reduction and use of fossil fuels. They have a micro goal when they should have an overall goal that includes some control that allows us to drill offshore and any place when can get natural gas ... and things like clean coal technology in Kemper County. And we have to explore nuclear. We should be about anything that keeps us from sending our nation's wealth to the Middle East or other foreign countries. I just don't think we can afford going back to $4 gas. We've got to fix that."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Harper on Budget Committee

From a Harper release:

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) was appointed by the Steering Committee Thursday to the Committee on the Budget earning his third committee seat for the 111th Congress pending Conference approval. This prestigious committee sets guidelines in the annual budget resolution for monitoring federal programs to meet spending projections.

"I am excited to welcome Congressman Gregg Harper as the newest member of the House Budget Committee," said Ranking Republican Member Paul Ryan (WI-01). "In coming to grips with a deepening recession and a soaring budget deficit, his commitment to fiscal discipline and pro-growth economic policies will be an asset to this committee and to this nation."

"I am honored to join Congressman Ryan and I look forward to working with the members of the committee as we tackle the huge task of controlling the federal budget," said Congressman Harper. "In these times of economic uncertainty, the American people know we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity and I plan to follow these conservative principles as a member of this committee."

The Committee on the Budget was established during a time of overwhelming budget deficits when Congress faced increasing challenges of managing long-term programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. The committee is the first panel to review the President's annual budget message and is responsible for the adoption of a draft budget resolution.

Congressman Harper is the only Republican freshman appointed by Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to the Committee on House Administration and also sits on the Committee on Judiciary. As a member of the Republican Steering Committee, he is been responsible for assisting in the placement of committee appointments for all 435 members of the House among other leadership responsibilities.

This esteemed committee appointment concludes Congressman Harper's committee assignments for the 111th Congress.