Biggert, Cunningham differ on federal budget, debt
Stop government spending. Don't increase taxes. No borrowing your way out of debt. Those are three areas Republicans Judy Biggert and Jack Cunningham agree on when it comes to the federal budget and the nation's debt.
But the GOP candidates on the ballot in the 11th Congressional District race have different plans to reverse what they see as a Democratic push toward a welfare state or socialist nation.
In Biggert's seven terms in Congress, she believes she's been able to cross party lines, including recent efforts to pass national flood insurance legislation. But when it comes to budgeting, there may be no room to budge, Biggert said.
"On the philosophical issues, you can't change that so much," she said. "We need members that are center-right as well as those that are far to the right to try and work this out."
To cut the deficit, Biggert is in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts while repealing Obamacare and throwing out most of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Cunningham views Biggert as part of the group of politicians who "helped cause the mess this country is in right now," he said.
He has more of a silver bullet approach to paying off the nation's debt. Echoing recent statements by GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich, Cunningham called for an all-out program of developing America's oil reserves.
Gingrich has said repeatedly in recent weeks that experts tell him oil reserves in the western part of the country, and North Dakota in particular, might be worth as much as $16 trillion to $18 trillion in royalties. Cunningham said the rainy day has come for America to cash in on its natural resources.
"We have enough money there to cover our national debt and get us out of this quagmire," Cunningham said. "We can get $16 trillion for the royalties without one drop of oil being drilled. The actual collection of that oil will take many years. But, if we go after this the same way we went after our space program, it can be done."
Cunningham said he'll also call for an audit in every government department to locate and eliminate wasteful spending.
"As a member of local government I know where the budget padding occurs," Cunningham said. "We should not look at what the budget was the year before, but what was spent in the budget in the last month of the fiscal year. And we need to get people in Washington to challenge the PACs that own most people in Congress."
Cunningham said he's also in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts as part of his general support of trickle-down economics.
Cunningham is on the ballot for the March 20 primary, but an appeal is still working its way through the legal system that might see any votes cast for him invalidated. Meanwhile, Biggert's campaign released the results of a poll it commissioned of 300 likely GOP primary voters, conducted by American Viewpoint earlier this week. The results showed Biggert has, at the worst extreme of the margin of error, a 39 percentage point lead over Cunningham. About 13 percent of those polled said they were undecided.
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