Congressman: reform entitlement programs to reduce federal debt
by Steve Kadel
staff writer
Apr 04, 2013 | 787 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, called for reducing the federal debt and developing the state’s energy resources during a town hall meeting in Moab on Wednesday, March 27.

“We have a spending problem more than we need to raise taxes,” he said during a 90-minute appearance at the Grand Center.

About 50 people attended the session, which included a question-and-answer period.

The congressman called entitlements – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – the biggest cause of federal debt.

He was elected to Congress in 2008, but has represented the revamped third district just since January. The district includes Grand, San Juan, Emery, Carbon, Salt Lake, Wasatch and Utah counties.

Chaffetz said he supports natural resource development, including tar sands and coal extraction. It will allow Utah to move forward economically, he said, and can be done while protecting the environment.

“It’s a false choice” to choose between the two, Chaffetz said, adding, “I think you can have a balance.”

A woman in the audience said she’s concerned because it appears the Utah congressional delegation wants to take control of federal land in the state.

“It seems to me there is some partisan politics … and the constituents’ welfare is not being take care of,” she said. “The Utah delegation is not representing the people.”

Chaffetz denied the delegation has been environmentally irresponsible.

“We have done so much to see that preservation is there,” he said, adding that lawsuits by “radical environmentalists” have slowed the nation’s pursuit of energy self-sufficiency.

“We can let these environmental radicals get in the way of something that’s going to propel us forward,” Chaffetz said.

Another woman said she’s worried about environmental effects of tar sands oil development, such as the project going forward in Utah’s Book Cliffs.

Chaffetz replied that tar sands “should be part of the mix.”

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.