U.S. Congressman Scott Perry does not sound like a free-spender, and certainly not when it comes to taxpayer money. Yet he sees that happening with his colleagues in Washington, D.C. The law says it’s not supposed to be that way.
“We have things that are called ‘budget caps,’ which are statutory. That means they’re in law,” Perry told me during a recent trip to his district office outside of Harrisburg. “We all agreed to that. Congress agreed. The President agreed, signed the bill. We have a spending cap.”
Apparently revenues increased with the huge increase in jobs. But it seems that nowhere does money burn a hole in the pocket quicker than it does in Washington. There were those who decided to scrap the cap.
“Now the federal government wants to spend more money because it never wants to take care of the bills it’s already made, at least that’s my opinion,” Perry said. “So the leaders in the Senate and the House put together a spending package that blew apart the caps, essentially breaking the law.”
The proposal was put on the floor and its backers used the ‘s’ word. Yes, shutdown.
“When you have Speaker Pelosi and members of the Senate who agree on that, the President has no allies because he’s all by himself. Of course, we already went through one of these shut-down things. It didn’t work out so well.”
Perry voted ‘no’ on the measure, but it passed. He says now they’re on their way to 23-trillion-dollars in debt.
“How do you keep on spending money you don’t have and raiding all these funds, including the Social Security trust fund,” Perry asked. “How do you expect China, an adversary of the United States, to keep financing this unbridled spending?”
Perry is also concerned about the high cost of healthcare for Americans. But he says work is being done.
“One thing in particular that we’re working on is prescription drug prices,” he said. Particularly insulin, the price has really sky-rocketed. We know about these rebates that come from the drug manufacturer but they never seem to get to the customer, to the consumer. We want to figure all that out, figure out where that money’s going, why the cost is so high. Why aren’t there generics. Why is it no longer affordable?”
Immigration also continues to be a topic of concern for Rep. Perry. He says the last statistic he looked at showed that it costs Pennsylvania $1.3-billion a year to pay for illegal foreign nationals and the services they use.
“When you think that your property taxes are too high, just think what you could do with $1.3-billion that you wouldn’t have to pay to the state,” he said. “Let’s be clear…we say ‘illegal immigration.’ Immigration is legal. But these are people coming across the border illegally, between the points of entry, at the rate of 5,000 per day.”
Perry says Congress is refusing to take up the issue and that there is a huge difference in what each party wants. Perry says Democrats wants open borders while Republicans want to reform the system to make it easier to come in legally but much more difficult to come in illegally.
“Nothing is happening,” Perry says, “so the President is taking action on his own, including inspiring the Mexican government to do more with their own border. He’s had some success with that but this is an issue that affects every single American citizen. We want to be benevolent…but we have a system of laws and you can’t just say I don’t like the law so I’m not going to follow it.”
Perry says that he doesn’t see a solution any time soon.
I also asked the congressman about how the legislators are getting along. It seems like many times they’re not, but what’s it really like?
“There are multiple religious meetings throughout the week,” Perry said, explaining that he regularly attends the Thursday morning prayer breakfast. “It’s bi-partisan and you couldn’t imagine how well we get along, Democrats and Republicans, we have great conversations. And then we leave and we go into the boxing ring it almost seems like on the floor. You’re like ‘where’s the person I was sitting next to and we were getting along just fine?”