At the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp of the Kansas first district told the general session audience that federal spending and debt is a threat to the future of America, and that we must use the opportunity of the upcoming debt ceiling vote to force spending cuts.
Introduced by Alan Cobb of Americans for Prosperity as someone who — in his first race for the Kansas Senate — beat the best kind of Republican to beat: “one of those squishy ones.” Huelskamp served 14 years in the Kansas Senate, and was elected to the House of Representatives last November.
A leader in technology, he was the first Kansas legislator to have a laptop computer in the chamber, and was instrumental in passing Kansas’ online transparency bill. And, Cobb said, he was the first member of Congress to bring an Ipad to the speaker’s podium.
In his remarks to the audience, Huelskamp said he was one of those new “testy freshmen.” He said he spent the first few months wondering around Washington wondering how he got here, then he started to wonder how those other guys got here.
He described listening to budget debate on the House floor. In response to what a leftist Member said, he turned to a senior Republican and said “Do they really believe what they just said, or are they lying?” The response: They really believe what they’re saying. They really believe that government can do better with your money than you can, and that the stimulus didn’t work because it was too small, he said.
Washington is about hypocrisy, he told the audience. They have a plan for themselves, and another plan for the rest of us. ObamaCare and the health care waiver process is an example of this. Dozens of labor unions spent hundreds of millions to elect President Obama and to push his health care plan through, only later to receive an exemption from its provisions.
Huelskamp said he had held done 58 town halls this year so far. One thing people ask him, he said, is if he’s living under the rules they set for everyone else. He also asks the question “Do you think the next generation of Americans will be better off than your generation?” The American Dream is in jeopardy, he said. We are sitting at the precipice of our nation’s history. “Are we going to go the direction of our Founders — freedom and liberty — or are we going to go the direction of slavery and socialism? That’s the choice we have today.”
In Washington, Huelskamp said that Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, says we can “use the debt ceiling as a lever to change America.” Huelskamp said that despite the risk of being accused a contrarian, that’s exactly what we need to do. Calling the debt ceiling an “opportunity of a lifetime,” he said that we must keep on the pressure to extract spending cuts. The votes are very close, he said.
Huelskamp said we must “act as if we have no time left.” We must face our debt crisis now. We can’t put off decisions. It is a spending problem, he said, a power problem. It is Washington telling us what to do with our own money.