Emery County resident Don Riddle speaks to Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz visited Emery County for a town hall meeting in Castle Dale on Aug. 20. During the day 11 members of his staff visited sites on the San Rafael Swell and were entertained by Sheriff Greg Funk at the gun range. They visited the Wedge Overlook, sites in Buckhorn Draw including two rock art sites, the MK Tunnel, Swinging Bridge and nearby campground.
Rep. Chaffetz said he was glad to be in Emery County again and has visited three times in three weeks. He said the commissioners have been very helpful to him in learning about and tackling the issues of Emery County. He is looking forward to working as a team with the county. Each year he visits a city in the state and takes his staff out for a town meeting. This year he chose Emery County to get the thoughts and perspective from residents. He said he is on the Homeland Security committee and the oversight committee. He said government needs fiscal discipline and accountability.
One issue he has been working with is the investigation into the attack in Benghazi that killed the American ambassador. Prior to his death there were terrorist attacks on the embassy and nothing was done to beef up security or find the terrorists involved. One incident was a bomb tossed over the fence, another blew a hole in the fence. A Utah National Guard member who was there for security purposes requested fortifications and was denied. Then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton actually reduced personnel at the embassy. Then on Sept. 11, 2012 another attack occurred killing four people and it was not until the next night that the wounded were taken out by helicopter. The current ambassador to Libya is a BYU graduate. "It's imperative we get this right. Utah sends people overseas in foreign service, ambassadors, LDS missionaries, it's an important thing for Utah and the nation. Why was a death trap created, (in Libya) and why did our government lie to us. Government shouldn't lie to the people it represents. This administration has repeatedly lied to this nation. No one has been arrested, (in Libya) and we've not been told the truth."
Rep. Chaffetz said that fits into accountability and the government needs to admit its mistakes. The different branches of government must be held accountable. Clinton appointed a five person board to do a 60 day review and at the end this board found 29 systemic flaws/problems with how things were being handled in Libya. "How is it that five people in 60 days could find the problems, and Hillary couldn't find the problems in four years."
Rep. Chaffetz said the nation is in financial peril. When Pres. Obama took office the national debt was approaching $9 trillion.
The Utah State budget is $13 billion for a year. The feds spend $10 billion a day. They pay $600 million a day in interest. Democrats think we are just one tax increase away from prosperity. The deficit is the annual difference between revenues and debt. The President's budget he's presented four years in a row has never been balanced. The government continues to spend more than it collects. Pres. Obama has added 100,000 more workers, since becoming president. These workers are for oversight, more regulators and regulations.
People worry about jobs and the economy. They need to create an atmosphere where people will thrive. They don't know what the new tax code is? They don't know what Obamacare will bring. There's uncertainty. One of the biggest threats is the government can change the rules overnight and the people have no recourse. The national debt will be $17 trillion by the end of the year. We can't keep doing this. Interest rates will rise. The cost of feed is up, the cost of beef is up.
The mandatory programs like social security and hundreds of other programs are on auto pilot, 70 percent of expenditures fall into this category. Thirty percent falls into discretionary spending. Congress trimmed $100 billion out of discretionary spending. Rep. Chaffetz said he hopes the implementation of Obamacare can be delayed. The employer mandate has been delayed but the individual has not.
One audience member asked about the scandals this administration has been involved with including Fast and Furious, Dream Act, Cap and Trade, EPA and others. "What can be done to hold Washington accountable. This President has wiped his nose on the constitution."
Rep. Chaffetz said that's a hard question. It's hard to fix anything erroneous in the executive branch unless you go through the courts. With Fast and Furious the government gave the drug cartels guns. We can purchase guns for our personal use, but we can't purchase guns for others. People went in and were buying hundreds of guns and one of those guns was used to kill border patrol agent Bryan Terry. Subpoenas were ordered that the Department of Justice ignored. I'm proud to say we held the Attorney General in Contempt of Congress.
Next it went to a federal judge where we said please enforce these subpoenas and the judge said no. Next we will file suit.
Rep. Chaffetz said we need to pay attention to what's going on in our country or it will fall apart. "The voting rate is Utah is one of the worst in the nation. It's embarrassing. Some people think it's because of a dominant party."
A question was asked about immigration. Rep. Chaffetz said legal immigration must be fixed and the laws the country already has on the books should be enforced. "We need to encourage people to come in the front door. There are no consequences for being here illegally. Most of the people who are here illegally came here legally and then stayed. They liked it here."
Millions are allowed to enter the country on a day pass. But, there are no exit passes and no guarantees that those entering for a day will exit.
Rep. Chaffetz said he visited the border in April and while there a call came in that there were nine people coming across. He wanted to go and see them coming in. There is no fence. They were near Yuma. The people were Romanians. He was told they want to get caught. There's 2,000 miles of border and only 200 miles of it is patrolled. There's only 6 percent operational control of the border.
The people from Romania were listed as OTMs. This meant other than Mexicans. If Mexicans are caught they are fingerprinted, photographed and then taken back. One guy has had this done 44 times. The Romanians were taken to a detention center. People from 60 different countries have been through the detention centers. The people claim they want asylum in the United States. There are three judges in Phoenix who hear these cases and the next court dates these people can get are in 2020. So they stay in our country until their court date.
"There are people coming in by the millions. This is an abused system," said Rep. Chaffetz.
Rep. Chaffetz said he has supported five agricultural bills that deal with immigrant labor. "The President needs a plan to secure the border," said Rep. Chaffetz.
Rep. Chaffetz said there are 30 million more people on food stamps than 10 years ago. There are too many people milking the system. There are people who have legitimate needs and "poor souls who can't take care of themselves." Those are the people we need to help.
More part-time jobs have been created to avoid paying full benefits. It's happening all over.
"Thanks for allowing me to serve," said Rep. Chaffetz.
Earlier in the day Rep. Chaffetz met with the Deer Creek miners concerning their contract negotiations. He said they have some grievances with the company. He's not sure what he can do to help them, but he will check into it. Coal mining is an important employer in this area.
"The President has a war on coal. I believe in all types of energy. Coal is a part of that mix. It's not as dirty as the president portrays," said Rep. Chaffetz.