May 2nd, 2009
12:17 PM ET
5 years ago

Jenkins: ‘Washington’s books are a mess’

(CNN) – Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said Saturday that while she likes President Barack Obama, she’s worried about where the Democrats will take the country.

“This is my first year in Congress, and what I’ve seen since I arrived in Washington has been truly eye-opening,” said Jenkins, the first freshman member of Congress to deliver the weekly GOP address.

“As a mother with two children, I'm concerned – like any mom would be – about the debt we’re piling on future generations,” she said.

Jenkins - who was the state treasurer in Kansas for six years and practiced as a certified public accountant for nearly two decades - slammed the stimulus package, the omnibus spending bill and the recently passed multi-trillion-dollar budget as examples that “Washington’s books are a mess.”

Republicans and some Democrats have criticized Obama’s spending plans as wasteful and excessive, but the president has said the hefty price tag is necessary, given the scope of the economic crisis.

“This week, we marked the president’s 100th day in office. And while, like most of you, I like the president personally, I think the Democrats’ first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing,” she said.

“Middle-class families and small businesses across America are tightening their belts and making sacrifices each and every day during this recession, and Republicans believe that it’s time for Washington to do the same.”

Republicans, she said, “are fighting for middle-class families and small businesses every day here in Washington.”

“And we are ready to work in a bipartisan way on real solutions to create jobs, rebuild your savings, and get our economy moving again. Let’s hope the Democrats in charge are as well.”

Full transcript after the jump

“This is Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins.

“This is my first year in Congress, and what I’ve seen since I arrived in Washington has been truly eye-opening. The pace that Democrats in Congress and the White House are spending your tax dollars is simply staggering. A trillion dollars for the so-called ‘stimulus’ bill. Nearly a half-trillion on an ‘omnibus’ spending measure with nearly 9,000 un-scrutinized earmarks. And $3.6 trillion on a budget that Democrats just passed this week, which includes trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. As a mother with two children, I'm concerned – like any mom would be – about the debt we’re piling on future generations.

“I know a thing or two about handling taxpayer dollars. I was the state treasurer in Kansas for six years before I came to Congress, and before that I practiced public accounting as a certified public accountant for nearly two decades so trust me when I say Washington’s books are a mess.

“Remember when the President promised strict oversight of how states and local communities are spending those critical ‘stimulus’ dollars? Well, in the last few weeks, we’ve heard about plenty of ‘stimulus’ waste. Taxpayer dollars earmarked for a homeless program in a town with no homeless problem. Millions to extend an ‘Artwalk’ in New York. And more than a million dollars for sidewalks and trash cans outside a casino in Michigan. This bill was supposed to be about jobs, but it’s gone off the rails in practically no time at all and millions of your tax dollars are being wasted. It’s quickly turning into a symbol of everything wrong with Washington, D.C. – unchecked spending, no accountability and oversight, and more and more debt piled onto our children and grandchildren.

“This week, we marked the President’s 100th day in office. And while, like most of you, I like the President personally, I think the Democrats’ first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing. The plans they’ve passed in the first 100 days will add more to our nation’s public debt than all previous Presidents combined in 200 plus years. They’ve taken away President Obama’s promised middle-class tax cut and paved the way for a new national energy tax to be paid by every American who dares to flip on a light switch.

“Middle-class families and small businesses across America are tightening their belts and making sacrifices each and every day during this recession, and Republicans believe that it’s time for Washington to do the same. We offered a budget that curbs spending, creates jobs by cutting taxes, and controls the debt. We’ve also offered proposals to help rebuild your savings, revitalize the housing market, and create twice as many jobs as the Democrats’ ‘stimulus’ at half the cost.

“More than two million Americans have lost their jobs this year, and by all accounts, our national recession has gotten worse than expected. Americans are worried, and rightfully so. They know that we can’t spend our way back to prosperity. Republicans are fighting for middle-class families and small businesses every day here in Washington. And we are ready to work in a bipartisan way on real solutions to create jobs, rebuild your savings, and get our economy moving again. Let’s hope the Democrats in charge are as well.

“Thank you for listening.”


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. js -----santee

    Polite but the same old rhetoric.....cutting taxes for the top 2% hasn't worked....I am a small business and like many in the neighborhood we don't make over $250,000.00. Most small businesses don't. That's why they are called small. Most middle class families don't make over 250.000.00 either. The GOP has never been interested in low/middle income America. Their record of tax cuts for the top 2 percent proves it.

    May 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Had It

    I'd like the answer to one simple question.

    Where were all these watchdogs when Bush/Cheney were in charge (showing their budget WITHOUT the cost of two wars in it).

    WHERE? Anyone got any answers why all that was kept quiet?

    May 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Wilber

    Welcome to DC. The eyes of a newcomer. Ideally in a few years you'll get the inside joke.

    May 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Suzanne

    I keep hearing Republicans talking about everything the President is doing wrong, but I'm not hearing any solutions from them on what to do right. Yes people are having to save, but the government isn't a piggy bank, it's a business. It's an unfortunate thing to have to spend money we don't have, but that's better than letting things go as they are. The story this week is that the Pentagon lost billions due to accounting errors that they refused to repair. Where were the Republicans when whistle-blowers were trying to bring the issue to light? My guess is on the payroll of defense contractors. And why are they NOW concerned about future generations? Where has the concern been for Social Security and other wasteful spending in the past? The Republicans need to spend more time solving problems instead of blasting solutions.

    May 2, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    Yeah Lynn, lower taxes on the very rich and stop all regulation of mega-corporate America. That's the ticket.

    21 . . .20 . . .19 . . .18 per cent and before you know it . . . .POOOOFFFF,
    There goes the party of Lincoln.

    May 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Obama is a Mistake

    Americans like Obama personally. But they are discovering that his popularity is dearly expensive to them and the nation. Their dilemma is just starting.

    May 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. lilalove

    Oh, really? Well from the time of the Reagan Administration the republican party has been about 'spending and borrowing' with no way to pay for it.

    May 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Charlie

    Isn't it ironic how last year Bush and the Republicans were pushing so hard for the Income tax stimulus rebate so Americans would "spend it to keep the economy going"?

    And now, Lynn Jenkins and the Republicans are saying the opposite "..... we can’t spend our way back to prosperity. Republicans are fighting for middle-class families and small businesses every day here in Washington. ...."

    Does the word "flip-flop" come to mind??

    May 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Rich in Seattle

    You're a freshman member of Congress in the minority party. Tell me, however are you in the loop on what is all going on? Did the Republicans draw your name from a hat and it was your turn to talk?

    I don't care if you "like" Obama or not. Your policies lead to me beig laid off of my job. My only hope in getting one again rests with Obama and the Democrats.

    Now sit down and get out of the way. Let those with experience and access talk about what they really know and understand.

    May 2, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Tracy M.

    In Realityland, where I live, the Republicans are doing absolutely nothing to help me or my two daughters who are just getting ready to start college. President Obama is doing everything he can to see to it that they have affordable health care and the chance for the education they'll need to build their lives. Cutting programs (like 1% of food inspected by the USDA) is not the way to help us. Expanding programs will get my girls on track and make them productive members of society who pay their taxes and raise decent children. The Republican Party is the "me" generation - burning bridges left and right for the temporary warmth the fire provides.

    May 2, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Jason

    "spending, taxing, and borrowing" First of all...we HAVE to spend in order to get out of this economic crisis that was caused by the republicans, deregulation and a needless war. Rep. Lynn Jenkins fails to take any responsibility for her own party's ways. Taxing...Obama hasn't raised any taxes, yet. And come 2011 he's not really raising them, he's letting Bush's tax cuts for the RICH expire. In case Jenkins wasn't paying attention, President Obama lowered taxes for the middle class. And borrowing...how else are we going to pay 10 BILLION per month for the needless war in Iraq that Bush got us into? I am so f'ing sick of republicans all of a sudden becoming "fiscally conservative". Where was the republican party when they expended the government by 40%, which is the largest increase in government since its initial conception. Where were the republicans when Bush was running up our budget debt by 1.3 TRILLION, where were the republicans when Bush ruined this country? They were there supporting him and now want to cry that Americans arent taking their BS anymore.

    May 2, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. dittohead using forty names

    Lynn should have come out of Kansas more and seen what life in the rest of the World is like.She should ask Shaun Hannity when he will except his pledge to be waterboarded for charity.

    May 2, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Jim

    I think the people of this country would benefit drastically from making introductory economics mandatory in our education system. They can learn the difference between macro and micro economics which explains how and why government deficits are good during a recession and bad during economic growth. They can also learn that tax cuts in and of themselves won't make jobs. The money must be spent, and even then it will not necessarily be creating jobs. Hopefully they could also see that when it boils down to the nitty gritty, pork-barrel spending for a member of congress is really no different then a super wealthy person getting a tax cut and spending it on fancy food, cars and bigger houses.

    And few more things. I would rather my government spend, increase taxes and borrow opposed to spend, decrease taxes and borrow. Also, when my grandparents were living through the depression they heard the same story about the future debt for their grand kids. Me, my siblings and cousins are all doing pretty well as a matter of fact.

    May 2, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. lilalove

    Obama has a middle class tax cut in place for the next two years, lady. Obama is also small businesses tax breaks. Obama is working on a health care deal that will save businesses more money than any tax break you could give them. A cheaper health care plan for everyone. And if our firefighters and police can be run by 'big government' so can our healthcare system.

    May 2, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Bubba

    "Counter-cyclical spending" is not in this woman's vocabulary, is it? She may be a CPA, but she missed Econ 101.

    May 2, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Susan L.

    Pardon me, Who? Why should I care what some idiot Republican Freshman Congresscritter has to say about the President? I think I'd give my cat more credence than her on that subject since the cat isn't biased and the Congresswoman most decidedly is.

    May 2, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. David Jones

    Dear Congresswoman: It's not spending, borrowing and taxing; instead its saving, investing and cutting the budget from the $1,300 trillion to a surplus. Its Democrats, afterall, who balance budgets while the GOP issues tax cuts to the rich and causes budgets to get red ink.

    Without the effors of Obama et al, we would be in far worse territory. The market is coming around, most economists suggest Obama is generally headed in the right direction and mood of the country is positive.

    The budget, ideas offered by the GOP so far this year are more of the same from a discredited party after 8 years of nonsense. Belt tightning? When did the GOP does this? Cutting spending? Can you point to a single example over the past 8 years? Anything beyond tax cuts which worsen our deficit? You have nothing to propose.

    May 2, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Sandy

    Thank you Mrs. Jenkins for telling the truth. Main Stream Media is keeping the average American in the dark about the consequences of this massive goverment spending. This is why the Republicans need to set a platform and Mike Huckabees views are ones that all Americans can wrap thier arms around. He will get rid of the IRS everyone pays a flat tax. The Tom Hanks and Sean Penns of the world wil no longer hired tax attorney and CPA to hide thier money. Term limits for representatives. No Federal Pension they get a 401K with a match. No Federal Health Insurance They get an HSA and have to shop thier insurance just like we do. If they over spend they lose 2% of thier salary. I don't get it why isn't everyone screaming for these changes in Government!!!!!!

    May 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Michael

    Here's my problem with her statement: the last eight years of tax cuts for the upper class, in a continuation of Reaganomics, and a bloated defense budget, in a beginning of a war that we did not need, made a surplus that we had under Pres. Clinton disappear into a trillion-dollar deficit that already would have cost future generations problems. So to make this about Pres. Obama's efforts to do something that should've begun years ago is laughable at best and tragic at worst.

    If the revolutionary the GOP knows as Pres. Reagan were TRULY revolutionary, he would've realized how our economy really works: that when you work for people at the bottom, or even for people in the middle, that helps people everywhere. Instead, he followed the "trickle-down" theory, which not only increased our deficit, but also started us down the path of greater disparity between the "haves" and "have-nots" that resulted in the greatest gap since the Great Depression.

    I ask you, Ms. Jenkins, is that your definition of "prosperity"?

    May 2, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Sue from Nashville

    Republicans aren't working for middle-class families and small businesses. Republicans are working for those companies and special interest groups who pay to get them elected. Same for Democrats.

    Until the way officials get money to pay for elections, those elected will always work for those who helped finance their way into their offices.

    You know... like Wall Street...

    May 2, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Sue from Nashville

    That is the way officials get money to pay for elections changes... sorry about that!

    May 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Jamey

    Ah, another GOPer just discovered the national debt! How touching...and a "mom", too.

    May 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. John Kenyon

    I wish people would "GET IT". Throwing money into the fire ( economy ) to make the flames higher will not do anything but give us temporary feel good. We simply need JOBS. The only way to increase consumer confidence and improve spending is to put the almost 10% of the people back to work LONG TERM PERMANENT JOBS.
    Currently, the only way i see it is to bring USA manufacturers back to our country. We sold out and let them leave in the last 12 years. We are long over due.

    May 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. arithmetic is liberal

    What's the Republican solution?

    Tax cuts for the rich! Again!

    Nice packaging this time, though. Get a freshman to go up and deliver the Republican Party line, but direct the message at small business and middle class families to appear in touch. Sorry, we already saw how that played out in 2000 when George W. Bush said those exact same words!

    Tax cuts! Mention small business and the middle class all you like, but the cost of Washington SHRUNK for us already under Obama!

    May 2, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. kman821

    "Republicans, she said, “are fighting for middle-class families and small businesses every day here in Washington.”

    With that said ... her credibility just flew out the window. Republicans are fighting for the middle-class, yeah right!

    May 2, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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