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. John J

    I totally agree with her. And I now think Ron Paul is right auditing the federal reserve is the best way to find out where our money is really going.

    I ask you all to support H.R. 1207 call your congressmen or Write them, or email them to stand behind this bill.

    May 2, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. WangFu

    Where have these GOP-ers been as we spent 800 billion in the last 8 years on Iraq? All of the sudden, these types come out of the woodwork and seem concerned about placing debt on future generations.

    Wasteful spending? What do you call Bush's misadventure in Iraq?

    Iraq was not a crisis. However, our economy is.

    Obama has a plan and he's pursuing it. What credible plan has anyone from the GOP put forth?

    May 2, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. cmc

    You got to Washington, and now you see the mess! May I ask where have you been for 8yrs? Today on CNN the recession started in 2007, were you not listenin when Bush and CO were telling how much the wars were costing per month! Is this all news to you?, what did you run on"pipe dreams", and this one was elected by fellow people of Kansas, I always thought people who run for office actually know what is going on in the world, guess not.

    May 2, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Independent_me

    What hypocrisy!
    Where were they when Bush took the country from surplus to massive deficits?
    The only choice the GOP left the country was to do deeper into deficit spending in order to create the jobs that would get us out of debt. That is just the way it is.

    May 2, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. 21% of Americans are TRAITORS for wanting America to FAIL and 79% of Americans to SUFFER!

    When will the party of NO realize exactly how stupid they now sound getting all "fiscally responsible" after the worst 8 years in history. The national debt doubled due to the "fiscally responsible" repubs. So, for them to have suddenly had a come to Jesus meeting about spending is laughable.

    At least as the Dems rack up debt it will be spent on this country not sent to Iraq to build 74 million dollar buildings that are condemned without ever being occupied.

    And in case the party of NO hasn't noticed, all but 21% of America is laughing at them.

    May 2, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Malcolm

    Taxing, spending, borrowing- wasn't that the Republican plan that got us into trillions of dollars of debt and brought our economy down? Oh yes....and two wars! It's interesting how the one brought in to clean up the mess can get blamed for causing the mess. It's not just political manipulation, it wrong and the source of the Republican's downfall in America- dishonesty! If this is what it means to have a two party system, then I'm all for a one party system until a responsible party can arise to take their place. The party of Limbaugh, Coutier, Bachman, Hannity, and Palin is over!!

    May 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Peter E

    Put your money where your big mouth is! If you don't want to burden future generations with your debt then pay your taxes! Oh, right, you want a taxcut for yourself AND your children, just like your parents did the same. Guess what, taxcuts and lowering debt are mutually exclusive! Most of our spending is tied up in Social Security, Medicare, and our defense budget, and interest on the National debt and nobody is able to alter those items. We bicker over less than 10% of the budget.
    So if you're so worried about the debt to our children then stop greedily asking for a taxcut for yourself!

    May 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Rodney

    A repub who is worried that the Democrats in charge will do something that they don't like - will wonders never cease.

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

    Show me one freakin' time this was the case over the last 8 years. Hey, how about in the last 5 months - since that is we she came to Congress - let's start with the Homeowner Protection Bill. The one that would allow home-owners in danger of losing their homes to at least have some footing to renegiotate their loans under certain conditions - NOT ONE GOP VOTE. Nice - help the middle class my backside.

    To be fair 13 Dem.s voted against it also and they too should be removed from office after how quick Congress lined up to kiss the banks ring on the last rewrite of baankruptcy laws and the bailout.

    May 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. What a joke

    For those that think the GOP is in tatters and hopeless disarray, you had better think twice. First of all, a party that continually bangs the drums of "they're taking your money" and "they're wasting it" is never more than a moment away from returning to power, particularly when there is so much government mismanagement and corruption to exploit. Secondly, you only have to look to this address to understand their ability to play on our fears and to cleverly deliver that message using a new representative and a mother "with two children". Rep. Jenkins is a freshman representative, so she can be painted with the "you've run the deficit up the last 8 years" brush (even if her mesage is to continue those same ruinous policies) and she's a "concerned" Mom, which puts a younger, female voice and face on a message and party that's anything but. Until all voting Americans truly educate themselves on what is going on and demand accountability and actions that truly help the shrinking middle class (here's a hint, the GOP tax cuts over the last 8 years GREW the income gap as more and more of the tax burden was shifted to the middle class), we will never move forward as a country (and make up for the last 8 years where we rapidly lost our technological, educational and manufacturing advantages). Government has a role in our lives (education, transportation, protection, etc.), so it should not be portrayed as the great evil in America. However, we have to demand accountability and efficiency and we can't do that without educating ourselves and getting rid of the corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders when it comes time. Wake up and discuss the details and the facts. Stop listening to these hollow, vague ideas and thinly veiled attacks and start demanding answers and details!

    May 2, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins is right the books are probably a mess, but in all honesty she can not blame President Obama for the state of the economy, it took eight years prior of expending, wars and breaking all laws, national and international.. and of course Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins offers “NO” solutions and “NO” new ideas..

    May 2, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. gary davis

    your three words , spending ,taxing and borrowing.

    take it back eight years and thats what Bush did and continued to do for eight years . you and many others should have squaked back then .
    if some republican can actually come up with a better way to get us out of the Bush Cheney mess . by all means bring it to light . other wise stop squaking and start helping . build public trust and stop patting yourselvies on the back and roll up your shirt and do the job you were voted in to do.

    soso tired of finger pointing . if the last eight years didn't open your eyes of the abuse that our elected officials got away with then you need to step down from public service .and we can elect someone that will become a productive representative .

    May 2, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Jeff - Sarasota, Florida

    It sure is easy to tell she is new... She hasn't got a clue...

    I quote:

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

    Republicans are fighting each other and for their BIG BUSINESS intrests, not the middle class and small businesses... The are fighting for their own survival...

    She talks of being so knowledgable of accounting yet she fails to acknowledge that the books were screwed up for 8 years by her own Party and now after a little over 100 days she blames it on the Democrats... it took the Republicans 8 years to get the books where they were/are and she thinks the Democrats should have them balanced by now... Kinda makes me wonder what kind of CPA/Accountant she is... Of course she is a Republican CPA/Accountant so that does explain a little about her mentality... It is the typical Republican response for everything.
    Blame the Democrats"...

    Sounds to me like she needs to learn a LOT more before speaking out of place about things she obviously knows very little about, instead of just being a typical Republican and pointing the finger of blame elsewhere...

    I will be so amazed if any politician will ever admit that BOTH PARTIES were/are responsible for the mess we are in and BOTH PARTIES need to come together to work it out... As long as they keep pointing the finger of blame at each other, nothing will ever be resolved and the books will never be straightened out...

    May 2, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Once again– the current administration did not create these problems. They are having to clean up the mess of the last 8 (or even more) years. You can't put all the blame on them for what has transpired in the last 4 months. Be fair, the first bail-out actually took place while Bush was still in office.

    May 2, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

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

    She says this is her first year in office, and now we know her previous gig was as a comedienne because that quote is one funny laugh line!

    May 2, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. djb

    I am from Kansas and know something about the philosophical mindset of the very Republican mindset in this state. What some people see as "stimulus", other people see as "waste". What some people see as "spending", others see as "investment".

    Remember that the first TARP money went through without ANY monitoring or accountability. At least with the transparency of this government, we KNOW where our money is going! That in itself is a CHANGE!

    May 2, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Marty, Grand Rapids

    Ok, I would love it if we balanced the budget. We have some issues though. We need to finish off the mess that George Bush made (two wars). Since it's rude to have future generations pay for a war 'we' decided to have, lets start a war tax to pay for current and post 2001 military activity and health car costs. This will help reduce the debt George Bush (and most of congress) wanted to give us. We should keep this tax in place and adjust as nessessary. This will make sure we never run a war on a credit card again. It will also keep the American people more interested in our governemnts war policies as they will be paying for it (immediately). A win/win in my book.

    Next we need to make some cuts. Since the US is responsible for 48% of the worlds military spending, I'm sure we can cut our defence spending and still protect our great country. Money saved could be spent on other priorities like healthcare. Now instead of rationing healthcare based on money, we can ration based on resources. What a concept!

    Lastly, we have a huge national security issue and wealth transfer going on buying oil and natural gas from other countries. Lets give an insentive to our energy companies by forcing them to pay to dump CO2 into the air. We can use the money to subsidize Wind/Solar technologies as well as Battery technologies for future generation cars. Yes, this will increase our electric bill but someone has to pay for it and we will love the additional jobs for Americans. To throw a bone to the republicans, lets let them drill offshore if states approve and they have funds setup to pay for potential spills.

    Here is the problem with working with republicans though. They don't want to solve our problems, just go back to bau. People need to understand that fixing our problems is going to require some government intervention and some additional costs. People shouldn't be concerned with cost as long as they are getting value from the money spent. I would agree that governemnt is not always the most efficient vehicle for change, but it's all that "we, the people" can control.

    May 2, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Randall

    Only GOP alternative is based on, you guessed it, tax cuts. The trickle down theory, they continue to embrace. They must mean tax cuts for the already well off, because not too many of the rest of us have much to spare. Have any GOP'ers noticed that the trickle tap has apparently rusted and been malfunctioning the last 8 years? And, based on that, what proof do they have that would lead them to believe it would work any better now? We the people have mandated a different approach, but this is something the GOP steadfastly fails to acknowledge or want to admit. As long as they pursue this rant, their internal party problems will linger. Thankfully, we now have a President that appears to be doing a stellar job in carrying this mandate out, on top of attempting to clean up the fallout from this failed policy left by the previous occupant of the White House.

    May 2, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. linell, Winter Park, FL,

    "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."

    Really? It isn't evident that you are doing anything but being obstructive and obtuse regarding any and everything that Obama has tried to do. I am a middle class white, female, baby boomer American whom you can no longer count on as a Republican. There are lots of former Republicans like me who voted for Obama, hope, and change in the last election–you need to understand that and either put up or shut up about your bipartisanship!!!

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. VGal

    Once again, a lot of talk but NO SOLUTIONS offered by these Republicans. Do they really think just strutting out another "mother of 2" (just like me, btw) is going to make me believe their empty words. Let's see some SOLUTIONS. NO MORE WORTHLESS DIVIDING TALK.

    And also, just saying over and over that you "personally like Obama" is just about the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Just because you are trying to jump on the Obama bandwagon – yet you are really slamming him. What a two faced ***.

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. arivera

    Republicans fighting for anyone but big business and the wealthy is a laugh. Is anybody that stupid? These people despise the hardworking and underprivileged people of this country which is the majority. The right wings lies and hate are catching up with them. Good riddance, we want our country back.

    May 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. keith cummings

    first 100 days running Washington can be summed up in three words: spending, taxing, and borrowing,” she said.

    how about Bush's last eight years? Just how would accountant Lynn Jenkins describe those years?

    May 2, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. stevensdot

    and yet again – another sad refrain – from another Republican who seems to forget how we got to this mess with our books! The Congresswoman might want to review Warren Buffet's remarks!

    May 2, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Dave

    Why can't the Republicans get the FACT that we HAVE to spend money to get us out of Bush's(and their)hole....She is a freshman and she has an opinion??? I guess this is the "NEW" leadership of the Repugs.

    May 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Jeff

    I agree about the spending. However, before anyone tries to brand it as a Democrat Party philosophy, I would like to remind you that W passed the first stimulus bill, pushed first and hardest for the financial bailouts, and ran record deficits throughout his presidency. He had a GOP congress for most of those record deficits. So, let's proceed at full speed to lobby for fiscal conservatism, but don't bother trying to brand that as a GOP platform because that's crap and everyone knows it. That's why the GOP is in the hurt locker right now. You've lost all your credibility and this GOP fiscal conservative talk is not helping.

    May 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. David Newport, OR

    if it takes spending , taxing and borrowing to fix what the GOP left us, so be it. We can either stick our head under a log and pretend everything is OK or we can look at the real issues and try to do something. How refreshing is it that we actually put the War on the budget? Yet the GOP complains about it. They would rather to keep things as they were. So, in 100 days...do you think Chysler, GM and all the banks just went belly up? Or did they go under for the greed that has been idealized by the GOP?

    May 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7