Coffee with the Congressman: Womack visits with voters in Green Forest
GREEN FOREST -- U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, met with constituents in Green Forest on Wednesday at an informal "Coffee with the Congressman" session in which he answered voters' questions on everything from ethanol in automobile gasoline to the current energy crisis and welfare programs.
Following are a few sound bytes from the Congressman's visit:
* On requiring ethanol in automobile gasoline:
"The last thing we need to do is solve the energy crisis by creating a food crisis."
* On energy, gas prices, and the economy:
"With the abundance of oil we have on the outercontinental shelf and up in Alaska and accessible to us through Canada, those tar sands, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to bring gas prices way, way down, and make ourselves much more competitive with the rest of the world.
"We know labor is going to be cheaper in some of the rest of the world. We know that already. If we can bring energy prices down that can kind of balance out the cheaper labor supply, we can overcome this regulatory process that is so punitive right now to the job creators, (and) there's no reason America can't ... regain its status as the most productive (country and be) Ground Zero in leading this world economy once again."
* On entitlements and welfare:
"It was never designed to be permanent. A welfare program should be a ... humanitarian bridge of sorts to get somebody from the condition they are in today to a better situation tomorrow. And yet if you look at the policies of this administration what do we do with unemployment? There are people out there who drew unemployment checks for two years -- 99 weeks. And (look at) the number on food stamps. They talked about it last night (during the presidential debate). Just a few year ago, there were 16 to 18 million people on food stamps, and today it's 47 million people on food stamps.
"These programs have grown exponentially. And there's no end in sight. Which all means this: There's a cost to all that. And that cost is going up, and it is not sustainable given the fact that we are a trillion dollars overspent.
"We're all going to feel it (when we have to cut back these programs). But we're adults. We're either going to do something about it now or else we're going to put that burden on our grandchildren, and our grandchildren's grandchildren. And I think that's a terrible thing to do."