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Himes Talks Budget, Libya at Senior Men's Association [Video]

The congressman also touched on immigration, gun control, and climate change in his hourlong appearance.

Addressing the Senior Men's Association of Darien on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn. 4) asserted that Social Security is "in good shape" and called on the President to withdraw forces from the conflict in Libya "as soon as possible."

Himes, who touched on a wide range of subjects during the hourlong appearance, began by presenting a slideshow on budgetary and economic issues.

"I would submit to you that we can't be fifteenth in infrastructure and expect to be number one on the economy," Himes told the group, noting that "cracks are starting to show" due to sinking graduation rates and levels of innovation.

While the current national debt poses risks to the U.S. economy, Himes said, "it's not our biggest long term problem." 

"$14.1 trillion is actually considerably less than what we have promised to each and every American alive today over the course of their lifespan in projected Medicare benefits," he said. "That figure is about $32 trillion."

"If we could fix [rising medical costs], that's the elephant in the room," Himes added.

The congressman drew a sharp distinction between Medicare and Social Security, however, pointing out that the program's trust fund can be sustained for another 20 years without any benefit or revenue changes.

"Don't let anybody ever tell you Social Security is in crisis," Himes said.

Himes praised the recent work of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission and argued that scaling down debt in the long run would require all parties to "jump in together." 

Still, he warned against focusing on the wrong budgetary priorities.

"It's important to recognize that earmarks plus foreign aid are less than one percent of our outlays," Himes said.

"We need to cut, but not at a speed that slows the economy," he added. "Let's not hurt those things that we know are going to have a substantial return and allow us to be prosperous in the long run."

Asked by a member of the audience to comment on the U.S.'s ongoing intervention in Libya, Himes said he was glad ruler Muammar Gaddafi "is not killing thousands of people" but that "it is absolutely not our job ... to be getting engaged militarily in every time there is a local uprising that seems to be democratic."

"I'm not going to pound on the President for doing what he did ... but I want us out of there as soon as possible. We cannot be engaged in three wars in Muslim countries," Himes added.

The congressman spoke briefly on immigration — advocating that the U.S. "staple a green card" to high-level degrees earned by foreign students — and gun control.

"Let's make sure that anybody who is exercising their Second Amendement rights is not a felon, is not psychologically imbalanced, and is qualified and trained to use firearms," Himes said. "That would be a huge step in the right direction."

Himes also told Wednesday's audience that while he supports the science of global warming, he believes that there are good strategic reasons for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on foreign oil.

"How much longer are we going to have three carrier groups in the Middle East because oil lines are so important?" Himes asked. "How much longer are we going to be buying oil from Venezuela?"

A complete version of Rep. Himes' appearance will be broadcast on TV79 beginning Friday, March 25.

John March 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Most politicians live their life so that 51% of the people like them.......Wouldn't it be nice if 51% of the people were sharp and honest. So it makes sense with this guy. Actually Shays was as phony as they come also. It's really not that difficult being able to BS 51% of the population. That is an answer.
Frank March 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Let's see: Social security is in good shape = wrong Withdraw troops from conflict in Libya = right, but why are we there and was he asked to vote on being there. Cracks are starting to show in education and innovation = where has he been for the last 20 years "$14.1 trillion is actually considerably less than what we have promised” = who promised? Not high enough. So he is ok for more? = wrong. Rising medical costs, that's the elephant in the room. = Oh, I thought that his friend Obama and Pelosi fixed that last year! Medicare and Social Security program's trust fund can be sustained for another 20 years without any benefit or revenue changes = for the last 20 years we have been told that they are going to be bankrupt soon and I continue to pay more each year into these and expect to live more than 20 years. Fix it now! The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission recommends tort reform as a way to reduce Medicare and Medicaid expenditure. = He and his friends didn’t want that in the Obama health care bill that he voted for last year. He has only been there a short time, but he sounds just like Ms Pelosi and Sir Harry. It must be in the DC water. Maybe they should all work virtually from a home office and he can drink Greenwich tap water.
Dave March 25, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Mr. Independent that voted with Reid/Pelosi 98% of the time.
JHS March 25, 2011 at 03:36 PM
another delusional Dem who think SS is just fine.
John Boulton March 25, 2011 at 05:15 PM
It was so nice of Mr . Himes to visit Darien and fuss over us, but he knows the facts: win Bridgeport = win re-election. Otherwise, we are just a piggy bank for him to raise money in and blow kisses at.
Jean D. March 25, 2011 at 06:36 PM
That is so true. AND ACORN bussed ner -do- wells to the polls. So CT is a sink hole. Everyone I know of a certain age and a certain status is claiming residency in Florida as soon as they can. Good riddance leaches.
Jim Cameron March 25, 2011 at 09:16 PM
To see the full presentation, including Q&A, tune in Darien TV79... 4 AM, 12:15 PM, 8 PM JIM CAMERON Program Director Darien TV79

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