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Congressman talks to crowd in Brigham on immigration, flooding, debt

July 7th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

Story & Photos by D. Whitney Smith

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah—U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop spoke to a packed room at a “town hall” session in Brigham City Saturday. The topics were flooding, federal lawmaking, immigration and the U.S. debt.

Before he started, Bishop and residents discussed recent flooding. He said he had toured the affected areas, which he said seem to be on a 30-year cycle, citing similar flooding that took place in the ‘20s, ‘50s and ‘80s in those same places.

When the meeting started, Bishop said he wanted to discuss three “quick issues”—the Repeal Amendment, illegal immigration and the U.S. debt.

Bishop said the Repeal Amendment would boost federalism and put power back into the hands of states, and result in better representation of the people. If two-thirds of states decided a law or action by the federal government needed to be rethought, they could vote for repeal, he said.

“The Repeal Amendment is still the right thing to do,” Bishop said.

“If we get through this crisis of the economy and all we do is not spend as much, I will be disappointed. I will be disappointed if we don’t do something systemically different in the way we conduct business and, to me, the Repeal Amendment is one of those systemic changes.”

Of immigration, Bishop said the first thing that needs to be done is to insure that the United States controls its borders. Bishop brought pictures and diagrams with him to illustrate some of what he said are the current weaknesses in the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to U.S. Border Patrol officers, Bishop said, 40 percent of the people coming across illegally from Mexico are related to a “criminal element” involved in drug cartels, human trafficking and prostitution.

“That’s what concerns me more than anything else on why we cannot control the border,” Bishop said. “If the bathtub is overflowing, you don’t start bailing the water, you turn the spigot off.”

For other undocumented immigrants who are crossing in search of employment, he said the number of visas offered needs to be regulated along with the condition of the economy.

Bishop also said that one of the continuing issues in these town hall meetings has been the state of the economy and the U.S. $14 trillion debt.

“It took a long time to get where we are,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time of dedicated effort to try and reverse the course or adapt, but we have to do it. If we keep the same trajectory we’re on, by 2030 the total debt of this country exceeds the total wealth of this country, which is the definition of bankruptcy—we cease to be a nation.”

He said balancing the budget and decreasing the national debt is going to be a long, messy fight. The problem area is not so much with funding wars as it is with entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, Bishop said.

The last time the U.S. had a balanced budget was during the Clinton administration. Since then, 9/11 occurred and the Bush administration wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have boosted the U.S. national debt from zero to $14,346,557,899,280.99.

Bishop’s presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session that revealed both praise and dismay over what Bishop and other federal lawmakers have done for the citizens they represent.

“I don’t feel that the majority of people representing us in Washington are listening to the total populous of the state,” said Mendon resident Kathy Snyder. “I honestly believe that they don’t care about a certain segment of the population.”

Snyder, the vice-chair of the Cache Democrats, said Republicans take the moral high ground regarding the deficit, yet pass further tax cuts during wartime that will result in the nation having to pay for war for the next hundred years.

She said she gets the feeling that representatives feel they only have to represent those who agree with them.

At the end of the meeting Crystal Limousine owner and Box Elder resident Boyd Montgomery said he was thankful that Bishop took the time to speak. He began to applaud, and many in the audience joined in.

“I wish we had more time with him,” Montgomery said. “Basically, Rob Bishop is doing probably as much as anyone for us—for the state of Utah—as far as I’m concerned.”

Montgomery said he is going to have to sell his taxi/limousine service, which covers three counties, due to the poor economy.


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  1. 2 Responses to “Congressman talks to crowd in Brigham on immigration, flooding, debt”

  2. By jstudent on Jul 10, 2011

    “boost federalism and put power back into the hands of states”– one of these things is not like the other.

  3. By Dan Smith on Jul 18, 2011

    Bishop actually said at this meeting that most people have a misconception about what “federalism” actually means. Many people believe federalism transfers all power to the federal government, whereas the actual translation is quite the contrary.

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