Federal debt, taxes and healthcare. All were hot topics at a forum this morning held by Senator David Vitter and Congressman Jeff Landry from New Iberia.
The senator and congressman gave their views on reducing the debt, wasteful spending and other issues. But they say their real purpose was to hear from the people.
The auditorium at the Arts and Humanities Center was filled with people anxious to pass along their concerns to Vitter and Landry from New Iberia-- both of whom voted against raising the federal debt ceiling. They say it didn't go far enough. Said Vitter, "When my family's in tough times, when we have to cut back, when we're looking at the family budget, we start at a whole lot more of a cut than one third of one per cent. When small businesses in Louisiana face tough times in a recession they sure do more than one third of one per cent. And this was less than one third of one per cent over two years."
Said Landry, "We're borrowing forty cents on every dollar and that is a problem in Washington. We don't prioritize. We don't decide what our wants versus our needs are. And it is frustrating, especially when you see money going to countries that dislike us and would like nothing better than to see the United States wiped off the map."
They got an earful from people want congress to deal with debt the way American families do. One man expressed frustration telling the elected officials, "We gotta buy groceries, we gotta pay our bills, insurance costs and all this stuff. We figure out how much we got coming in, how much we can spend. How come you guys can't figure that out down there? I don't understand this! I just don't understand!"
Said another, "Why should I expect anything to be accomplished out of this meeting tomorrow?"
Congressman Charles Boustany who now represents the Lake area was not invited. Vitter says that's because Boustany disagreed with him on the debt bill and he wanted someone who agreed with him at the forum.
A spokesman for Boustany says he was holding his own town meeting in Crowley today. Because of re-districting Boustany and Landry will run against each in the newly drawn District 3, if Landry runs. Landry says he's not decided.