FEMA funds for Vermont could be offset by cutting spending elsewhere

by Mark Donka

Each upcoming election is increasingly crucial to the success or failure of this country. We can’t continue to elect the wrong people to lead us.

I have been following the situation with the state of Vermont attempting to secure funding from FEMA for the new state office complex and hospital and I want to weigh in on it.

First, I don’t plan to comment about the governor and the legislators’ actions regarding their plans. As a candidate for federal office that is not my focus nor my place. As a candidate for Congress I feel I should be heard regarding the state attempting to receive funding from the federal government. One of the primary functions of a member of Congress is to secure funding for the state or district that he or she represents. In that regard Peter Welch has done an adequate job. He has brought federal dollars to the state as has every other member of Congress. He helped secure disaster relief along with other members of Congress from many states affected by Irene. After a major disaster such as a flood or hurricane with the images fresh in people’s minds and many representatives seeking relief money is relatively easy to obtain. Now, almost a year later the willingness to help is much less. With over a one trillion dollar deficit and financial disaster looming, it takes someone who is more than adequate to secure such a large commitment from the federal government to help fund the state office complex and hospital. The news stories indicating that state officials are trying to secure the funding tell me that Peter Welch cannot successfully accomplish his primary job of taking care of our state.

This leads me to my announcement: If elected I will secure the $100 million dollars the state is seeking from the federal government without increasing the national debt one cent. I will find the money that can be eliminated from the budget and present it to the House of Representatives asking that money be appropriated for the state of Vermont to rebuild the office complex and hospital and it will be spending neutral. If one listens to what the Republicans are saying they state that spending can occur as long as it doesn’t increase the deficit. That is exactly what I will present.

Peter Welch was a sponsor and vocal advocate for PayGo, a bill that states that new spending could only occur if it were spending neutral. Since that time I have seen many votes that he has cast that completely disregarded that bill. I am sure he is trying to secure funding for the state while completely ignoring that bill once again. With a Republican controlled House he will and should fail. The main difference between us is he doesn’t seem to care about putting our children deeper into debt. I will accomplish the same goals as him more effectively without burying our children in debt.

Finding 100 million dollars in cuts won’t be easy but it is very possible. With a three trllion dollar budget finding a tiny amount such as this should be like spotting a coin in a wishing well. I may very well discover another bridge to nowhere. Maybe it is time to end the subsidies to Amtrak so they no longer pay $3.40 for a can of soda that they sell for $2.00 or a cheeseburger they pay $16.15 for and sell for $9.50. Maybe we stop giving money to a mass transit system in Vermont that has almost 300,000 passengers a year who ride absolutely free and exists solely on grants. There is a great deal of waste in the federal budget waiting for someone to discover. I want to be that person.

Now I realize what the political pundits will be saying; Mark Donka doesn’t understand the system, he is making statements he can’t back up, he is naïve, etc. etc. Let me assure you that I am not a person to make a promise lightly or be boastful. I have analyzed the situation in depth and know that I can accomplish this. As for not understanding the system, I see what the Republicans are trying to accomplish in controlling spending and I agree. As I have stated, I will have the spending cuts in place before I make my presentation so I will succeed. I am not saying it will be easy nor that the money will be appropriated with no opposition but I will make it happen. When making any cuts some toes will be stepped on and I will be prepared to address that. My many years in law enforcement has prepared me to deal with complex issues and many types of people I will encounter in Washington.

So it comes down to which direction the voters in Vermont choose; the status quo from a representative who can’t deliver in crucial situations with a spend ’til there ain’t no more mentality, or a leader who will be there for Vermont while getting America back on the right track.

God bless America and once again, thank you.

Mark Donka is a Republican candidate for Vermont’s U.S. House seat.