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Wilson leaders press Black on federal fiscal issues
Jan 10, 2013 3:40 pm
By Sara McManamy-Johnson
Wilson business and government leaders are ready for the federal government to resolve key fiscal issues, and they let U.S. Rep. Diane Black know that in no uncertain terms Wednesday.
Black spoke at the Lebanon-Wilson Chamber of Commerce.
Cumberland University President Harvill Eaton expressed a hope that the government will get more done now that the elections are over.
“[By the end of the 2012 elections], I was so sick of the confused, intentional -- I think intentional out of both sides – throwing flak out at the public so that they couldn’t deal with what the issues were,” said Eaton. “There was so much noise intentionally thrown out by both parties [during the 2012 elections]. Now that [the elections are] over with, I trust you and I trust the other members will sort through this.”
Lebanon Councilor Lanny Jewell said the government’s path to a resolution is possibly more important than the resolution itself.
“The continuing resolution, the debt ceiling, all that’s going to be resolved – I’ve got a crystal ball,” said Jewell. “This posturing and waiting until the 11th hour or the 13th hour – to the American public, to me, to a lot of folks sitting in here, regardless of party – dissolves belief in y’all going to Washington and getting things done.”
Jewell suggested Congress and the administration try something different and work proactively.
“Instead of playing reactive ball, play proactive ball and come out and say ‘we know we’re going to compromise.’ Why not do that early instead of this 11th hour?” said Jewell.
He said the waiting for resolution just leads to uncertainty for the economy, for people and for businesses.
“When people don’t know, they don’t act, and we don’t do anything as a business community,” said Jewell.
Mayor Philip Craighead said he’d seen that uncertainty at work in Lebanon.
“I’ve been going around to some of the factories around here, and if you ask them if they’re getting ready to hire, a lot of them say they need to, and they want to, but they’re uncertain,” said Craighead. “I’ve heard that at several of our factories when I talk to them.”
He said those factories seemed to be waiting for the federal government to simply do whatever it was going to do so they could make some sort of informed decision.
Black recognized the effects of this uncertainty on businesses and the economy.
“Uncertainty creates paralysis, because when our business owners are uncertain, they’re paralyzed,” said Black. “They don’t want to put any more money in; they don’t want to borrow money to put into their business; they don’t want to hire a person because they don’t know what their liabilities are going to be on things that we’re pushing on health care.”
She conceded the House and Senate are at least partially responsible for the sluggish economy rebound.
“What we have done by being uncertain in Washington has created a lot of paralysis out there, and we’re a big part of the problem of why the economy has not grown,” said Black.
She did, however, lay much of the blame for the delayed passage of a fiscal cliff bill on the Senate.
“The bill that was amended by the Senate and sent back to us at 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve – our bill was given to the Senate in August,” said Black. “About four-and-a-half months they had that bill sitting on their desks.”
She did tell those gathered they could expect a quicker resolution on the debt ceiling issue.
“You will see that we are going to come out with a plan, and the plan is going to be very similar to what has already been out there in the Simpson-Bowles,” said Black. “Honestly, I could’ve taken Simpson-Bowles and voted for the whole thing…It’s not 100 percent, but nothing you’re going to vote on has 100 percent.”
She said to expect a plan before the end of January.
“We’re not going to wait until the last minute to have this happen,” said Black.