Collins expects ‘showdown’ with president over debt, deficit

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins addressed members of the Albion Rotary Club today, including Michael Bonnewell, superintendent of Albion Central School.

GAINES – The government could grind to a halt next month due to the “vast differences” between President Barack Obama and a Republican-led House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins told members of the Albion Rotary Club today.

House Republicans want the president and Congress to reduce the nation’s deficit and develop a plan for paying down the national debt, said Collins, R-Clarence.

“The country is on an unsustainable course,” Collins told the Albion Rotary Club today during its meeting at The Village Inn. “There will be a showdown.”

House Speaker John Boehner vowed “a whale of a fight” over extending the debt ceiling. Boehner told reporters in Boise on Tuesday that Obama needs to cut government spending for Republicans in Congress to support raising the debt ceiling.

If the debt ceiling isn’t extended, the government could default on paying its bills in October. Collins would support raising the debt limit, if Obama would agree to rewriting the tax code. Collins said a fairer, less burdensome tax policy would spur the economy, with increased business activity resulting in more tax revenues.

Collins also wants to see the controversial Keystone Pipeline approved. Republicans could insist on that as part of the negotiations with Obama and Democrats in Congress over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction plan, Collins said.

The congressman touched on other issues. He supports an immigration reform plan that would give legal status for many farmworkers, especially those at dairies, to be in the country and work in agriculture.

He doesn’t want the United States to intervene in the civil war in Syria. While the fighting in Syria is “deeply troubling,” Collins said the country’s disintegration doesn’t pose an “imminent threat” to the U.S.

“We don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction and fire cruise missiles,” Collins said. “I’m hopeful the president will move cautiously.”

Collins this afternoon made at least his third stop in Orleans County since March. He was in Corfu earlier today and was in Batavia on Wednesday. He said he is frequently meeting with business and community leaders in the eight-county district.

When he was elected in November, Collins said many people assumed he would seldom reach out to the rural counties, and instead be devoted to Erie County, where he was the county executive.

“I’m trying to prove the naysayers wrong,” Collins said.