“We Will Take the Lead”

Rep. Lankford says Obama may “think he’s punishing CEOs of big companies, but his plan will hurt the everyday consumer” in weekly GOP response.

“Hello, my name is James Lankford, and I’m a freshmen Member of Congress, working for the people of Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.

“When I listen to my constituents about the challenges they face, skyrocketing cost of gasoline is at the top of the list. Prices at the pump have nearly doubled since President Obama took office, making everyday life like driving to work, buying groceries, picking up kids at school and visiting family more expensive.

“Even worse, the rising price of fuel is costing jobs and hurting our economy. Higher energy prices hit virtually every American product and industry, making it more expensive to manufacture products, more expensive to ship goods, and more expensive for farmers and ranchers. In fact, higher energy costs make everything made in the USA more expensive, and send more good-paying jobs overseas.

“Americans are looking for leadership to tackle the rising gas prices, but President Obama has only offered a tax increase on energy and the prospect of reduced supply. For more than two years, his administration has knowingly increased energy prices by choking off new sources of traditional American energy and smothering our economy in new energy regulations. His latest proposal – hiking taxes by billions of dollars – will not lower gas prices and would actually make the problem worse.

“In my state, and in many other states, thousands of people depend directly on American energy production for their paychecks. The President may think he’s punishing CEOs of big companies, but his plan will hurt the everyday consumer of energy and imperil the jobs of millions of hardworking people in American-based companies.

“There is a better way. Republicans are focused on expanding all American energy production to help lower costs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create millions of American jobs.

“Next week, the House of Representatives will begin this process by passing legislation to increase the supply of American energy and create jobs. This legislation is part of our American Energy Initiative – an ongoing effort to lower costs and allow the private sector to create more American jobs.

“Quite simply, if the President chooses to punt on real long-term solutions for energy and gas prices, we will take the lead.

“Two weeks ago, I was proud to cast my vote in the House for a budget that promotes economic growth and job creation by putting us on a path to pay down our debt, and preserve Medicaid and Medicare for current retirees and future generations. Our national debt is worse than most people realize. We must solve our budget problem, not just talk about the crisis.

“The President’s budget proposal fails to offer a credible plan that meets the nation’s challenges in a serious manner. He considers it radical and extreme to balance the budget by doing what every American business and family does in tough times – they reduce spending.

“We need to be honest with the American people. Washington should not overspend, then go to the American people and demand a tax increase because we cannot make the tough decisions.

“And, we cannot ignore the fact that tens of millions of Baby Boomers are beginning to retire while Medicare is already teetering at the brink of insolvency. We must stabilize, and protect Medicare and Medicaid.

“Let me be clear: the Republican plan would not affect current Medicare beneficiaries, or any American 55 or older. To address Medicare’s looming insolvency though, we put in place a plan to save Medicare for those under 55. We want them to have access to the same kind of medical retirement options that Members of Congress and all federal employees benefit from.

“The President’s proposal protects the status quo: an unsustainable system that will bankrupt Medicare and lead to future deep, painful benefit cuts for seniors, while continuing to pile trillions of dollars of obligation on the backs of future generations.

“The world is watching to see how we’ll handle our debt. Everyone wants to know if we’ll just pile up more debt with no plan to ever pay it off, or if we will find a way to permanently work on our national debt.

“The President wants us to raise the debt limit with no real reforms to stop future Washington spending binges. To let Washington borrow even more money from the Chinese and hand the bill to our kids and grandkids. This would be a stark moment in American history, when a president would intentionally declare: ‘times are tough, I think I’ll make life tougher on my kids and grandkids’ generation to make life easier on me and my generation.’

“We have responded differently: the American people will not tolerate an increase in the debt limit unless it comes with meaningful steps to cut Washington spending and start working us out of debt. No more blank checks and huge bills on our children so someone in Washington can retain power.

“On gas prices, the budget, and the debt limit, we will continue to offer real solutions to lower gas prices, create jobs, and ensure the next generation still has a shot at the American dream.

“Our nation’s been through difficult times before. We can do this if we will work together to solve the problems instead of just talking about them. May God bless our families and our great nation.

“Thank you for listening.”

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