Freshman U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner understands that it’s all about the economy when he talks to people in the 4th Congressional District.
Gardner, R-Colo., who is running for re-election against Brandon Shaffer, a Democrat from Longmont who is president of the Colorado Senate, said fixing the economy is his No. 1 priority.
“It’s still the economy. That’s the No. 1 goal is getting people back to work. The focus is still thriving, economic opportunity for the people in the 4th Congressional District,” Gardner said. “That’s the overall goal and I think there are three ways we can achieve that. I believe that we’ve got to look at comprehensive tax reform to create a flatter, fairer tax code that allows people to keep more of their money in their businesses or families instead of sending it to Washington.”
Gardner said the second thing that needs to be done to help the economy is to provide regulatory certainty.
“When I talk to farmers, when I talk to small businesses on Main Street, the one thing they talk about so often is the issue of certainty,” he said. “We’ve got to have a government that provides regulatory certainty so people know that the rules of the game are the same today as they’re going to be tomorrow and that they’re going to be applied fairly.”
Gardner said the third thing that needs to be addressed is the long-term debt and annual deficits.
“If we don’t get a hold of our debt, if we don’t fix the fiscal mess of this country, then there’s no way to achieve long-term economic growth because the debt will crowd out the private sector,” Gardner said. “It is our moral obligation to fix the fiscal mess that we face. We right now are $16 trillion in debt. If you look at the long-term obligations of this country, the promises we have made to future generations with no way to pay for it, it’s well over $50 trillion. We’re passing those costs onto our children by borrowing from China and other foreign countries. If we’re going to continue our leadership in the world’s economy, if we’re going to continue opportunities for the next generation, we have to fix our debt and deficit crisis.”
Gardner said Obamacare would hurt the economy.
“We have heard from countless small businesses that the president’s takeover of health care will hurt their ability to hire people,” Gardner said. “It represents a takeover of 20 percent of our economy. The health care debate is very much a part of the economic debate. We have got to find policies that will lower the cost of care and increase the quality of care. The president’s health care bill does neither of those. What I hear from small businesses is they can’t hire people and they can’t grow because of the uncertainty in the taxes of the president’s health care takeover.”
Gardner supports extending the wind energy production tax credit. Its uncertainty has forced Weld County companies, such as Vestas, to lay off employees.
“I have supported the production tax credit extension. I believe we should pay for the production tax credit with spending cuts, and then ramp it down,” Gardner said. “I have worked with Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado, trying to get something done. At one point we were trying to figure out how we could pass legislation that would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline in exchange for the production tax credit extension.”
The $7 billion pipeline would transfer synthetic crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, and also in Illinois and Oklahoma.
Gardner said he’s done all he can to extend the wind energy tax credit.
“We have worked on legislation, we have sent signed letters to leadership,” he said. “We worked with the transportation committee, and we’re going to continue to do more. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Gardner said he is frustrated by the failure to pass the farm bill.
“I have sent letters to leadership, to the chairman of the committee. I’ve had conversations with leadership,” Gardner said. “I’ve hounded them on the floor. I’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans to bring the bill to the floor and count votes to see what was happening and it’s been very frustrating. The farm bill has never been a partisan bill. Unfortunately, my opponent is trying to make it a partisan fight, and that’s simply degrading to the farmers and ranchers of the 4th Congressional District. Right now, the chairman and the speaker don’t believe they have the votes to pass a farm bill. What my opponent is doing is encouraging a bill to be brought to the floor for partisan reasons that doesn’t have the votes, and I think that’s wrong.”