U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) answered a multitude of questions during a visit Tuesday to the editorial department of the Daily Times.
Wenstrup was asked about the status of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015, legislation introduced by U.S. senator Rob Portman that he says would provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies to combat addiction – not just one or two.
Wenstrup says the challenge in the House will be the mandatory spending component of the bill
“Obviously it passed in the Senate pretty overwhelmingly. I don’t know when it’s scheduled to come up in the House,” Wenstrup said. “Our legislative team is looking at it. One of the concerns is how we pay for it. That’s always a concern and some of it is under discretionary spending which I prefer because then you have to review effectiveness. When they put it in mandatory spending, it never goes away even if you don’t need it anymore. I understand it’s a combination of both so the House may want to change that and put it in discretionary spending.”
Wenstrup took it a step further.
“Personally I feel we should be reviewing mandatory spending every 5-10 years whatever the case may be and say do we need this,” Wenstrup said. “This is why we’re stuck with things that don’t work in today’s world or never worked anyway and we just keep doing the same thing. It’s not how you would run a business, not for very long.”
Do Americans understand pay-as-you-go when they may support a candidate who offers free things such as college education?
“It’s just not reality. That’s what we face all the time,” Wenstrup said. “The virtues are good but what you think is ideal doesn’t necessarily relate to what is real and when you keep pushing the idea side without the real side that’s why we’re $19 trillion in debt and rising and that wagon train is going to run out someday, just ask Greece.”
Wenstrup referenced the World War II returnees as “the greatest generation,” then said – “I’m now living in the most selfish generation ever seen. When you go 233 years and 43 presidents and run up $10 trillion in debt and then one president and 6 or 7 years later we’re $19 trillion in debt, that’s not being responsible to the next generation and that’s what we’re fighting all the time. I don’t want programs to go away, we need to not reform them, transform them or do things to sustain them, but you have to deal with reality and it’s not always politically popular.”
Do you have to talk about entitlements as a part of the discussion?
“If you want them to still be there,” Wenstrup said. “I want our safety nets. I could be broke tomorrow like anybody else, out of a job and in need and we want our safety nets, but for most of the programs today, if you take a job you’re punished. That’s not right. We should have a sliding scale off of those programs so that every step you make in employment doesn’t hinder you, it helps you and then gradually wean you away.”
News out of Washington is that all the details of the Iran agreement were not disclosed by the administration to Congress in light of the firing of missiles by Iran.
“In the House we voted to freeze sanctions,” Wenstrup said. “What is really disturbing to me in this process is that our founders over time established ways of doing things – we had co-equal branches of government – if you want to go into a treaty you have to get it approved by Congress afterwards and this was done outside that realm and it’s a lack of respect for a system that has worked very well to make sure people’s voices are heard and that the American people are represented and that’s not what’s happening today on all fronts. You have a president issuing executive orders that he says he doesn’t have the authority to do but he does them anyway and we take him to court – that’s costing the taxpayers when the House has to sue the president. We’ve won some of those cases.”
In the next installment of the exclusive interview with Congressman Brad Wenstrup on Saturday, April 9, he talks of an activist Supreme Court and his fears for the loss of the American Centrifuge Project at Piketon.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.