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Spending cuts key to debt ceiling problem, Hern tells Sand Springs Rotary Club

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U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern speaks to the Sand Springs Rotary Club on Friday.

Amid arguments about the country’s having hit the debt ceiling, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern said Friday in Sand Springs that he wants to wake people up about the dangers of not addressing that debt by cutting spending.

Hern, R-Okla., spoke to the Sand Springs Rotary Club about his role as the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in Congress.

“The ‘groupthink,’ if you will — the ‘like-think’ of the Republican Study Committee — is good policy, not politics,” he said. “So it’s the idea of a balanced budget. It’s about spending correctly and getting our fiscal house back in order.

“I want to return and push the Republican conference, the Republican members, to be more respective of your taxpayer dollars.”

Hern said he spoke last week to the Republican Study Committee’s 170 members — 80% of the Republicans in Congress — at the outset of his two-year term at the caucus’ helm about the dangers of not addressing debt.

“It’s not going to hurt us. We’re going to be long gone,” he said. “But our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren are going to be paying this debt. And they’re going to be living under a scenario that could be a lot better for them.

“We’re not doing a good job of leaving them a better country because of our desire and appetite to spend today and not hold members of Congress accountable.”

Hern, who was elected to Congress in November 2018 to represent Oklahoma’s 1st District, said his “goal right now is to shake the American people, … to shake the members of Congress and say, ‘Represent the interests and points of view of the taxpayers back at home — the very people who put you here — and let’s get our fiscal house in order.’

“‘Let’s spend what we need to, and those things that we don’t need to be spending on that need to be at the state level, let’s get them back at the state level, where the people that put you here have a chance to have a broader voice in making those things work.’”

As chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Hern also sees it as his job to ensure that members are given a voice to advance their conservative priorities.

“Prior to two weeks ago, if you were a new member coming into Congress, your voice was really never heard until you were there 10 or 15 years because everything was top down,” he said.

“And this didn’t just start in the last four years — it was the four years before that and the four years before that and, I would argue, the last 20 years” when it became “more centralized at the top.”

During his talk to the Rotary Club, Hern also fielded questions about vocational and technical education, border security, tribal sovereignty and China.

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