By Brian Murphy
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador praised his former colleagues in the Idaho Legislature for not avoiding difficult decisions and issues during speeches to the Senate and House on Wednesday.
"You don't have the luxury of dodging the tough issues. You cannot punt on the hard choices and hope someone else cleans up the mess later on. You do it every day. You have to do it," Labrador said, contrasting state lawmakers with the federal government. "You've been making hard decisions for more than two years. You have cut spending and not raised taxes and I thank you for that."
Labrador, an Eagle Republican, won his Idaho District 1 seat during November's elections and is part of a large freshmen Republican class. He said he is applying lessons learned during his four years in the Idaho Legislature to his new job in Washington, D.C.
"I want us to make the tough decisions in D.C. that you make here on a daily basis," he said.
He focused his comments on the national debt, saying that he ran for Congress because of the way the federal government "can borrow and borrow and run up the debt."
"Our massive debt is not a Republican or a Democrat problem. ... Our budget cannot be simply a political document. It must be a governing document," Labrador said.
He said, in cutting budgets, "there can be no sacred cows." And that includes defense and national security spending, Labrador said.
"You cannot tell me that there is no fraud, waste and abuse in that area," he said.
He said Americans won't have to wait much longer for its leaders to tackle the issue of debt.
"I am positive we will overcome today's challenges. The time is at hand when new leaders in Congress will discard the ways of the past and put our nation on the right path," he said. "The burden of our crushing debt on our children and grandchildren will not disappear overnight. But at least they will be able to look back at our efforts in Congress and see that it was now that determined men and women started the process of saving our great nation's future."