MANSFIELD -- In last week's address to the Mansfield Noon Optimist club, Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-7th District) touted a thriving economy, lamented “paralyzing” partisanship and opined on the ongoing impeachment hearings.
Thriving economy, rising debt
First elected to the House in 2011, the 65-year-old Gibbs related the tax reform, regulatory reform and energy policies enacted by the last congress with the country’s current economic success; while admitting that partisanship had kept the current congress from being effective.
"We've got the lowest unemployment in 51 years," he said. "We've got wages going up. GDP's growing and we've got no inflation."
One major change enacted by the previous congress was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which cut corporate tax rates from 35 to 21 percent. According to Gibbs, other areas of economic success are making up for the loss in corporate taxes; however, Congress has not addressed increasing deficit spending.
“Revenues are up, the problem is our deficit’s going up. And why’s that? Because expenses are going up faster than revenues,” he said. “That’s a challenge that nobody wants to address. It has to be addressed at some point. We can’t just stay on this path.”
Gibbs cited two obstacles to reducing federal spending -- maintaining adequate defense spending and the high cost of paying out Social security benefits to the aging population.
The impeachment inquiry
Gibbs called the ongoing impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump “bizarre” and “politics at its worst,” stating that unless drastic new information comes out, not one Republican will vote for impeachment.
“Not one of their witnesses had first-hand knowledge of what happened,” Gibbs said. ”It’s just unbelievable all this hearsay, innuendo and conjecture, which by the way wouldn’t be allowed in a court of law.”
Gibbs went on to express his view that Trump likely delayed aid while trying to determine if Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was truly dedicated to changing a pattern of corruption in the Ukrainian government.
“One thing to keep in mind is even since before President Trump became elected, they were after him,” Gibbs said. “I didn’t see any evidence of bribery in all these hearings we’ve had so far.”
Gibbs expressed the hope Congress will move on from the impeachment hearings and focus on other matters after the holidays.
One priority was the USMCA agreement, a trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada. Gibbs stated he’d heard a rumor that the legislation would soon make it to the House floor. He believed firmly that it would pass if voted on.
“It’s a big deal for farmers, manufacturers, the auto industry, all the way across the board,” he said.
According to Gibbs, the current legislation would create approximately 200,000 jobs and a .5 percent increase in GDP.
Gibbs closed his talk by urging the community not to give in to pro-socialist ideas.
“They’re all preaching socialism,” he said. “Socialism takes and takes and takes and stifles entrepreneurship, innovation and competition.”