Roby: Spending must be addressed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On the eve of today’s Republican primary, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby was in Andalusia speaking to the Kiwanis Club.

Roby gave an overview of Congress and took questions from club members.

Rep. Martha Roby talks to Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson.

Rep. Martha Roby talks to Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson.

Questioned about federal budgets, Roby said if mandatory spending is not addressed soon, by 2022-2023, the United States will spend more for interest on the national debt than it does on national security.

Mandatory spending is for items required by law, like Medicare and Social Security, but also includes portions of budgets for other departments, including Agriculture, Defense, Education and Veterans Affairs.

“Every year that goes by with our not addressing mandatory spending, puts us in more trouble,” she said. “We either do something about Medicare and Social Security, or they’re going to go bankrupt. If we’re not talking about mandatory spending we’re not getting there (with the budget).”

In many cases, she said, keeping government open and functioning put Congress in a position where the ability to negotiate was zero.

“It is so important for spending bills to go through the regular order,” she said.

Asked about term limits for members of Congress, she said, “I run every two years, so you can term limit me pretty quickly.

“If someone introduced legislation on term limits, I would have to have a serious discussion with my constituency as to what they were in favor of.”

Asked if there is a remedy for the problem of mass shootings, Roby said she believes the answer lies in better mental health care.

“Whenever there’s a tragedy in our country, lawmakers rush to do something,” she said. “Often that is to pass another law. In this case, it’s an unconstitutional law that violates Second Amendment rights.”

She said proposed legislation would provide an opportunity for early mental health diagnosis.

“That is the appropriate way for Congress to intervene,” she said.

Roby is seeking her fourth term in Congress.