By Stan Welch
United States Congressman Jeff Duncan, in a conference call Monday with several Upstate media outlets, confirmed that he will run for re-election, but declared that his current focus is on doing the job, more than keeping it. Rep. Duncan, in his first term, continues to stress fiscal restrain and responsibility as major aspects of that job. Duncan, along with fellow S.C. Congressman Rick Mulvaney and several others, returned a significant portion of his office budget to the government recently, specifying that it be spent on paying down the government’s debt.
Duncan returned $200,000, or just over fourteen per cent of his allocated office budget. Altogether, the group returned $1.4 million. “I asked that mine be put towards the national debt, and not spent elsewhere. I had places where I could have spent it, if it were going to be spent. But I, along with my fellow Congressmen, believe that we have got to control spending and soon, if our nation is to return to its place of preeminence.”
Duncan reminded the dozen or so print and electronic media listening in and asking questions, that it has been more than a thousand days since the Democratic controlled Senate has approved a federal budget.
“And Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, says any budget sent up to them this year will be dead on arrival. He claims that the deal to raise the debt ceiling that passed last year set the spending limits, so there is no need for a formal budget. The next budget fight will come in September, when the federal fiscal yearends, and just before the November elections. A continuing resolution to extend the current spending level will be needed at that time.”
Duncan, who sits on the Foreign Affairs committee, as well as committees on Homeland Security and Natural Resources, says that Congressional hearings are imminent on the increasing role of Iran in the Western Hemisphere, especially in Latin and South America.
“Frankly, they know they cannot make headway against our military in the Middle East, but they see our porous southern border as a real weakness, and they want to exploit it,” said Duncan. “They clearly want to increase their place on the world stage and are using this approach to do that. Presidents Chavez and Ahmadinejad seem to becoming fast friends, which hardly bodes well for the United States.”
Iran has opened embassies in six South American countries in recent years, said Duncan. To counter that surge, Duncan says that the Obama administration needs to include Iran in its next counter-terrorism strategy.
In terms of homeland security, Duncan said that interdiction efforts are improving, but that there are always emerging threats. “I think our people have done an excellent job, but the demand to be always there, always right is tough.