The Gazette: Q&A: U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn
By John Schroyer
Every few weeks, The Gazette speaks with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, to get his thoughts on several current events. This week, the congressman said he’s still working to protect defense spending as much as he can from anticipated budget cuts, that he has concerns about pulling all American troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, and that the liberal-minded Occupy Wall Street protesters won’t have an impact on next year’s election.
The congressman added that he hasn’t seen any improvement in the economy, and said he’s worried that the financial crises in Europe may seriously affect America.
And he hasn’t yet decided who to back in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
The Gazette: So, congressman, what do you think of President Barack Obama’s decision to pull all troops out of Iraq by Jan. 1?
Lamborn: Everybody wants to see the troops come home, but I’m concerned that without any military presence at all, there’s a risk that Iraq is going to have some serious security problems. I think the president should have done a better job of negotiating for an ongoing contingency presence after the end of the year. I think to not accomplish that shows weakness on his part.
The Gazette: What do you think about the Occupy Wall Street protests?
Lamborn: For one thing, they have absolutely nothing in common with the Tea Party. I find it amusing that Democrats think that this is their Tea Party. They have no coherent, compelling or unified message, and secondly, after the Tea Partiers would have a rally, they would clean up and go home and go to work, if they were not retirement age, whereas these people seem to not have jobs, because they camp out day after day.
The Gazette: Do you think they’re going to have any effect on the coming election?
The Gazette: Do you think the economy is improving at all?
Lamborn: There are some possible glimmers, and the situation is complicated because of what’s happening in Europe, but I haven’t seen any major improvements, no. The Euro crisis, Greece possibly defaulting, a bailout on the part of Germany and a few other countries that have been overspending, that is a possible contagion that could come over to the U.S.A. and injure our financial institutions. So the problems we’re already suffering are made worse by that going on at the same time.
The Gazette: Do you have any expectation as to what kind of budget cuts the congressional supercommittee is going to propose next month?
Lamborn: I’ve been lobbying them individually and through my committees to protect defense spending. I know the Republicans support that. I haven’t had the same conversations with the Democrats on the committee. And I’m hopeful that they come up with some good proposals by their Nov. 23 deadline.
The Gazette: Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet was here this week, and he questioned whether the U.S. should spend as much as it does on defense. He said America’s military spending accounts for nearly half of the entire world’s spending on defense, and suggested that perhaps it shouldn’t be that much. What do you think about that?
Lamborn: We could certainly think about that, but I think having thought about it, we would reject huge defense cuts. If we pull back, aggressive people who do not have our values or interests at heart will fill the void. I’m talking about China, I’m talking about Russia, and I’m talking about even smaller but aggressive countries like Iran and North Korea. They will step forward and fill that vacuum, and we will ultimately end up with a less stable environment, and we won’t be in control of what happens. And we’ll end up spending the money anyway, but it’ll be in a chaotic environment.
The Gazette: Picked a presidential candidate yet?
Lamborn: No. Some things have been changing. This is a fluid situation, as it turns out. For now, I’m keeping my powder dry.
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