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Hawaii News

Djou takes national stage to call for fiscal restraint

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou yesterday called for big cuts in federal spending that he contends would result in more private sector jobs and a healthier economy.

The Hawaii Republican made the comments during the weekly GOP radio and Internet address, which was released about the same time as President Barack Obama’s weekly speech to the nation. The Democratic president’s remarks were about a different subject.

Still, yesterday marked the first time two Hawaii-raised politicians delivered both weekly addresses. Obama was born in Hawaii, and Djou was born in Los Angeles and moved to Hawaii when he was 3.

In his statement, Djou criticized the Obama administration and congressional Democrats for borrowing and spending billions of dollars to create jobs that have not materialized.

"If we keep spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much … we’re going to get the same dismal results," he said.

He called for votes on a series of Republican proposals that would slash federal spending by $1.3 trillion over 10 years.

"These common sense proposals recognize that what our economy needs is more private sector jobs, not more public sector spending," Djou said.

The proposals would cancel unused spending from last year’s economic stimulus law and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, reduce the number of government jobs to 2008 levels, freeze federal civilian pay for one year, and cap nonmilitary discretionary spending at 2008 levels.

Hawaii is in line for $1.1 billion in economic stimulus funds, of which $343 million has been received as of late July, according to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which operates Recovery.org.

Almost 70 percent of that money is to go to recipients and projects in Djou’s urban Honolulu district, the board’s website said. All but 540 of the 3,560 Hawaii jobs funded by those dollars are in his district.

House Republicans also want to adopt a new version of a presidential line-item veto they said would pass constitutional muster, reform home mortgage agencies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and create a commission to eliminate unnecessary programs and agencies.

"Of course, this is just a start," Djou said in his address. "Much more needs to be done to make sure Washington has gone on its last spending spree."

In response, Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Dante Carpenter charged that Djou has voted against the interest of unemployed workers, teachers and low-income Medicaid recipients.

"Djou has chosen to spin the rhetoric of the right-wing Republican leadership in the House of Representatives instead of looking out for the best interest of the people of Hawaii," Carpenter said in a statement.

Djou was elected in a May special election to fill Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat that had been vacated when 10-term Democrat Rep. Neil Abercrombie quit to run for governor.

Djou is the likely GOP nominee for a new term beginning in January. His likely Democratic opponent in the Nov. 2 general election is state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama took to the airwaves yesterday to nudge Republicans back to the table to address a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives corporations new freedom to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns without having to identify themselves in their communications with voters.

"A group can hide behind a phony name like Citizens for a Better Future even if a more accurate name would be Corporations for Weaker Oversight," Obama said during his weekly radio and Internet address. "This shouldn’t be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an issue that goes to whether or not we have a democracy that works for ordinary Americans."


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