We continue our Member of the Week segment with a questionnaire with the Congressman. We want you to know the most conservative members of Congress on both a professional and personal level because it's important to see them as real people, not just politicians. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) answers 5 questions, some policy oriented and some personal:
Heritage Action: What aspect of government (i.e., program, department, agency) do you want to reform the most? What legislation are you currently pushing or working on to achieve that reform?
Rep. Garrett: Part of my larger effort in everything I do in Congress is to restore the Founders' original vision for America-one of a limited government empowered by the people. There is silver bullet to reestablishing the proper limits of government. Instead, we can make a coordinated effort to pursue specific policies that properly align the role of the federal government with those powers enumerated in the 10th Amendment. To that end, one bill that I am particularly proud of, and have been pushing for many years, is the Surface Transportation and Taxation Equity (STATE) Act, which returns primary responsibility for transportation and infrastructure projects back to the states. Put simply, this bill provides states with the ability to opt-out of the federal transportation system by allowing them to raise their own transportation revenue and make all of their own spending decisions without raising taxes. There needs to be a new system in place that maximizes the resources available for our transportation system while also returning the authority over these decisions to where they belong: the states. The STATE Act would accomplish all of these things, which is why I'm working so hard to have it included in the transportation reauthorization bill.
HA: What's a piece of smaller legislation, or nominee, that is currently on the agenda but flying under the radar that you feel conservatives should be concerned about?
Rep. Garrett: Certainly one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest, facing the country is our pending debt crisis. However, what most Americans don't realize-and what most politicians don't talk about-is the fact that our debt crisis is a lot worse than we originally thought because of Washington's broken budget process. Not only is our budget process broken, but it grossly distorts the breadth and scope of our country's fiscal crisis by failing to report all of the costs incurred by the federal government. How can we ever expect to confront our country's exploding deficit and debt if we can't accurately account for all of the taxpayer liabilities already on the books?
We can talk about cutting spending till we're blue in the face, but until we bring all of our liabilities into the light of day and start budgeting for the long-term we are just spinning our wheels. In February, the House passed my bill, the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which brings government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on-budget and requires that all federal credit programs consider market risk in addition to its borrowing costs so that we don't end up with another Solyndra. Unfortunately, as is often the case these days, the House has done its work, but the Senate continues to sit on their hands.
HA: What do you enjoy the most and the least about being a Member of Congress?
Rep. Garrett: I ran for Congress because I am passionate about issues that have affected my community and my country. I have had the fortunate opportunity to work on these issues every day and to try and restore the founding principles that have made this nation great. That being said, every rose has its thorn, and being away from my family as much as I am required to be can prove extremely difficult.
HA: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in Washington?
Rep. Garrett: I enjoy spending time with my family and the outdoors
HA: What do you miss most about being a kid?
Rep. Garret: Not having to pay taxes.