U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, won’t predict which programs will be affected when the 12-member congressional super committee recommends lopping up to $1.5 trillion off the federal budget by its Nov. 23 deadline.
But the Iowa City Democrat, during a telephone town hall meeting Tuesday night, said he has a megaphone his constituents can use to make their deficit-reducing suggestions known to the committee.
He calls his unofficial group the Citizens Super Committee.
“I know they’re feeling a lot of pressure from lobbyists,” Loebsack said of the real super committee, “but the only people they should be listening to is the American people.”
Loebsack invites residents of the Second District to call his office toll-free at 866-914-4692 or to visit his website, http://loebsack.house.gov, to “make sure as many Iowans as possible have a voice in their decision.”
He said he won’t venture a guess as to what the super committee will recommend to Congress, but hinted he believes the committee will reach bipartisan support in the coming week on some cuts.
“There are people demanding we get this done,” he said.
More town hall topics
On quieting the Capitol’s ideological warfare, Loebsack said he’s found an unlikely ally: Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the congressman who yelled “You lie!” during President Obama’s 2009 address to Congress on healthcare reform.
After discovering each of their families has been touched by mental illness, Loebsack and Wilson inserted a requirement in a defense reauthorization bill to require that each National Guard and Reserve unit have a mental health professional included.
“We are going to have arguments, as we have throughout our history, on the proper roles of government and private enterprise,” Loebsack said. “We can do that in a civil, constructive way. I hear this every weekend when I am back in Iowa.”
n On a Department of Labor proposal to limit the amount of work children can do on farms, Loebsack called it “yet another example of Washington, D.C., proposing a solution for a problem that does not exist.”
He said he’s “weighed in” with Department of Labor officials, urging them to “slow down and let us comment on this.”
“We grew up in Iowa. We realize this kind of regulation won’t protect anybody.”