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The Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Senator Mark Warner at an event held at the Center for Advanced Research and Engineering in New London last week. Warner, first elected to the U. S. Senate in 2008, is up for reelection this year.
“I’ve actually been a business guy long before I was a political guy,” Warner told the Chamber gathering.
Warner mentioned a couple of issues that he believes are important to help businesses — start-ups in particular — compete in the global economy. He said immigration reform will help businesses attract talent. He also pointed to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and facilitates crowdfunding.
“I think it could be a powerful tool,” he said of crowdfunding.
He said the primary economic issue for him is getting the federal deficit reduced. Warner said an interest rate increase of one percentage point would mean an extra $110 billion to $120 billion in debt service payment on America’s $17 trillion national debt. Warner warned that service on the national debt could eventually leave no room for anything else in the federal budget if Congress does not get the deficit under control.
“Both political parties are going to have to give in on their sacred cows,” he said. He said that Democrats are going to have to give in on entitlements and Republicans are going to have to give in on taxes.
Warner also commented on ObamaCare. He called it a “very imperfect piece of legislation.” Warner said that he wants to keep what is good about ObamaCare, while fixing what’s wrong with it.
What does he believe is wrong with it?
“The 30-hour cliff makes no sense,” he said.
Warner was referring to the ObamaCare rule that considers employees who work more than 30 hours a week to be full time employees. When the employer insurance mandate kicks in, companies with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees will risk a fine if they do not provide medical insurance.
“The roll-out was a fiasco and did a lot of damage to its credibility,” he went on to say about the law.
Warner believes both parties are raising obstacles to fixing ObamaCare’s problems. He said that some Democrats don’t want to touch the law, while some Republicans want to make ObamaCare a political issue.
Warner asked his audience to do three things.
“Don’t vote for anybody who signs one of those stupid pledges,” he said, stating his first request.
“Tune down Fox and MSNBC,” Warner said, giving his second.
“We have to get out of our political foxholes,” said Warner, stating his third.
He concluded with a quote from Winston Churchill, which, according to Warner, Churchill said at an early stage of World War II.
“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else,” Warner stated in quoting Churchill.