Congress is spending too much money, U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood said at a Columbia County Republican breakfast meeting Saturday.
Norwood's wrath of the morning was primarily aimed at what he described as a pork-laden, multi-billion dollar omnibus bill, a spending bill bundling projects from across the country and various government agencies.
The $820 billion fiscal appropriations bill - which includes $328 billion in discretionary spending - will put the U.S. further into debt and make an already unbalanced budget more out of whack, Norwood said.
A vote on the omnibus bill could come this week. Although Norwood said he would probably vote to approve the bill, he said he wasn't happy about it.
"The reality in Washington is that you have to make deals with people if you want to get their vote," he said.
Norwood, a Republican, accused his own party and President Bush of contributing to the spending frenzy.
"I don't mind spending money on Homeland Security, which I think is necessary," he said. "I don't mind spending money on the war in Iraq, which I also think is necessary. I don't mind spending money in the defense of our country, but there is a lot of waste in that bill we could do without."
Some things that Norwood suggested to help bring the budget under control was a national retail sales tax and a 1 percent cut in federal agencies across the board.
"I know they can cut the 1 percent," he said. "I know they can cut a lot more than that 1 percent. They just don't want to admit they can cut it."
State Rep. Ben Harbin told county Republicans on Saturday that they also can expect to see more cuts in Georgia's budget.
"The economic numbers are up, and unemployment is down, but the bad news is that there is a delay in those improved numbers reaching the government," Harbin said. "We still need to cut."
Harbin said Georgians can expect a 2 percent cut in this year's budget and as much as a 5 percent cut in next year's budget.
State Sen. Joey Brush said hard economic times can sometimes be a good thing for government.
"Just like in business, when the economy takes a downturn you have to make some cuts," Brush said. "But when things get better, you can look and see the cuts you made and realize there were a lot of things you didn't need."
Harbin agreed with Brush's outlook and said that as the economy improves, legislators will continue to reexamine government spending.
"We want to spend money on the programs that are working," he said. "Now, we can see better what is working and what isn't."
Even though they can't vote for him, District 22 state Sen. Randy Hall asked for Columbia County Republicans' support in his reelection bid next year.
Currently, Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state Senate by two people. That, combined with the symbiotic relationship between Richmond and Columbia counties, made it imperative that Columbia County rally behind Hall, Harbin said.
He said, "We grow as a region, and we prosper as a region."
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