EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams shared what might be a different view than his Washington colleagues on both sides of the aisle when it comes to the most pressing issue facing the country.
“My biggest concern for America is our debt,” Williams said during a stop at Numinous Coffee Roasters in Marble Falls on August 13. The Republican congressman, who represents the 25th District of Texas, hosted the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce at the morning gathering where he discussed some of the issues on the minds of residents.
When someone brought up the national debt and how it continues to rise, Williams agreed it was a major problem but said only a handful of people in Congress, including him, really want to talk about it.
“I’m one of about 40 who voted against the debt ceiling,” said Williams, referring to a procedure that allows the country to continue borrowing money. “We’re $23 trillion in debt, and we keep borrowing more. We need to be reducing the debt.”
According to Williams, that would require difficult conversations on spending. He is in favor of a balanced budget amendment that would require the federal government to only spend the money it brings in through taxes.
He pointed out that most cities and school districts as well as the state of Texas operate under such a concept. As a businessman, Williams said, he understands the importance of making cuts when costs are running over profits. It’s not easy, but it’s a necessity if you want to keep your business going.
Williams sees a combination of cutting spending and cutting taxes as a way to help curb spending and generate federal revenue. He’s a big proponent of tax cuts, which he said leads to the creation of jobs and more people paying taxes.
“Tax cuts have brought in more cash than ever before. The problem is we’re spending a trillion more (than we’re bringing in),” the congressman said. “There’s a lot of things we should get serious about cutting.”
Williams discussed other topics as well, including the current push by some in Congress for a more socialist approach to government, something Williams believes is a move in the wrong direction. He told those in attendance he remains a proponent of capitalism and will continue to fight for it in Congress.
He didn’t shy away from issues such as immigration and the recent mass shootings.
When it comes to immigration, Williams said he’s for secure borders and the rule of law.
“We have to respect the border,” he said. “People have to go through ports of entry. I want everyone to realize the American dream, but I want them to do it the right way.”
He pointed out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, is overwhelmed. Along with needing more agents, the congressman said, they need at least 300 more immigration judges to help alleviate the backlog of cases.
Williams also broached the idea of reducing the number of people trying to enter through the southern border by helping to strengthen the economies of the countries from where immigrants are coming. By doing that, these people might have fewer reasons to leave their homelands.
As for the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, as well as previous ones, Williams said he’s not in favor of further gun regulations or even red flag laws. In fact, he’s against red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to take a person’s firearms away for a short period of time if that person is considered a threat.
Williams said that’s a scary road to go down.
He said the problem with red flag laws is that someone can make an unsubstantiated accusation against a person, who could then lose their firearms. There’s no due process, he added.
Williams brings a unique perspective to the shootings. In June 2017, while he and other members of the Republican congressional baseball team were practicing, a gunman open fired on them. Though Williams was not shot, several others were, including a member of his staff. The gunman, identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, was killed after exchanging gunfire with Capitol Police.
According to reports at the time, Hodginkson was a Bernie Sanders supporter, something Williams acknowledged but added a caveat.
“He was a Bernie Sanders nut, but I don’t blame Bernie Sanders for the shooting; I blame (the shooter),” Williams said.
He added that although there is much the country can do to curb future shootings and violence, it’s not necessarily something Washington can legislate.
“These people are so isolated; they’ve given up hope,” he said. “They have no one who says they love them. If you want to change this, you have to start with the parents, you have to start with the millennials, you have to start with the grandparents. You have to just love people.”