Tipton reiterates disdain for debt ceiling deal

Western Slope Correspondent

GRAND JUNCTION – More than 200 people, most of them Republicans and many who identified with the Tea Party, packed the City Council chambers Friday night for an hour-long question-and-answer session with 3rd District Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez.

After declaring the nation’s debt “unsustainable,” Tipton said the debt-ceiling deal “is going to hurt America.”

He explained his votes on the debt ceiling debate. His first was in favor of Speaker John Boehner’s bill, which he said he supported because it included a vote on a balanced budget amendment “and a balanced budget trumps all.”

His second vote, on the final compromise, was in opposition because it postpones cuts until after the next election and adds more than $2 trillion to the $14.3 trillion national debt, he said.

“It’s about jobs, about work and about common sense,” Tipton said, reiterating his support for the “cut, cap and balance” approach put forth by Republicans.

To take questions, his staff had handed out raffle-type tickets to all comers at the door and numbers were drawn to select questioners, a move praised by Karl Castleton, co-chair of the Mesa County Democrats and local Republican officials.

Tipton, asked whether the nastiness of the debt-ceiling debate could be overcome so both parties would be able to work together, pointed to a bill he is carrying with Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, to bolster small business.

“But it would be naïve to assume we can come together on bigger issues,” he said. “The president stands for higher taxes and more bureaucracy. I stand for lower taxes, less regulation and smaller government.”

He called for a rollback in regulations to encourage job creation, and said the country needs “regulatory impact statements.”

“We’ve seen over-reach out of the bureaucracy,” Tipton said. “Regulations should be brought back to Congress for authorization” similar to Colorado’s sunset law for regulatory agencies.

He said he voted along with House Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform but the Senate refused to take it up. He pledged that he will not support any cuts to Medicare and warned that “the government will start making health care decisions for seniors.”

Castleton, who won one of the question-asking tickets, asked Tipton what his future might be, since he is 44, paying into Social Security and Medicare and trying to save for his two children’s education, in light of Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to shift Medicare into a voucher system for people under 55.

Tipton said Medicare will be broke in 12 years without changes, but said the government has “a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

He pledged to protect Medicare and Social Security and suggested to Castleton “that you encourage your side to put a plan on the table. We need to find a way for your generation.”

Max Smith, who pulled a big laugh from the crowd when he prefaced his question by saying he had “flown my corporate jet here from Fruitvale and I’m taking my yacht to Fruita,” asked Tipton if the so-called super committee to be appointed by congressional leaders to identify deeper budget cuts is “something to be afraid of.”

Tipton said the committee was one of the reasons he voted against the final debt ceiling agreement, because of the massive spending cuts in both defense and social programs that would be triggered if the committee cannot produce an agreement or Congress fails to act on its recommendations.

“We could see a $650 billion cut from our military and a 2.5 percent cut to Medicare providers,” he said.

Tipton’s town hall finished before news broke of the downgrade in the nation’s credit rating by Standard and Poors late Friday. Calls to Tipton and his district director Sunday for comment were not returned.