Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garrett Calls for Cuts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Garrett Calls for Cuts

Article excerpt

LAFAYETTE -- Rep. Scott Garrett, responding to questions from a group composed mostly of supporters on Thursday night, discussed trimming the federal budget and ways to bolster the economy, and briefly touched on his lack of support for a bill to authorize additional spending for first responders suffering from medical conditions tied to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

More than 60 people were in the audience at the Lafayette House restaurant as Garrett, in his seventh term as a U.S. representative, held his first town-hall-style meeting. He was in agreement with audience members, most of them from Sussex County, on many points regarding less authority for the federal government, cutting spending, and securing the nation's borders against illegal immigrants.

He said that he was part of a group of 50 conservative Republicans who vote together on many issues. In response to one man's questions, he said that Republicans have outlined potential reforms to Medicare, which would allow people to opt out of the program, in budgets that they have passed.

"All the experts agree, Medicare is going to go broke," he said, adding that Republicans are waiting for Democrats to come up with a counterproposal.

Opponents have accused him of being too conservative for the state's 5th Congressional District, which includes a northern section of Bergen County and parts of Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties. However, he has never won less than 55 percent of the vote. Democrats have recently been lining up to help raise money for a potential challenger, 40-year-old Josh Gottheimer of Wyckoff, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton.

Garrett said President Obama had blocked Republicans' efforts to stem illegal immigration, and blamed the president for failing to enforce existing immigration laws. He began the meeting by saying there was no German Dream or French Dream, but that there was an American Dream, and it was being eroded by an $18 trillion national debt.

"Kids and grandchildren, they should not be burdened by this," he said.

One man from Sparta, which is out of Garrett's district, called on the congressman and other Republicans to get tougher when it comes to spending cuts. …

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