They were preaching to the choir.
An enthusiastic crowd of Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce members and guests gave several standing ovations as two of the most powerful members of Congress talked about how changes are needed in the national government.
Hal Rogers, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the Senate, were guest speakers Tuesday during the September membership meeting of the chamber of commerce.
The standing-room-only crowd at The Center for Rural Development started cheering when Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock introduced the pair of Washington, D.C. celebrities. More standing ovations followed as the scene mimicked a courthouse political rally.
The main target of the orations was President Barack Obama. “He’s gotta go” was the underlying theme of the twin deliveries. McConnell is obviously aware that if the Grand Old Party picks up five more Republican seats in the Senate, he will replace Harry Reid as Senate majority leader.
“If I replace Harry Reid, repeal of Obamacare is Priority No. 1,” McConnell promised, triggering applause from the crowd. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally referred to as Obamacare, is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the U.S. health care system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
“We’re going to try to change the direction of this country by reducing spending and not raising everybody’s taxes,” McConnell declared.
Rogers said only about one-third of spending in Washington is discretionary, or appropriated. The rest is automatic, or entitlements. “It’s a sick economy we are in,” he said, comparing it to 1981 when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter for the presidency.
Just back from the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla., Rogers said the GOP fest “ ... was one of great aplomb, lots of support and a unified front for the nominee (Mitt Romney).”
He pointed out a clock in the GOP convention hall that ticked off the increasing national debt, soon to total $16 trillion. It includes a $5.1 trillion increase during the last 3 1/2 years under President Obama.
“You can’t imagine how much a trillion is,” Rogers remarked. He said a four-inch-tall stack of $1,000 bills is a million dollars, while a stack of $1,000 bills 67 1/2 MILES high is a trillion.
“We’re spending and printing money like it’s going out of style,” the Somerset Republican said. “I think things are going to happen when Romney, a businessman, is elected,” Rogers commented.
McConnell said normally after a deep recession the country experiences a quick bounce back. “Not this time,” he said, blaming the situation on Obama.
“About 150,000 new bureaucrats have been hired in Washington ... Washington is booming but the rest of the country is in trouble,” McConnell declared.
Emphasizing importance of work ethic, McConnell said: “If you fall down, get up, brush yourself off and start again. Now, he said, “ ... more and more people are getting in the wagon and there’s nobody to pull it.”
“We do believe in providing security for the poor and elderly,” he added.
McConnell urged people to vote this coming November. “No matter how many times you’ve voted, this is the most important,” he said.
“The very basic way we have run this country is in national debate. I don’t know about you, but I still believe America is successful,” McConnell insisted. “Hal Rogers and Mitch McConnell are determined to clean up the mess and take this country in a new direction,” he concluded.