She made sure to arrive early, even got a seat up close.
And the end result for U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, there at a U.S. Capitol meeting room with other House GOPers to discuss the deficit with President Obama? She got to meet the man for the first time and ended up being just one of seven House members to directly address him, quiz him. She also ended up on the podium with a handful of other GOPers afterward, addressing the national press on the meeting.
“I got there early and sat in the front row and had an opportunity to meet (Obama), shake his hand,” the GOP lawmaker from Elkhart said via telephone a day later on Thursday, March 14. “For me it’s a great honor... It’s not a partisan thing, it’s an American thing.”
Still, they aren’t without their differences. Obama’s a Democrat, notably. And Walorski expressed puzzlement over the president’s response to her question, which got mention in some Washington media outlets, like Politico.
She asked Obama why the federal government can’t take a cue from American families, keep spending in line with incoming revenue, sacrifice to make ends meet and maintain a balanced budget.
“His answer was America’s not a family and he said if we balance too fast, we get less revenue,” Walorski said, speaking from Washington.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which promotes GOP House candidates, seized on Obama’s answer, questioning his ability to address the deficit, perhaps the top issue facing lawmakers. “The president clearly has no idea how to balance a budget,” said an NRCC webpost referencing Walorski’s question and Obama’s answer.
Walorski used similar language in a tweet and fundraising pitch sent via her campaign Twitter account. “POTUS [president of the United States] clearly doesn’t kno [sic] how to balance a budget, I will keep working 4 families, Join me,” said the tweet.
‘A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET’
In her telephone comments, Walorski said she thought the notion of following the lead of everyday citizens and cutting costs to make ends meet would be something Obama would embrace. It’s the sort of talk, she said, that he’s offered in the past.
“My premise (in budget talks) has been ... that Hoosier families sit around their kitchen tables and make tough choices to keep a budget, and that’s exactly what we expect from the federal government,” Walorski said.
Perhaps more germane to the ongoing debate over how to trim the U.S. deficit, Walorski touted a House budget plan that got a nod of approval from the House Budget Committee late Wednesday. The focus is on spending cuts, with no new taxes, which Democrats say should be part of the solution.
“It’s a responsible budget and it’ll balance in 10 years,” said Walorski, who serves on the budget committee.
Indeed she said with the new GOP plan, there are two distinct paths in addressing the budget issue for the U.S. public to mull.
“They’re going to have a clear path and they’re going to have a clear option. Republicans will have a balanced budget and the Democrats will have a plan that won’t balance,” she said.
Whether the sides are able to reach middle ground will, in part, be up to Obama. “I think that swhere the president comes in and I think that the American people will see whether he’s keeping his word on really wanting to unite the country,” she said.