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McKinley: Climate change not all man-made

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"Is there something I can contribute? How can I take a business perspective to Congress?"

During his presentation at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit Aug. 29, those are the questions Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said he asked himself before re-entering the world of politics after being away for 16 years. 

"I looked at the situation that was happening across the country after being out for 16 years and thought maybe it's time (to) quit worrying about ourselves and look at our country and our nation at what's happening," he said.

McKinley found his platform through being a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

For his presentation, McKinley touched on several upcoming topics that will be discussed in Washington, including the climate, the budget, health care and immigration.

"I concur that there is climate change," McKinley said. "What I don't concur is that it's man-made and caused by us burning coal and natural gas in our automobiles. Is that contributing to it? Of course it is, but I believe that there are a lot of natural, cyclical things occurring from an engineering perspective that cause the climate change to occur across this country. It's not all driven by fossil fuels."

Since McKinley said energy is what drives West Virginia, he advocated for caution on how to proceed on the climate change issue and for the realization of the effects energy-based decisions will have on West Virginia jobs and families.

Before October, a discussion regarding the $17 trillion debt limit will be broached and possible solutions examined. 

"We can't continue to afford borrowing money," McKinley said. "We've got to get our spending under control, and we burn through money we don't have that we have to borrow to keep running government."

In order to have a balanced budget, McKinley said looking at some type of balance is required.

In order to give the committees appropriate time to get more of their budgets together, McKinley said the intent is to create a short-term continuing resolution, although that is not ideal.

"No one wants a continuing resolution, but we can't afford to have government shut down," he said. "I don't expect we'll get to that point."

Tax reform also will be addressed, as well as job creation.

"Creating jobs is going to come from the private sector, not government spending," McKinley said. "We can't cut our way back to prosperity. We can't tax our way back to prosperity. We're going to have to grow our economy."

With the upcoming implementation of Obamacare in January 2014, McKinley said there may be some reform.

"The states are asking us, ‘Delay it; we're not ready,'" McKinley said. "States all across this country are not ready for it. So we're going to see what may come from it. There may be some reform."

As for postponing Obamacare under the debt limit, McKinley said it would give people the opportunity to get rid of the unknowns they have and to make sure they're ready. More importantly, he said, a replacement product is vital.

"We've already amended (Obamacare) seven times, and the President has signed it. We just got to keep chipping away at it and keep costs down," McKinley said. "But more importantly, we've got to have a replacement product."

A possible replacement product is in the form of two bills that are currently working their way through the committee, he said. They originated from Tom Price, R-Ga., and Phil Roe, R-Tenn.

"Both have competing legislation that I think we're going to find far more appealing," McKinley said. "We're going to look at those and offer them up as an alternative should this ultimately go further with some changes with it."

Immigration is another subject due for an upcoming debate. McKinley said that whether the Senate bill will be implemented as is uncertain.

"Whether we take up the Senate bill as is, I don't think we will. I think we'll probably do it incrementally," he said. "It's secure the border first. That has to be paramount."

A vote on the food stamp bill also will be taken. According to McKinley, one in seven people are on food stamps, which is twice the number as of five years ago. The cost is increasing, with 11,000 new recipients every day because of revised eligibility criteria.

In order to get the issue under control, having a work requirement was suggested.

Housing reform will be discussed, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac possibly being phased out over a period of five to 10 years, McKinley said. Surveillance and intrusion into personal lives by the federal government and NSA are more topics for debate and discussion.

In closing, McKinley emphasized the importance of communicating in a way the average person can understand.

"Are we communicating in a way the average person will understand?" he asked. "We have to be sure we're communicating better about what we're doing. We got to make sure that America relates to what we're doing." 

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