Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent visits Hernando County for budget ideas

BROOKSVILLE — U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent came to his home county Monday to offer an update on the nation's budget woes and seek ideas from his neighbors.

In what was billed as a "budget listening session" at the Hernando County Government Center, the Spring Hill Republican projected colorful charts and graphs onto a screen to outline the problems.

As painful as the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration may be, and as controversial as President Barack Obama's tax increases on wealthy Americans have been, those measures do little to dent the nation's deficit, Nugent said. And Medicare will be insolvent in 11 years if Congress does nothing.

"If that happens, there are going to be drastic cuts," the congressman said. "That's unacceptable for people who will depend on that for the rest of their retired lives."

Nugent renewed his pledge to oppose reforms to Social Security and Medicare that would affect current retirees or those near retirement age, but he didn't offer specifics on how he thinks those programs should be reformed.

The former Hernando sheriff said he will continue to push for a constitutional amendment that would require the government to approve a balanced budget each year. He also called the current tax code "a busted system" requiring an overhaul.

A few of the roughly three dozen audience members expressed frustration that the United States continues to spend money abroad when the domestic budget is in dire shape.

Why not close some of the U.S. military bases around the world? suggested Shirley Miketinac, 61, of Brooksville

"By bringing our soldiers home, we would bring such prosperity to this country because our soldiers would be spending money here," Miketinac said.

A new member of the House Armed Services Committee, Nugent agreed that America's international military footprint is "kind of heavy."

"We do have some obligations around the world, but we have to moderate those requirements," he said.

Nugent noted his sponsorship of a bill with Democratic Sen. Al Franken to help give law enforcement more tools and training to improve the way the legal system handles people with mental health issues.

"It costs you and I more to incarcerate a mental health patient in the county jail because the only treatment they receive is the drugs to keep them in check," he said.

Spring Hill resident Pierre Desjardins said cuts to social programs are offensive when corporations continue to get big tax breaks.

"Why is corporate welfare never addressed?" asked Desjardins, 56. "Where do you stand, and what are you specifically going to do about it?"

Nugent said closing tax loopholes will be part of tax reform.

"We're going to be looking at all of those things," he said. "I think it's the right thing to do, and it's something this Congress has said it's going to do."

U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent visits Hernando County for budget ideas 03/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 9:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  2. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.
  3. Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports


    BAGHDAD — Iraq's central government in Baghdad ordered the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum on support for independence.

    Iraqi Kurds climb the fence into a soccer stadium during a rally in Irbil, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, on Friday. Kurds will vote in a referendum today on the creation of their own country.
  4. Official: Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress said Sunday that Hurricane Maria's destruction has set the island back decades, even as authorities worked to assess the extent of the damage.

    National Guardsmen arrive Sunday at Barrio Obrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to distribute water and food to people in need after the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria. The death toll on the island from Maria is 10, but that number is expected to climb.  
  5. Gunman opens fire in Nashville church; 1 dead, 7 wounded


    NASHVILLE — A masked gunman invaded a Nashville church Sunday and opened fire, walking silently down the aisle as he shot unsuspecting congregants. At least one person was killed and seven others wounded, authorities said.

    Kaitlyn Adams, a member of the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, hugs another church member at the scene after shots were fired at the church on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)