January 9, 2013
Stopping by his Albemarle County constituent office Wednesday, Rep. Robert Hurt expressed frustration and disappointment in the way Congress handled the fiscal cliff but has hope that a new Congress can take some important action.
Less than one week after the installation of the 113th Congress, the two-term Republican said he was discouraged.
"It's very discouraging because first of all, the American people deserve better," he said. "We can do better."
The fiscal cliff deal that came on New Year's Day past the Dec. 31 deadline has shaken many Americans' faith in Congress. He said partisan politics makes for broken government.
"You have two people negotiating for a deal that 535 people are going to stand to account for and that will affect 300 million people," Hurt said. "That's a place where our system is broken. It needs to be fixed."
Hurt applauded the tax relief for most Americans but said across-the-board cuts still need to be made.
"I think that you've got some people -- and I have the same concern -- is that we talk about deficit reduction but we never do it," Hurt said. "We have a new year. We have a new Congress."
Going hand-in-hand with spending cuts is the debate over raising the debt ceiling. It's an issue Hurt hasn't taken a stance on yet as the debate on Capitol Hill continues, but he sees the end result.
"I can only pledge for myself that I will continue to do that, try to work with folks on both sides of the aisle to try to get us to full employment in this country, booming economy, and get us to a balanced budget," he said.
With one term behind him, marked by an overall poor public opinion of Congress and criticism of extreme partisanship, he sees a renewed hope for the next two years.
"There is certainly a sense of frustration about the way things have gone for the 112th," he said. "It's my hope the 113th will be better."
Some optimism from Hurt as the first week of the 113th Congress comes to an end but the debate over some of the country's biggest issues are only beginning.