Coffman advocates balanced budget

Posted 9/10/10

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District thinks the nation is ready for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced …

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Coffman advocates balanced budget


U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District thinks the nation is ready for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget — though he acknowledges the idea has its critics.

“Some of my friends on the left don’t like it because they fear what might be cut. Some of my friends on the right don’t like it because they fear it’s going to lead Congress to increase taxes. But let’s have the debate,” Coffman told about 40 members of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

The first-term Republican congressman made a campaign stop at the chamber’s Centennial headquarters on Sept. 7 as part of a series of candidate forums.

Coffman, who will face Democratic challenger John Flerlage in November, said every federal expenditure must be on the table if Congress is to put its financial house in order and not burden future generations.

“I don’t believe it is possible to balance the budget by leaving Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security off the table. It’s just not mathematically possible,” the Republican incumbent said.

Coffman, a former co-owner of an Aurora-based property-management firm, likened his own background to the sort of hard-nosed fiscal policies that he says are needed in Washington, D.C.

“When I was in business and went through an economic downturn, I had to make difficult decisions and I could not continue things as they were,” he said. “Every level of government under the stress that we’re under is going to be … making difficult decisions.”

Coffman said he would not support any expanded role by the federal government in K-12 education, for example.

“I do fantasize from time to time, what if Congress stuck to its constitutionally enumerated powers. My job would be enjoyable, actually,” Coffman said.

The former Marine and member of the House Armed Services Committee also said the United States cannot afford any more long-term military interventions.

“I volunteered to go to Iraq not because I thought it was the right thing to go into Iraq, but I believed once we got in that we needed to bring it to a just conclusion,” he said. “Nation-building is wrong for this country and it’s unsustainable financially.”

Coffman said former President George W. Bush’s strategy for bringing democracy to the Middle East was a “high-risk proposition.” He said the United States should instead focus its efforts on lending support to factions on the ground, rather than place U.S. troops in harm’s way.

He called “economic security” and national security “one in the same.”

Coffman was critical of Democrats’ response to the economic crisis — including a controversial $787-billion economic-stimulus package passed last year. He said a lack of compromise has made it difficult for the party out of power to exert influence on such issues.

“On the health care debate, people would say, ‘What are your ideas?’ I co-sponsored several Republican initiatives that I felt were comprehensive but were not allowed to come for a hearing or a vote,” Coffman said.

The candidate is seeking his second two-year term after succeeding the controversial Tom Tancredo, now a third-party candidate for governor. Before running for Congress, Coffman served in both houses of the Colorado General Assembly and was state treasurer and Colorado’s secretary of state.

Coffman has an advantage in the Republican-heavy 6th District race, especially in a midterm election that is expected to favor Republicans. Democratic activist and fellow former Marine Flerlage is a first-time candidate. A Democrat has never represented the 6th District.

The Republican responded to Obama’s assertion that GOP policies had driven the economy “into a ditch” prior to his 2008 election.

“Right now, we’re driving off a cliff,” Coffman said. “Now’s the time for leadership.”


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