Landry says freshmen reps shaping D.C.

Congressman Jeff Landry, (R-New Iberia) was the guest speaker at a St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday in Franklin.

Landry said he was “so happy to report, we’re not there yet, but we’re like this close to getting that barge out of the Charenton Canal.” He lauded parish President Paul Naquin for his efforts in getting the removal process going.

“If this would have been five years ago,” Landry said, “we’d have had an earmark, we would have went to the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and they would have said they needed $5 million to move this barge Then Congress would have taken $5 million of your dollars…and we would have moved this barge.”

The Corps could have done the same thing that federal bankruptcy court did to resolve the situation with the derelict that capsized in the canal in April 2010, Landry said. “They had the same power, the ability to do exactly what the bankruptcy court did,” he went on. “But instead they chose not to.”

Landry said the freshman class of Congress elected last November “refused to believe the old political tale that things are hard to change in Washington and how their Congressmen needed to be re-elected because he sat on some important committee or is the chairman. Or how about the one where the Congressman would tell you that … his time in office was more valuable to you than anything else.”

Many of the freshmen were able to get appointments to important committees, Landry said. “I’m the only member of the Louisiana delegation on the transportation and infrastructure committee,” he noted, stressing the panel’s importance to highway projects and ports.

Landry said he voted against the debt ceiling bill. “If you ever get nervous talking in front of people, or feel like you want to get prepared to handle very strenuous business decisions, just get elected to Congress at a time where the Speaker of the House has a bill and tell him you’re not going to vote for it,” he quipped.

“But we stayed late into the night working with him,” he went on. “We flat out told him no. I’m not interested in compromising my country for some short-term Washington deal.”

Landry said the Standard & Poors credit downgrading demonstrated that he made the right decision. “Did you ever think the United States of America would lose its sterling credit rating?” he asked. “That is shameful. We told the Speaker to put a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. How democratic is it to send an amendment to you all? We’re not forcing it, before it gets on the Constitution, you have to say so.” He said many Democrats have expressed support for such an amendment.

The congressman urged the attendees to stress to everyone they know the severity of the federal fiscal problem.

“I’m not going to raise taxes,” Landry said. “By doing that, you only feed a monster that has an unending appetite. We need to cut our spending. We need to prioritize.

“You have brought us to a point where we can turn this ship around,” Landry continued. “Don’t give up. We have a whole new set of elections next year. Look at who’s on the ballot.”

Landry said a highway transporation bill is likely, but “won’t be anything to brag about…but I’m committed to the I-49 project, it’s necessary.”

Permitting of offshore drilling is still problematic, Landry said. “I don’t think we’ll get that fixed until we get a new president who will put in a director who is pro oil and gas,” he said. “They will do anything and everything to slow down the permitting of that process.”

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