Dear Friend,

Members of Congress are in their districts this week as our country pauses to celebrate the birth of two American Presidents: George Washington on Feb. 22nd and Abraham Lincoln on February 12th. While I am home in the Third Congressional District, I will meet with numerous constituents and local community leaders to reinforce my commitment to decreasing runaway federal spending, creating jobs, improving affordable access to health care and increasing domestic energy production. When Congress returns from our district work period on Monday, February 22nd, we will go to work on several pieces of significant legislation – including the President’s FY 2011 budget proposal. It is my hope that the Democratic leaders will start listening to the voices across the United States pleading for less government spending and more bipartisan negotiations.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FY 2011 BUDGET
As a member of the House Committee on the Budget, I began reviewing the President’s budget proposal within minutes of its February 1, 2010 release. Several of the proposals are discouraging, particularly as Americans continue to recover from a global economic slump.

By the President’s own estimates, spending will reach a record $3.8 trillion for FY 2011 and the debt will double in five years and triple in 10 from the time Obama began his presidency. This budget proposal retains a $1.6 trillion deficit for FY 2010. Despite all the talk of deficit reduction, the FY 2011 deficit projection is still $1.3 trillion. Let’s not forget the $2 trillion in proposed tax increases by 2020 and the negative impact that will have on economic growth.

Since entering the White House, the President has increased non-defense discretionary spending by a staggering 84 percent. To compensate for this binge, President Obama has proposed a non-defense, non-homeland security, non-Veterans, non-international affairs, non-Pell Grant and non-emergency spending freeze. This move – according to his Administration – would save up to $250 billion over ten years. In short, this stunt would only apply to a whopping 13 percent of the United States budget.

Further, the President’s budget would require an additional increase to the debt limit prior to October 1, 2011 – despite the recent increase of $1.9 trillion. Within this debt limit legislation is a budget enforcement mechanism known as pay-as-you-go (PAYGO), requiring all future legislation to be paid for. However, a compromise among Democratic leaders exempts changes to the alternative minimum tax and the reduction of estate taxes for two years from the PAYGO provisions. Adjustments to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula will receive exemptions for five years.

While the President’s three-year freeze is a step in the right direction, it is a baby step. Congress must do more to rein in runaway spending. House Republicans continue to reach out to Democratic Members of Congress with solutions to boost our economy. These common-sense principles can be viewed online at solutions.gop.gov. These are practical steps towards advancing economic growth while creating jobs without expanding the scope of our federal government. My faith is in the American entrepreneur – not the federal government – to grow our economy.

MISSISSIPPI OFFICE SCHEDULE UPDATE
I recently announced an updated office schedule for my District Field Representative, Evan Gardner, for Adams and Covington Counties. During visits to these counties, Gardner’s key objective will be to respond to constituent service inquiries in these two regions of the Third Congressional District, and to work closely with local officials in that area. Additionally, Gardner will be available by request to visit with constituents who have concerns or needs regarding assistance that is being provided by my Mississippi staff.

I am committed to providing the very best constituent services possible to the people who have elected me to office. Evan Gardner has worked with me as a Field Representative since I took office in January of 2009, and I know he shares my commitment of serving the citizens across the Third Congressional District.

Office Schedules:
Adams County
Adams County Board of Supervisors’ Board Room
314 State Street
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
*Fourth Tuesday of each month

Covington County
Covington County Chancery Building
Board of Supervisors’ Board Room
101 South Elm Avenue
Collins, Mississippi 39428
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
*First Tuesday of each month

Lincoln County (previously established schedule)
Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce
230 South Whitworth Street
Brookhaven, Mississippi 39601
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
*Every Wednesday

To schedule a meeting with Evan Gardner, contact my Mississippi Headquarters by phone at (601) 932-2410.

Thanks again for your support. I am honored to represent you in Congress. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to visit my website listed below or contact one of my offices.

God bless,

Gregg Harper
Member of Congress