EASLEY — U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan has plans for his constituents and the nation at large that he feels would be beneficial in 2014, including transparency, with pieces of legislation such as the Farm Bill, and a break from energy independence.
Dating back to his days as a representative at the state level, Duncan has stressed not only the need to break away from foreign supplies of energy but the need to develop our own resources.
“American dependence on foreign petroleum and oil supplies is unacceptable when we have resources of our own,” Duncan said. “What we as a nation need to do is expand our abilities to use our resources, giving us independence from other, international sources. We have the resources and means of doing it.”
One of Duncan’s plans to do away with energy dependence is the Expand Act, which he recently reintroduced to Congress. The act is designed to expand the usage of American resources for American energy needs, whether production of electricity or petroleum products.
“A competent energy policy is the first step,” the Congressman explained. “With a competent energy policy we can reduce our dependence of foreign supplies. The Expand Act is just the type of change we need, whether it opens offshore and onshore drilling or makes usage of technology through green technology.”
The Expand Act addresses several areas concerning energy sources. Through the act, the feasibility of offshore and onshore oil reserves would be addressed, if tapped, would reduce to a fraction the need for petroleum provided by OPEC.
When it comes to renewable sources of energy, or green energy, Duncan’s legislation would open public lands for both solar and wind farms, producing energy with limited intrusion.
“When it comes to wind and solar, there aren’t a whole lot of tax incentives to get involved,” said Duncan. “If alternative sources of energy are going to become a viable solution that’s something that has to happen, we have to create an incentive for the research and implementation to happen.”
There are other benefits to Duncan’s Expand Act as well.
“Not only would we be able to do away with our dependence on foreign suppliers,” he said. “It also means jobs domestically and job creation should be a priority.”
The Farm Bill
With a name so simple, The Farm Bill should be a piece of legislation that is not only self-explanatory, but should be centered on farmers and legislation to benefit the profession. Instead, it’s a little more complicated than that.
“The Farm Bill is made up of 80 percent of nutritional pieces not agricultural policies, wording and legislation for SNAP,” Duncan said. “This isn’t a true Farm Bill, so House Republicans split the bill into two pieces in order to have a fair debate over what it does for farmers.”
Farmers receive subsidies through legislative pieces such as the Farm Bill, subsidies designed to stabilize production and pricing. Duncan and many of his Republican lawmakers also see a need to adjust requirements for entitlements such as SNAP and by breaking the nutritional and agricultural parts to the legislation in two feel they can address needed changes to the supplemental nutritional program.
“I feel like the cuts we have put in place in the food stamps program will be implemented over 10 years,” Duncan said. “But like tax cuts and spending cuts are always addressed, these cuts will only last until the next administration takes office. These are spending cuts that are needed.”
Should there be more requirements for receiving nutritional assistance?
“The big sticking point for those on both sides of the issue is a work requirement to be a beneficiary,” explained the Congressman. “There are those who are able-bodied receiving monthly assistance, and I believe there should be some sort of work requirement or a requirement to volunteer on a regular basis. Something should be required to give back in one way or another.”
According to Duncan, the Farm Bill exemplifies one of the biggest problems on the Potomac and that’s a lack of transparency.
“When you receive a bill that’s thousands of pages long, anything could be in there,” he said. “Not only in the bills we propose but with incidents like Benghazi and the Syrian Civil War, there has to be transparency and accountability for anyone involved.”