Rep. Mike Pompeo addressed concerns and ongoing issues when he stopped in Augusta Monday evening for the Butler County Republican Party meeting.

Rep. Mike Pompeo addressed concerns and ongoing issues when he stopped in Augusta Monday evening for the Butler County Republican Party meeting.
He began by talking about how he got into Congress 42 months ago.
“I was running a small business minding my own business until 2009 and our country was going in a direction I just felt was intolerable,” he said. “I watched enormous growth in the side of the federal government. I watched folks in both political parties spend too much of your money.”
Pompeo said he had told voters he would work on three things when elected. Those were: shrinking the size and scope of the federal government, affordable energy and making sure they did the right things to keep America safe.
He said he went to D.C. with the Tea Party class of 2010 along with 87 new Republican members hell bent on saving America.
He began by talking about the government.
“I’ve spent a lot of time voting against a lot of spending,” he said. “We are in a place in our country where there are very few programs we can’t figure a way to wring some money out of it.”
He said he has found there are far too many big government Republicans back in Washington, D.C.
He talked about a vision where they took the money to Washington, kept 20 percent and redistributed 80 percent back to the people.
“Politicians thought that was a successful way to run a government,” he continued. “It doesn’t work. Allocations are based on political power. It’s a bad way to run a federal railroad.
“We have not made the progress on spending reduction I wish we had.”  
He said they did reduce discretionary spending three times in a row for federal agencies, something that hasn’t happened since World War II.
The EPA is 20 percent smaller today than when Pompeo took office, although he said it should probably be 50 percent smaller.
“We have a president that thinks about the world a lot different than I do,” Pompeo said.
“I’m completely convinced you don’t need me to bring projects back to Butler County, Kansas. You need me to leave the money in your pockets in the first place.”
He went on to talk about energy.
“We have a president who doesn’t like fossil fuels,” Pompeo said. “The good news is we have pushed back on many of the things he has done to eliminate them. The bad news is he is still intent on making your energy sources very expensive.”
Pompeo said he had no problem with wind, solar or algae for energy, but he has 23 energy sources walk into his office and tell him if they got a grant or government mandate they would be the next great energy source.
“I don’t know why government should be involved in picking the winners and losers,” he said.
He said he has a bill that gets rid of every tax benefit in the tax code for energy.
Next, he talked about national security.
“I wish it was the case Barack Obama was right and al Qaeda was on the run,” he said. “It simply is not true. There are nearly twice as many members of known al Qaeda and affiliates as when Obama took office.”
Pompeo said he would like nothing better than to get the service men and women back to safety, but that was not the way it works.
“We are working hard to make sure we are doing this smart,” he said, explaining having no one deployed would result in Americans being killed.
“My task as your Congressman is not to create democracy somewhere else in the world but to keep you safe.”
Pompeo is serving on the Benghazi Committee and he said they are going to get every fact they can on what happened.
“You have my word we will move heaven and earth to get those facts out in the public,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo then took questions from the audience.
The first question asked what Pompeo was doing toward getting rid of the president because of all of his illegal actions.
“I always come back to the Constitution,” Pompeo said. “That is the governing document here.”
He said there were three mechanisms they could use. The first was the power of the purse, which he said they have done successfully in some places and not so successfully in other places. The second was oversight and he gave the example of the IRS, fast and furious and Benghazi knowledge which were results of the House providing oversight.
“The third tool is impeachment,” he said. “Senator Reid is probably not going to vote to convict on impeachment.
“The fourth alternative is you and me. The founders knew there was this risk of a chief executive who is lawless. The founders didn’t turn to the courts to rectify what was going on. They turned to Americans to stand up and say this is unacceptable and elect somebody who did different than this current person. In 2010 it was remarkable, Americans did that.”
The second question was about a baseline budget.
He said he was for it, explaining it is a concept that says they don’t begin where the prior year ended when looking at the budget. He said they should look at everything in the budget from the beginning and assume zero numbers.
The next question asked what his perspective was on what happened with voting in Mississippi and the efforts of the Republican Party to get the incumbent elected.
Pompeo said he was disappointed in it and even more disappointed they have an open primary that lets Democrats cross over and decide who the other party’s candidate will be.
The next question asked about Pompeo’s votes on banning the NSA from looking at citizens’ emails and phone calls.
Pompeo said he did not vote against any amendment banning these actions. In fact, there is the Pompeo Amendment that directs NSA will not listen to Americans’ phone calls or read emails.
He reminded those in attendance of the concerns after 9-11 and the Patriot Act.
“My predecessor voted for it,” he said. “It is in fact a good program. It handles information in a way that is proper and appropriate. There is no one who distrusts the federal government more than I do.”
He explained what the Patriot Act seeks to accomplish is when a call comes from a bad guy overseas to the Unites States, they are not going to just pretend it did not happen.
In addition, Section 215 was created to provide oversight from Congress and he said todd Tiahrt set on that committee.
“He said nothing,” Pompeo said. “Now he says, ‘Don’t look here, folks, I have a different view than that.’ He knew it made sense.
“There is no one going around reading your emails. It is simply not happening.”
He said the NSA has to have a court order just like the FBI would and they turn cases over to domestic law enforcement agencies.
“They have disrupted plots that have kept your family members who are serving in the military safe,” Pompeo continued.
He said there were about nine instances of people doing something they should not, all before he took office, and all of those people were fired.
Another concern was about OTMs coming across the southern border and why the border was not sealed.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “It scares the heck out of me. We have multiple problems that relate to the fact we have porous borders. We just let five terrorist out of Guantanamo Bay. I promise you they are back on the battlefield today.
“I have been, much to my own detriment, very vocal about the threat from Islamic radical terrorism. I can’t answer why we haven’t secured that border. We have done everything we can to stop this president from making it worse. He has no intention of securing the border.
“Today he said ‘I am going to do something because the House won’t approve comprehensive amnesty’,” Pompeo said.
“President Bush didn’t secure the border either. There was an opportunity to go do it where they had the House and Senate. Instead we had Republicans sponsoring the Dream Act. That’s coming back to haunt us today when parents think if they get their kid to American they can stay here legally.
“Today you can come to America legally about one out of a million times,” he continued. “Illegally is a couple of tries. We have to flip it. We have to make it almost impossible to get here illegally.”
Another question asked about the requirement for labels on genetically altered foods.
“I have a piece of legislation aimed at solving what I perceive as a problem,” he said.
He said there are groups like the Sierra Club working to fight against technology in food, one of which is genetically modified foods.
“The don’t like it; they don’t think it is safe and they want it to go away,” Pompeo said.
He said 80 to 90 percent of food people consume today have some sort of bioengineering. He said that is why there are the crops there are today and things like pest resistance in crops.
“At the same time, if you prefer to eat foods without being modified you should be able to do this,” he said.
He proposed legislation so if a company has a product that is natural, organic or non-GMO they can label it as such.
“There is a group that wants to require folks to put a label on that says this food contains genetically modified materials,” he said. “We don’t do that in America. We don’t require labeling unless we determine something is unsafe.”
He said if something really was dangerous it shouldn’t even be on the shelf.
He was concerned about the number of different labels that could be required in each area.
“I don’t want people in San Francisco and Berkeley telling our farmers how to label food,” he said.
Pompeo thanked everyone for attending and asked for their support.

Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.