The clock keeps ticking on a U.S. Senate budget bill, one of the things, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) Laurens notes whenever he speaks in his 3rd Congressional District.
He made clear in a series of news media calls last week that reporters in this area knew the calendar has ticked off 1420 days since the last federal budget was passed.
“The House has passed one the last three times,” Duncan said in a phone interview Tuesday morning. He expects his governmental branch to pass what is commonly called the Ryan bill sometime next week.
The budget and energy measures were among three major topics Duncan sought to discuss in interviews. He also had interest in promoting his bill that would get South Carolina listed as one of the states involved in a five year plan that will allow offshore drilling in Atlantic waters. He supports approval of measures for the Keystone Pipeline to bring crude from Canada to U.S. refineries.
The Ryan budget bill calls for $4.6 Trillion in cuts, including a reversal of the Affordable Care Act that would expand health benefits for several hundred thousand South Carolinians.
The Republican bill named for sponsor Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential running mate in the last presidential election, leans on cost cutting and involves cuts to “mandatory spending “ Duncan said. “Republicans are acting responsibly by having a budget.”
The nation needs to “reign in spending,” he said “The Ryan bill doesn’t rely on revenue like the Democrats’ proposal.”
As for the Affordable Care Act, Duncan said he believes the measure should be repealed. “ObamaCare is not the role of government. I’m a market kind of guy, and I think that if government will get out of the way then the market will find ways of handling it (health care). There is a market solution for the 21 to 25 year-old that can provide catastrophic coverage. There is something even for pre-existing conditions.”
Duncan has experience with the five-year plan for drilling offshore when he served on the House committee that oversaw the plan. He favored offshore drilling when he served in the State House as a representative from Laurens County.
He has filed a bill that would get South Carolina considered for offshore drilling, “What we believe from existing studies is that what is harvestable is 75 to 100 miles offshore,” Duncan said. We’re talking about something that is over the horizon so it is not like you’ll be looking at oil wells from the beach. We think that what is most available is natural gas, which is a much safer thing than oil,” he said.
The Congressman offered a comparison to difficulties that occurred in drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon.
“Deepwater Horizon was at like 5,600 feet and required remote controlled vehicles to deal with problems,” he said. “What’s available off our coast is more like 100 to 150 feet (deep) at 11 miles.”
Duncan estimates drilling off the Carolina Coast could produce 7,500 jobs through drilling and supply to drilling operations and the families of those working in the industry.
Drilling could also provide a royalty fee to the state. Duncan could not estimate that amount.
It could also help provide energy independence for North America as would the Keystone Pipeline. He also sees the pipeline as providing potential to lower prices at gasoline pumps.