Paul Broun has dual roles these days: 10th District U.S. representative and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
While Congress is on Easter recess, Broun drove from his Oconee County home Tuesday to visit constituents in the lower part of the district, and he said he hopes election to the Senate will give him a bigger platform to fight for fiscal responsibility.
“We need to take some good, Georgia common sense to Washington, balance our budget and stop the out-of-control spending that both parties have been doing,” Broun said.
Several times, Broun blamed both parties for budget deficits, but most of his criticism – primarily on fiscal issues, but also on such hot-button topics as health care and immigration – was aimed across the aisle.
“It’s very difficult when the Democrats think you just need to spend more money and grow the size of government, when most Americans think that we need to stop spending money we don’t have, be financially responsible and live within our means,” he said. “The Democrats want to raise taxes on everybody, which is going to harm the economy – and already is. When you have two different philosophies that are so far apart, it’s extremely difficult.”
Still, he said, the Republican leadership hasn’t done enough to rein in spending, either. That’s why he voted against the recently passed budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan.
“It didn’t cut spending. It just slowed the growth in spending from a 5 percent increase per year to a 3.4 percent increase per year,” Broun said. “That’s being fiscally irresponsible in my opinion.
“The American people are beginning to understand that we’ve got to have a balanced budget amendment,” he said, “and that’s one thing I can do in the Senate. I could help to get the American people to understand that they’ve got to demand a balanced budget from their representatives in the House and Senate.”
As he seeks that Senate seat, Broun likely will pick up another Republican opponent today, when his colleague, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, is expected to announce his plans to run at a news conference at Georgia Regents University – where both he and Broun earned medical degrees.
Broun said he also expects U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss. Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow on Monday would only say he’s focused on serving in his House seat when asked whether he’s also contemplating a Senate run.
With the potential of freshmen congressmen taking over the vacated 10th and 12th District seats, Broun worries that his longtime goal of establishing a biomedical research corridor anchored in Augusta will be more difficult – but one that will need him even more as a champion in the Senate.
“What I’ve been touting ever since I’ve been in Congress … is that Georgia should be that biomedical research and biomedical technology state,” he said. “And Augusta should anchor that because of the resources we have right here.”