JEFF LANDRY: Why I Didn’t Go To The White House

Much has been said about my respectful refusal of the President’s invitation to the White House to discuss raising the debt ceiling from its current level of $14.3 trillion.

I have the utmost respect for the Presidency, Congress, and the Constitution.  However – during his Presidential tenure – Barack Obama has blatantly ignored Congress, our courts, the Constitution, and – most importantly – the American People.

Regardless, I did not attend the meeting because of my commitment to the people of the 3rd District. They elected me to be a different kind of Congressman – not one who follows the typical Washington processes that have destroyed Congressional credibility, bankrupted our children and grandchildren, created Social Security and Medicare shortfalls, and produced a 9.1% unemployment rate. Instead, the voters elected me to cut spending, reduce the debt, and create jobs.

If the White House meeting were a detailed discussion about ways to cut spending and prevent adding $2.4 trillion dollars to our national debt, I would have enthusiastically attended. Instead, the meeting was an exercise in political grandstanding to give the illusion that the President is committed to finding solutions. So the taxpayers’ dollars were better spent with me working at my desk to actually find real solutions to America’s problems.

For months, House Republicans have clearly stated what it would take for us to even consider voting to raise the debt ceiling. The President did not need to waste taxpayer dollars hauling hundreds of Representatives across town to get our message. He could have simply read the correspondences we have been sending him for months, including the previous evening’s overwhelming vote against a stand-alone debt ceiling increase.

In fact, the President’s own Press Secretary – Jay Carney – acknowledged that the meeting “was not the forum for specific advances in negotiations.” So as I was debating whether or not to attend, I was left with a question that I still have no answer for: What was this meeting’s purpose other than good old Washington showmanship?

At this critical juncture in history – Americans need leadership and real solutions, not just more of the same Washington. President Obama would be wise to heed the words then-Senator Obama spoke when he voted against raising the debt ceiling on March 16, 2006:

“Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

The Office of the President deserves respect, but it also demands leadership. And when the President decides to show real leadership and get serious about the problems America faces, I will gladly accept his invitation to meet and discuss how to bring America back to prosperity.

Congressman Jeff Landry

(Republican, LA-03)

New Iberia, LA



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