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Kingston sworn in, shares priorities

Congress convenes for new session

POSTED: January 10, 2011 1:50 p.m.
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Congressman Jack Kingston, R-Ga., takes part in a swearing-in ceremony with newly-elected Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the start of the new Congress. Shortly after being sworn in, Kingston joined the new Republican majority in voting to change the way the House works and to cut spending.

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U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston was sworn in Wednesday on Capital Hill with the rest of the House of Representatives, and he took with him a determination to reduce the size of government and reign in spending.
On Monday, the day before he traveled to Washington, D.C., the Republican delegate for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District outlined some of his goals for his next two years in office. Kingston said his main objectives this term are to cut government spending, curb the size of government and repeal health-care reform.
Kingston, who has been in office for 17 years, won re-election to his seat, joining other Republicans who swept the November elections to win the majority in Congress.
Locally, Kingston said he’d like to find another mission for Fort Stewart. Kingston is a member of the Defense Subcommittee on the Appropriations Committee, which oversees all military-based funding. The Army announced in 2007 that a fifth brigade would be coming to Fort Stewart but later reversed its decision 2009.
But Bryan and Liberty counties are very supportive of the military, Kingston said, and there is room for growth in those areas
“That’s a flag that I’m constantly waving,” he said.
Kingston argued that cutting government spending and oversight will stimulate the private sector and more jobs will be created.
For example, he pointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Act, a financial reform package that goes into effect this year. He said there will be many different interpretations and there will be lawsuits, which will lead banks to err on the side of caution and cut back on lending because of ambiguity.
Big business will adjust, Kingston said, “but the little guy can’t do that.”
Kingston, who sits on the Appropriations Committee that controls the federal budget, said he’d also like to work on eliminating duplicate programs in the federal government. 
For example, he said there are more than 40 federal job training programs and 16 programs that help the homeless. He’d like to streamline and consolidate programs like those.
“We certainly can get rid of a lot of duplication,” he said.
Kingston also said Congress needs to separate wants from needs. There might be a lot of programs that people want from the government. But “maybe it should be done at the local level,” he said.
For example, education programs to prepare students for college could be better run locally than by bureaucrats in Washington, he said.
As for health care, Kingston said he plans to vote to repeal the health-care reform law that was passed last spring. Congress is expected to vote to take such action sometime next week.
“I think Obamacare was far too big [of a] government reach,” Kingston said.  
One of the mandates in the heath-care law requires businesses that employ 50 or more workers to offer their employees health insurance or pay a penalty by 2014. Kingston said that small businesses may lay people off to get below that 50-person threshold or pay the penalty, which could be cheaper than premiums.
 The move will force Congress to take a second look at the bill, he added.

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