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Gazette Premium Content Colorado Legislature out of step with public's wishes

Doug Lamborn Published: August 14, 2013

Elections matter. Who controls a legislative chamber matters. Look at the stark contrast between what is happening in the U.S. House and what is happening in Denver. Colorado lawmakers are jarringly out of step with the nation's growing desire to roll back the unprecedented size and scope of government. Under the direction of Democrats including Sen. John Morse, state lawmakers have expanded the government and restricted individual liberties.

Elsewhere in the country, a majority of Americans want to reject the onerous mandates in Obamacare, the shocking abuses by the IRS and efforts to undermine our Second Amendment rights. At the same time, Morse and his Democrat colleagues in Colorado are embracing larger government budgets, costly anti-energy laws and restrictive gun rights laws.

Under Morse's leadership, the Colorado Legislature decided to grow the general fund by nearly 8 percent in the next fiscal year, from $7.6 billion to $8.2 billion. This is in stark contrast to what is happening in the U.S. House of Representatives, where my colleagues and I have fought to cut federal spending.

In the last Congress, I put forward legislation that would have cut spending more than $600 billion. According to an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union, out of all 435 members of the House of Representatives, I was the second-highest budget cutter. I got my bill through the House to eliminate all federal subsidies to National Public Radio. It died in the Senate.

I introduced or supported enumerable bills to get spending under control. I supported a bill to reduce the size of the federal workforce. I supported a bill to cut more than $200 million from wasteful green energy projects. I supported a bill to freeze government spending levels, saving more than $300 million. On top of all that, I have overseen cuts of nearly 20 percent to my own official office budget since Republicans took over the House.

Under Morse's direction, the Colorado Legislature passed one of the most onerous and costly energy laws anywhere in the country. It burdened Colorado's rural electric utilities with a mandate to get at least 20 percent of their electricity from an extremely limited and costly set of renewable sources, such as wind and solar. This heavy-handed mandate is expected to cost Colorado's rural electric utilities as much as $4 billion to implement. These costs have to be passed on to their customers. Colorado families and businesses are already paying nearly double for energy compared with what they spent a decade ago and cannot afford to be saddled with higher electric bills.

This anti-energy agenda is the opposite of what the House of Representatives is doing in Washington. This year, I shepherded through the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which I chair, legislation to remove roadblocks to allow for the approval and construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline - a project that is vital to America's energy future. This legislation will create thousands of American jobs and help wean us off oil from foreign countries that don't always have our best interest at heart. This legislation passed the House with broad bipartisan support, just as a bill of mine to do the same passed the House in the last Congress.

I am also working to expand access to Western oil shale and critical minerals. I have passed legislation out of committee to streamline the permitting process for the development of our onshore renewable, oil and natural gas resources. Two of the biggest stumbling blocks to energy production and job creation are federal red tape and frivolous lawsuits.

Safe and responsible development of America's energy resources is vital not only to American energy security, but to our nation's struggling families and businesses. Instead of working to lower energy costs, Sen. Morse and his fellow Democrat leaders in Colorado are bent on making energy more expensive.

Perhaps most troubling of all for many Coloradans has been Morse's overreach on gun control. Sen. Morse successfully imposed some of the most restrictive gun regulations in the country. Over the objections of their constituents, Morse and his colleagues gave into the heavy lobbying by the Obama administration and imposed radical gun control measures.

Across the country, voters are asking for smaller, smarter government. Instead, Morse and his Democrat colleagues in the state Legislature are serving up more big government programs that will restrict liberties and take hard-earned money from working families.

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Doug Lamborn is the representative from Colorado's 5th Congressional District.

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