Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions underscored his concern for government spending such as last year’s $800 billion stimulus package, but reminded a Samford University audience that the American people still control their government in the wake of such measures.
Speaking on a Campus Forum program Monday, Sen. Sessions said there are “ethical considerations at play in spending money that others will have to pay for,” adding that there’s too much of that.
“I serve on the Budget Committee,” Sessions told a group of about 200 Samford students, faculty, staff members and others in Brock Recital Hall. The senator said he “didn’t grow up in the Depression,” but he came from a poor county (Wilcox) and said he had “a little bit of respect for money.”
Sessions noted that the national debt was $5.7 trillion and that forecasters predicted it would grow to $11.7 trillion by 2013 and $19 trillion by 2020.
“You young people need to be focused on this,” he said. Budget Committee witnesses have said “a spending track like this is unsustainable,” he added.
Sessions said there was a bipartisan feeling that “we have to do better,” and added, “People talk to me everywhere I go on spending.”
The senator said the American people control their government through elections, and cited his party’s loss of 15 senators in the past two years as an example.
In a question-and-answer session, Sessions said Congress had some responsibility to challenge the President on some decisions in time of war, but that he had been impressed with President Obama’s dealings with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Congress has the final word because it can shut off funds,” he said, but added he didn’t see that happening because Obama “has bipartisan support.”
Samford faculty posing questions were Professor Bill Ross of Cumberland School of Law, political science department chair Fred Shepherd and Brock School of Business Dean Beck A. Taylor. Moderator was Dr. John Knapp, director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, which cosponsored the forum with the law school and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society.