FAIRFIELD, Conn. – More than 200 Fairfield County residents attempted to balance the federal budget Saturday at a group budget exercise sponsored by the Concord Coalition that was attended by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
The residents sat in groups and reviewed pages of policy options that asked them to support or reject a number of budget items, from adjusting defense spending to repealing health care reform and eliminating agricultural subsidies.
As the groups debated the issues, Himes (D-Greenwich) walked from table to table, giving advice.
Before the exercise started, Himes discussed the challenges of balancing the budget.
“There are many demands and not enough revenue,” he said. “There’s nothing simple about putting together a smart budget.”
He said he voted for the Cooper-LaTourette budget, “which represents a good chance to get the budget under control” and he looks forward to December, when Congress will debate raising the debt ceiling and “there’s a possibility for real negotiations on the Hill.”
After the budget exercise, members of a few of the groups spoke about the results.
“We came out in support of cuts in defense spending in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Deborah Goldstein of East Norwalk.
“We cut $3.8 trillion from defense and $1 trillion from Social Security,” said David Watkins of Stamford.
Himes said the event was a valuable lesson in democracy.
“It’s important to look at the issues we struggle with, and here are over 200 people getting involved, which will result in a better discussion,” Himes said.