Bishop, policy group holds federal budget deficit town hall in Macon

hgoodridge@macon.comFebruary 20, 2013 

U.S. Rep Sanford Bishop hosted a town hall Wednesday in Macon with the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group dedicated to helping the public and policy makers aware of the current federal budget deficit.

About 50 citizens and some local elected officials attended the meeting at Vineville Academy.

“Our country is in a great deal of debt and we’re suffering with deficit spending that is unsustainable,” Bishop said.

Bishop and the coalition were seeking two goals from the meeting: find out what priorities constituents believe Congress should have as they grapple with the deficit and give constituents a taste of what Congress is dealing with.

“This is a gathering of various people ... to collectively look at principles and priorities that are necessary for us to eliminate our deficit and balance our budget.” Bishop said.

The Congressman said he hopes the exercise helped the participants understand what he faces in Washington by putting them in the shoes of legislators who have to grapple with these issues everyday.

The participants were given a summery of the federal budget and workbooks that included spending and revenue categories. They were then randomly split into groups and had to formulate their priorities. Each group then gave their report to the organizers. As spirited debate took place within each of the groups, Phil Smith, Southern regional director with the Concord Coalition said that was the plan.

“The projections and choices they’re looking at are close to what Congress is dealing with -- or not dealing with,” Smith said.

He’s been helping members of Congress hold such town halls throughout the country. Bishop held similar town halls in Columbus and Albany.

The Concord Coalition will create a report with all of the information it’s gathering and will report its findings to Congress.

Contact writer Harold Goodridge at 744-4382.

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