Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says that while a year ago, fiscal issues tied Congress up in knots, international issues dominate the agenda now.
Fortenberry says the budget agreement reached at the end of last year removed one of the more contentious issues from the table.
“The deficit has been coming down a bit. It is still inordinately high, but what this does is decreases the probability for this careening from crisis to crisis in terms of domestic budgetary policy,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The bigger issues are international instability.”
Those include Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, which Fortenberry sees as an attempt by Russia to build a new empire. Worries also have begun to focus on China, which is starting to assert itself militarily.
An election year always has an impact, according to Fortenberry, who calls elections a huge diversion of energy and time away from the fundamental work of Congress.
As for rumors circulating in Washington, D.C. about the Republican Party splitting apart, Fortenberry doesn’t see it. He also doesn’t see the revolt developing against House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio suggested by some news media outlets.
“I think the Speaker has done an artful job in trying to hold together a coalition of people who all have a little bit of an independent streak,” Fortenberry replies. “It’s been tough to be on this side of the aisle, because Republicans tend to have an independent streak. And, so while there are internal tensions, in terms of it fracturing and splintering, I think that’s a remote consideration.”
Fortenberry says the nation would learn from Nebraska Republicans about coming together after a tough primary.