Sen. Mike Johanns says the country faces several issues in the New Year, but an old one has re-surfaced that surpasses them all.
Johanns says the war on terror continues as America faces a real threat from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“This is a brutal terrorist organization,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network. “The threat is real and there are sympathizers to them who have western passports. It’s not that they’re going to sneak into the country from Canada or Mexico or whatever. They’re here. They have the freedom to travel on that passport.”
Johanns wraps up his public career after 32 years. He will be succeeded in the United States Senate by fellow Republican Ben Sasse.
Johanns says he’s proud of the work he was able to accomplish in the Senate. Still, he says he leaves with several issues looming.
Johanns says one of the big issues facing the country is the big budget deficit as Washington has failed to face up to its fiscal problems.
“We’re just spending money well beyond our means. It’s as simple as that. Money’s just going out a lot faster than the money’s coming in,” Johanns says.
Johanns says the country faces a day of reckoning as the Baby Boom generation retires. He says Medicare is woefully underfunded and while Social Security doesn’t face as imminent a shortfall, benefits could be reduced by 25% for the next generation if Congress doesn’t act.
Johanns, who has served at the county, city, state, and national levels of government says voters will play a big role in whether Congress addresses the problems facing the country.
Johanns says none of the problems will be solved unless voters elect good people to office.
“We have to get away from electing people who have the catchiest phrase of the day and the best talking points and really dive deep to see if they understand the challenges they face and what they’re going to do about them,” according to Johanns.
Johanns says voters must elect politicians who will seek constructive solutions to problems, while not giving up on their principles.