DARLINGTON, S.C. -- U. S. Rep. Tom Rice Jr. stopped by the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce Monday morning to visit with constituents from the Seventh Congressional District. He was there to hear what voters in his district had to say and to listen to their concerns about government.

Nearly 20 people showed up to ask questions during his second “Coffee with your Congressman” of the day. His first was in Bennettsville.

During the hour-long meeting, the crowd touched on questions ranging from issues like fair trade, jobs, balancing the budget, taxes, falling gas prices and the keystone pipeline. One young girl in attendance even asked Rice what it is like to be in government in Washington.

Rice said his major focus is on “American competition and jobs, jobs, jobs”, specifically making our country more competitive in order to create and keep jobs here at home.

He said the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world and is competing with other countries around the world with far lower tax rates than our own.

“We are forcing our technology overseas,” Rice said. “We are forcing our jobs overseas.”

Many companies are relocating overseas, Rice said, making it no longer about patriotism but about surviving.

However, he said the economy is “getting better despite the federal government.”

One audience member voiced his opinion that Congress needs to focus on moving forward and balancing the budget.

Rice agreed that they do need to move forward.

Rice, a member of the House Budget Committee, called President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal an offer. He said that members of the House of Representatives will send their budget proposal to the Senate which will make a “counter offer” to the president’s budget.

Rice said he believes there can be a compromise but neither the President nor Congress will get everything they want in a budget.

As a key part of his outreach and community service, Rice will continue his “Coffee with your Congressman” event next Monday in Marion from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Marion Opera House and from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Shady Rest Family Restaurant in Johnsonville. Constituents will have the opportunity to meet for one-on-one discussions about federal issues and upcoming legislation. All events are free and open to the public.

Posted: Monday, February 9, 2015 8:56 pm