U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins visited Leavenworth Tuesday, delivering remarks that focused on the national debt.
The Republican from Topeka said any economist will say that the current path for the United States will end badly for Americans if they don't get their arms around the federal government's fiscal affairs.
"We do not have a choice," she said.
Jenkins was the guest speaker during the monthly luncheon of the Women's Division of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce. She represents Kansas' 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes all of Leavenworth County.
Jenkins expressed concern that there could be another downgrade to the federal government's credit rating.
She said there will be some pressure points this fall that federal lawmakers can use to address the government's fiscal problems, one of which will be a vote on the country's debt ceiling.
The congresswoman expressed optimism about what can happen when control of the government is split by Democrats and Republicans.
She noted the federal budget was balanced in the 1990s when Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was president and Republicans controlled Congress.
With a divided government, she said, everyone receives the blame and everyone has to share the credit.
Jenkins said the Republican-controlled House passed a budget she argues would balance the budget in 10 years. She said some people may question why it takes 10 years to balance the budget. She said balancing the budget next year would require tremendous tax increases and cut programs for seniors.
Even with the budget balanced, it would take several decades to pay off the government's debt, she said.
Jenkins said she believes there is broad bipartisan support for tax reform.
"Find me an American that can defend our tax code today," she said. "I can't find one."