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Himes Addresses Small Business Struggles

GREENWICH, Conn. – U.S. Rep. Jim Himes focused on bipartisanship and the national economy’s effects on small local businesses during his “Update from Washington” speech at the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce's luncheon Tuesday.

“I represent a very moderate district. … Over time, we need to get everybody — my side, the extreme of my side, the extreme of the other side — comfortable with the notion that success means you’re not entirely happy with the outcome,” said Himes, adding this may happen when economic activity goes up and the level of emotion goes down.

At the luncheon, held at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, Himes gave his remarks and then encouraged a question-and-answer period. Sal Provenzano of Rand Insurance, located in Riverside, asked, “What is Congress and the Senate doing to get more people to work in the private sector as opposed to the public?” Provenzano cited government mandates as one reason local businesses are not hiring.

Himes replied that the federal government is limited in creating jobs in the private sector and instead stressed the necessity of education for the workforce and quality transportation. “In the long run, the main thing we can do is have the infrastructure that allows people to move their product around and for people to get around,” he said.

Himes also addressed the clashing partisanship over cutting and spending in Congress as it plans to reduce the national deficit by $1.5 trillion. He said he favors the debt-limit deal signed in August because it will preserve the federal government and programs such as Medicaid and Social Security.

"There are people on the other side of the aisle from me, who say, at all costs, make cuts; scale back teachers, scale back government spending, scale back defense, you name it,” said Himes, adding that some of the cuts would be necessary. “But you do too much, too fast, and you're going to do exactly what this nation did in 1937 and bounce back into a double-dip [recession]."

In closing, Himes encouraged local businesses to hire people. “I know many of you run small businesses and I know particularly where we are the economy has been brutal in many, many dimensions so thank you for hanging in there."

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