U.S. Rep. Martha Roby said the first thing she thought about after hearing of the Sandy Hook shootings in December was Margaret, her 7-year-old daughter.
“Your heart goes out to the families,” Roby said Tuesday during a meeting with the Dothan Eagle Editorial Board. “I mean, I have a 7-year-old. It hit me.”
However, it doesn’t mean Roby supports additional gun control measures.
“I don’t believe the appropriate way to handle a tragedy is to knee-jerk and go pass more laws,” she said. “I think we need to look at the laws that exist and see if they are being enforced.”
Roby addressed gun control and several other issues during her first sweep back into the Second Congressional District as a second-term Congresswoman.
Other issues discussed during stops at the Dothan Eagle and Ozark Kiwanis Club Tuesday include:
» Immigration: Roby said she is waiting to learn key details on a Senate proposal that outlines a path to citizenship for current illegal immigrants. The process — which includes requiring illegals to register with the government, pay back taxes and wait until existing immigration backlogs are cleared — would not begin until borders are secure.
Roby said she is “cautiously optimistic” that Republicans and Democrats are coming together to deal with the issue, but is concerned about putting the process on hold.
“I mean, you talk about securing the borders; that is a good aim,” she said. “History has shown that never happens.
“We have an issue with both illegal immigration and legal immigration. Both need to be looked at. States are looking at the federal government, who has not enforced the law they said they wanted to be the sole enforcer of. No wonder states go out and pass this sweeping legislation to try to deal with an issue where the federal government has failed them.”
» Afghanistan: Roby will make a trip to Afghanistan on Mother’s Day with several other representatives to observe the situation. Roby, who co-chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said the subcommittee’s first meeting will deal with Afghanistan and the drawdown of troops.
» Sequestration: Automatic spending cuts are set to take effect in March unless a deal is reached. Roby said she voted against the automatic cuts because defense bears too much of the cuts. She said the spending cuts call for defense to cut $500 billion over 10 years.
“Fort Rucker and Maxwell are trying to prepare for what that might look like,” Roby said. “There is no installation in the country immune from $500 billion in cuts over 10 years.”
» Entitlement Spending: “Let me tell you why mandatory spending programs should be on the table; because they’ll go bankrupt,” Roby said. “They won’t be here for anybody in the future with the direction we’re heading. If we don’t have the political will to change the way we do business in Washington, all these other conversations we are having won’t matter. If Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt, we’ll have much bigger problems.”