Congressman Doug LaMalfa returned home late Tuesday night after spending a week in Washington, D.C during his first session as a member of the House of Representatives.
“First running (for State Assembly) in October of 2001, to being here it has been an amazing journey and a high honor to do it. So for the people out there in the district, whether they voted for me or against me, I am going to do the best job I can," LaMalfa said.
He sat down with Action News Wednesday morning to discuss his first week as a Congressman and his thoughts on some of the key issues facing the 113th Congress.
LaMalfa says as a freshman Congressman there is a tradition of seniority and rank that he must learn to manage, but he says he is confident he can be effective even if he doesn't make headlines. He also says he realizes he has his work cut out for him.
“Just being back there this short amount of time, you see how difficult it is going to be, because the fiscal cliff thing only put a portion of it off for two months. The farm bill got done, but it is only good for nine months,” LaMalfa said.
During the conversation LaMalfa also touched on the pending debt ceiling negotiations, which have been a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats.
“For the Republican it isn't just give them another blank check on raising the debt. So there will have to be a really strong negotiation, and maybe nothing comes out of it," LaMalfa said.
We talked about the gun control debate on Capitol Hill. LaMalfa says he doesn't support any gun control bans and says the real issue shouldn't be guns, but rather mental health issues and criminals getting guns.
“I can see us working on a database that is more complete, more comprehensive on the types of people that should not be having them. It isn't about the guns, it is about the people that are trying to possess them that you are going to have an effect. Again, if it's mental health problems or already known criminals, you know illegal immigration, that kind of effect. You can make some make up some ground there,” LaMalfa said.
No matter what the topic that is being debated, LaMalfa says lawmakers should take their time.
He also says when it comes to issues with set deadlines, like the fiscal cliff and automatic spending cuts, congress needs to work to start the discussion early enough to avoid last-minute deals.
“We have to do a better job than that, because it is hurting too many people and it freezes an economic recovery that could be happening because people do react on what their tax rates are,” LaMalfa said.