By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- U.S. Rep. Sam Graves continued to pound away Friday at what he feels is an abuse of power by President Barack Obama.
Graves, R-Tarkio, who represents 36 counties in the 6th Congressional District, which includes Northeast Missouri, said Obama's recent proposal to limit certain types of firearms is a direct violation of the Second Amendment. Graves also said the president has a track record of abusing executive orders and regulatory authority.
"(Obama's) idea of what is in the Constitution is a lot of different than what ours is ... (and) it worries me," Graves said. "The wilder he gets with some of these things, the more resolve there is (in the House of Representatives)."
Graves spoke before a crowd of about 70 at Bleigh Ready Mix in Hannibal late Friday afternoon and had an evening stop scheduled in Louisiana.
Graves predicted the effort to ban certain types of assault weapons will never pass the House, which is controlled by Republicans, but feels some form of "better mental health screening" will emerge from the proposal.
"What needs to be done is a better job of enforcing the (firearms-related) laws already on the books," Graves said.
Graves also went after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has also been outspoken about banning certain types of firearms.
"It's none of her damn business to tell me I don't need some of those particular firearms," he said. "I'm offended by that."
Graves said the government finds itself in a tug of war involving the House vs. the Deomcratic-controlled Senate and the Obama administration.
"The House is running a defensive strategy," he said. "An appropratiations defense is all we have."
The "approprations defense" involves withholding funding for specific measures, Graves said.
"It's all we have right now," he said.
Graves also touched on other matters, including:
º Eliminating presidential term limits: "That isn't going anywhere," he said. "I know it's not passing the House."
º Health care's effect on small businesses: "Obamacare is coming, like a freight train, and we still don't know what all is in this bill," Graves said. "We find out something new every day."
Graves said "Obamacare" is particularly a problem for small businesses, which get hit with higher costs if they have more than 15 employees.
"Many small businesses are not expanding or cutting back stay under 15," he said.
º Help for small businesses: "We are trying to make it so more small businesses can participate in government contracts," said Graves, who is chairman of the House Small Business Committee. "We want to make the process easier and quicker."
º No budget, no pay: Graves say it is vital the House and Senate can agree on a budget, something the government has been operating without for four years. The House has passed a no budget/no pay act that requires both entities to pass budgets by April 15 or not get paid.
"Passing a budget is one of the most basic responsibilities of any government ... if they cannot do their job, they should not get paid," Graves said.
º Debt ceiling: Leaders from both political parties predicted earlier this week that automatic budget cuts, or "sequestration" -- which will enact across-the-board spending cuts of between 8 to 10 percent -- would take place at least temporarily while lawmakers try to come up with a longer-term plan for better controlling in the national debt. Some programs would reportedly be exempt from cuts, including Social Security, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and low-income programs such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. Sequestration is expected to take hold some time in March.
"It's coming," Graves said of sequestration.
º Local office: Graves said he will be opening an office in Hannibal in the near future. Sites are being examined, he said.
º Unemployment: Graves wants the current 99 weeks of unemployment eligibility shortened, feeling that amount of time hurts businesses and discourages those receiving benefits to seek employment.