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Congressman Jeff Duncan Spends Day in Edgefield County - Questioned on National Scandals, Terrorist Threat in Iraq and America

web posted August 21, 2014
David Long (L) and Rep. Jeff Duncan view a mash barrel

EDGEFIELD   South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) spent the day in Edgefield County on Wednesday attending a groundbreaking on a million dollar expansion of Carolina CoverTech on Shortcut Road in the morning, spending the rest of his day in Edgefield meeting with constituents and touring the Carolina Moon Distillery and the expansion of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Edgefield Daily caught up to Rep. Duncan at the Carolina Moon Distillery as he toured the operation with owners Cal Bowie and David Long and later sampled some of the products produced.

However, it was his take on national issues that we sought comment on, not the local flavors.

Drilling for Energy Off the Coast
Rep. Duncan has introduced the EXPAND Act and other bills that would allow for exploration of resources off the Carolina coast as well as other locations around the country. Republicans were also able to get an amendment on a bill that would push for further development of research to find recoverable assets off the eastern coast, including South Carolina.   
Though bills are being passed by the House, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid stops any progress on anything the House tried to accomplish. "We've sent 332 bills over there (to the Senate) and he hasn't acted," Duncan said. Yet the media blames "Congress as a 'do nothing' body when the House has been very active and passing bills, even with Democrat support. Currently Duncan is hoping that the "shelf" will be opened to additional seismic studies in the current 5-year-plan that is being considered to see just how much recoverable energy sources there are beneath the waters.

If opened for exploration, Duncan said that would bring good paying jobs to South Carolina, revenues for the state as well as the Federal government. "I see it as a win-win-win situation." Right now the studies on the coast and the resources are 30 years old and new technology is much more specific.

The IRS Scandal - Special Prosecutor Needed?
When asked about the ongoing scandal involving Lois Learner and the IRS, missing or lost emails from not only her computer but seven other computers that were under subpoena, and if the new House Select Committee would be able to get to the bottom of the scandal Duncan didn't hold back. Stating he is not on any of the oversight committees currently investigating the scandal forming a Select Committee was a "step in the right direction."

"I think everyone in America smells a rat," Duncan said. Even though committees do have subpoena powers, often times those in the Administration and the IRS refuse to show up. For that reason Duncan said he would prefer a Special Prosecutor be appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to get to the bottom of things, though he doesn't expect that to happen.

"They (the Department of Justice - DOJ) has the manpower and the resources to conduct an investigation and dig into it. I think their subpoenas are taken a lot more seriously," Duncan said, arguing that should not be the case, the powers that be should adhere to a subpoena regardless of whether it is coming from a Congressional oversight committee or the DOJ.

He questioned the story by the Administration that the very computers investigators wanted to look at all crashed shortly after the request was made. A situation that has spread to similar requests for computers in the VA.

The Veteran Affairs Scandal - Is Enough Being Done?
When the topic of the Veterans Affairs scandal came up Rep. Duncan got more serious and took issue with our veterans not getting the resources they were promised for serving our nation in the armed services. "We made a promise to these men and woman and we're going to keep it," Duncan said.

Rep. Duncan put the scandal aside and focused more on solutions that Congress is working on to fix long wait periods to receive treatment for ailments, injuries or service related issues. One step in the right direction was to offer vouchers to veterans if they cannot receive treatment at a VA hospital in a reasonable amount of time that could be used at a local private hospital to get the care they need. "We made a commitment to those who served and we need to stand behind that," Duncan said.

Iraq - Will "Boots on the Ground Be Required to Stop ISIS?
While President Obama is enjoying yet another vacation as the Middle East is on fire, the terrorist group ISIS is taking large portions of Syria and Iraq, massacring Christians and moderate Muslims along the way. The United Nations has labeled the situation in Iraq as a humanitarian disaster on the verge of genocide and President Obama is offering only select air strikes to help the Iraqi army, mainly the Kurds in the north, defend against the onslaught.

When asked directly if air strikes would be enough to defeat ISIS or if "boot on the ground" would be required Rep. Duncan explained there were several factors that had to be considered. In short, air strikes were not going to be enough, he said.

"The Kurds are doing most of the heavy lifting right now as the Iraqi Army kind of turned and fled," Duncan said. The Kurds, he said, we the ones gassed by Saddam and even after the reconstruction government was formed were pushed to the side, "but now they're doing all the heavy lifting to protect the rest of the Iraqis." They have his full support and thinks the US should do more to aid them in defending against the ongoing march to Baghdad.

Pushed on whether or not air strikes will be enough Duncan admitted that it would not, but stopped short of saying that the US should sent troops to Iraq. But he said, "Somebody is going to have to step up," and take the lead. "We're war weary as a nation from Iraq and Afghanistan, so will the American people support efforts of military intervention there in some fashion - if it's 10 people or 10,000 people" remains to be seen Duncan said.

Rep. Duncan said that ISIS is actually trying to draw the US into their war in hopes it will turn other Middle East States and Countries against the US. Meanwhile they are putting up videos of crucifying Christians and most recently the beheading of journalist James Foley online and tweeting pictures of children smiling while holding the heads of the "enemy" after a beheading.     
Although conceding that air strikes will not be enough, Duncan said he is waiting to see what our allies are willing to provide in ways of support of a joint action, military or otherwise, rather than one by the US alone. He admitted that our ties to allies has been strained during the Obama Administration, including "turning our back on Israel, and that things are still evolving as the army marches on.

Duncan said he would like to see Germany, England, Spain, Italy, France and others try to find a way to jointly deal with the terrorist army with the US. "We can't go it alone," Duncan said. ISIS is growing in numbers and weaponry and, "has its sights on turning west to America," Duncan said.

It is a serious threat and one that should be at the forefront of issues facing our national security.

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