It may be an unusual thing for a member of Congress to say, but Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, told the Utah Legislature on Friday that he has plenty of confidence in state lawmakers but little in the federal government.
"I have great faith in you and the decisions that you will make. I have less faith in our federal government," he told the Senate. "Most of our problems are solved at the state and local level," he said, adding that the federal government often has the arrogance not only to think it has the best answer "but the only answer."
He later told the House that in Washington, the "political process is so broken right now it is going to be difficult to depend on the federal government the way you did."
So he said the nation is looking toward states for innovation and examples of how to solve problems, and to act as a counterbalance to the federal government.
But Stewart stopped a bit short of help sought by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who asked if the congressman would push a waiver to allow states instead of the federal government to solve immigration issues. Stewart said that is one area where he thinks Congress is ready to act.
"I think there is bipartisan agreement that this is an issue that has to be dealt with and now is the time to do that," Stewart said.
But on other issues, he doesn't have as much faith that the federal government will act wisely. "We are committing national suicide with our spending," he told the Senate. Stewart, a former Air Force pilot, also told the House that the defense budget can be cut.