Monday, December 9 2013 9:54 AM EST2013-12-09 14:54:27 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- One of the longest-serving members of the U.S. Congress says we should not be worried about what's happening on Wall Street. Republican Senator Richard Lugar says Americans need to remember the economy is moving forward.
He had some encouraging words for everyone the day after a very discouraging trading day: "The American economy is still strong, that we're making progress although it's very slow in terms of job creation, and that we still have a dollar that is the world currency and we are still selling bonds to everybody all over the world despite the S&P downgrade."
Senator Lugar says Standard and Poor's decision to take away the country's AAA rating likely had something to do with the turmoil in Washington over the debt ceiling. But Lugar says he disagrees with the downgrade: "I don't think that was a justifiable change, but the S&P people said, well, our lack of confidence in government is a large part of this situation and the fact that you were close to not raising the debt ceiling, this might occur again and you might default and all the rest of this."
Even though a compromise was reached, the Senator says the future is still uncertain, and it's going to be rough until decisions are made on even more spending cuts.
The Senator said, "There will be arguments over whether this committee of 12 bipartisan bicameral that's going to try to find another trillion and a half of cuts can succeed. Now if it becomes a very, very partisan situation, even then, the cut is going to happen."
Meanwhile, Senator Lugar says fixing the country's long-term economic situation comes down to one focus: "Jobs is the issue. Spending is important, Medicare is important, but jobs leaps out. That's where we've got to offer our concentration."
Another topic heavy on American's minds: the war in Afghanistan. Following a deadly weekend for American forces, Senator Lugar, a former member of the Navy, says the battlefield is changing, with a future of fewer soldiers on the front lines. "What I predict," he says, "is we're going to be coming toward a type of warfare which is less frontal assault of troops and lots of them and much more specific attacks upon terrorists."
Senator Lugar says he has no plans to retire. He will run for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to Senator Lugar's remarks, saying in a news release, "After 35 years in Washington, Senator Lugar is clearly out of touch with the struggles that so many Hoosier are facing right now. His remarks are nothing short of insulting to the Hoosier families who are very worried about what's happening on Wall Street and don't feel that the economy is strong."