McKinley Addresses Rotary Club

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is “one of the biggest threats to our society,” Rep. David McKinley said during a meeting of the Wheeling Rotary Club on Tuesday.

In addition to the environment, McKinley, R-W.Va., spoke to his fellow Rotarians about the financial future, bipartisanship and West Virginia’s presence the nation’s capital.

McKinley said he is proud to be the first from the Northern Panhandle to represent the 1st Congressional District since Glen Dale native and former Gov. Arch Moore held the post more than 40 years ago.

“Let me tell you how much of an honor it is to represent the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia,” McKinley said, adding he brought more than 47 years of local business experience with him to Washington, D.C.

McKinley said prior to his appointment, West Virginia had not had a member of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee in more than 40 years, although the committee deals with issues that are crucial to the state. The biggest issue facing legislators is the “fiscal cliff,” McKinley said, referring to the nation’s precarious financial situation.

One policy set to change on Jan. 1 is the payroll tax holiday, a 2 percent reduction over the previous two years of the income workers pay into Social Security. Most of the country was not even aware of the break, however, according to McKinley.

“Ninety-nine percent of people had no idea they got a payroll tax holiday last year,” he said. “It was a plan that didn’t work, so we have to decide what to do with it. My guess is that it’ll expire.”

McKinley also recalled a speech he gave against the EPA and how he was chastised for his words by a fellow congressman. He later sought out that colleague, however, in an ultimately successful effort to increase cooperation for the sake of accomplishment.

“It doesn’t do any good if you’re just being partisan in (Washington, D.C.),” McKinley said.

Regarding whether the the U.S. military should withdraw from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2014, McKinley said he would not challenge President Barack Obama’s promise to do so.

He did offer this caution, however: “Let’s be very careful. Let’s make sure that we have left in place something that can be sustained.”