Jim Himes On The Fiscal Cliff, Campaign Financing, and Syria

The incumbent Democratic representative runs for his third term in Congress.

Rep. Jim Himes with John Dankosky at WVOF.
Photo:Catie Talarski
Where We Live: Jim Himes
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Where We Live: Jim Himes

With violence in Syria starting to spill over into neighboring Turkey, Representative Jim Himes wants to start considering a no-fly zone over the wartorn country.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Himes continued to oppose supplying the rebels with weapons, but Himes is looking at other options. "I'm getting to the point where I think that we should consider, now that a NATO ally has been attacked, we should consider working with NATO and the Arab League as we did in Libya to begin the roll-out of a no-fly zone over Syria."

When his opponent Steve Obsitnik was on Where We Livehe called China "the greatest threat" and a potential opportunity when it comes to national security. Himes does not view China as the number one threat to the U.S. and would put Pakistan and Iran above China. He used the term "frenemy" to describe the relationship with China. "We're going to have to not let those disagreements boil over into damaging the profound shared interests we have with them," said Himes.

Himes, who is seen as a moderate, has seen many Republican lawmakers lose their primaries to more conservative candidates.

"We have seen time and time again, what has happened to Republicans who have tried to act moderate," said Himes who referred to Representatives Richard Lugar, Bob Bennett and Michael Cassel who lost their jobs in primary races. 

Himes also discussed the fiscal cliff that is awaiting Congress after the November election. Without an agreement, tax increases and spending cuts will be enacted on January 1, 2013.

But Himes is optimistic about Congress reaching a deal. "Even a fractious and polarized congress will have a powerful incentive to put in place an alternative," he said. Himes said the alternative will be something "pretty close" to the Simpson-Bowles proposal.

One of the big themes of the 2012 elections has surrounded income inequality. Himes, who represents Connecticut's wealthy 4th District says it's a "growing problem" in the United States. But he added that "just because what I just said I believe is true, does not mean therefore that we should villify those people who have been successful."

Himes encouraged voters on both ends of the political spectrum to consume different types of news. "If you're a liberal, read The Economist magazine every once in a while," said Himes. "If you're a conservative, turn off the Fox News and watch Rachel Maddow a little bit just to get the other side. I'm not saying you have to accept it."

This election cycle, Rep. Himes has raised over $2.2 million but when asked if he supports publicly financed elections he said he would. "I'm not keen on using a lot of money to finance elections," said Himes. "Given the alternative, I'd rather see publicly financing of elections as we have here in Connecticut than see a world where people can write these massive checks."

This show with Jim Himes concluded the 2012 series of Where We Vote shows on WNPR.