My position remains the same as it was last year. On my website under “Issues” I took the position last summer that one way we can improve national security is to
safeguard our southern border by:
- Enhancing border security with Mexico.
- Enforcing immigration and workplace laws.
- Reforming U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to handle legal immigration better.
- Enhancing the legal worker programs to provide legal avenues that meet the needs of employers and immigrants, providing a better option than illegal immigration.
- Focusing more attention on Central and South America.
As for the recent immigration law passed by Arizona, I understand the frustration of the citizens of Arizona given the ongoing failure of the federal government to deal with this issue. However this issue is best handled on the federal level, with true immigration reform and realistic policies to stem illegal immigration being laws which include the elements I outline above. Jason Whitlock states it well when he says: “Illegal immigration is far from a new problem. Arizona should not be tackling this issue alone. Given the endless domestic and international ramifications, it’s a quandary best solved by our politicians in Washington.” Jason Whitlock, “Arizona immigration debacle foretells our demise?” KansasCity.com, posted Tuesday, May, 4, 2010.
Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and jobs?
First, what the Congress should be doing right now (and what it should have been doing in 2009) is establishing a fiscally realistic, balanced and sustainable budget that keeps revenues and expenditures in line and which eventually retires federal debt. That process requires the examination of all federal programs to determine the purpose of each program, whether that purpose is proper for the federal government to pursue and if it is producing the desired result.
Congress should be focusing primarily on proposals that would get the budget in order, as described above. The bills we should be hearing and reading about in the daily news are ones such as Congressman Paul Ryan's "The Roadmap for America's Future" as proposed in 2008. Or, the "SOS: Stop Over-Spending Act"(s) of 2006, 2007 and 2008 as proposed by Senators Judd Gregg and Mitch McConnell and up to twenty-two other Republican senators. These types of bills are more important now than the recently passed health care reform, climate caps or so called stimulus plans. The American people understand the concept that we should get our finances in order before taking on new, ambitious projects.
Second, I support Congressman Ryan’s proposal to create jobs and a healthy economy by adopting a flat income tax to replace the complicated current income tax; the elimination of taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends; replacing the corporate income tax with a business consumption tax; and capping federal revenue produced from the federal income tax and business consumption tax at nineteen (19) percent of GDP. For more details on Ryan’s plan, go to www.roadmap.republican.budget.house.gov.
The combination of curtailing and reducing federal expenditures with adoption of the tax reforms outlined above will spur investment in and the creation of new jobs.
Q: What can Congress do to make our education system more effective?
Congress can make the education system, particularly for grades K-12, more effective by stepping back and letting local governments and states have full control over the funding and goals of the educational system. Decisions on education are best made at the local and state level, where all the relevant players (parents, teachers, businesses, other community organizations and individuals) have a better chance of being involved in the discussion and establishment of education policy.
Q: Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
While earmarks make up a small percentage of the federal budget, they have become symbolic in the public’s mind of selfish, parochial spending. One of the main themes of my campaign is Stewardship—Renewing the American Spirit. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. It is time for governments, nongovernmental organizations and each citizen to adopt a mindset of stewardship of resources, including money, abilities, talents, people and the environment.
Our current social, economic, and environmental problems are due, in large part, to selfishness, greed and other irresponsible actions. The federal government, and in particular Congress, must lead the way by modeling stewardship over the resources and responsibilities entrusted to it by the people. Earmarks should be abolished, not because of the economic impact on total federal spending, but for Congress to signify to the American people that it understands that Congress must be a better steward of the resources entrusted to it.
Allowing individual Congressmen to insert spending for pet projects (like the bridge to nowhere) does not inspire confidence in the people, especially during a time of financial crisis. Eliminating earmarks is a small sacrifice to make to help restore the trust of the American people in the Congress.
Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
My response is as contained in my blog of March 25, 2010:
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts." Abraham Lincoln.
The Democratic majority in Congress has managed to pass health care legislation that supposedly extends coverage to those currently not covered by health insurance but does little else. It is neither true reform, nor does it improve the quality of health care for all Americans. As Lincoln said, once the American people see the true impact this bill will have on those who already have insurance by increasing premium costs, an expanded entitlement program that will drive the deficit up by billions (see Congressman Paul Ryan's website), increasing taxes in a weak economy and other negative effects, the majority of people will express their displeasure with ObamaCare when they vote in this fall's Congressional and Senatorial elections.
However, it is not enough for Republicans and Independents to just say "we will repeal this bill! It cannot stand!" As a party, Republicans need to unite behind a health care reform package to offer to the American people as a replacement for the bill enacted this [spring]. Our bill will focus on people controlling their health care, not the government; provide for affordability and portability of health insurance; reduce health care costs in a free market; improve the quality of health care; all without increasing taxes by billions and without creating a huge new entitlement program that we cannot afford.
By the fall campaign, we must be united behind a health care reform plan to offer to the American people as a replacement for the ill-advised and poorly crafted bill that was signed into law this week. Congressman Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich and others have proposed such plans for health care reform. We need to meld those ideas into a plan that is best for the American people. If we do, I have every confidence they will understand that our plan is best, and vote for candidates in the fall election who support our health care plan as the replacement for ObamaCare.
We need to recognize, and educate the American people, that our plan will not be enacted and replace ObamaCare in the near future. It will be at least a three year process, requiring return of control of the Congress to Republicans through the elections of 2010 and 2012, and electing a Republican President in 2012.
In summary, as succinctly stated by the Wall Street Journal's lead editorial on Tuesday, March 23rd, "Many Republicans are already calling for 'repeal' of ObamaCare, and that's fine with us, although they should also be honest with voters about the prospects. The GOP can't repeal anything as long as Mr. Obama is President, even if they take back Congress in November. That will take two large electoral victories in a row. What they can do now is take credit for fighting on principle, hold Democrats accountable for their votes and consequences, and pledge if elected in November to stop cold Mr. Obama's march to ever-larger government." [Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, page A20].
Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
As outlined on my issues page on my website, I believe that we should zealously pursue energy independence by:
- Developing and producing energy in a responsible manner from existing natural resources in the United States.
- Allow drilling for oil and natural gas offshore and in Alaska. At present, I would not support drilling for oil in national park lands. There is no absolute means to prevent another gulf oil leak. To decrease the odds of such a leak occurring again, the federal government must strictly monitor and enforce safety standards on oil platforms, and work with the oil industry to ensure a better response to contain oil leaks before they spread.
- Lift the ban on development of oil shale in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
- Build more refineries.
- Encourage new clean coal development plants.
- Build more nuclear power plants.
- Encourage breakthroughs in alternative energy technologies.
- Make the solar and wind tax credits permanent.
- Offer a series of prizes to accelerate development of alternative energy sources.
Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
Thus far I believe the Congress has managed to walk the fine line between legislation empowering law enforcement agencies to gather information and take steps to protect us from terrorism and still protecting our right to privacy. It is interesting to note that even the Obama administration has kept in place the provisions of the Patriot Act. As a career prosecutor, I am fully aware of the constitutional protections afforded by the 4th and 5th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and would never support legislation that would in effect void those protections.
Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?
First, it must do as I have suggested since last year:
- Establish a fiscally realistic, balanced and sustainable budget that keeps revenues and expenditures in line without needlessly raising taxes, and which eventually retires federal debt. A key part of that process requires the examination of all federal programs to determine the purpose of the program, whether that purpose is proper for the federal government to
pursue and if it is producing the desired result. Until this process is completed:
- Total federal expenditures must be frozen.
- No new taxes and no increases in current federal taxes.
- Funding increases for an existing or new program must come from
reduction of funds from or elimination of another program
The combination of curtailing and reducing federal expenditures with adoption of the tax reforms outlined above will spur investment in and the creation of new jobs. It will, if faithfully pursued as policy, put us on the path to not only balancing the budget, but also gradually reducing our national debt.
Americans will have greater confidence in and actually experience a long term economic recovery if the above plan is pursued. Greece should serve as a warning of what will happen here in five years if we do not adopt such a plan soon.
Q: How can the federal government reform Social Security?
Again, I would support as a beginning discussion point the ideas on Social Security and Medicare reform as proposed in the “Roadmap for America’s Future.” Go to www.roadmap.republican.budget.house.gov.