On the Issues
Jobs & the Economy
My number one priority as your Congressman is to fight for our nation’s job creators and get America working again. Small businesses are the engines that drive the American economy, creating 7 out of 10 jobs in this country. Currently the government is hindering businesses by adding cumbersome layers of bureaucracy, taxes and regulatory burdens. It is imperative that we remove these barriers to growth and allow the private sector to flourish. We must work to produce policies that spur economic growth, encourage investments, help businesses gain capital and remove obstacles that force large corporations to shift profits overseas. It is time for government to get out of the way and let businesses do what they do best-innovate and create jobs.
America’s energy policies are of grave importance to both our national security and economy. With skyrocketing energy prices hurting families and stifling business in this already tough economy, we need to put everything on the table when it comes to creating a comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs here at home, ends our dependence on foreign oil and keeps America competitive in the global economy. Kansas is uniquely situated to become a leader in energy production with our vast wind, solar and land resources. I will work with Kansas delegation, the House Energy Action Team and the Committee on Energy and Commerce to harness this potential.
I believe that our healthcare system is in need of reforms that improve the quality of patient care and ensure affordable and accessible coverage for all Americans. I believe Congress should work to enact comprehensive legislation which would:
• Allow Americans who keep their employer-based coverage to keep the tax exclusion on health benefits.
• Allow individuals and families who don’t like their coverage or don’t have employer-based insurance to be able to buy their own plan on the same tax-advantaged basis as businesses. Americans who pay taxes should get a dollar-for-dollar reduction on their taxes of up to $2,500 an individual and $5,000 per family.
• Create a national health-insurance market that would allow small businesses, associations, churches and other civic groups to set up new insurance pools and offer more affordable and portable healthcare packages to their members.
• Fight the waste, fraud and abuse that is costing our healthcare system billions of dollars. We must also have liability reforms to end frivolous and expensive lawsuits, which could save billions currently spent on practicing defensive medicine.
We need to go back to the drawing board to devise real, commonsense reform that is reduces healthcare costs, increases quality healthcare coverage and provides access and choice for every American, without adding to our already unsustainable debt burden and further hampering the job creators in this country.
As someone who attended public school from elementary school through law school, I believe in providing all Americans a great public education system. In particular, I value the important role that education plays in our country’s future. It is our duty to make sure that we educate children today so that they can develop into productive citizens who will carry our country forward in today’s competitive global economy. I especially appreciate the work that is being done by teachers in our country and the significant impact they have on students.
I look forward to working with the House Committee on Education & the Workforce on legislation to improve all levels of education from kindergarten to post graduate levels.
I support a comprehensive, common sense reform of our immigration process. Controlling the flow of immigrants into our country’s borders is both a national security and economic issue. Immigration reform must begin by securing our borders. Next, the Federal Government must work with local governments and businesses to enforce our current laws regarding illegal immigrants already within our borders. The speed and efficiency of the immigration process must be improved to reward those willing to follow the rules. We must eliminate incentives to enter the U.S. illegally by building greater cooperation with businesses to ensure illegals are not employed, restricting illegals’ access to public services and by strengthening the legal immigration process.
I believe that all Americans deserve the comfort of knowing the air that they breathe and the water they drink is clean and free of harmful pollutants. We must be responsible stewards of our planet. Te EPA was founded in 1970 to help create and enforce regulations that would help ensure a clean environment.
Like most Americans, I believe that the creation of the EPA was an important step for our country, and I applaud the work that has been done for the past 40 years to make our environment better not only for us, but for future generations. I believe the EPA should respond to our changing environment. However, I am also concerned that giving the EPA additional power to regulate without adequate oversight could have unintended consequences.
I remain concerned that the EPA may be acting beyond Congressional intent. I believe that in addition to protecting the environment, we also need to balance the impact these regulations would have on our economy. It is the responsibility of Congress to maintain strong oversight on the EPA in order to ensure that they have the adequate authority to protect the environment without placing additional burdens on our already struggling economy.
I believe we must work to preserve Social Security for our seniors and for future generations. As your Representative in Congress, I will fight to preserve existing Social Security benefits for senior citizens and to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security. For generations, Americans have spent their working years paying into our country’s Social Security fund with their hard-earned tax dollars. It is imperative that our seniors and future beneficiaries receive the benefits they have been promised.
I believe that before any substantial changes are made to Social Security, Congress needs to hold public hearings, allow public input and provide the American people with full transparency. These decisions should not be made behind closed doors or hastily thrown into legislation.
Medicare & Medicaid
Both of these programs provide the social safety net for our seniors and the most vulnerable in our society. In order to meet their great financial needs, I believe it is imperative we ensure that these programs are sustainable both now and in the future. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, the estimated annual cost to the federal government and state governments for Medicaid was roughly $381 billion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the changes the President’s Healthcare bill made to the program will further increase Medicaid costs by an additional $430 billion over the next ten years. In addition, in FY 2011, Medicare will cost about $569 billion, accounting for approximately 3.7% of our GDP. Without congressional action, the Congressional Research Service reports that Medicare will be, “unsustainable in the long run and that the Medicare “A” trust fund will become insolvent in 2029.”
I believe that it is crucial that we have a financially stable Medicare program to ensure that we are able to keep our commitments to our seniors and the most vulnerable in our society.
Before any substantial changes are made to Medicare, Congress needs to hold public hearings, allow public input and provide the American people with full transparency.
Our country owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces, and I believe we should honor the commitments to our veterans. As a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I intend to exercise strong oversight over the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that it is fulfilling its mission to our service members.