« On the Issues

Strengthening the Economy

Jobs for Virginians

Strengthening our economy is one of my top priorities in Congress: I support creating an environment for growth to get folks back to work and to encourage our job creators. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create over 70% of the new jobs in this country every year. We need to cut the bureaucratic red-tape that stifles growth and innovation. That’s why I cosponsored and voted for the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R.367) which requires Congress to pass and the President to sign a joint resolution of approval before any new major regulation (greater than $100 million or more in impacts on the U.S. economy) may take effect.

I am an advocate for domestic energy exploration including natural gas and oil, in addition to increased conservation, and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, and nuclear energy. The expansion of all energy sources will create high paying jobs in Virginia. Virginia has the opportunity to develop offshore energy in an environmentally friendly manner and lead the nation in improving our energy security while creating thousands of jobs. I understand that protecting our national security is linked with achieving energy independence. I am a lead cosponsor of the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2231) which requires the Secretary of Interior to develop a new 5-year oil and gas leasing program that focuses on areas with the greatest potential resources and meets production goals that align with U.S. need. The bill also requires the Secretary to conduct three specific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease sales in Virginia. I also voted for the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act (H.R. 1965) which is aimed at expanding onshore energy production, streamlining permitting processes, and reducing red tape.

Reining in Out-of-Control Spending

I am fighting to hold the line on out-of-control spending. We simply cannot afford to keep spending at the current rate, placing the burden on our children and grandchildren. That’s why I have voted against every “clean” debt ceiling increase that did not include spending cuts or budget reforms. Most recently I voted against S. 540, which increased the debt limit through March 2015.

I support and have cosponsored legislation that proposes a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution (H.J.Res.1 and H.J.Res.2). I believe that the federal government should have to budget just like American families who have to make ends meet. I also support legislation (H.R. 879, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act) that would move Congress to a biennial budgeting and appropriations process instead of an annual appropriations by requiring (1) biennial (currently annual) budget resolutions, (2) biennial appropriations Acts, and (3) biennial government strategic and performance plans. I also support greater accountability by federal agencies for their spending. That is why I am a cosponsor of legislation (H.R. 239, the Zero-based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight (ZERO) Act) which calls for zero-based budgeting. This would require the annual baseline budget of each federal agency to be assumed to be zero and that each proposed expenditure to be justified as if it were a new expenditure.

Upholding our Constitution and Preventing Government Overreach

Our Founding Fathers had a great vision for this country. They knew that this nation would prosper under a government that allowed the best of everyone to emerge through the practice of individual freedom and that encouraged the ingenuity of its people. Our lawmakers must use the Constitution as their directive in governing this nation. That is why I have cosponsored the Enumerated Powers Act (H.R.109) which requires a statement of Constitutional authority for each bill that comes before Congress. I voted for the ENFORCE the Law Act (H.R. 4138) which establishes a procedure for the House of Representatives or the Senate to authorize a lawsuit against the executive branch for failing to faithfully execute the laws. I also voted for the Faithful Execution of the Law Act (H.R. 3973) which amends federal law to require the Attorney General to report to Congress any time a federal official establishes or implements a formal or informal policy to refrain from enforcing any provisions of federal law.

We have seen numerous instances recently of a lack of accountability in Washington: Obamacare, Benghazi, scandals at the GSA and IRS to improper actions by the Department of Justice. I’ve signed on to several Amicus Briefs with fellow Members of Congress to weigh in with the Supreme Court and the judicial branch on these matters. I support the establishment of a Joint Select Committee on Benghazi to ensure accountability. We must conduct aggressive oversight of the Administration and hold them accountable for any regulations or executive orders that negatively affect citizens. It’s time leaders in Washington be accountable to those they represent. I don’t agree with the President’s new push to act unilaterally with a “pen and a phone.”

I believe that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms must be diligently protected. I am a gun owner and strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.

Keeping America Safe at Home and Abroad

Supporting Our Military and Fighting Additional Defense Cuts

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, and Chairman of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, it is an honor to support our men and women in uniform. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it clear that it is the duty of Congress “to provide for the common Defence…To raise and support Armies…and To provide and maintain a Navy…and To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.” I oppose the use of tactics to hold military funding hostage for political gain, and I will continue to fight to ensure our all-volunteer Armed Forces are properly manned, trained and equipped to fight the war against terrorism and global emerging threats. Furthermore, I am committed making sure they are properly resourced with the support and care they need when they return home. The readiness of our military forces is degrading and it is my mission to avoid creating a hollow force that isn’t ready to face the emerging threats of the 21st century.

I am strongly opposed to further defense cuts. Defense budget cuts have totaled roughly $800 billion over the next 10 years and if you factor in full sequestration, the Gates efficiencies initiatives, cuts total over $1.3 trillion from the defense budget by 2022. These cuts will decimate and hollow out our force, putting the safety of our servicemembers in jeopardy. The world is not safer and we must invest in our national security and defense. We must prevent additional cuts to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources and tools they need to keep America safe. Congress must act now to reverse this disastrous and indiscriminate gutting of our nation’s defense. I also serve as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus where I am able to advocate for responsible shipbuilding budgets in Congress. We are a maritime nation. Our economy and our nation run on trade that is moved through the maritime domain. That domain must remain secure and protected. Virginia has a rich and robust history of in building ships for our Naval and commercial fleet. The shipbuilding industry is vital to our national defense, our industrial base, and our economy.

I support the rights and protections granted in our Constitution. I adamantly oppose any attempts to suspend or surpass habeas corpus, allow detention of American citizens without due process of law, or allow American citizens to be tried by military tribunals. We must continue to be vigilant about those who wish harm on our country, and should not encourage terrorists to travel to the U.S. for safe haven from prosecution.

Military Benefits

Our all-volunteer force earns their benefits every day. Those benefits come with a job that is inherently dangerous and we should do everything in our power to support our Armed Forces and their families. I am against decreasing funding and reducing access to commissaries. I am against reducing Housing Allowances, which would increase out of pocket expenses for our servicemembers.

Honoring our Veterans

I believe it is of the utmost importance to keep the promises that have been made to our veterans. I support legislation that provides concurrent receipt of both disability compensation and retirement benefits, and I am opposed to increases in TRICARE premiums or fees. I voted for legislation that blocked the Administration’s proposals to increase annual fees to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard, and prevented the establishment of an annual TRICARE-for-Life fee. The claims backlog in VA Hospitals is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to see that our veterans have the care they deserve. I introduced legislation to ensure that the COLA reduction for working age military retirees was restored and urged the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to act to ensure the cut did not take effect in 2015. Finally, I worked to ensure that the COLA reduction was restored for all current retirees and supported legislation (S. 25) which was signed into law. I am vehemently opposed to changing any benefits for those that have served or are currently serving when it comes to retirement pay and allowances. With your vote, I would be honored to continue to fight for our veterans on these and other issues which affect them.

Reforming Health Care

There is no doubt that health care in our country is in serious need of reform. I was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to largely uphold the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care overhaul law. While this law may have been largely found constitutional, that does not mean it is good policy for Americans. I believe we need to repeal this law and work immediately to replace it with effective reforms. I voted against Obamacare and have voted to repeal, defund and replace it at every opportunity. Most recently, I voted for H.R. 4118, which delays for one year the implementation of the penalty tax for failing to comply with the individual health insurance mandate. I believe that true health care reform must follow these principles:

Focuses on affordability and accessibility
Uses market-based solutions to solve health care challenges
Ensures that health care decisions are made between the patient and the provider
Allows for the sale of health insurance across state lines and for small business to join together to purchase insurance
Includes medical malpractice reform
Changes the way physicians are reimbursed to focus on coordination of care and patient outcomes
Curbs waste, fraud and abuse

Fighting Illegal Immigration

Securing Our Borders

I will work to secure our borders by supporting fence construction along portions of the border where most illegal immigrants cross, a wider "virtual fence" of surveillance cameras, motion sensors, other high-tech surveillance devices, and the increased presence of more Border Patrol officers.

Opposing Amnesty

Illegal immigrants are breaking the law. It is wrong to reward this illegal behavior by granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants within our borders.

Supporting Law Enforcement

I will work to increase the number of Border Patrol officers and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents. I will also advocate for additional resources for local law enforcement so that they can assist the Federal government in enforcing immigration law.

Verifying Residency Status

I understand that employers should have an easy and effective way to verify the residency status of employees. Immigrants should be allowed to work, but only if they are here legally. Employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants must be held accountable. Furthermore, discrepancies between workers’ Social Security numbers and names must be resolved quickly at the Federal level so that employers can make timely and informed hiring decisions.