I am deeply concerned about the current economic situation, and every day I talk to folks who are looking for work and trying to make ends meet. I support pro-growth policies that will get folks back to work. 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 is why I was pleased to support the JOBS Act, which provides small businesses relief from harmful regulations and paves the way for small start-ups to create more jobs. I am also a cosponsor of the Hire a Hero Act, Veteran Employment Transition Act, Hiring Heroes Act that would give businesses incentives to hire veterans and ensure that injured service members have access to rehabilitation and vocational benefits.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. I have voted against increasing the debt limit several times. Increasing the national debt by trillions of dollars only exacerbates the challenges our economy faces both now and in the future.
Some tough decisions will have to be made, and I believe that time is now. I am ready for this challenge but I do not see that there are a majority of members of Congress willing to make these tough decisions to balance our budget. That is why I support the SAFE Commission Act, which would establish a national commission to confront our Nation’s long-term fiscal crisis by putting everything – entitlement spending, tax policy, and all other federal programs – on the table. Congress would then be required to take an up or down vote on the commission’s recommendation.
I support and have cosponsored legislation that proposes a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that the federal government should have to budget just like American families have to make ends meet.
We need to prioritize spending and expose the waste, fraud and abuse in Washington. It is time to return to the conservative principle of controlling spending, and part of this includes earmark reform. There is no doubt that the earmark process is broken. I led the way in fighting for earmark reform and the Republican Conference followed my lead to not to submit any earmark requests this session. I will continue to work to reform the annual appropriations process as we must move to cut deficit spending and balance the budget.
I believe one of the things Congress can do to spur job growth and help alleviate this economic downturn is to reform the tax code for families and small businesses to make it simpler and fairer. I am a cosponsor of legislation that would place a 2-year moratorium on capital gains and dividends taxes, cut the payroll tax rate and the self-employed tax rate in half for two years, and reduce the lowest income brackets by 5% each. I am a cosponsor of legislation to allow small businesses with less than 500 employees to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their active business income (H.R. 9). I am also a cosponsor of legislation that would repeal the estate tax and the individual alternative minimum tax.Expanding Broadband
I support broadband deployment to under-served and un-served areas, which I believe is a vital contributor to economic development and job growth. Since being elected to Congress, I have supported localities and organizations in the First District in their efforts to secure funding through the broadband grant application process. I have also hosted Broadband Roundtables which bring together stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to provide folks with an update on expansion efforts and to discuss what future steps need to be taken.
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. 125, which requires a statement of Constitutional authority for each bill that comes before Congress.
As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Chairman of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, it is an honor to support our men and women in uniform. I oppose those in Congress who hold military funding hostage for political gain, and I will continue to fight for the funding and equipment our Armed Forces need in the war against terrorism and global emerging threats, and for the support and care they need when they return home.
I am strongly opposed to further defense cuts. The Department of Defense is already required to cut $487 billion over the next ten years -- more than any other Department. 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. I am committed to fighting “sequestration,” which will require additional cuts of $492 billion to our nation's defense. Congress must act now to reverse this disastrous 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. The shipbuilding industry is vital to our national defense, our industrial base, and our economy.
I am opposed to bringing any Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Commonwealth or the United States. We cannot afford to take the risk of endangering innocent citizens by housing terrorists nearby. I have cosponsored several pieces of legislation to prohibit the transfer of terrorists to Virginia and will continue to work to make sure our country is kept safe from those who want to harm us.
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
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. On the Armed Services Committee, I serve as the top Republican on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over all military health care programs and issues. The claims backlog in VA Hospitals is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to see that our veterans have the care they deserve. With your vote, I would be honored to continue to fight for our veterans on these and other issues which affect them.
I am committed to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over Bay issues, I have introduced legislation that would fundamentally alter the management of the current restoration activities to allow for more coordination and efficiency, so that there is accountability in how restoration dollars are being spent. These techniques were used to successfully restore the Great Lakes and the Everglades. This legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 418-1 on September 20, 2009, and passed the House on 248-163 as part of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act on June 21, 2012, and I am working with my colleagues in the Senate to get it passed and signed into law. The Chesapeake Bay is North America’s largest estuary, and it is my hope that we can greatly improve the health of this environmental, economic, historic, and recreational treasure.
Every day I commute from my home in Montross to Washington or throughout the First District, and I can tell you – I see the transportation needs first-hand. I am fighting to get more of the taxes Virginians pay at the gas pump that go into federal coffers returned to Virginia.
I believe another key to alleviating transportation issues is the increased use of commuter rail, and I am a strong supporter of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and the addition of a 3rd rail line from Fredericksburg to Washington.
Telework is another tool that will help alleviate our transportation problems. Not only does it save energy, it keeps folks off the already crowded roads. I introduced legislation to provide teleworkers with a tax credit to pay for teleworking expenses and have worked to expand the use of secure telework for those employees working with classified materials.
I understand that protecting our national security is linked with achieving energy independence. America's dependence on foreign oil has led us to do business with governments that support and fund terrorism, and this presents a serious threat to our country’s security.
I support an “All of the Above” strategy where ALL options are on the table. I am an advocate for domestic exploration including natural gas and oil shale, in addition to increased conservation, and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, and nuclear energy. The expansion of alternative 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 and creating thousands of jobs.
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. I believe we need to increase health care affordability, accessibility, and portability for all Americans. I have worked directly with constituents through my health care Advisory Council and by holding multiple town hall meetings to bring their views on health care reform directly to Congress. I believe that true health care reform must follow these principles:
|•||All debate and proposals are transparent and open to the public.|
|•||Reduces Federal spending and reduces the overall cost of health care.|
|•||Does not include a mandate that every American purchase health insurance.|
|•||Allows those who like their existing coverage to keep it.|
|•||Expands, rather than restricts or rations, access to health care and health insurance.|
|•||Protects health care benefits earned by members of our Armed Forces, Veterans, Federal employees and seniors.|
|•||Grows the physician workforce, with an emphasis on primary care.|
|•||Allows small businesses and associations to join together to purchase health insurance.|
|•||Provides tax deductions for medical expenses.|
|•||Ensures access to pharmacies and pharmacists.|
|•||Promotes the use of electronic medical records and tele-medicine.|
|•||Uses innovation to cut cost and promote medical research, education and awareness.|
|•||Enacts medical malpractice reform.|
|•||Reforms Medicare with a focus on curbing waste, fraud and abuse.|
|•||Changes the way physicians are reimbursed to focus on coordination of care and patient outcomes.|
|•||Safeguards women’s health.|
|•||Expands coverage for young workers and college students.|
|•||Promotes prevention, wellness and nutrition.|
The Commonwealth is home to many of the Nation’s finest colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools. Many college-bound students face financial hardship and that’s why I have hosted several “paying for college” workshops and am a cosponsor of legislation allowing employers to match 529 college savings plans up to $1000 per year. As a member of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I am working with my colleagues in Congress to promote the importance of career and technical education in preparing a well-educated and skilled workforce in America.
I supported legislation that would prevent interest rates on new federally subsidized Stafford Loans made to undergraduate students from increasing from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2012. The bill would extend the 3.4 percent rate until July 1, 2013. My wife has been a teacher for over 30 years, so I hear about our education challenges frequently. We must continue to attract top talent to our schools and that’s why I support incentives like tax credits for teachers to cover their out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Furthermore, I am working with my Education Advisory Council to ensure that Virginia’s schools get the resources and flexibility they need during the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.
I recognize the importance of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs to our Nation’s economy and believe it is vital that our schools focus on these areas.
I will work to secure our borders by supporting fence construction along portions of the border where most illegal aliens 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 aliens 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 aliens 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.