JOBS & ECONOMY:
After eight years of the Obama economy, Americans are struggling with stagnant wages, reduced hours, and decreased economic opportunity. The policies of this Administration, from the Affordable Care Act to the Dodd Frank financial reform legislation, have hurt economic growth and make it more costly and burdensome for businesses to expand and add workers.
As a former small business owner, I have seen first-hand what it takes to run a business, make a payroll, and create jobs. I also know how hard it can be to do those things when the federal government puts regulations in place that prevent businesses from doing what they do best: innovating and creating more jobs. Therefore, I believe that the federal government’s involvement in our economy should be limited to creating an environment that allows the private sector to thrive and create jobs.
During my time in the House, I have introduced and supported legislation that reduces burdensome regulations that cost us jobs, extends tax relief to small businesses, and boosts energy production to lower prices. At the end of 2015, the House passed, and I supported, a tax break extender package that contained numerous provisions critical to improving Nevada’s economy. Among them were a permanent extension of the state and local sales tax deduction, on which Nevadans rely to reduce their tax burden, and a permanent extension of the section 179 deduction used by small businesses to reinvest in their companies.
I also introduced legislation that will create jobs by boosting international travel and tourism to the United States and popular tourist destinations like Las Vegas while strengthening our national security. Finally, I had a bill signed into law that will create up to 3,000 jobs in Nevada by establishing a public-private partnership for the clean-up and redevelopment of an abandoned mine site in Henderson, all at no cost to taxpayers.
As your U.S. Senator, I will continue to support reasonable regulations that protect the consumer, employees, and the environment while working to reduce burdensome federal regulations so that businesses can thrive and create good-paying jobs.
The most glaring failure of the Obama presidency is that the world is a more dangerous place today than it was eight years ago. By failing to lead during crucial moments of world events, the President has weakened America’s standing in the global community and created a situation where our allies don’t trust us and our adversaries don’t fear us. When America does not lead, it leaves a vacuum of power and influence to be filled by the likes of Iran, Russia, and China. Under this Administration’s failed foreign policy we’ve seen continued unrest in the Middle East, growing nuclear ambitions of Iran, the formation and expansion of ISIS, escalating tensions with an aggressive Russia, an assertive China, and an increasingly belligerent North Korea.
As an Iraq veteran and a brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve, I understand all too well what it takes to keep our nation safe. I’ve spent my entire career focused on the safety of others and I continued that focus while in Congress. Serving on the House Armed Services Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has offered me the opportunity to directly influence the policies driving our national security and defense strategy.
The most pressing concern we face right now is defense spending and troop levels. While our adversaries are boosting their defense spending and mobilizing their militaries, we are underfunding defense and drawing down our forces. But make no mistake; the world is not becoming safer as we are doing this. I have consistently supported efforts to provide the level of resources necessary for our men and women in uniform to do the job we ask them to do – keep our nation safe.
Closer to home, I have worked to make sure the Las Vegas area continues to receive adequate funding through the Urban Area Security Initiative, which helps our law enforcement agencies so they can prepare for and respond to potential acts of terror.
As your U.S. Senator, I will continue to prioritize the security of our nation and do all I can to ensure that our military and law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to keep America safe.
As an emergency department physician, one of the reasons I ran for Congress was the passage of the disastrous Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law has failed to meet its stated goals of increasing access to healthcare and reducing costs. Recent events suggest the law is having the opposite effect. Major insurers are leaving the exchanges and others are predicting significant premium hikes for their customers, making it anything but affordable. Meanwhile, those who do have insurance are still finding it difficult to access care due to widespread physician shortages, especially here in Nevada.
My focus in the House is to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare. To do that we first must repeal the flawed parts of the healthcare law and replace it with reforms that put the patient, not the insurance companies, at the center of our healthcare system. That includes expanding Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts, not limiting them as done in the ACA. Next, we must reverse harmful changes the law made to Medicare and I have introduced the Seniors Health Care Choice Act to do just that. Finally, we must address our severe doctor shortage so patients can access the care they need.
The best way we can reduce our doctor shortage is to train more medical residents right here in Nevada. Studies show that physicians are more likely to practice medicine where they completed their residencies. Because of this, I introduced the Creating Access to Residency Education (CARE) Act that establishes a grant program to encourage underserved states like Nevada to create new or expand current residency programs. More medical residency programs will allow us to train and retain the next generation of Nevada physicians and lead to healthier communities around the state.
As someone with a degree in education and the father of three children who are products of the Clark County School District and the Nevada System of Higher Education, I am well-versed in the challenges faced by our parents, students, and teachers. That is why I sought a seat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce when I was elected to Congress.
In my role on the Committee, I have focused on providing states and school districts more control over education funding and policy decisions because the people who work with our students know what our students need to succeed. I also make it a priority to visit our local schools so I can hear directly from teachers, administrators, parents and students about their ideas for solutions at the federal level. I have voted to improve K-12 education by expanding school choice and successful charter school models because I believe that parents and our students should decide what school is best for them.
I believe Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are critically important to Nevada’s education system and our economy. We must work at both the state and federal level to ensure that these programs receive adequate funding. CTE programs provide students with real-world vocational training so they can pursue careers relevant in today’s economy. Because these programs are so critical, I introduced the Career and Technical Education Equity Act. This legislation protects funding for Nevada’s CTE programs so our students can receive the training they need to remain competitive in a 21st Century workforce.
Another top education priority of mine is making higher education more affordable and accessible for Nevada students. In the House I supported legislation to get Washington politicians out of the student loan interest rate business so borrowers will have certainty over future loan rates. I also introduced legislation to simplify the federal financial aid application process for students and families so they have the information they need about financing before they make critical college selection choices.
Domestic energy development has the potential to be a job-creating force for the American economy. Yet under the Obama Administration, overbearing regulations and unreasonable environmental concerns have prevented the domestic energy production sector of our economy from realizing its full potential. The President often claims to support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, but his energy development proposals only apply to “above” ground energy sources. To maintain our economic and national security, we must maximize all of our nation’s energy resources, including renewable sources, alternative fuels, and fossil fuels, all in a way that balances economic development and protecting our environment.
With more than 86% of Nevada owned by the federal government, I have pushed to open public lands for responsible renewable energy development projects. I am a lead cosponsor of the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill that streamlines the permitting process for renewable energy projects on public lands and establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for state and local governments. In Nevada, this bill would allow us to expand solar and geothermal energy development, which will help get more people back to work, reduce energy prices, and improve our economy.
While Nevada is poised to lead our nation in renewable development, we shouldn’t penalize those that depend on fossil fuels for energy or eliminate jobs they provide. In Congress I have supported legislation to protect the coal industry from President Obama’s harmful regulations and the EPA’s overzealous rule-making.
As your Senator, I will continue to support an “all of the above” energy strategy that maximizes production to lower energy costs for consumers and create jobs with appropriate respect for our natural environment.
The state of Nevada is blessed with an abundance of land and natural resources. Individuals across our state should have the opportunity to utilize those resources to help grow our economy through mining, agriculture, ranching, and energy development while ensuring we maintain the proper balance between economic development, recreational enjoyment, and environmental conservation.
Far too much of our land — more than 86% — is controlled by the federal government. I believe that the best stewards of our precious lands are the people closest to it, who understand Nevada’s Western way of life, not bureaucrats in Washington. I opposed the President’s recent unilateral, executive land grab designating the Basin and Range Monument because it went well beyond the intention of the Antiquities Act and it did not have the support of local residents. I also cosponsored legislation called the Nevada Land Sovereignty Act of 2015, which prevents the President from taking executive action designating or expanding national monuments without Congressional approval or local support.
In Congress, I have also fought to stop the listing of the Sage Grouse as an endangered species because of the adverse affect it would have on our state’s economy and had legislation signed into law that creates jobs by allowing the city of Henderson to enter into a public-private partnership to clean up and redevelop an abandoned federal mine site.
As your Senator, I will fight to transfer more of our public lands back to our state so that Nevadans can decide how to best utilize the land.
America is stronger because of the contributions of immigrants. My maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy. My grandfather served in the Army, ran a small business, and he and my grandmother raised five children, achieving their own American dream. I learned the important lessons of dedication, hard work, and public service from them and I carry that with me to this day. So immigration is not an abstract issue for me. I come from an immigrant family and know how important immigration is to the future of America.
However, our current immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed so that it works for America. Under the current Administration, executive orders have been used to circumvent Congress and enact de facto immigration reform. But those orders do not provide long-term certainty for current or future immigrants and their families because a future President could rescind or alter them. We must enact immigration reform through the legislative process in Congress.
Provisions that I believe are critically important to include in any immigration reform proposal are strengthened border security — not just along our southern border but also along our northern border and at points of entry, a mandatory e-verify system, an innovative guest worker program that allows for both high-skill and low-skill labor, and improvements to the current legal immigration system.
I also believe we need to provide those young people who were brought to this country through no fault of their own a chance to make a life for themselves here in the United States, the only country they have ever known. Finally, there are numerous proposals that would grant citizenship or legal status to those currently here in an undocumented status and I would be willing to consider those proposals, so long as the other provisions I support are addressed in a meaningful way.
As your U.S. Senator, I will advocate for a legislative solution to this challenge to make our immigration system work for America.
The right of American citizens to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our Constitution. As a gun owner and recreational shooter, I believe we should not infringe on that right, which is a fundamental part of American life, especially for us in the West.
But supporting the 2nd Amendment and legal gun ownership does not mean we should ignore the tragic incidents of gun violence that take place across our country each day. All of us, law-abiding gun owners especially, have a responsibility to ensure safer communities by reducing gun violence.
There are common-sense steps we should take in the short-term to prevent those who wish to commit acts of violence from ever getting their hands on a gun. The first is to fully fund the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS. If all of the records are in the database, fewer individuals will slip through the cracks when trying to buy a firearm. Next, we need to actually go after the straw-man buyers who help criminals get guns and also those who are already prohibited from purchasing a firearm but still attempt to do so.
In the long-term we need to conduct a careful examination of the root causes of these violent acts and a serious evaluation of how we treat mental health in our country. By actually addressing the root causes of gun violence, we will be able to cast partisan differences aside and enact policies that actually prevent these senseless tragedies.
As your U.S. Senator, I will fight to preserve our fundamental Constitutional right to keep and bear arms and will work with my colleagues to reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those with a propensity to do harm.
As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and the House of Representatives, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. While it is critical to maintain homeland security and remain vigilant in the face of ever-increasing global threats, we must not do so at the expense of the freedoms and civil liberties we enjoy as Americans.
In Congress I supported passage of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, legislation that ends the government’s bulk collection of phone records under the USA PATRIOT Act while ensuring our intelligence agencies have the capabilities to track foreign terrorists and keep America safe from attack. As our society becomes more technologically advanced, it is critical that we maintain a proper balance between innovation and intrusion.
As your U.S. Senator, I will continue the fight to protect your Fourth Amendment rights.
Nevada’s senior citizen community has unique needs, requiring specific support and legislative policies. From ensuring seniors can access the medical care they need to protecting the programs they rely on for enhanced quality of life, I am committed to advocating on behalf of our seniors in Nevada.
We should be clear about one thing: Medicare and Social Security, upon which thousands of Nevada’s seniors rely, are not on sound financial footing and need to be strengthened if they are to provide the health and income security our seniors deserve. In June, the Medicare and Social Security trustees released a report showing both programs will begin to spend more than they earn by 2020. Ignoring these challenges will result in cuts to benefits for current program participants and uncertainty about the future for those near retirement age.
In Congress, I am working to preserve Medicare for current retirees and to protect it for future generations. I introduced legislation aimed at fixing changes to Medicare implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act and reducing financial hardships for seniors on Medicare by ensuring Medicare covers skilled nursing facility stays.
I also believe that we must have a serious debate on ways to preserve Social Security for future generations. One proposal worthy of consideration is indexing the retirement age by increasing it by one month over the next 24 years. Slowly growing the retirement age from 67 to 69 would limit the impact and extend the life and solvency for social security after 2070. Lifting the cap on the social security payroll tax is another issue worthy of discussion.
Additionally, after hearing from seniors frustrated by the lack of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase for Social Security this year and in years past, I introduced a bill called the SENIORS COLA Guarantee Act to ensure seniors on Social Security receive a guaranteed minimum COLA. In the short-term, this will provide seniors a guaranteed income boost so they can afford everyday necessities like groceries, healthcare products, and housing costs. But we must have a serious national discussion on Social Security if we are to ensure its strength in the long-term.
As your Senator, I will continue my work to improve Medicare and welcome debate on improving Social Security so it can continue to operate as the program that has provided financial support to so many.