Jan 152015
 

Our nation’s roads, bridges, dams, schools, electrical grids and water treatment facilities are old and unable to meet the needs of our growing population. Many of the structures we depend upon for safety, travel and commerce are functioning at maximum capacity or beyond their expected lifetime. Our water treatment facilities need $200 billion for improvements if they are to continue delivering enough clean water to our population, and keep our waterways clean. Our schools need $300 billion for safe and modern classrooms in order to prepare our children for the global economy. Insuring the safety of all our nation’s bridges will cost over $300 billion during the next 10 years. Our electrical transmission system needs to be upgraded to a smart grid and buried underground for protection. Improvements to airports, ports and railways are also on the list. During the past 30 years, we have spent less than 3% of our GNP on infrastructure improvements. Many people say we should not just wait for power black-outs, bridges to fall and dams to burst. They believe now is the time to begin these improvements. Low borrowing rates mean the cost of funding the repair and renovation of our decaying infrastructure is as cheap as it has been in nearly 80 years. It is estimated that it will cost about $3.5 trillion or about $350 billion annually during the next 10 years to bring our infrastructure up to a state of good repair. Besides immediate and future benefits to society, these renovation projects will also create many jobs and significantly boost our economy. It is estimated that 13 million jobs will be created for each trillion dollars spent on infrastructure improvements.

Pending Legislation:

S.4 – Rebuild America Act

I oppose reforming current infrastructure policy and wish to defeat S.4

I support investments in transportation corridors that promote commerce and reduce congestion; updating and enhancing the U.S. network of rail, dams, and ports; investing in critical infrastructure to reduce energy waste and bolster investment in clean energy jobs and industries; investing in clean energy technologies that help free the United States from its dependence on oil; modernizing, renovating, and repairing elementary and secondary school buildings to support improved educational outcomes; investing in the nation’s crumbling water infrastructure to protect public health and reduce pollution; invest in U.S. infrastructure to address vulnerabilities to natural disasters and the impacts of extreme weather, and wish to pass S.4

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The term pork barrel spending, also known as earmarked funds, refers to the practice of funding projects that only benefit the constituents of a single legislator. Normally, these projects are not competitively awarded or subject to congressional review. They are usually requested by a single member of Congress to benefit a single local interest. Funding for these pet projects is usually inserted in large omnibus appropriations bills at the last moment. Between 2000 and 2009, our Congress approved earmark spending projects worth about $208 billion. Critics say federal tax dollars should not be spent in a way that does not benefit most taxpayers. One reason these earmarks flourish is that they help create support for passing controversial bills. Lawmakers seldom vote against a measure that helps their own district. Pork barrel supporters claim earmarks are beneficial to many people and provide incentives to help advance important bills that otherwise might not advance. During the past few years, some members of Congress have agreed to not include “special project” funding in otherwise unrelated legislation, but these efforts have been only partially effective. Pork barrel spending attached to the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill which funded the government for most of 2014 included $80 million for Amtrack, a 5% overpayment on Defense Department contracts if the contractor is Hawaiian, Nearly $8 million for the volunteer Civil Air program, and $600k for Mississippi State University to research how to grow trees faster.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current pork barrel spending policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring earmarked funds to be competitively awarded and subject to congressional review

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Social Security deductions taken from the paychecks of working Americans are put into the same account that pays the benefits of those retired. There is no surplus or reserve trust fund in this account. In the past, politicians have used Social Security funds for purposes other than retirement benefits. As of 2012, Congress had borrowed and spent more than $1.7 trillion of Social Security taxes on uses unrelated to retirement benefits. There is concern that there will not be enough money to pay benefits to people that are now working. This is because there are a growing number of Americans receiving benefits and a declining number of workers paying into the system. It has been estimated that Social Security, without outside assistance or benefit cuts, will remain solvent until at least 2037. The possibility of future insolvency could force the eligibility age for full retirement benefits to be raised above the current age of 66. Some say that Social Security must be reformed if it is to be sustainable. Others say insolvency will be deferred once our economy picks up steam and more people get back to work. In order to ensure the survival of this much-needed program, some people want to prevent Social Security funds from being used for other purposes. Still others want to make Social Security a needs-based program that prohibits wealthy Americans from collecting benefits. It has been estimated that this change would save our Treasury about $1.5 trillion each year and make Social Security solvent for the foreseeable future. Opponents say this idea sets a dangerous precedent by excluding beneficiaries who paid into the system, and opens the possibility it could be done to other groups of people in the future as well.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1713: Social Security and Medicare Protection Act

I oppose reforming current Social Security policy and wish to defeat H.R.1713

I support prohibiting Social Security funds to be used for other purposes; making it out of order in the House or Senate to consider any spending or tax measure whose enactment would cause the surplus for any fiscal year covered by the most recently agreed to budget resolution to be less than such combined Fund surpluses, and wish to pass H.R.1713

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to make Social Security a needs-based benefit system and exclude the wealthy from collecting benefits

 Posted by at 12:00 am