Economy / Jobs
I am a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) and an expert in budgeting and federal financial management and analysis. I know the federal appropriations process and how to follow the money. I will go to Washington on a mission to reduce the overspending, duplicity and the over borrowing that is costing us billions of dollars each year.
Adding to the problem is that we have unfunded liabilities – “promises” the federal government has made for future services such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and the interest on our national debt – that will need to be paid. As of today, these unfunded liabilities total nearly $1.2 million for every American. How will we pay for this?
The answer is: get people working! Businesses create jobs. Jobs generate revenue. Revenue funds services. We used to have four workers to every person receiving benefits. Today that ratio is 1.75 workers for every person. To incentivize our nation’s businesses to create jobs and prosperity, we must cut taxes, eliminate costly, unnecessary federal regulations, and ensure analysis that provides sufficient information and statistics to gauge the impact of new regulations on small businesses coupled with a periodic retrospective review of a rule’s promulgation.
Of particular importance is upgrading the skills of our existing workforce to meet employer demands. The cost to support those who cannot and likely will not find work because they no longer possess the skills employers seek far exceeds the cost to assist in the retraining of our workforce so they are prepared to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
I am reminded of the saying, "If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime."
Legislative efforts to reform our immigration laws have been attempted on several occasions in the recent past. They typically stall because of the stark differences between the House and Senate versions – especially when it comes to criminal penalties for those in the country illegally. The House legislation makes unauthorized presence a felony, which I support.
I believe when considering immigration reform, we must recognize that there are three kinds of illegal immigrants: those who overstay their nonimmigrant visas, those who enter across borders surreptitiously and those who entered using fraudulent documents.
Those who overstay their visa have violated a civil offense and should be required to either return to their country or extend the visa, if possible, and meet the required civil penalty. On the other hand, those who sneak across into the country or enter with fraudulent documents are criminal offenses, and must be imprisoned, documented as a felon, and returned to their country.
I support trigger provisions and incremental revisions. As I have often said when speaking: secure the border first. A step-by-step approach to immigration reform or incremental provisions would move us closer to full immigration reform. The issue which concerns me most is trust; can we trust the president to enforce the laws and can we trust Congress to hold the executive branch accountable for enforcement?
- Increase border security (see Saving Our Border)
- Enforce eligibility verifications
- Increase worksite enforcement penalties
- Enforce the criminal penalties for illegal immigration and document fraud
- Ensure criminal detainees are not released into our communities
Finally, I will not support immigration reform legislation that does not include a provision requiring our border to be secured before it can be enacted. Immigration reform without a secure border is fruitless.
Securing Our Border
The illegal trafficking of drugs, people and guns across the Southern Arizona border is being neglected in the national debate over immigration and border security. If I am elected, that will not continue.
Some say more technology and more money are needed. Arizona border ranchers tell me that despite the cameras and sensors placed on their properties, they are continually repairing fences cut by those bringing people and illegal drugs across the border.
What we need is the commitment to tackle this problem. We need someone looking at those cameras and monitoring those sensors or they do us no good. We need to empower our Border Patrol agents to do the jobs they are trained to do. We need to seal our border. That means, we need to finish the infrastructure. Finally, we need the will of our government to enforce the law of the land.
Repealing the 2010 Health Care Act is highly unlikely in this or the next congressional session. We need to make our healthcare coverage personal, portable and with a paid premium.
People need to be able to tailor their health coverage to meet their own needs and determine how much risk to take, not a “one-size-fits-all” system with individual health care decisions being made by government bureaucrats. We need to incentivize our medical community for keeping us well.
People need to be able to take their plan with them wherever they go – including to a different state when they change jobs.
The president’s health care law needs to be structured in such a way that it does not encourage employers to reduce the hours of their workforce whereby employees are no longer considered full time and end up losing their benefits. You need to pay part of the premium for it to have value to you.
We also need a high-risk pool for people who are unable to pay for their healthcare. This is where the government assists the citizens of our country who need help.
Since the 2010 Health Care Act was enacted, Medicare has been cut $716 billion over the next ten years. These cuts have and will continue to fundamentally transform, eviscerate and gut Medicare to make fewer services available to our nation’s seniors. They are not only changing the dynamics of the physician-patient relationship in a very alarming way, but there has been an insidious change in the quality of care coupled with significant increases in the financial obligations of seniors. This seems ironic for legislation officially labeled the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” because it is neither protecting patients nor affordable.
In a March 24, 2014, letter to former U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeluis, I identified several recent changes to Medicare that are placing unnecessary burdens upon our seniors because of Obamacare and called upon the administration to take action to:
- Halt a 678-page rule proposed by HHS and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that prohibits independent doctors from prescribing any medications on Part D Medicare for any Medicare patients. If allowed to go forward, independent doctors may not be able to prescribe for Medicare patients, and patients cannot use their Medicare prescription benefits with a doctor who is independent of the government-run Medicare system.
- Address the deceitful practice whereby more and more hospitals are admitting patients but using the designation “under observation” as opposed to “in-patient.” If a patient is designated as “under observation” for any hospital stay, Medicare Part A will not cover that admission and the patient will be responsible for it out of pocket.
- Reverse new rules issued by Medicare in which a second admission to the hospital within 30 days of discharge will not be reimbursed. These rules affect many patients, but those with congestive heart failure, pulmonary disease and diabetes in particular are hit hardest since these conditions often require patients to return to the hospital within a week or two of discharge to be further stabilized. Patients with conditions such as these have no choice but to undergo the additional care or they will die.
- Rescinded cuts in reimbursement rates to the highly successful and cost-effective Medicare Advantage program. When these rates are cut, doctors get paid less and patients often get charged more. Medicare Advantage primarily serves low-income seniors and is the plan of choice for more than half the African American and Hispanic seniors in the U.S. The popular program does what it is intended to do: serve patients and lower costs.
Medicine should be focused on the patient, but these new rules and regulations are shifting the focus to the government deciding what constitutes appropriate medical treatment. They are leading to significantly higher costs for our seniors who, in turn, are receiving poorer quality of medical care while being denied the ability to select the health care professional of their choice. The steps I have outlined will return the focus of our nation’s health care system to the patient, and patient-physician relationship, where it belongs.
Saving Our Military Assets
While we should fight to save the A-10, at least through the end of its life cycle, the long-range objective is to sustain Davis-Monthan (D-M), thereby securing and enhancing the economic vitality of Southern Arizona. I believe one future role for D-M could involve hosting squadrons of the new KC-46, an aerial refueling and transport plane being added to the Air Force. D-M has the long runway needed to support it. Once elected, I will immediately begin efforts to bring the KC-46 or another flying mission to D-M. While bringing a new aircraft to D-M faces many challenges at the Pentagon, no flying mission at D-M presents many challenges to Southern Arizona.
My concern goes beyond saving the A-10 and sustaining D-M, it involves the larger need to protect all of Southern Arizona’s military bases and assets. This includes addressing the threats of a reduction in the military and civilian workforces at Ft. Huachuca as well as the shifting of jobs by local defense contractors out of Southern Arizona.
Saving our military assets is not just about jobs for Southern Arizona; Southern Arizona offers climate, ranges and runways which make it ideal for flying and training.
I am reminded of something George Washington once said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” I believe that under President Obama, our national defense has been weakened to the point where we are not prepared. I am further concerned that we will be even less prepared moving forward. If elected, the weakening of American will not happen on my watch! I will support a strong national defense.
I support the U.S. Constitution and all constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the Second Amendment.