The Armed Forces of the United States should be deployed only in those situations where there is a direct threat to the security of the United States, or where US military assistance has been requested from a US ally with whom we have a security agreement, and the security of that ally is being threatened. As soon as is practical, the mission of any US military deployment must be clearly articulated to both the American public and the military. Once engaged, withdrawal should begin only after that mission has been achieved. I support the continued presence of residual US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, for the purpose of training allied forces, and for gathering intelligence on terrorist groups so as to prevent a resurgence of terrorist activity by those groups. I am adamantly opposed to “Nation building”.
Our missile defense, telecommunication, and infrastructure (water, energy) systems are heavily dependent on computer systems and artificial intelligence. Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office highlighted specific cyber vulnerabilities in our missile defense system and electrical grid. Recent prosecutions or alerts by our government confirm Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other countries are actively endeavoring to exploit these vulnerabilities. I will ensure that federal agencies charged with cybersecurity protection have resources to do their job and that Congress exercises adequate oversight to ensure these agencies are fulfilling their cybersecurity duties.
There are between 10.5 to 12 million undocumented immigrants (UI) in the US. Approximately 67% have been in the US over 10 years. Approximately 2.7% of UIs have been convicted of felony violations. Some Americans believe that UIs should be held liable for their criminal conduct. Other Americans believe that UIs should be given permanent legal status if they abide by our laws. Still, other Americans believe that UIs have knowledge of criminal activity. I have offered two proposals that address these three concerns. Under my first proposal, UIs who have not committed a serious felony would be eligible for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). Under the terms of the DPA, each adult UI would pay a fine for illegal entry into the US. They would also pay a separate fine if they committed additional criminal activity. The UIs would also have to perform Community Service and file all future tax returns. At the end of a three- year probationary period, UIs who abided by the terms of the DPA would be given permanent legal status. Under my second proposal, UIs that have knowledge of egregious criminal activity (i.e., human trafficking, drug trafficking etc.,) could enter into a “Cooperation Agreement” (CA) with the government. Under the CA, the UI would provide the government with information regarding criminal activity and also assist the US in the prosecution of those involved. In return for their cooperation, the UIs would be eligible for a reduction/elimination of the penalties imposed by the DPA.
Affordable Care Act
Two main issues related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are Premiums and ACA Survivability. With the passage of the 2017 tax law, the Health Insurance Mandate was repealed. As a result, many healthy individuals dropped health insurance coverage. Republicans, however, failed to repeal the ACA, leaving many ACA provisions intact. With a smaller health insurance “pool” and rising health care costs, premiums have continued to rise. Congress needs to incentivize healthy individuals to reenter the health insurance market, and needs to pass cost containment measures suggested by the Congressional Budget Office to control premium costs.
In regard to ACA survivability, Republicans have successfully argued in federal district court that the ACA should be ruled unconstitutional in its entirety. They argued that the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the ACA was based on the fact that the individual mandate was a “tax”, and that since the individual mandate has been repealed, the tax is $0.00. This matter is still pending in the courts. I recommend reinstatement of the Individual Mandate penalty, even if only a nominal amount, to preserve all aspects of the ACA, including the coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Veterans returning home from deployment and exiting military service face several challenges. Veterans reentering the labor market are at a competitive disadvantage with their peers. While veterans were serving their country, their peers were furthering their education and establishing a work history. In many cases, veterans return home with physical or emotional injuries. While progress has been made in treatment of physical injuries, veterans still face considerable challenges in obtaining treatment in a timely and convenient manner. A more concerning problem is the delayed diagnosis and treatment (D/T) of emotional injuries which can have serious consequences (job loss, drug or alcohol dependency, depression, homelessness, suicide). I will support measures designed to bring veterans into educational and workforce parity with their peers. I will also support measures to ensure that veterans receive prompt D/T of all physical and emotional injuries at either a VA approved facility or a private facility of their choice.
Americans have a constitutionally protected right to own firearms, however, our children and others have a much greater right to live. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court affirmed the right to bear arms but ruled that this right was not absolute, and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated. To protect the right to life, I support background checks for all firearms purchases; no time limitation on background checks, and “red flag” laws to protect the public from gun owners who display a proclivity to harm themselves or others. I also believe that no “weapon of war” should be available for purchase by the public. None of these measures, in my opinion, unreasonably infringe on the right of an American to own a non “weapon of war” firearm.
I believe that life is humanity’s most precious resource. Taking of a human life, in my opinion, is the sole providence of our Creator. In addition, modern scientific techniques have proved the innocence of convicted death row inmates.
Scientists worldwide, NASA, and other government agencies have provided compelling evidence that climate change is real and is having a harmful effect on our planet. Solar energy from the sun is absorbed at the earth’s surface and radiated out to the atmosphere as heat. Greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere capture much of this radiating heat and release much of it back to the earth, causing global warming effects such as melting ice caps, rising sea level etc. Obama era regulations designed to improve vehicle fuel economy standards, thereby greatly reducing vehicle emissions, the largest source of carbon dioxide, have been weakened by the Trump Administration. Moreover, the Trump Administration is now considering weakening Obama era regulations designed to control methane emissions into the atmosphere. Methane, by some accounts, has eighty times the heat- trapping power of carbon dioxide. I support maintaining the methane-related regulations as they currently exist and will advocate for a return to the vehicle fuel economy standards sought by the previous administration. I also support reentering the Paris Climate Agreement in order that the US may take a leadership role in urging other nations to take aggressive action to combat greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) disproportionately benefited the wealthiest American taxpayers. Households earning between $50,000 to $75,000 received an average tax cut of $870 or 1.6% Households earning over $1,000,000 received a tax cut of $69,660 or 3.3%.
The TCJA also hurt millions of Americans who purchased homes in high-tax areas prior to passage of TCJA. These individuals made these home purchase decisions, in part, based upon the historic full deductibility of state and local taxes, without any hint from the government about changing that deduction. With the passage of the TCJA, and the loss of most of that deduction, many of these families now have considerably less disposable income to meet the needs of their families.
TCJA conferred several benefits on corporations. First, the Corporate Tax Rate was reduced from 35% to 21%. Second, corporations got tax breaks on trillions of dollars brought home from offshore. However, many multinational corporations soon realized they had increased taxes under the new law for income earned overseas. Lobbyists for these corporations then successfully lobbied the Secretary of the Treasury at the time the rules implementing the law were being written, to exempt this overseas income from taxation.
I support rescinding the 2017 tax rates for all high-income taxpayers; restoring the state and local tax deduction, and rescinding the Treasury Secretary approval which exempted overseas income of multinational corporations from taxation.