I firmly believe that America has the hardest working, most talented, and best educated workforce in the world. Our country has been successful because of our excellent workforce, and it will continue to thrive as a result. This is also why I am confident that, moving forward, we will maintain the highest standard of living in the world. Throughout my career, I have consistently fought to safeguard critical worker rights to protect our strong workforce.
As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am committed to ensuring that our military personnel, veterans, and their families receive the support of our government in return for their years of faithful service. Working to ensure our military families are well cared for will remain my top priority.
Two of the most important issues facing Congress today are overcoming the economic crisis and promoting continued recovery.
In late 2008 our country was thrust into the worst economic crisis in generations. Our economy was on the brink of collapsing, and Congress responded with a number of initiatives to prevent that from happening. We were able to avert a much more serious catastrophe, but we are not out of the woods yet and much more work remains to be done to create good jobs and lower the unemployment rate.
We need to ensure that the rights and freedoms of citizens are protected. When the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and equal opportunity are unfairly denied to a person or a group of people, it is the role of the federal government to step in and fulfill the promise of America.
It is critical that we set realistic goals to hold schools accountable for providing the education students deserve while taking into consideration the unique challenges that must be overcome in the classroom. Our education system must support and revitalize our public schools instead of labeling them as failing when they are not.
Our nation’s current energy policy is outdated, inefficient and relies far too much on foreign oil. This undermines our national security and leaves us at the mercy of gas and oil prices, which can change dramatically in short periods of time. This is unacceptable, and Americans deserve better. We must establish energy policies that protect consumers, reduce our carbon footprint, and strike a balance between moving our economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating the economic impact of this transition.
I am committed to conserving our natural resources for future generations. Protecting our environment is a priority of mine – and I support legislative efforts that work towards that end. The recent changes in our capacity to access domestic resources have changed the energy and economic landscape in the United States. While I understand the many potential short term upsides that these developments present, we must look to long term environmental realities that we face as a nation, and as a world.
Securing a permanent fix for the Howard Hanson Dam and the corresponding levee systems is the top priority for addressing potential flooding in the Ninth District. To that end I appreciate the bipartisan effort of the Washington State delegation in securing the Federal support the Army Corps of Engineers needs to restore the safety of the dam and levee systems to their full potential.
One of my priorities in Congress is to improve the relationship that citizens have with their government. In many ways, government has gotten too big, too burdensome and is not efficient and responsive enough to fulfill the needs of the people.
Historically, our health care system has cost too much, didn’t cover enough people, and incentivized inefficiencies. Reforms must expand access, reduce the overall amount of money we spend on health care, and promote quality of care over quantity. In order to succeed, real reform continued improvements must be built on these three pillars, without which we will not be able to provide sustainable universal access.
As our nation emerges from a unique and serious economic crisis, a necessary step in stabilizing our economy is shoring up our housing markets. This means keeping qualified homeowners in their homes and reducing the number of foreclosures and houses vacant in the market.
Reforming our immigration system is long overdue. Our current laws, regulations, and enforcement do not recognize the importance of sound immigration policies to our economy and national security. We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform our immigration system in a comprehensive way.
The United States must take a global approach to world leadership, particularly on issues such as global poverty. Our country is so large and so prosperous that every nation in the world is touched by us, whether it's through McDonald's, Microsoft, or monetary policy.
A safe community is a strong community and ensuring that our local law enforcement agencies have the tools and resources they need will continue to be a top priority of mine in Congress.
Several years after our country was thrust into the worst economic crisis in generation, the outlook in Washington State and many areas throughout the United States is gradually improving. Congress responded to the crisis with multiple initiatives to prevent a much deeper economic disaster, but we are not out of the woods yet. There is still much work to do to create good jobs, lower the employment rate, and create the conditions that encourage Washington State businesses to grow.
I believe strongly in the efficacy of social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC. As we work toward economic recovery, thousands of Washington State’s children, veterans, seniors, disabled and hard-working families rely on SNAP to make sure there is food on the table.
As millions of Americans enjoy their golden years and millions more approach their retirement, it is critical that Congress continue to address the most challenging issues facing retirees and senior citizens today.
Technology has and will continue to play a significant role in driving economic growth. The ability to communicate rapidly, share information freely, conduct commerce electronically, and realize large gains in productivity are all hallmarks of economic expansion.
I firmly believe that investment in our nation's infrastructure is critical. It provides jobs for thousands, ensures the efficient movement of goods that keeps our economy growing, and ensures the safety of countless lives. That's why for the past four sessions of Congress I've introduced legislation creating a grant program for transportation infrastructure projects.
As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), I have consistently worked to ensure that our veterans receive the benefits and treatment they deserve for their years of faithful service. These benefits are critical for veterans, retirees, and their dependents, as well as those who are considering a career in the military.