Name: Kevin Cramer
Race: U.S. House of Representatives
Questions for House candidates:
1) If a bill is introduced to repeal the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives, will you vote to repeal the law or uphold it in its present form and why?
I would vote to repeal it and sponsor a better alternative. The $500 billion in cuts to Medicare is a slap in the face of our senior citizens and a breach of our promise to them. We can do better. My bill would put decisions back in the hands of patients and their doctors and create competition which will drive down price. By allowing people to save money in tax free accounts for healthcare services, they have the power to shop and the incentive to stay healthy and avoid doctors. The current system only pays if you get sick or go to the doctor. It creates monopolies which drive up price rather than competition which drives it down. We also must reform our litigation system. By capping malpractice awards we can lower costs and provide freedom to our providers. The current system promotes redundancy and discourages creative solutions.
2) Do you favor or oppose religious employers, such as Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools, opting out of the portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that they find morally objectionable? Why or Why not?
Religious institutions must operate according to the dictates of their conscience or run the risk of the government determining the standard for acceptable religion. The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"
We cannot force religious organizations to purchase items which violate their principles. Catholic hospitals across the country refuse to offer abortion services.
As an employer, they have the right to choose what they will offer their employees, and employees have a right to accept or decline that compensation package. It does not make birth control illegal - it simply upholds the rights of employers to refuse to pay for services which violate their religious beliefs.
Such a mandate demonstrates a misunderstanding about what motivates people of faith to meet needs. Faithful people, through their religious affiliations, open schools, hospitals, missions, universities and other institutions in response to a call on their hearts. To violate the same conscience which motivates that response, discourages the faithful to meet needs.
3) If a vote to override a presidential veto of the construction of the section of the Keystone XL Pipeline that crosses the Canadian border and runs through Montana into Nebraska is brought to the floor of the House, how will you vote and why?
I would vote to build the pipeline. I carry the pipeline portfolio on the PSC and am very familiar with the Keystone. I have been part of siting more than 30 pipelines in ND and know the value they bring. Pipelines are by far the safest and most efficient way to move oil. This is a matter of national security as well as economic viability. If the Keystone XL is not built, Canadian oil will be shipped to Asia or other markets while the U.S. continues its dependence on oil from the Middle East. We lose the oil and the jobs while enemies of freedom gain.
4) What provisions would you like to see included in the new farm bill that are not included in the current farm bill?
The new farm bill will need to be based largely on providing risk management tools, mainly crop insurance, rather than direct payments. This will allow farmers more freedom in producing and marketing their products while providing a safety net securing our food supply and protecting our producers.
5) Name six federal programs that you would support either cutting or reducing funding for in order to reduce the deficit and indicate the amount of money that you would support reducing or cutting from each program?
I would roll back federal spending to 2008 levels, prior to Obamacare, stimulus, TARP and bailouts. Then I'd insist every agency freeze hiring, not just six, and submit budgets that are 4-5% lower than the previous ones. This would force every agency to set priorities and cut entire programs that are outdated or unnecessary. That doesn't mean every agency budget would end up 5% lower every year, but it would force the process on the bureaucracy that they have never had to perform. Some agencies have performed so poorly that they could be cut much more and some less. Agencies we are familiar with in North Dakota, like the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers could be gutted and the economy would thrive.
Even modest cuts will send a strong signal into the investment community that we are serious about reforms that will encourage jobs creation. It is time to reign in the regulators and unleash the job creators. We can cut the budget and grow the economy and restore the American Dream for our children rather than saddle them with an American Debt.