Name: Pam Gulleson
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 don't agree with all aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and I'd like to see changes made that protect small businesses from undue burden. I do support the end of the Medicare "Doughnut Hole," which provides important coverage on prescription drugs for our seniors. I support keeping young adults insured under their parents' plans until the age of 26, improving preventive care, and ending the practice of dropping coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
I also vow to fight for the Frontier Amendment, supported by both Sens. Hoeven and Conrad, which makes Medicare payments fair for states like North Dakota and keeps our rural hospitals solvent.
Over 60% of bankruptcies in the United States were caused by health problems. I've met people who worked hard and played by the rules all their lives, only to lose their homes and life savings after just one medical emergency. We cannot let that happen in America.
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?
I am committed to protecting religious organizations and I am glad that a compromise was reached with religious institutions to provide a compromise through insurance companies.
Just as women who don't believe in birth control should never be forced to use it, women who do want to use birth control, shouldn't be told by Washington politicians that they can't. Congress is trying to divide voters over these issues, and I believe that does a great disservice to the people of North Dakota. I'm dedicated to uniting North Dakotans to build a strong future for our state.
In Congress, I would support legislation that would place health care decisions in the hands of patients and doctors and not in the hands of politicians, insurance companies and employers.
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?
If President Obama vetoed the pipeline, I would vote to override that veto. I have repeatedly expressed disappointment with the Obama Administration's decision to formally reject construction permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, because of the potential for job creation and energy independence.
We need to find a way to protect our natural resources and build the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a timely fashion, but we also need to focus more attention on increasing our refinery capacity right here in North Dakota. We have been blessed with a great gift of resources and we need to find ways to create opportunities that last long beyond when the rigs stop drilling. Instead of watching the gas flare up from the prairie, we can capture all of it and convert it into fertilizers for our fields. We can set the example for innovation and technologies to develop all of our energy sources.
4) What provisions would you like to see included in the new farm bill that are not included in the current farm bill?
The Farm Bill we have in place now provides an adequate safety net, strong crop insurance, effective conservation programs, and a standing disaster program. The proposal from Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) contains the right mix of responsible spending cuts and support for programs like crop insurance and revenue loss. I was pleased that provisions of their proposal were included in the Senate Ag Committee bill, which reduced total spending by $24 billion. I am opposed, to the deep cuts included in Rep. Ryan's House budget, which would jeopardize crop insurance and the writing of a Farm Bill this year. The Ryan plan slashes commodity, crop insurance, and conservation programs by 21.7% or $47 billion. Including nutrition cuts, the total reduction from Ryan for the Farm Bill is $180 Billion. The Ryan plan makes major cuts to farm programs while giving the wealthiest few Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000.
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?
Reducing our nation's deficit must be a priority for Congress - it is unacceptable to pass on our nation's debt to our children and grandchildren. Every agency needs to assist by identifying cuts and bringing them forward as part of everyone's effort to reduce overall spending - the key is doing it fairly and effectively. For example, the Farm Bill proposal supported by Sens. Conrad, Hoeven and Baucus represents a 9% cut to farm program spending in order to reduce the deficit responsibly while supporting the agriculture industry. Additionally, we could reduce the federal vehicle fleet and save $5.6 billion and reduce the backlog of government-owned buildings that are not utilized and save $17 billion. Commonsense measures like streamlining initiatives and databases, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and fighting Medicare fraud and abuse would save an additional $265 billion. Those kinds of solutions are what we need to really reduce the deficit.