What are the most important priorities in putting together a national energy policy?
I believe in a three-legged approach to energy policy: more domestic drilling, more alternative fuel research and more conservation.
I've voted in Congress to expand domestic drilling, and I consider this a major step toward a national energy policy. Even so, America cannot drill our way to energy independence. We consume 25 percent of the world's oil but control less than 2 percent of its oil resources.
The answer? Invest in alternative fuel research, and pay for it by trimming tax subsidies to Big Oil. The goal should be to shift our reliance away from Middle Eastern oil and toward Midwest-grown biofuels.
An all of the above solution is a must. The reality is, we cannot abandon oil, cold turkey. While we aggressively invest in alternative energy and push for conservation, we need to increase domestic energy by drilling for oil and gas offshore, in ANWR and the outer-continental shelf. We can either create more energy here at home or continue sending money to big, oil-rich nations that are hostile to American interests. With the rising price of gas and oil, reliance on foreign oil is an unstable gamble we cannot stick with. We need a comprehensive, realistic solution.
What kind of immigration reform would you support?
Any responsible plan to end illegal immigration must address the three biggest flaws in today's immigration policy: the widespread employment of illegal immigrants, America's weak borders, and poor enforcement of existing immigration laws.
In Congress, I am a co-sponsor of the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act. It provides funding for 8,000 new border patrol agents, adds new equipment to monitor border regions, and expands the Tunnel Task Force. It also implements a workable, mandatory E-Verify system to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and it improves the enforcement of existing immigration laws.
Immigration reform starts at the border, but also includes businesses. We should secure the border and give businesses the tools to identify whether someone is here legally or not. Jobs and free services are the primary incentives to come here illegally. If illegal immigrants cannot find work or take advantage of government programs without paying taxes, they won't come her illegally in the first place. I support a solution that improves the legal immigration system without granting amnesty or a "pathway to citizenship." Our country is one of immigrants, but we need to know who is coming into our borders.