Q. What steps do you favor to reduce the federal deficit? Be specific about any spending cuts or tax increases you advocate.
A. I believe the best way to reduce the federal deficit would be to freeze overall federal spending for one year and increase income tax rates on upper-income taxpayers. This would force a fundamental reshaping of our spending priorities to address basic needs such as health care and education while making necessary cuts in national defense, foreign aid and general government spending.
Q. What should be done to protect U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy from the danger of a cutoff in Mideast oil supplies? Do you favor the development of a national energy policy that would lessen the need for foreign oil?
A. The Persian Gulf crisis demands both firm resolve to prevent further aggression and creative diplomacy to maintain united international opposition to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. We must deter Saddam Hussein from thinking he can gain another quick victory and, instead, confront him with the full reality of Iraq's isolation. These steps can help protect the flow of Mideast oil. I also have been a strong supporter of our strategic petroleum reserve, an insurance policy against just this kind of crisis, and I have co-sponsored legislation to stimulate the development of alternative energy sources.
Q. What will be your top three legislative priorities if you are elected?
A. My top priority has been and will remain the need for sound fiscal policy that moves us toward a balance of outgo with income. I believe this is an essential step to reduce government borrowing and make more funds available to home buyers, farmers, businesses and the rest of our economy. A second priority is to address the severe problems of our health care system we must hold down rising medical costs and find realistic, affordable ways to extend coverage to the uninsured and to the long-term health care needs of the elderly. Finally, I believe we also must find appropriate ways to strengthen our schools at every level to equip our students with the skills necessary for a world of intense economic competition.
Q. What is your position regarding some type of national health insurance and why?
A. I believe fundamental reforms are needed in our health care system to hold down the rapid rise in medical costs, which hurt every family, and to provide coverage to the uninsured and the elderly with long-term care needs. At this point, I do not advocate a total federal takeover of health care, because I believe this could create other serious problems such as rationing of health services and eliminating many individual choices about medical care problems evident in Great Britain and Canada. However, it is clear that this issue requires fresh thinking and careful action to provide the affordable, quality health care that every American needs.
Q. What changes, if any, do you favor regarding the regulation of savings and loan institutions? Be as specific as possible.
A. This year, Congress has passed laws to address the savings and loan scandal. These laws require tougher regulation of the industry and tighter limits on lending practices. In addition, we have passed tough new criminal laws and provided additional resources for prosecution of those who defrauded or stole from S&Ls.; I also hope Congress will pass legislation I have sponsored to recover assets from those who looted these institutions and now seek to shield their gains behind our bankruptcy laws.