Issues

Veterans

I believe that by asking the men and women who have serviced in our military to put their lives on the line to defend America, we have an obligation to care for them at home.

I have worked to secure the biggest increase in veterans’ benefits in our nation’s history. I’ve also worked with communities across the 7th District to build Veterans Homes and Veterans Clinics so that veterans and their families don’t have to drive for hours just to get the health care services they need.

Agriculture

As Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, I put together a coalition to pass a 2008 Farm Bill that offered a strong safety net for farmers, provided the largest increase in USDA nutrition programs since 1977, established an energy title to support our growing renewable biofuel industries, expanded and improved conservation programs, authorized the largest amount of funding ever provided for organic agriculture, and provided funds for in-country purchases of international food aid to support and develop local food production in underdeveloped countries.I’m also working on the next Farm Bill by holding hearing across the country on issues of food production, conservation, nutrition programs and energy production.

Education

I’ve worked to expand educational opportunities in Minnesota by working to secure more funding for Pell Grants and land grant colleges, securing funding for nursing programs at Bemidji State University, securing funding for research programs at the University of Minnesota Morris, and securing funding for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Health Care

Health care reform is an important goal for our country, and I have always supported reform that will bring down the cost of health care without increasing our country’s growing debt. Now that President Obama has signed the landmark health care reform bill, I will work hard to make sure that the bill is implemented fairly.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done to enact legislation establishing Critical Access Hospital Medicare Funding at the rate of 101 percent reimbursement which has helped to keep our rural hospitals open. I’m also proud to have worked with the late Senator Paul Wellstone to deliver increased funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and promoting Patient Protection legislation. Finally, I worked hard to expand health care coverage for military veterans, expanded prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients and expanded mental health coverage.

Wall Street Reform

In the 2010 Congress I was deeply involved in writing the Peterson-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform bill that passed the House. The bill would prevent the kind of excessive speculation on Wall Street that caused the world-wide financial system meltdown at the end of 2008 and led to taxpayer-funded bailouts and the ongoing recession. This type of reform will go a long way toward fixing the problems we still have with the Wall Street folks who got us into this mess.

Immigration

I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. In Congress, I voted for the “get tough” immigration bill to secure our borders, increase the number of security personnel, and build an extended border fence along our southern border. We need to give law enforcement officials more resources to capture and deport people who are in this country illegally. This is not a comprehensive answer to our security and immigration problems, but it’s a step in the right direction. We also must develop tamper-proof, biometrically-encoded Social Security identification cards and make it against the law to hire anyone without one. With this kind of technology in place, we can create secure temporary worker programs for people with special skills and agricultural workers, and hold employers accountable when they knowingly hire undocumented workers.