Douglas R. Bennett
Republican candidate for U.S. House (10th district)
Responses to our questions
The U.S. government is now $20 trillion in debt. To address that historic level of public indebtedness, the country would need to raise revenue and/or decrease spending. What is your position on the budget and debt?
The growing crisis of debt in this country is placing an undue burden on future generations of Americans. We must act while we can still fix it and restore prosperity to our economy. Most importantly we much stop spending money we just don't have. Just like the families of the 10th District the federal government must live within a balanced budget, focused on the priorities on the nation. This should be a major focus of the next Congress.
Can you identify any major federal expenditures or programs that you would eliminate?
I support the REINS Act which would require Congressional approval for any new regulation that costs over $100 million. For far too long Washington bureaucrats have been handing down burdensome regulations which crush the potential of our economy. As a member of Congress I will work with my colleagues to review and reform the regulatory system to help grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for hard-working Americans.
Medicare and Medicaid costs continue to spiral. How can these programs be restructured to control costs and avoid collapse? Be specific about your willingness to change or reduce future benefits.
Medicare and Medicaid need to be restructured to provide cost effective benefits that are within the means of the government. We need to improve cost transparency for procedures, and cost effective alternatives to emergency room use for non-emergency cases. The current trajectory is unsustainable.
What if anything should be the federal government's role in helping Americans obtain health insurance coverage?
The federal government should not be in the business of providing insurance. It's role should be that of ensuring a fair and honest marketplace where people can decide on their own level of insurance based on their risks. The Affordable Care Act was never economically viable. Obamacare's individual mandate was a massive tax levied upon the American people to prop up an unsustainable government system. Even with the mandate in place Obamacare was not delivering the affordable and accessible healthcare individuals and families desperately need. We need to replace the Affordable Care Act to allow competition, portability, and choices in the insurance marketplace.
Economic growth has been steady but wage growth is slow. Are you content with the state of the economy? What is your recipe for enhancing American prosperity?
There are too many barriers to business creation. I support reducing the tax and regulatory burden on American families and businesses. I oppose any and all tax increase because people deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money. I will reform the way the federal government imposes regulations and create an environment for businesses to grow and opportunities to spread. As job opportunities expand, wage growth will follow.
If you could fix longstanding problems with this country's immigration system tomorrow, what would you do? What is your position on the future of DACA and the Dreamers?
The legal immigration level over the past decade has not been too high, however the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States has placed an undue burden on our country. We need to secure and improve our legal immigration policies while curbing the amount of illegal immigrants that cross into our nation.
North Korea's nuclear weapons program represents a direct threat to the security of the United States and its Pacific allies. How should the U.S. confront or contain Kim Jong Un's regime?
As a Member of Congress my first responsibility will be to help keep our homeland safe. I will hold regimes that threaten our stability accountable for their actions by expanding sanctions targeting these dangerous enemies. Furthermore, we must strengthen our strategic partnerships in the region including South Korea, Japan and China.
ISIS is contained in Syria and Iraq but terrorism remains a threat. What are your priorities in keeping the country safe?
We need to continue to take the fight directly to ISIS. They have been driven out of nearly all their previous territory. As their area dwindles, we will likely see more direct terrorist attacks, and need to continue our vetting of potentially dangerous individuals from known terrorist havens.
Should the U.S. continue to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement with Iran?
The US should continue to monitor Iran's nuclear program and use our leverage to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We should not be afraid to re-institute sanctions if the need arises.
What is your position on the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan?
The goal of US policy is to secure American interests and protect the safety of US citizens. Until we can ensure that those goals will be met when we withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, we need to maintain a presence there.
Do you support a unified, federal background check system for gun sales? Do you support magazine limits or a ban on certain rifles? Describe, briefly, your position on how to balance safety with the Second Amendment.
We must commit to curbing gun violence in the United States while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens. Congress must do a better job making sure guns stay out of the hands of criminals. This includes criminal background checks before purchasing a weapon or applying for a concealed carry permit.
Should the U.S. government take steps to curb emissions of greenhouse gas? If so, what steps? If not, why not?
The US government should protect the environment in a practical way. The goal should be an economically practical set of policies that protect the health and well-being of Americans.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I qualified and went to the US Junior Olympics for Fencing (Epee, Sabre) from Illinois.
If you are an incumbent, tell us the most significant accomplishment of your current term.