Congress 2010: Tom Perriello Questions

What is your stance on health care? Would you support the repeal of the new healthcare law?

Repealing health care reform would bankrupt Medicare, leaving seniors vulnerable. Repeal would defund important programs that protect expectant mothers and reduce the number of abortions. It would also kick students off their parents’ insurance when they graduate. I oppose repeal of these important provisions, but will continue to fight to improve access to health care and make it more affordable.

How do you plan to help small businesses succeed?

I have cut 16 different taxes on small businesses in the last two years, including the elimination of capital gains taxes on investment in small businesses, and enacting a 35 percent tax credit for the cost of health care.
I also championed the new law that lets small businesses take their start-up costs off their taxes and allows them to access low-interest loans from their community banks, since the big banks are still not lending. These are all things that small businesses tell me are important to their success.

How do you stand on keeping the Bush tax cuts that are scheduled to end January 2011? Would you support extending the Bush tax cuts beyond January 2010?

I strongly support and have demanded a vote on extending tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year.

This is in addition to the tax cuts I supported last year which lowered taxes for 98 percent of families. Extending the tax cuts for the extremely rich would add over $700 billion to the deficit, debt that would be paid off in the future by our children and children’s children.

How do you feel about the new research showing that the recession has been over for some time? How do you plan to help those who are still feeling its effects?

The recession may be over for the elites in Washington, but it’s not over in South and Central Virginia. I continue to fight for extended federal unemployment benefits for workers who have lost a job due to no fault of their own. I also continue to push for increased investments in America’s competitive advantage, spurring new manufacturing and construction jobs.

How do you use the Constitution in your decision-making process? What role should government take in citizens’ lives?

I have taken an oath to support and the Constitution and that oath is foremost in my mind when considering legislation. All Americans should have the freedom to pursue happiness and success for themselves.

The government should provide a safety net to ensure that the basic needs of the least of us are met. There are times when it is appropriate for the government to set ground rules and be a referee on the field but not in the huddle. The financial meltdown and terrible oil spill in the Gulf showed us what can happen with no oversight.

Would you support legislation that would reverse and/or challenge the abortion decision in Roe v. Wade?

I support immediate efforts to reduce the number of abortions instead of waiting for the courts to revisit the decision. I have championed increased access to health care for pregnant women to reduce the number of abortions. Repeal of the health care bill would undermine this progress.

What specific plans do you have to increase employment?

We have to build it, make it and grow it in America again. For too long the elites in both parties supported policies that got away from manufacturing, agriculture, and construction—the very things we do best in Virginia.
We can’t have an economy that is based simply on swapping around pieces of paper. I am working to level the playing field for American workers, which means fixing these unfair trade deals that have sent 6,000 manufacturing jobs from Southside and Central Virginia to China in the last decade.

What would you like college students to know about you?

I am a man of faith who ran for office as an extension of my calling to service. I understand the challenges facing you because I faced them myself not too long ago. I too was blessed to attend great schools, and Liberty does an amazing job of making higher education affordable, but for far too many students college is an unaffordable dream. I’ve supported the biggest student finance reform in a generation so that you can take the job you want — teaching, non-profit work, or public service — instead of chasing the job with the biggest paycheck.

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