- Economy and Jobs
America is not short of entrepreneurs with ideas. This country became great thanks to the innovation and ambition of many. Success should be encouraged, not punished. The private sector will expand and hire individuals if it is given incentives to invest and if it is not hampered by costly, unnecessary regulations. The job-killing healthcare “reform” law must be repealed and replaced. Businesses must be given certainty and stability regarding government policies so they can plan and budget accordingly. I supported the Free Trade Agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea, which were signed into law last year. These three FTAs, but particularly Columbia, will create many opportunities for Texas’ ports and small businesses. With the right economic policies, America is capable of rapid, sustained economic growth. I will continue to fight for these policies.
I’ve pledged not to vote for any tax increase while in Congress. Americans for Tax Reform has awarded me with the “Champion of the Taxpayer Award” for my steadfastness on this issue. The National Taxpayers Union recognized me as a “Taxpayer’s Friend” and gave me an “A” grade.
Our tax system is overly complex and costly to administer. Every year, taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars and many hours just to comply with our complicated tax code. I believe tax reform should include replacing the IRS and the current income tax system with a tax code that is simpler, fairer and easier to understand.
I support debating the merits of the Fair Tax and Consumption Tax on the House floor and taking serious steps to improve our tax system.
I support the increase in the child tax credit and the permanent elimination of the death (inheritance) tax so people can pass along a lifetime of savings, property, business or farm without their surviving family members having to pay taxes on these assets.
I support lowering the corporate tax rate so that businesses can remain competitive and remain within the U.S. The U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. When companies leave the United States, they take jobs and revenue with them. The U.S. should stop this devastating trend of businesses moving overseas and lower the corporate tax rate to help bring jobs back home.
I support an all-of-the above (not a none-from-below) energy policy that includes feasible alternative energies. The U.S. must take advantage of its own natural resources instead of relying on unstable Middle Eastern dictators.
I strongly support approving the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring approximately 750,000 barrels of oil from our stable neighbor and ally, Canada, right into southeast Texas. That’s almost as much oil as we import from Saudi Arabia. The Keystone Pipeline is estimated to create at least 20,000 immediate union and non-union jobs, which is needed in the Gulf area still hurting from the continuing “permitorium.”
Immigration and border security — or border protection — are two separate issues but must be handled in tandem. The current crisis along the U/S Mexico border has a devastating impact on our criminal justice and social systems throughout the country, but particularly here in Texas. The drug cartels wreck havoc on and instill fear within our communities. We must protect our border first and then reform our broken immigration system.
I regularly travel to the Texas/Mexico border, and I have seen the threat to our national security that an unsecured border presents. As a nation, we must have the moral will to enforce our immigration laws and to protect our country’s borders as we do for other nations around the world. I support using the National Guard – boots on the ground – and other means necessary to protect the border, uphold our laws and end the violence on the U.S./Mexico border. I also support sending some of the surplus equipment returning to the U.S. from Iraq to the U.S./Mexico border. Our law enforcement officers are outmanned, outgunned and out-financed by the drug cartels. The least we can do is send our law enforcement officers some of this already paid-for equipment, rather than letting it sit in a surplus stockyard somewhere.
I support immigration – legal immigration. This country was built by immigrants, and our culture is rich with the contributions of many diverse backgrounds. The current immigration system is broken. There are millions living in the U.S. in the shadows. We don’t know who they are. That is very concerning. Those that want to come to the U.S. must have a reformed, streamlined system for them to proceed legally. I believe that many of those who come to the U.S. do not come here to get a free check from the U.S. or to stand behind their neighbors on an unemployment line. We must reform our broken immigration system to allow those who come here and contribute to our society to be able to do so within clear legal parameters that does not include a form of amnesty.
I opposed the government takeover of healthcare bill because it was unconstitutional, and I voted for its repeal last year. I believe our current healthcare system needs reform, but I do not support the “reform” that was passed. I believe in the doctor/patient relationship and that a patient must retain a choice in determining his/her doctor.
I voted against Obamcare and have voted repeatedly for its repeal. I was one of the first Members to introduce a bill to prohibit the use of federal funds for the implementation and enforcement of any federal mandate to purchase health insurance. I was deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare. If the federal government has the power to force Americans to do something with threat of a tax, what is next? A government-approved house or green car? I will continue to fight for repeal of this expensive, government takeover of health care, and I will continue to stand up for meaningful reform that keeps the federal government out of our doctor’s office and out of our private lives.
- Victims' Rights
I’ve dedicated my life to promoting justice. Before coming to Congress, I spent thirty years in the Harris County Courthouse – first as a prosecutor and then as a felony court judge. On the bench, I ordered creative sentences, which forced criminals to focus on how their crimes hurt their victims. Some of my innovative sentences included ordering sex offenders to place signs on their front lawns to warn others and requiring murderers to secure a photo of their victims on the walls of their prison cells to remind them daily of their crime.
It is the first duty of government to protect and to provide a safe environment to live and work. Over 20+ years experience as a criminal court judge gave me insight and knowledge of the tragedies of crime victims in our community. Too many courts have excused criminal conduct rather than hold criminals accountable under the rule of law. One of my first accomplishments in Washington was founding the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus to advocate on behalf of victims of crime in our nation’s capital, and the first bill that I introduced was the Child Predator Act of 2005, which created a National Sex Offender Registry to track sex offenders across state lines. This Act was incorporated into the Child Safety Act of 2005, which was passed by the House. I worked hard to pass bipartisan legislation, the SAFER Act, to help end the backlog of untested, rape kits. SAFER was included and signed into law as part of the Violence Against Women Act, which I supported.
- Foreign Affairs and Terrorism
I strongly believe America has a role to help spread democracy and the rule of law and to help open societies across the globe, but America’s involvement in another country’s affairs must be predicated upon a national security interest. I am committed to protecting American interests abroad and believe the best way to do that is through a foreign policy that respects the sovereignty first of the United States and second of foreign nations, while at the same time demanding adherence to universal principles of liberty and justice.
I believe we must rethink the way that we provide foreign aid to countries. We currently provide aid to 157 countries, many of which hate the U.S. We don’t need to pay them to hate us; they’ll do it for free. Congress currently votes on foreign aid in one package – with an up or down vote on all 157 countries combined. I’ve introduced legislation to change this process and to require an up or down vote on each country. I think this would drastically change the amount of aid we provide. However, I do strongly support economic and military assistance to Israel and other allies, and I oppose any Middle East peace plan that weakens the security of Israel. Having had the opportunity to visit Israel personally, I understand the importance of a free and safe state of Israel. I also support foreign aid to our allies, who support us in the United Nations and other forums, in order to promote U.S. interests abroad, the U.S.’s overall security and our economic base for increased exports that lead to more jobs at home.
- Defense and Veterans
The US must be prepared to protect Americans from our determined enemies. A strong national defense is critical to the future of this country.
I regularly travel overseas to visit with our troops. I believe every Member of Congress should visit our fighting men and women and see what they are confronted with on a daily basis. Listening and talking face-to-face with these brave men and women provides the best education on what they deal with day-to-day. We live in the best country in the world, and we have our freedoms because of our all-volunteer armed forces.
We are blessed to have the finest military in the world. With the drawdown in Iraq and ultimately Afghanistan, we must help our returning military members transition back home and take steps to ensure that our economy helps create jobs for them.
Quality education is the key to the door of opportunity for individuals and is essential to the future of America. Our children deserve the best education that we can give them. I believe that parents and educators have the greatest insight on how to meet the educational needs of their children and students. Parents should have more control and greater options in schooling their children, and schools should have incentives to turn out strong students or be required to reform their methods.
I believe there must be some oversight when dispensing federal tax dollars to the educational system. Additionally, increased efficiency at the Department of Education would allow for more resources to go directly to the schools and, in turn, benefit Texas and the rest of the country.
- Pro Life
I am pro life. The only exception is to save the life of the mother. I oppose government funding for abortion or abortion clinics, and I also oppose partial-birth abortions.
I believe the federal government cannot pass laws or enact regulations that compel health care providers to provide abortions and violate their conscience.
- Religious Freedom
I feel that the separation of church and state has been taken to extremes in certain cases. The U.S. Constitution says that the federal government cannot impose state-endorsed religion onto its citizens, but still religion is under attack in the U.S. With lawsuits being filed against a state lawmaker for mentioning religion from the floor of the legislation and the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance being questioned in the courtroom of an activist judge, I believe our nation needs to stand strong and defend our religious heritage.
These efforts have less to do with the separation of church and state and more to do with an effort to remove religious influences from American society. I fully support voluntary prayer in schools as well as efforts to preserve this nation’s religious heritage – such as displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious symbols on public property.
- Second Amendment
As a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Ducks Unlimited and the Texas State Rifle Association, I staunchly support the 2nd Amendment. I am a strong advocate of its protection. I believe the Right to Bear Arms is as important as any other right in the Constitution and that it is an individual right. It is not a right for states to form militias or National Guard units. I am proud to have received an “A+” rating from the NRA for commitment to defending the rights of law abiding gun owners and sportsmen.