Gary DeLong’s Priorities
Millions of American families keep a balanced budget every year. Washington hasn’t balanced a budget in years.
For quite some time Congress has been participating in reckless deficit spending that not only jeopardizes our economy, but also leaves our children and grandchildren accountable for our massive debt.
The national debt is now over $16 trillion, and growing. It increased at an alarming rate of nearly 50 percent in just the last four years. We must eliminate deficit spending, and yes it will be painful. We need to reduce the size of the national debt by generating an annual surplus and paying our debts.
In the last 10 years, the Federal government has doubled in size – we need to reduce the size and cost of our Federal government.
Forty-three cents of every dollar Washington spends is borrowed – our elected officials shouldn’t borrow money and then turn around and spend it on programs. If you can’t afford a program, you shouldn’t have it.
It’s no secret that entitlements are where the majority of spending occurs. I believe in Social Security and Medicare, but the undeniable truth is these programs are going broke. We must keep our promise to current retirees, but for younger Americans, these programs will need to be reformed in order to be sustainable over the long term.
It is time for Congress to follow the same spending rules that we do. You cannot spend more than you make. As your Representative I will work to pass a balanced budget and make my colleagues do the same.
If we don’t fix our financial situation now, the debt we pass on to our children and grandchildren will be overwhelming.
America’s continued prosperity depends on our ability to give our children the tools they need to succeed. That said, not every child learns the same way. I believe states and local school districts are best equipped to respond to the uniqueness and diversity of every classroom.
Congress can empower local educators by providing the resources to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. The top down bureaucracy we have now is interfering with local school districts and taking much needed funds away from the classroom.
The State of California is on the wrong path when it comes to education. In the last two years, the State legislature has cut funding to the California State University System by over 30%. This has resulted in fewer students having the opportunity to attend a state university, and significantly higher tuition costs for those lucky enough to be accepted. The University of California (UC) system, Community Colleges and K thru 12 school districts have had devastating budget cuts as well. Meanwhile, the State pays over $50,000 annually to incarcerate a prisoner, but only $4,500 to educate a student.
Investing in the knowledge of all Americans is investing in the future of our country.
America’s economic success and security largely depend on access to an affordable and dependable supply of energy.
We need to focus on developing viable and sustainable energy sources within the United States. Congress can help by streamlining regulations and investing in America’s energy resources.
Whether we are advancing renewable energy, building more refineries, or studying new fuel sources, it is time to keep that money, and those jobs, here in America.
The environment is society’s most vital resource.
There is no question that human behavior impacts the environment. Further, climate change is influenced by man and by natural conditions.
That’s why I’ve supported making our community more sustainable both as a member of the Long Beach City Council and in my personal life. As an elected official, I’ve led the effort to clean up our City’s storm drains, identifed funding for the cleanup of the recently re-opened Colorado Lagoon and improved the water quality in Alamitos Bay from mostly “D’s” and “F’s to mostly “A’s” and “B’s. During my 6 years on the City Council, emissions related to the Port of Long Beach have been reduced more than at any time in its history.
In my personal life we’ve had solar panels on our home for a number of years, have composted in our side yard and I drive a hybrid vehicle.
The role of government should be to incentivize environmentally sustainable behavior with the goal of promoting clean, sustainable communities in which we can all live, work, and learn together. We owe it to the next generation of Americans to do whatever we can to protect the environment for their future.
Americans need more affordable access to healthcare. However, it appears the recent changes will drive up the cost of insurance premiums to both business owners and citizens, while spending more than a trillion dollars of taxpayer money.
Health Care reform should make it easier and more affordable to get insurance, not create a huge new government bureaucracy.
I support market-based reforms that increase competition and choice. We need to allow small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance, give people the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines, take their insurance with them if they leave their jobs, and expand health savings accounts.
I believe the United States needs a clear and effective immigration policy that addresses four core areas: increasing border security, reforming legal immigration, delivering federal reimbursement to state and local government and creating a limited guest worker program.
First, we must secure the border. No immigration policy will work if we aren’t able to control who enters the country. That means completing the border fence, increasing surveillance technology and deploying more border patrol agents to stop the flow of illegal immigration.
Second, we must review and change outdated immigration laws. We are a nation of immigrants, and legal immigration is part of our American identity. However, our laws for determining what people become citizens have not kept up with the times. We need a transparent system that states how many people can gain legal residency each year.
Third, it’s time for a limited guest worker program. In combination with strict employer enforcement and e-Verify mandate, a limited guest worker program will remove the economic incentive for illegal immigration. We need to provide a path for those who are already here “under the table” and using our social services to turn into taxpaying guest workers in our economy.
In addition to a limited guest worker program, we must increase the number of H-1B visas issued for technology and other high skilled workers. U.S. technology companies will benefit from access to more highly skilled employees, which will strengthen and help grow our economy.
Fourth, the federal government must own up to its responsibility to reimburse states and local governments for the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens. We also must do more to deport these individuals.
Jobs and Economy
With the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, California has been hit hard by the recession. Our top priority must be getting the economy back on its feet and Americans back to work.
The failed stimulus bill did not solve rising unemployment, but it did raise the debt by a trillion dollars with little to show for it. You can not spend your way to prosperity.
Instead of government interfering in the free market by picking winners and losers, Congress needs to eliminate burdensome regulations and reduce taxes for America’s job creators. Supporting the more than 15 million small businesses that have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years should be our priority.
Public Pension Reform
The public employee pension crisis threatens the financial health of many states and local government. While this is predominantly a state and local issue, Congress should encourage states and local governments to fix their pensions now. However, Congress should not bailout state and local governments that have doled out lavish and unsustainable pensions to government employees.
Investing in transportation is an essential element to growing our economy. Not only does it connect people, but improvements to transportation also allow for the easier exchange of goods and services.
Congress should focus spending on improving our highways, commercial rail and ports. These investments in transportation pay dividends by making U.S. manufacturing more competitive and helping increase U.S. exports.
We owe a debt of gratitude and enduring support to the brave men and women who have fought to protect our freedom. As our soldiers return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we must do all we can to ease their transition to civilian life and ensure that wounded soldiers receive the highest quality care.