November 2, 2012

U.S. Rep. District 4 debate

OKLAHOMA — What new issues do you plan to tackle if reelected or elected?

Tom Cole (R): If reelected I will work to avoid the sequester, which is an across the board budget cut that will devastate domestic and defense spending.

I will also work to keep taxes low for small businesses and middle class Americans by working to extend the Bush tax cuts.

I’d like to see the passages of the Farm Bill. Our own Frank Lucas has worked extremely hard to craft a bipartisan piece of legislation, it deserves to be voted on before the end of the year.

In the 113th Congress, we have a genuine shot at significant tax reform. I would like to see a lowering of rates via expanding the base of taxpayers and eliminating loopholes.

Donna Bebo (D): While I certainly don't consider jobs legislation to be a "new issue", I feel that our current Congress has failed to deliver on their 2010 promises of "jobs, jobs, jobs".  We need to set aside partisan differences and work to pass meaningful jobs legislation.  I would make it a priority to cut incentives for companies who ship our jobs overseas and support legislation that promotes job growth here, at home.  I also believe that it is vital for us to permanently extend tax cuts for working Americans.

What areas do we need to make cuts in at the Federal level?

DB: The key to cutting Federal spending is to be found in streamlining our government and trimming waste across the board.  But, I also believe we must protect programs which are vital to our nation's most vulnerable citizens.  Programs which help our elderly, disabled, veterans, low income families, and children must be safeguarded.

TC: We are making cuts in a variety of areas.

The first area to review is the tax code. There are simply too many credits and exemptions. These need to be thoughtfully reviewed by Congress.

We need to eliminate duplicative government bureaucracies. The federal government should allow states more control over the federal programs they administer. We can look at components within the Ryan budget, such as block granting Medicaid funds to states. This is essentially the same approach Congress took with welfare reform which has been very successful.

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