Each month I receive thousands of emails, phone calls and letters from Central Washington residents on a wide variety of issues. I wanted to take an opportunity to share a few of questions that I've recently received.
How can we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and ensure an adequate energy supply?
I believe that reducing our dependence on foreign oil is essential to our nation's economic and national security. I do not think we should choose just one of these ideas, but should instead embrace an all-of-the-above energy policy that says yes to alternative energy such as wind and solar, nuclear power, hydropower, and to drilling for new oil and natural gas resources here in America. As the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee I have been actively working to promote this approach and will continue to support an all-of-the-above energy plan in Congress.
What are your thoughts about how best to address health care reform?
Improvements to the American health care system must be made, but I cannot support a trillion dollar government takeover of our health care system that would eliminate choices, cut Medicare, increase taxes and put federal bureaucrats between you and your doctor. Instead, I believe reform must focus on putting patients first and lowering costs.
My solutions are centered on increasing health care choices and putting power in the hands of patients. Individuals without health coverage through their job should be allowed the same tax benefits that employers receive for purchasing health insurance. Tax-free health savings accounts should be expanded to help Americans plan for current and future health needs. It should be easier for small businesses to afford to offer health benefits to their employees. Waste, fraud and abuse must be eliminated. Regulations must be reduced so doctors and nurses can focus on patients, not paperwork. Preventative care and home health care, which save money in the long-run, must be priorities. And, lawsuit abuse that drives up costs and pushes doctors out of medicine must be limited.
How can we create jobs and grow our economy?
As a former small business owner, I understand that businesses are best served by a government that gives them freedom to innovate, grow and create jobs. I support low tax policies that encourage businesses to invest and expand. I am working to lower gas prices, enact trade policies that provide new opportunities for local farmers, protect the dams that provide lower-cost power, and support locally driven economic solutions - rather than more government mandates and spending.
Your input is vital to ensuring that I am best representing the interests of our area. The easiest way to contact me is through my website at www.hastings.house.gov, where you can email me and sign up to receive my e-newsletters. You may also find me on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
- Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.