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October 23, 2014

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Q&A: Reid and Angle go toe to toe

U.S. Senate candidates give their views on issues affecting state, nation

Harry Reid

Sharron Angle

How can the federal government strengthen Nevada’s economy, including job creation?

Reid: Job creation must remain our top priority for Nevada, but we should be wise about spending taxpayers’ dollars. That’s why I passed the Economic Recovery Act to invest $3 billion in Nevada, including $300 million to create clean energy jobs and $500 million in tax cuts for 1 million Nevada families. Additionally, I passed a jobs bill that extended tax cuts to encourage small businesses to hire and helped keep CityCenter on track, protecting 22,000 jobs.

Angle: The fastest way to get the economy moving again is to cut spending, pay back the national debt and make permanent the Bush tax cuts which are due to expire in just a few months. Steps like these would go a long way toward giving the business community the confidence it needs to start creating jobs and hiring again.

How should Congress address the country’s deficit and debt problems?

Reid: Following the disastrous economic policies of the Bush administration and abuses of Wall Street, we needed immediate action to get our nation’s spiraling debt under control. That’s why we re-implemented Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) — the budget measure that led to the surpluses of the 1990s. We passed health insurance reform to cut the deficit by $143 billion in the first decade. Furthermore, I appointed three members to the new Deficit Reduction Commission to help cut spending.

Angle: Under the leadership of this administration and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, our national debt has exploded. The Congressional Budget Office reports that our debt now equals 62 percent of our gross domestic product. This country cannot sustain spending at this rate without a serious erosion of confidence, both nationally and internationally. It has to stop.

How should the federal government address continuing unemployment?

Reid: While the abuses on Wall Street threw thousands of Nevadans out of work, I have made it a top priority to create jobs and bring new businesses to the state — particularly the clean energy industry. Additionally, I passed a jobs bill, the first piece of legislation in a larger jobs agenda that used tax cuts and credits to encourage small businesses to hire. Further, I passed the Travel Promotion Act to create 6,000 jobs by promoting Nevada’s tourist destinations.

Angle: Job creation will not occur until consumer and small-business confidence is restored, which can only happen by significantly cutting government spending and slashing the national debt, which is now at its highest level since World War II. We must create permanent jobs people can rely on instead of the temporary jobs that are being offered as a consequence of this administration’s fiscal irresponsibility.

Should the federal government further address the housing foreclosure crisis? If so, how?

Reid: The deceptive mortgage practices on Wall Street have left far too many Nevada families struggling to stay in their homes. That’s why I secured more funding per capita for Nevada than any other state — $100 million — in “hardest-hit” housing funds, kept the pressure on Bank of America to assist Nevada homeowners, had the Department of Housing and Urban Development send more foreclosure assistance staffers to our state, and opened my office to help Nevadans keep their homes.

Angle: Until we turn around the economy, Americans are not going to have the jobs they need to afford good homes. Spending billions again in the midst of soaring deficits won’t solve the root problem, and it won’t put people back to work. It’s time to cut spending and lower taxes on small businesses so that entrepreneurs can start creating the jobs that will help people back on their feet and into homes they can afford.

What role should Nevada play in dealing with nuclear waste?

Reid: After fighting Yucca Mountain for more than two decades, I am very pleased that Nevada will never be the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste. Unfortunately, there are those who still want to truck tons of the most dangerous material on Earth through Nevada’s neighborhoods and towns to a location only 90 miles from the world’s premier tourist destination. I will continue leveraging my leadership position to fight any attempts to make Nevada the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.

Angle: I oppose Yucca Mountain as a storage facility but am not opposed to nuclear power. If building nuclear power plants were to happen, I’d want to know it can be done safely, and that we have a plan for recycling spent fuel and making sure we have sufficient water resources to operate the plants. There are many things that would have to be addressed first but we should look into nuclear power as an option.

How should the federal government address illegal immigration?

Reid: Our nation’s immigration system is broken. We need comprehensive, responsible reform that protects America’s economic and national security. That means we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, get tough on those here illegally, and sanction employers who hire illegal immigrants. Legal status can only be earned by going to the back of the line, paying back taxes and a fine, and learning English. I will continue fighting for a bipartisan solution to our broken immigration system.

Angle: We must secure the border immediately.

What should the government do about Social Security?

Reid: Hundreds of thousands of Nevada seniors rely on one of the most important social safety nets in American history — Social Security. After a lifetime of work, Nevada seniors have earned the financial security this essential program offers as they live out their retirement. For this reason, I was proud to lead the opposition to former President George W. Bush’s risky privatization scheme. I am committed to fighting any attempts to wipe out the program.

Angle: We must keep the promise of Social Security by redeeming the “IOUs” that have been written to the Social Security Trust Fund and putting that money in a lock box that cannot be raided again. Personalized accounts that cannot be raided should also be created for the next generation.

What solutions would you propose to reduce rising health care costs?

Reid: The new health insurance reform law is already working to cut costs for Nevada families by an average of $2,000 on the individual market, strengthen Medicare by closing the “doughnut hole,” invest in 30,000 Nevada small businesses with tax credits, hold insurance companies accountable by banning pre-existing condition exclusions, and reduce the deficit by $143 billion over its first 10 years. You can learn about how health insurance reform will affect you personally by visiting harryreid.com.

Angle: Repeal and replace Obamacare.

Elimination of coverage mandates.

Expanded client pools.

Tort reform.

Allow citizens to purchase insurance across state lines.

Create tax-credited health savings accounts.

How would you craft an energy policy for the nation?

Reid: With our abundant natural resources such as solar, wind and geothermal, Nevada should lead the nation in the clean energy industry. That’s why I extended a solar tax credit expected to create 41,000 Nevada jobs and secured more than $300 million in the Economic Recovery Act funds to create clean energy jobs. Right now, stimulus money is being used to construct a clean energy transmission line connecting Northern and Southern Nevada, creating thousands of jobs.

Angle: America must build upon her vast coal and natural gas resources by expanding our domestic oil resources. America has the potential both onshore and offshore to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This effort will also provide high-paying jobs and expand our economy.

What should be the nation’s policy on offshore drilling?

Reid: Following the disastrous catastrophe in the Gulf, I support a moratorium on new offshore oil drilling, especially while the obvious safety concerns are being addressed. We should be renewing our commitment to ensuring Nevada leads the nation in clean energy by taking advantage of our state’s abundant natural resources such as solar, wind and geothermal. This will create good-paying jobs right here in Nevada.

Angle: America’s policy should be to enforce the rules and regulations currently on the books. The recent oil blowout in the Gulf occurred because BP took a high-risk approach in its drilling program while cutting corners, as opposed to the low-risk approach other companies also drilling in the Gulf have taken without incident. This is an indictment of the federal government’s Minerals Management (Service) that is charged with overseeing offshore drilling and protecting our environment.

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