Candidate Q&A - U.S. Senate; Jean Carnahan

Sunday, November 3, 2002

1. What steps do you propose to spur the national economy and create jobs in Missouri?

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I will continue to work to create a positive environment for business and job growth. We must ensure that our citizens obtain the education and job training necessary to compete in the global economy and find high-paying jobs.

I support tax cuts for small businesses to help create new jobs. I voted for the $1.35 trillion tax cut for working families and small businesses. I also supported a stimulus package designed to get our economy moving again. I support immediate, permanent repeal of the estate tax for family farms and small businesses and permanent exemption of all other estates worth up to $4 million for individuals and up to $8 million for couples. I also support permanent elimination of the marriage penalty.

I am also fighting to reverse proposed job-training cuts of $686 million. These programs especially help workers that have been laid off to obtain the skills that they need to find new skilled employment.2. What measures would you endorse to avoid future corporate scandals?

We must restore investor confidence by improving corporate accountability. In the Senate, I voted for tough new measures to punish corporate crooks. I also sponsored and helped pass into law a provision that requires electronic disclosure of insider stock sales within two days. This new law will help prevent another Enron-type sell-off where the executives unloaded their company stock while they told their employees to keep buying.3. What is your position on possible war with Iraq?

I believe Saddam Hussein's refusal to give up his weapons of mass destruction presents a threat to the security of the United States and the world.

I commend the president for advocating the case against Iraq to our allies at the United Nations last month, and to the American people. I support the president's effort to work through the United Nations to insist that Iraq comply with its obligations to disclose and destroy all weapons of mass destruction and prohibited ballistic missile programs. I am hopeful that he will succeed in building a consensus for a firm policy that will force Saddam, either diplomatically or, if necessary, by force, to relinquish his weapons of mass destruction.4. Describe your preferred plan for providing a prescription drug benefit to the elderly under Medicare?

I support a comprehensive, affordable prescription drug benefit. My plan would provide a guaranteed benefit under Medicare, a program that works and that seniors can count on.

Under current projections, and including money set aside in last year's budget resolution, we can afford a significant Medicare prescription drug benefit. In fact, the preventative medical care provided by a prescription drug benefit will likely save money in the long run by cutting Medicare treatment costs. The cost of doing nothing is far higher than the cost of providing a meaningful prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all seniors.

This is another area where there is a significant difference between my opponent and myself. My opponent supports a program that gives large public subsidies to insurance companies and lets them decide who will be eligible for insurance, how much coverage they will get, and how much it will cost.

I don't think we should leave our seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies, which are more interested in making profits than in providing adequate drug coverage to seniors.

My opponent says that Medicare should only step in to provide coverage in a region if absolutely no insurance companies offer any coverage in that region. But that approach leaves seniors vulnerable to price gouging and other unscrupulous practices by insurers who are the sole provider of coverage in a region.5. Do you favor allowing American workers to invest a portion of their Social Security withholding in private investment accounts?

I oppose privatizing Social Security. I believe Social Security should be a guarantee, not a gamble. We should work together in a bipartisan manner to find ways to strengthen Social Security, not put it at risk by cutting the guaranteed benefit and putting retirement funds in the stock market or other private investments.

This is a significant area of difference between me and my opponent. Although he now says he would oppose privatization, he co-sponsored a bill while in Congress that diverted $3 trillion from the Social Security trust fund, cut the guaranteed benefit, and put those funds into private investments like the stock market. His bill was a good deal for the stock brokers and fund managers that would make commissions and fees off the investments, but it was a bad deal for the rest of us. Not surprisingly, the AARP and other watchdog groups opposed his bill.6. What is your position on farm subsidies?

I believe that we need to provide our farmers with a solid safety net to help them through tough times.

I voted for the new Farm Bill, signed into law by President Bush, which provides a strong counter-cyclical safety net for farmers while allowing farmers to make their own decisions about what and where to plant. The farm bill also makes new investments in conservation, and provides help for rural development.

During the Farm Bill debate, I lobbied the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to ensure that unfair payment limitations that would devastate Missouri's cotton and rice farmers were not imposed. I recently wrote to the Senate leaders to urge them to discourage efforts to revisit the payment limits issue during this year's appropriations process.7. In one paragraph, why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents?

During my two years in the Senate, I have repeatedly demonstrated my commitment and ability to reach across party lines to do what is right for Missouri. As a member of the Senate's Centrist Coalition, I have worked to bring people together to find commonsense solutions to the challenges confronting us. I'm proud of the work I've done in the Senate, particularly in helping to pass legislation to improve our schools, improve corporate accountability, cut taxes for working families, reduce prescription drug prices, and strengthen our national defense. I will continue to be a voice and vote for the working families of Missouri.

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