1 Please give point by point your solution to the U.S. illegal immigration problem?
"Point 1: Complete the Border Fence I voted for and support and continue to staff up the Border Patrol to cover the entire southwest border.
"Point 2: Institute a tamper-proof ID card for all immigrants seeking to work in the United States. This ID card would employ biometrics and interface with an entry-exit database.
"Point 3: Strengthen E-verify for employers to eliminate excuses and confusion inherent in our current work verification process. Employers should know in minutes if an applicant is legal.
"Point 4: Require any immigrant seeking US Citizenship to demonstrate a proficiency in English, American History, and Civics.
"Point 5: Institute "Catch and Deport" while mandating that after a certain date, any person found in the US illegally, would be barred from re-entry for any reason for 10, 20, or more years.
"Point 6: Create a process whereby anyone currently in the United States illegally can come forward, pay a fine, receive a criminal background check, go to the end of the line if interested in becoming a US citizen, receive a temporary work status, forfeit all Social Security monies earned, be required to either have employer provided health insurance or a Health Savings Account. If anyone is found to have a criminal history of any kind, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry. If anyone is found after the grace period, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry.
"Point 7: Enforce the law and the new programs from day 1."
2 What specifically should be done about the 12 million or so illegal immigrants who are now in the United States?
"Create a process whereby anyone currently in the United States illegally can come forward, pay a fine, receive a criminal background check, go to the end of the line if interested in becoming a US citizen, receive a temporary work status, forfeit all Social Security monies earned, be required to either have employer provided health insurance or an Health Savings Account. If anyone is found to have a criminal history of any kind, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry. If anyone is found after the grace period, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry.
"Attempting to round up 12 million people presents serious civil liberties issues, and I doubt most Americans particularly Utah conservatives would approve of the process doing so would require. Authorities would still have to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to inquire as to someones status, and without a verifiable identification system, ascertaining someones status would be difficult within the legal time frame to hold someone. Once we begin enforcing the law and employers are provided with a legitimate e-verify system, neither workers nor employers will have any excuse or place to hide. This enforcement will do more than any law enforcement agency could do to ameliorate the problem."
3 Do you favor or oppose some kind of pathway to legal status for the current illegal immigrants?
"I favor a path to legal status for those in this country illegally who have not committed any crimes and are willing to come forward, pay a fine, learn English within a specified period of time, acquire health insurance or establish a funded HSA, and go to the back of the line. The legal status would be temporary and with a verifiable entry/exit ID system, I would also agree to requiring a return to their home country for a period of time before they could apply again to work in the United States."
4 Utah has a state law that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition to public colleges and universities. Do you favor or oppose that law? And do you believe Congress should pass a similar law?
"I believe that decision belongs solely to the Utah legislature. Congress should pass no law mandating, either way, how states should treat children of illegal immigrants vis-a-vis education, and I have sponsored legislation to make that state primacy absolutely clear."
5 What specifically can you do to make sure Congress comes up with an illegal immigration solution over the next two years of your term?
"On this issue, I have influence on both sides of the debate. As someone who is open to a guest worker program but who also voted for and supports securing the border without exception, I have the credibility to help maneuver the legislation through the legislative process. I can assure wavering members on both sides to support border security and enforcement first, while working to help create a verifiable and stable immigration system. In my time in office and through my years on the Judiciary Committee, I have worked extensively on this issue much more deeply than the sound-bite level, so when the time is ripe to move the issue forward I can advocate the correct direction we should take and solutions that will actually work. For example, because of the years I have spent on this issue I opposed the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Plan last year not out of emotion but out of fact that it was unworkable and bad policy."
6 Does Congress have any role in providing affordable gasoline to Americans over the next two years? If so, what should Congress do?
"Yes. Congress should get the federal buraucracy out of the way. Congress should:
"1. Stop locking up federal lands and allow for oil shale extraction immediately. There is more oil in shale than in all of the Saudis known oil reserves.
"2. Deregulate the building of refineries and allow the President to bypass those regulations that exist today immediately.
"3. Promote the construction of nuclear power plants.
"4. Open ANWR, drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coasts and in the Intermountain West.
"5. Stop subsidizing ethanol immediately.
"6. Institute a "citizen energy" moonshot a competition to create an alternative to the gasoline engine that is renewable, affordable, and domestic."
7 It appears now that Republicans will not be in the majority in the U.S. House next year. What can you do to make yourself effective as a member of the minority party?
"My relationships built while in the majority continue to serve Utah in the minority. Since the Democrats gained control of the House in 2006, I have already gained enactment of two major laws to protect the Internet from taxation and help states reduce criminal recidivism. There are many Democrats who were elected last cycle who actually ran as conservatives. Working alongside those conservative Democrats to pass tax cuts, border security measures, and domestic energy legislation is something that can and should be accomplished, regardless of who holds the speakers gavel. I have been able to work with individuals on both sides of the aisle based on my consistent positions over the years in office. I have a proven track record of being honest and direct which serves one well in an institution based on relationships. But although seniority may be viewed as a negative by some, the reality is that seniority provides the knowledge and know-how to succeed and promote principles in times like these. Understanding the process and having a firm set of principles is the way to remain effective in the minority."
8 Much has been made recently of so-called "spending earmarks" where a congressman gets funding for specific projects in his district in a budget bill. Do you personally favor or oppose such "earmarks" in spending bills? Will you put "earmarks" into funding bills for the 3rd District?
"The issue of earmarks is one that has gotten much media attention, but is also shrouded in mystery. I support Congress ability to earmark money, but I do not support the current earmark system in any way. Allow me to explain.
"If all Congressional earmarks were eliminated tomorrow, the money allocated in the budget would then go to the administration and the agencies to be spent moving from elected officials to unelected bureaucrats to allocate. However, moving the decision from Congress to a bureaucrat does nothing to curb corruption and will only further cloak how your money is spent. Or worse, without earmarks the members of the spending committees can "phonemark" projects without anyone ever knowing. For example, in a world where earmarks are banned a Member with the authority over a certain agency's budget would be able to call the agency and could influence the process without anyone knowing and with the illusion that it was the agency not the Member who made the decision. This would only foster greater corruption. Although recent scandals have been brought to light showing the failings of individuals and abuse of the process, the only reason they came to light was because there was a record by which to connect the dots. This is why I would support the following:
"1. All earmarks requested by members of Congress should be made available, online, weeks before they are voted on. The only true disinfectant is sunshine.
"2. All earmarks requested by members of Congress should be open for public comment and should receive an up or down vote.
"3. All spending done by federal agencies, with the exception of classified spending, should be available, online, in near real-time so the American taxpayer can see what is being spent and where the money is going.
"4. All earmarks requested by members of Congress should identify who requested the earmark, what relationship, if any, they have with the member, and the member should have to sign off that they have no financial interest in the earmark whatsoever.
"Lastly, because of the way the federal budget works, eliminating all earmarks tomorrow will have ZERO affect on the size of the budget. Thought of another way, eliminating earmarks is like cutting a pizza into 7 pieces instead of 8. The size of the pizza, like the size of the budget and the size of government, will not shrink one cent if we eliminate earmarks. Shrinking the budget, the size of government and addressing entitlement spending is vastly more important to our future budget discipline than earmarks."
9 Congress has not adopted a balanced budget in years. Do you believe it is desirable, or even possible, to have a balanced federal budget? What would you do as a congressman to get a balanced budget?
"I have voted for and support:
"1. The Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution
"2. A Constitutional amendment requiring 2/3 majorities of both Houses of Congress to pass any tax increase.
"3. And, giving the President a line-item veto.
"I believe a balanced budget amendment as well as the line-item veto will do more to balance the budget than anything else. Giving the President a line-item veto is vital because, regardless of whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican, a line-item veto can only REMOVE money from the budget, and that is rarely, if ever, a bad thing.
"Congress should also look into budgeting every two years instead of every year. This will have the effect of limiting the yearly process of budget begging, in which each agency comes to Congress with need after need. Congress should also look into incentivizing cost savings and budget cutting at executive agencies as the private sector does."
10 This past spring there were a number of critics complaining about how the Utah Republican Party selected delegates and oversaw intra-party challenges, including convention fights. Do you believe the party properly handled its internal nominating process? If not, what kind of improvements do you think the party should undertake to make the candidate nominating process better?
"Intraparty challenges and disagreements are natural consequences of having a robust Republican Party in Utah. As an elected official, I try to avoid interfering with the long and important tradition of the Party managing its own affairs and determining the manner in which candidates are nominated. As with government, I believe many of the disagreements we see within the Party could be avoided with greater transparency and open discussion. It is when individuals feel left out of the process that many disagreements and complaints arise. Our political parties are the bedrock of the democratic process, and they must conduct themselves accordingly. As a Republican, my overriding concern is that we not allow internal disputes to distract us from the fundamental goal of electing Republicans."
11 How should the Iraqi War be brought to a conclusion?
"The Iraqi War should be brought to a conclusion with a status of forces agreement between the United States and the Iraqi government and a full transfer of police and national security responsibility to the elected Iraqi government. This is rapidly becoming a reality as the surge has brought stability and political opportunity to the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people. After an agreement is reached, American troops should begin phased withdrawals. Key to this process and its success is the continued demonstration of our resolve to see it through and continued pressure on Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations around the world."
12 How long do you think American troops should be in Iraq?
"American troops should remain in Iraq as long as the Administration and the Iraqi government agree. The Iraqi government needs American assistance, at least in the short term, to retain the stability that many, both American and Iraqi troops, have fought and died for. Whether we like it or not, America has a vital national security interest in the Middle East and in a stable and democratic Iraq. We must see our commitment through."
13 Can you now promise not to vote to raise taxes over the next two years?
"As a nationally recognized leader against any tax increases, I can say I will not vote to raise taxes over the next two years."
14 What role do you think religion should play in America's political and governmental life?
"Religious freedom and the protection thereof are fundamental to our system of government. At the same time, it is foolish and ill-advised to try, as have too many activist Courts, to somehow remove from government the basic reality that much of our system of laws and governing is based upon certain moral beliefs that are common to almost all faiths. For any democratic system to work, it must be founded upon at least some degree of shared beliefs and values; to the extent those are derived from religion, government cannot "outlaw" them."
15 Utah's two U.S. senators are split over whether the federal constitution should be changed to protect the flag. Do you favor or oppose such an amendment?
"I support the constitutional amendment to protect the flag not because I take amending the Constitution lightly, but rather because I believe the flag represents more then a conduit of speech. It represents the values of this country. It is important to note that burning the American flag was only recently deemed free speech. In 1989 when the Supreme Court decided to protect flag burning as an expression of free speech, it was only agreed to by a 5-4 decision. It is from that decision that Congress has the power and authority to affirm or reject the ruling through legislation or constitutional amendment. The arguments for desecration turn on the notion that desecration is a protected form of speech. But I contend burning the flag is one of action or conduct not just uttered words. At the time of the decision, the Court reasoned that the conduct could be speech if those viewing the act can understand the message being conveyed. This rationalization is overbroad because speech is what we understand, not what may be in a particular individual's mind. I have always opposed Hate Crimes legislation because I never understood how you can decipher what is in a persons mind, but you can understand the action and punish it appropriately. Under the court's rationalization, anyone can use the First Amendment defense as a backstop for their actions, which is not the original intent of that Amendment. I firmly believe that Veterans and soldiers have paid a price for protecting the flag and the least we can do is to show our support for that symbol by removing obnoxious protests disguised as speech."
16 Do you favor or oppose a U.S. constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage, between one man and one woman?
"I support traditional marriage. This Congress I have cosponsored the constitutional amendments protecting marriage as well as a bill to limit federal court jurisdiction from hearing cases that try to redefine marriage. Last Congress, I was a cosponsor and voted on the House floor for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as well as the same limitation on jurisdiction bill. This is a major issue of our time. It is a battle between the recognition and reaffirmation of the traditional social fabric of our nation or the changing whims and desires of a few."
17 Do you favor or oppose new nuclear power plants in the United States? In Utah?
"I support nuclear power plants in Utah and throughout the United States. Nuclear power is safe, clean, and efficient. It is absurd that Europe and China are both seizing a competitive energy advantage over the United States by aggressively putting this proven energy source to work while we continue to wring our hands.
"Nuclear power has a unique history in Utah. The plight of "downwinders" has made many in Utah rightfully wary of nuclear power and nuclear waste. This is a complex issue that I have spent years working on in conjunction with my fellow Utah officials.
"For example, I have co-sponsored, with Congressmen Bishop and Matheson, the Federal Accountability for Nuclear Waste Storage Act of 2007, and the Spent Nuclear Fuel On-Site Storage Security Act of 2005. Both pieces of legislation would require spent nuclear fuel to be stored in a certified facility on site of any nuclear power plant, ensuring that waste can be legally stored where produced and not assembled and sent to a particular repository like some tried to do in Utah. In 2005, I, along with U.S. Sens. Orrin G. Hatch and Bob Bennett, and Reps. Jim Matheson and Rob Bishop sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking it to reject a Private Fuel Storage consortium's license request to store high-level nuclear waste in Skull Valley and added an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill to stop the project from being developed. I support nuclear power, but if you support nuclear power you must also address the issue of waste disposal and that is why I have supported these measures so as to make nuclear power a reality and not just a rhetorical talking point."
18 In your opinion, is global warming a fact? If not, what do you think is happening, if anything, to the Earth's climate?
"Global climate change is happening, but it has always happened. The earth has warmed and cooled. I believe the jury is still out as to what affect human activity has on this phenomenon. The climate change lobby is an entrenched special interest with a financial and ideological stake in a particular scientific outcome. I also do not believe so-called "Cap and Trade" legislation is the way to address our environmental issues. We must be faithful stewards of our air, water, and natural beauty. Americans deserve clean air, clean water, and open spaces. Protecting these principles should not be driven by politically vested special interests, or former vice-presidents. Technological advancements in the free market have done more to clean our air, water, and ground than has the government. Having said that, I do believe the government has a role to play in ensuring private entities do not harm citizens or expose them to danger. God has blessed America with abundant resources and beauty and we have a duty to be responsible users of that God-given bounty."
19 Why would you make a better congressman than your Republican opponent?
"There are many reasons why I would make a better Congressman than my Republican opponent.
"1. I have been a lifelong conservative Working to elect Republicans, working under President Reagan in the Interior Department, defeating an incumbent Democrat in my first election, and working to impeach President Bill Clinton as a House manager. Washington changes people, as we have seen too often. Thus, it is important to act consistently and on a solid foundation of principle. I have a long history of conservative and principled action.
"2. I have built solid relationships with my colleagues The House is a body that doesn't take well to absolutists. The founders intended for Congress to be give and take, much as the Constitutional convention was give and take. Building relationships with other members and being willing to work with them to achieve our goals is vital to Utah. As a small state, our ability to influence policy is not as robust as some others, but I have spent my career working to achieve our conservative principles without ever letting perfect be the enemy of the good.
"3. I have in-depth knowledge of the issues The American people are tired of the talking heads and talking points. I may not always express myself as clearly as I would like, but some of us are blessed with a silver tongue and others with a thirst for knowledge. I abhor sound bite politics and will continue to engage on the issues in an in-depth and thorough manner. Understanding such issues as immigration reform, tax policy, and the war in Iraq cannot be condensed into talking points. That goes for Democrats and Republicans. The American people are smarter than that.
"4. I live in the 3rd District and understand our issues and concerns."
20 What is your greatest strength in being a congressman, what is your GOP opponent's greatest weakness?
"My greatest strength as a Congressman is living by the old adage, "It is amazing how much people get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit." Filling out surveys like this is difficult for me. I do not like talking about myself. I prefer to work toward a goal and ensure that all who contribute are given the credit they deserve. My faith teaches me that and my Utah roots do as well. In Congress, there are too many who want credit first, progress second. If we all sought progress first, and credit last, we would go far.
"As far as my opponent's greatest weakness, like the vast majority of us in the Third District, I do not know enough about him to presume to know his greatest weakness or strength. I have a transparent record, my career and life have been examined and reported on for years, and I am a known quantity. That is not the case with my opponent, and I will leave it to the voters to judge."