There is no reason that the United States, the wealthiest nation in the world, cannot provide access to quality healthcare to all its citizens. The policies and actions of private insurance companies have contributed to the rising cost of healthcare premiums, effectively pricing millions of individuals out of the insurance market and impeding the delivery of healthcare to those who need it. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act helped alleviate some of these problems, and the current efforts by Republicans to dismantle this act must be opposed. At the same time, we must work towards the establishment of a healthcare system that is truly universal, one in which all American citizens have access to the healthcare they need. This can be achieved by extending to all citizens a program which already exists, enjoys massive public support, and has been successful in doing what it was designed to do: Medicare. In January 2017, Representative John Conyers (D-MI) introduced House Resolution 676 – Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Should this bill become law, all American citizens will have the right to medical care, including primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care. One of my first actions as a Congressman will be to cosponsor this bill. I will then do everything in my power to see that it becomes law. It is time for us to reject the concept healthcare access as privilege and recognize it as a human right.
Legislative acts designed to curb the influence of money in politics were obliterated following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court ruled that the government cannot restrict independent political expenditures by unions, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. These entities can now raise and spend unlimited sums of money to influence elections via independent expenditure-only committees, also known as Super PACs. With the Supreme Court effectively classifying the spending of money as a form of free speech, the wealthiest Americans and corporations are given the loudest voices in the political arena and are able to drown out the voices of individuals lacking monetary resources. This pay-to-play system is inherently undemocratic and promotes political corruption. We need a constitutional amendment to end the influence of money in politics. Such an amendment has been introduced by Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN) – House Joint Resolution 48. If elected, I will cosponsor this amendment. Politicians should be beholden to their voters and not to a handful of wealthy donors. A broken political system cannot be fixed by taking money from those responsible for breaking it. As such, my campaign will be based on individual donations. I will not accept money from corporations, special interest groups, or super PACs.
Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) must allow users to access to all internet content regardless of content’s creator, must not favor any particular content, and must not prevent users from accessing any particular content. This principle has allowed individuals from all parts of the globe to freely share ideas and content with one another via the internet. This freedom, however, is now under attack. ISPs are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismantle net neutrality protections. Imagine being unable to access your favorite blog, video channel, or social network. Imagine being unable to buy products from your favorite online retailer. Imagine being unable to post your thoughts or ideas on an online forum, or even communicate with your friends and family via your prefered email provider. Without net neutrality protections, ISPs will have the ability to fully control which content users are allowed to access – effectively ending the online freedoms we not only cherish but depend on. To make matters worse, this year Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation allowing ISPs to sell your browsing history to anyone who wants to buy it, without your permission (Senate Joint Resolution 34) – a blatant violation of privacy. The internet is currently treated as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The FCC is currently looking to change this classification with the goal of obliterating Net Neutrality protections. Should they succeed, I will introduce legislation to overturn their decision and maintain the internet’s Title II status. I will also support House Resolution 1868 – Restoring American Privacy Act, introduced by Representative Jacky Rosen (D-NV), which will overturn Senate Joint Resolution 34 and prevent ISPs from selling the browsing history of internet users.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite evidence that marijuana has medical utility and can be used safely, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has maintained this classification. As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on tracking down and incarcerating millions of individuals who use marijuana, including those that depend on it for medical treatment. There is no evidence that this inhumane practice provides any benefit to our country. When I represent Nevada in Washington D.C., I will support House Resolution 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, introduced by Representative Thomas Garrett (R-VA). This will remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances. The individual states will then have the freedom to regulate the possession, sale, transportation, and distribution of marijuana as they see fit.
For the majority of Americans, all of their income is subject to taxation for social security. However, any income accumulated beyond $127,200 (as of 2017) is exempt from the tax. This cap makes the social security tax regressive where, effectively, the burden of funding social security falls on the middle and working classes while the wealthiest Americans pay less than their fair share. I support removing the cap. Doing so will ensure the solvency of social security for at least 50 more years and permit the expansion of benefits. Furthermore, there is no justifiable reason for not subjecting income earned over an arbitrary threshold to the social security tax.
Efforts to prevent United States citizens from exercising their right to vote are running rampant across the country. Voter suppression methods such as reduction in the number of polling places, purging of voter rolls, disinformation about voting procedures, and voter intimidation have disproportionately impacted minority and low-income communities. Not only are these methods abhorrent and, in some cases, illegal, they are opposed to the democratic principles our country is based on. No United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, should be denied the right to vote for any reason. It is high time that legislation be enacted to guarantee this fundamental right.