Ellen Tauscher on the Economy
"When I ran for Congress, I promised you I would be an independent voice
in Congress who would fight to balance the budget and put our fiscal house in order,
and I've kept my word. At the insistence of moderates like me in both the Democratic
and Republican party, the federal government has not only balanced the budget, but
now projects a multi-TRILLION dollar surplus. However, the fact remains that while
the U.S. government now runs an annual surplus, it still remains trillions of dollars
in debt. This means that taxpayer money has to be spent on just paying the interest
of this debt, and that is wrong. My agenda for fiscal responsibility is:
- Absolutely protecting and saving Social Security and Medicare by reserving some
of the surplus for this purpose,
- Using the majority of the remaining surplus to pay down the debt,
- Providing a deserved targeted tax cut to the people who created the surplus,
the American workers.
- Continuing to create budget discipline.
PROTECT AND SAFE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE: Social Security is a sacred trust,
and one we must not break. The current budget surplus provides an opportunity to
remedy the future insolvency of these two important programs. We must also reject
risky proposals to 'privatize' Social Security, which is an underhanded attempt to
dismantle one of the government programs that has actually worked.
PAY DOWN THE DEBT: Although I see the issue through the lens of my years on Wall
Street, where carrying debt was a significant disadvantage for a company's stock,
I think all of us can agree that when we sit down at the kitchen table to pay bills,
we all just know from common sense that paying off debt frees up money down the road.
Instead of using the surplus once for huge tax cuts or massive new spending, we should
use the majority of it to pay down the debt. Doing so means that every year in the
future, we'll have extra funds for either a tax cut or important investments like
ENACT A TARGETED TAX CUT FOR AMERICAN WORKING FAMILIES: The surplus has been generated
by the hard work of the American people, and so I believe that it makes sense to
provide targeted tax relief while fitting within the other two priorities outlined
above. I have pushed since I was first elected to eliminate the marriage tax, so
that married couples do not have to pay more than they would have to if they filed
separately. I also support tax breaks for those who buy their own health insurance,
raising the Social Security earnings test, increasing the benefits from the Dependent
Care tax credit, and making permanent the Research & Development tax credit.
ENFORCE FISCAL DISCIPLINE: I support and have fought for amending the U.S. Constitution
to require a Balanced Budget; the incredible burden that has been placed on our citizens
through the wanton government deficit spending of the 1980s should never be allowed
to cripple us again. I also helped develop the Budget Enforcement Act of 1997, which
enforced fiscal discipline on Congress for entitlement spending, and will continue
to look for ways to ensure that our budgetary system mandates fiscal discipline."
Ellen Tauscher on Education
"Supporting our nation's public education system and America's kids is one
of my top priorities. The Bay Area is the hub of the world's new economy, and our
ability to ensure that our children are able to obtain highly-skilled, highly-paid
jobs will be determined by whether we effectively prepare our children with the skills
and tools they'll need in this new world, and remake our educational system into
the envy of the world. As I've traveled the district and met with many people --
from the students at the Acalanes High School to the new Superintendent of the Pleasanton
Unified School District, and many other students, parents, teachers, and administrators
-- I've heard that the residents of this district share a commitment to this goal.
In Congress, I have worked with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to bring
much needed reform and aid to the nation's ailing public school system -- without
succumbing to those who would subvert public funds to private schools through voucher
programs. My key goals in this area are to:
- Improve the environment for learning by creating innovative financing for school
and library construction,
- Keep our children safe,
- Improve the quality of public primary and secondary education through encouraging
excellence and requiring accountability,
- Increase access to higher education,
- Increase access to after school programs for students, and
- Retain local control.
SCHOOL AND LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION AND MAITENANCE: This Congress, I introduced the
State Infrastructure Banks for Schools Act, which offers innovative financing through
state revolving loan funds for schools and library construction. I also have been
pushing the Etheridge School Construction Act, which will create $7.2 billion in
school construction bonds over the next ten years. I have also worked for passing
the School Modernization Act, which would provide a federal tax credit to pay the
interest on school construction bonds. These measures are crucial to rebuilding our
literally crumbling schools, and creating the space necessary to create smaller class
sizes during a time of increasing enrollment.
KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE: I've introduced the Smart Kids-Safe Kids Act to prevent
the abuse and abduction of children through amending the Safe and Drug Free Schools
Act. In this effort, I've been joined by Republican Kevin Brady as a lead co-sponsor,
and will continue to build bipartisan support for the bill until we can pass it.
I'm also supportive of efforts to prevent school violence, from smaller school size
to increased counseling.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION: I support voluntary national standards, class
size reduction, and smaller schools as a means to improve the quality of our public
education. I've cosponsored a bill which would provide grants to school districts
that want to develop a school size reduction strategy, and have supported efforts
to increase the number of charter schools while requiring accountability. I've also
worked to support efforts to provide federal support to teachers colleges in order
to better prepare America's future teachers for the task of educating all of our
children, and promoted efforts to train teachers on technology. I believe through
efforts like these, we can empower local schools to find ways to increase student
INCREASE ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION: With more and more jobs requiring higher education
degrees, we must expand access to higher education to all Americans. The tax cut
bill I helped pass in 1997 created Hope Scholarship Credits and Lifetime Learning
credits. I'm cosponsoring a bill which would help pay for child care for students
with children, and allowing Pell grants and campus-based student aid to be granted
to part time students -- making it easier for working parents to further their education.
INCREASE ACCESS TO AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS: I cosponsored a bill creating after-school
programs for kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools in order to provide
alternatives to drugs, alcohol, and gangs.
RETAIN LOCAL CONTROL: I am working to achieve these goals while still maintaining
local control, because although education is a national obsession, it is a local
possession. For this reason, I voted for the Ed-Flex bill which gives states greater
flexibility to use federal education dollars."
Ellen Tauscher on Transportation
"Solving our area's traffic and transportation problems is crucial to our quality
of life and economic wellbeing. Congested roads take away from our time with our
families and decrease the productivity of our businesses. Whether it is commuting
to work, driving the kids to school, simply running errands, or conducting business,
we all depend on a functional, smoothly operating transportation infrastructure.
That is why I sought and received a seat on the House Transportation Committee last
Congress, during the crucial time while we engaged in passing the Transportation
Efficiency Act, landmark legislation that is bringing more transportation dollars
to our district and the state, dollars that allow us to address important transportation
needs like the Sunol Grade. In fact, I was the only member of the Bay Area delegation
who sat on the committee, and it enabled me to deliver on my promise to you to improve
the transportation network of the Bay Area and the nation. My key concerns in this
- Securing funding for district road projects,
- Creating a Bay Area Transportation Plan,
- Supporting Mass Transit,
- Safe roads, and
- Safe skies.
SAFE ROADS: I'm a strong supporter of setting the national DUI blood alcohol level
SAFE SKIES: I support providing protection to airline employee whistle-blowers who
report safety violations by their employers, and requiring that U.S. aircraft be
repaired by trained and supervised professional mechanics using certified parts and
instituting stiffer penalties for facilities that do not comply. I also procured
two grants totaling almost $5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for
safety improvements at the Livermore Airport. I also have pushed to increase penalties
on airline passengers who assault crewmembers."