Phil on the Issues
There are very few issues more important than the Right to Life. I am proud to have served my community as a pro-life OB/GYN physician for almost 30 years. As the representative for Georgia's 11th Congressional District, I have brought my Pro-Life convictions to the U.S. House of Representatives.
I am proud to have co-authored several Pro-Life initiatives and voted 100% of the time for the sanctity of life. I have even joined several of my colleagues in the House of Representatives in filing advocacy briefs with the Supreme Court encouraging them to uphold the Pro-Life laws we have passed in Congress.
As a former school board chairman, I see the importance of local control and parental involvement in our schools. I believe that the role of the federal government should be limited from dictating education policies to state and localities.
I, like all Georgians, am very concerned about our natural environment. As hunters, fishermen and general nature lovers we must protect the environment that has been given to us to enjoy. Through funding of our national parks and the passage of the healthy forest initiative, the Republican led House of Representatives has been working to preserve our natural surroundings in a common sense way.
For my part, I introduced and passed in the House of Representatives the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2004. Green chemistry is an important and emerging science that seeks to prevent pollution in the first place rather than focusing on limiting the spread of pollutants, cleaning up waste, or assessing fines to polluters. This can lead to many benefits including advantages for human health and the environment and improvements to worker safety, public safety, and national security. It also promises to save businesses money and give them a competitive edge over traditional chemical products and processes. Right now the federal government invests a very small portion of its research and development (R&D) money in this promising field and there is little coordination between agencies. This legislation would not authorize any new or addition federal funding.
During my tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives I have been an advocate for tax relief for all Americans. The Republican Congress has provided tax relief for millions of Georgians through creating a new lower 10% tax bracket, the $1,000 child credit, marriage penalty relief, Alternative Minimum Tax reduction and elimination of the Death Tax.
The problem, however, is much deeper. We must eliminate our current tax code. The tax code as it currently exists works to stifle our economy, hamper small businesses and arbitrarily take money out of the pockets of the families who earn it. We should shed our unfair, incomprehensible system for a fairer tax structure. The Fair Tax Act is a great alternative. A national sales tax would make our federal tax system fairer and simpler for the average American taxpayer. The legislation would be a voluntary consumption tax in that the more you buy, the more you pay in taxes, the less you buy, the less you pay in taxes. "Life needs" such as groceries and prescriptions would be exempt from the tax. Furthermore, it would abolish the IRS; end all audits of individual taxpayers, and free individuals from ever filing a tax return again.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
Under the leadership of President Bush and the Republican Congress new jobs are being created and the unemployment rate is dropping in Georgia and across the country. Employment over the last year was up in 44 of the 50 states and the unemployment rate was down in all regions of the country and in 47 of the 50 states. This good news on the jobs front, along with other positive economic numbers, shows that the economy is strong and growing stronger, and that our current economic policies are working.
Nationwide, more than 1.1 million jobs have been added since last summer, with several consecutive months of gains. The national unemployment rate stood at 5.6% in April, below the national average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. National manufacturing jobs have been on the rise and the monthly job increase estimates have been revised up for February and March of this year. Manufacturing employment has risen for three consecutive months. All told economic growth over the last four quarters has been the fastest in two decades.
The economy is growing and new jobs are being created, however, there is still more work to do. Now is not the time to change what is working. We have a clear choice:
We can move forward with the economic policies that are reducing unemployment and increasing incomes; or
We can change course and go back to the tired old policies of tax and spend liberalism.
For our economic growth to continue America cannot go back to the failed policies of the past.
We must move forward with the pro-growth policies that are jumpstarting our economy and fueling the creation of new jobs.
As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe our nation has more than enough existing gun laws. Increasing gun control will not only compromise one of our Constitutional rights, but also offers no positive answer to crime. Gun laws tend to be ineffective and serve only to harass law-abiding citizens. We should stop crime by putting criminals in prison, not creating new firearm restrictions.
In an effort to better educate my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives I formed the House Second Amendment Task Force. The Task Force currently has 40 members and has been instrumental in protecting our Second Amendment rights.
I firmly believe that the Second Amendment not only prohibits the federal government from denying individual citizens the right to bear arms, but also helps guarantee the other rights we Americans enjoy under the Constitution.
WAR ON TERROR
If there is one area of agreement among all Americans it is that we must win the War on Terrorism. It will be a long and hard fight, but we must never abdicate our responsibility to a free and peaceful world.
We can ensure victory through continuing to support a strong military, strengthening international institutions and alliances to deal with emerging terrorist groups and rogue states, ensuring that free nations have the will and the strength to restrain aggression by force when necessary, and expanding freedom and democracy throughout the world as an alternative to violence and terror.
Terrorist groups are driven by their hatred of freedom and have no intention of stopping their violent aggression. The only way these extremists can win is if we fail to confront them.
America must stand strong against terrorism, even if at times we must stand-alone.
Despite some set backs and the inexcusable acts of a few, our efforts in Iraq have not only rid the Middle East of a tyrant and made our homeland safer, but have shown our compassion through our rebuilding of Iraq.
While soldiers are hunting down the insurgents who stand in the way of a free democratic Iraq, Americans and Iraqis are working together to construct hospitals and schools under a new Iraqi government.
As a doctor, I know what it takes to provide healthcare for a large number of patients. That's why it amazes that 52 clinics have been renovated, and over 600 have been reequipped to provide primary healthcare.
More than 22 million doses of vaccines have been delivered to 4.2 million Iraqi children and 700,000 pregnant women. In fact, by the end of 2004 over 90 percent of Iraqi children under the age of five will be immunized against diseases such as polio, tuberculosis, and the measles.
Last February alone 800 tons of high protein meals were delivered to malnourished children.
Unfortunately, those who oppose us are not idle and no one knows how long the war on terrorism will last, but we do know America is right, and our military and humanitarian efforts must continue until our goal of a free Iraq is achieved.
As always, our prayers must remain with our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deployed around the world.