Dr. Coburn's Interview with "ChurchReport.com"
March 5, 2007
Senator Tom Coburn is the junior senator from Oklahoma. He serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Indian Affairs, and Judiciary committees. He is a medical doctor in family medicine, obstetrics and allergies.
[Q:] Where do you stand on the immigration issue and what do you think is the best way to deal with it?
[A:] You have to enforce the law and that's not only at the border but that's also at employment in this country. Once you've done that, then you can figure out how we handle the humanitarian cases of all those people that are here. We can do that in a very compassionate way and still not have amnesty. The way you do that is to have them get in line. Part of this is increasing the amount of legal immigration once you control the border. That increase in legal immigration ought to be based on what our country needs not what the immigrants need.
[Q:] What do you think of the war in Iraq and the war protestors?
[A:] We naturally think of short term solutions that relieve short term pain and don't tend to think about the pain that's going to come if in fact we don't take some of the pain now. Everybody wishes that Iraq was stable and it was over but it's not. The fact is we're there and to not win is a devastation for our future not only in terms of international relations but in terms of our own national security. We have to be about winning the war on terror. If you don't want the new surge to go forward you need to vote against funding for the troops. That's the only option the senate has. Any sense in the senate that says we don't think it will work does nothing but undermine the troops that we have in Iraq and emboldens the very people they're fighting.
[Q:] What is your stand on stem cell legislation?
[A:] If you were to ask any American, if we develop treatments from embryonic stem cells versus using your own cells: what's the number one issue that we will wrestle with? With those treatments, it's rejection. In other words cells from your own body used to treat your own disease don't suffer from rejection and so we ought to be looking at this. What's likely to give us the best treatments and cures? There's no question - it's not embryonic stem cell. We ought to look at this thing in terms of what gives us the greatest therapeutic value. It's not going to be embryonic stem cells.
[Q:] What else is on your legislative agenda for this year?
[A:] I think the greatest moral issue of our day is stealing our children's future. That's the failure of congress to do the oversight and be managers with the taxpayers' money. We know that there's at least $200 billion of waste fraud and abuse in the federal government. Not to reform social security and Medicare cost our kids and grandkids $600 billion dollars. I think this is a bigger issue than pro-life, bigger issue than embryonic stem cell; the fact that we are not good stewards with the money. The Christian message is service of giving of yourself to someone else so that they can be better. That's basically been the heritage of our country. We are abandoning that by not focusing on this very grave issue of the fiscal status of our country.