Boehner Answers Community's Questions
I've invited residents of the Eighth District to submit questions to me via e-mail at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to ask me any question that's been on your mind. Let's get to this month's questions:
"What's the federal government doing to control the rates of college tuition?"
Matt in Fairfield Township
The federal government has no real role in "controlling" college pricing, and it should stay that way. However, I do have a problem with the federal government subsidizing hyperinflation in college costs, which essentially is what is happening right now. Some institutions accept millions of dollars in federal aid, but don't accept responsibility for keeping their costs down. More transparency is needed in college financing so parents and students have a better idea of what they're getting for their money and can make more informed decisions as consumers. In my own Committee on Education and the Workforce, we are currently working on legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act - the federal government's chief law governing student aid and other higher education programs. The fundamental concept guiding us is that college aid should go to those who need it most: low- and middle-income students seeking a college degree. Surprisingly, under current law, this is no longer the case. Stay tuned, because within the next several weeks, I'll be writing a column specifically on this issue to outline just what plans we have in store.
"If oil companies are not gouging consumers, then why does a gallon of gasoline cost much more on weekends than on weekdays?"
Richard in Seven Mile and Steve in Eaton
Supply and demand. When consumer demand for gasoline is higher (on weekends), it costs producers and station owners more to supply the fuel to meet that demand. As a result of their increased costs, ours rise as well. The notion that gas stations work together to take advantage of the American consumer - through price gouging - is simply false. In fact, most gas station owners don't even make their money off of gasoline - but from sales of snacks and beverages.
"What can we do when we get e-mail scams, such as ones from supposed members of foreign royalty looking to hide their funds in American bank accounts?"
Robert in West Chester
Many of us - including me - have received these phony e-mails. It goes something like this:
The e-mailer claims to have a large sum of money, usually millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten gains, which needs to be transferred to a "safe" bank account abroad. You are promised a percentage of the huge sum, just for the use of your account. Sadly, some businesses and individuals have found their accounts looted by the persons to whom they sent account information.
What should you do to avoid this? To begin, always remain skeptical and verify that all e-mails are legitimate, regardless of their subjects or senders. If you receive one of these scam e-mails, forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have lost money to one of these schemes, call a Secret Service field office. In Cincinnati, the number is 513-684-3585. In Dayton, it's 937-225-2900.
"What is your position on the federal marriage amendment?"
Christopher in Hamilton and David in Fairfield
I am a co-sponsor of the amendment. The traditional family is a fundamental tenet of western civilization, and protecting the sanctity of marriage is a benefit to all of society. On a more practical level, we cannot allow court rulings and the legislative efforts of some states to have the effect of changing law in other states. It seems that we're currently going down that route - a slippery slope that could hamper some states' efforts to enforce its own laws. A constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman seems to be the best way - and likely the only way - to affirm our core values while preventing states from being forced to accept legislative whims of other states and court rulings that will forever be called into question.
I look forward to answering more next month. E-mail your questions - along with your first name and hometown - to me at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov.