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Public Statements

Issue Position: Fixing Washington

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Washington is at the heart of our nation's problems. Washington spending, waste, taxation, bureaucracy, rules, and regulations have our country off track and headed in the wrong direction. Washington has a moral responsibility to treat each dollar sent there for what it is- the product of hard working people throughout our country. Unfortunately, Washington isn't doing a good job of fulfilling that responsibility.

The long-term success of our nation hinges on our ability to think beyond the next election and look toward the type of country we are handing down to the next generation. President Obama has made it clear that he wants a government that is bigger, more intrusive, and more controlling than ever. We believe that we must prioritize the services we expect from government and then take the necessary steps to invest in them through smart choices and sound decision making.

We can fix this country, but first we must fix Washington.

We must return to trusting individuals to make the best choices for themselves and their families. We must renew sensible governance that spends no more than it takes in, embraces the free market economy, and ends taxpayer-funded bailouts.

It's time to make Washington look more like North Dakota. Here are a few ways we can get started:

Rein in the EPA

America's small businesses, farmers, energy producers, and job creators are frustrated with Washington's excessive regulations and rule-making.

Rather than encouraging common-sense measures that help ensure we have clean air, clean water, and responsible use of our resources, our producers are saddled with $1.75 trillion in unnecessary regulatory burdens and struggle with the uncertainty about those yet to come. Small businesses spend approximately $10,500 per employee to comply with federal regulations. Under the current administration, over 200 new regulations have been added with an estimated total economic impact of over $100 million.

This out of control Washington overreach has gone too far and must be reined in. We need leadership in Washington that understands that a smarter, more business-friendly regulatory and rule-making agenda is the best thing to move our country forward.

I have worked hard to rein in unnecessary regulations and provide certainty to job creators. I supported numerous regulatory relief bills in the US House and have two important initiatives to further combat government overreach: The REGS Agenda and the REINS Act will do just that.

REGS Agenda

The REGS Agenda, introduced in December 2011, is an effort to rein in some of the regulations that burden America's small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and job creators with added costs, red tape, and uncertainty.

The REGS Agenda will:

Reduce the red tape

Reduce the regulatory uncertainty hanging over America's job creators

Empower the states

Return to states the power to enact commonsense regulations that fit their unique needs

Grow the economy

Promote economic growth by providing relief from outdated regulations and rules

Stop Obama's Overreach

Eliminate or prevent new burdens and road blocks to job creation


The REINS Act, which I helped introduce in the House, is a key part of the REGS Agenda. This Act would require Congress to take an up or down vote on every new major rule before it could be forced on the American people.

The REINS Act passed the US House with a vote of 241-184 on December 7, 2011 and is stalled in the Senate.

Generator Regulatory Relief Act

I introduced the Generator Regulatory Relief Act to stop the EPA from requiring organizations to purchase expensive emissions equipment and adhere to unnecessary generator rules. Our regulations tour of North Dakota schools, businesses, farms and other organizations brought this issue to our attention and we had to resolve it. We worked with the Fargo Public School District and other members of the community to change this regulation and prevent thousands of dollars in higher costs and requirements under this out of touch, one-size-fits-all EPA rule.

Regional Haze Federalism Act

In an effort to combat President Obama's federal takeover of state regional haze management, I introduced the Regional Haze Federalism Act. This bill would limit the EPA's ability to override states' management plans and further allow states like North Dakota to implement their own haze management plans. This is a common sense bill that recognizes the importance of states to make sensible decisions based on their unique needs and limits costly Washington one-size-fits-all rules.

Social Security

Effective Social Security reform will not make cuts to current or near retirees, will not raise taxes, and will preserve the program for future generations.

Americans made a choice through their elected leadership to provide a safety net for aging and retiring Americans. Today, generations of Americans rely on Social Security as a supplement to their income and continued financial stability as they age and retire from their working years.

I am committed to keeping our promise that Social Security will exist for those currently and about to participate in the program. The program must also be preserved for future generations.

For decades, Washington has ignored countless warning signs about the long-term solvency of Social Security. Fewer and fewer workers pay into the system and more and more retirees receive benefits. The math is no longer in our favor. Left unchecked, Social Security will be bankrupt by 2036. That's no way to help those in need.

I will work with members of both parties to preserve the program for those currently or about to use it and secure it for future generations. By working together and viewing Social Security as the priority it is, we can preserve and strengthen the program and ensure it exists for future generations.

Tax Reform

Our nation's tax code is long overdue for serious change. It's too old, too complex, and too large a burden on our families and businesses.

There will be a lot of talk about spending and taxing during this election season, but we can't forget that there's a third and bipartisan way forward: economic growth. Our current levels of taxation and the work required to comply with our tax code drag on our economy and stifle economic growth. Tax reform should remove special interest loopholes, as American small businesses should not be at a disadvantage to those who can afford lobbyists and large legal departments. We need a tax policy that encourages businessmen and women and entrepreneurs to start, grow, and expand their business here in America.

I have worked hard to identify ways to lower the tax burden on families and job creators, and will continue to do so.

Rick on Taxes:

Opposes raising federal income taxes
Supports the full and permanent repeal of the Death Tax, which harms North Dakota and American farming families
Worked toward a full-year extension of the payroll tax cuts
Supported bipartisan legislation to limit the EPA from imposing an additional energy tax on the American people
Supported bipartisan legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding provision, an unnecessary burden on job creators
I will continue working toward a simpler, smarter tax policy that encourages economic growth. This, not higher or additional taxes, is the best path to reducing the debt and growing jobs.

End Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts

North Dakota families and businesses have made tough choices during these difficult economic times. While some areas of the country have fared better than others, nobody has been able to fully escape the difficulties of trying to grow a family or grow a business during the current recession. We should expect the same from all sectors of the economy.

Taxpayers are already hurting, they shouldn't be asked to contribute to more costly government bailouts.

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