Agriculture remains the top industry in North Dakota, with our state leading the nation in the production of a variety of commodities, including flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, spring wheat and dry edible beans. Our farmers and ranchers do a tremendous job providing us with the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I worked to pass into law a strong, long-term farm bill for our producers and continue working to ensure the farm bill is implemented effectively and efficiently for our farmers and ranchers. I also continue working to help our producers to meet challenges, including flooded farmlands and rail shipment backlogs and read more...
One of the most important challenges we face as a nation is making the right kind of pro-growth legal, tax and regulatory reforms that will create good jobs and opportunities for all Americans. For too long, government has stood as an obstacle to business. By removing those obstacles and empowering the private sector to invest, innovate and create jobs, we will have a higher standard of living for our citizens. I will work hard to put policies in place that will build a positive business climate and spur job creation and growth read more...
In North Dakota, energy is a key and growing industry. From traditional resources, like coal and oil, to renewable resources like wind and biofuels, energy is not only powering our homes and fueling our vehicles - it's powering our economy. Thanks to our comprehensive state energy plan, EmPower ND, North Dakota has provided our energy companies with the incentives and certainty they need to develop our energy resources and implement the technology they need to produce more energy with good environmental stewardship.
Washington's approach to domestic energy development is to tax energy providers with Cap and Trade - or Cap and Tax. This approach will raise costs for families and businesses. It is already freezing investment of new technologies on the sidelines - technologies that will help our country produce more domestic energy in environmentally sound, cost-effective ways.
Instead of Cap and Trade, Congress needs to implement a comprehensive energy policy that will incentivize industry to develop all of our energy resources, both traditional sources and renewable sources.
A comprehensive energy policy should include - but is not limited to:
- Incentives to encourage research and development of new renewable energy and the technologies needed to develop our traditional resources in an efficient and clean way. This includes the development and use of horizontal drilling for oil, and clean-coal technologies like carbon capture and sequestration.
- A legal and regulatory framework that provides predictability and incentives to companies looking to start or expand carbon capture and sequestration operations.
- The infrastructure we need to get our energy from local markets to the national market.
- Incentives on the federal level to encourage the development of natural gas collection and distribution to collect this clean-burning gas and get it to market.
- Continued pressure on the EPA to increase the ethanol standard to E-15. This will help bring emissions from cars down and help bring the nation closer to energy independence.
- The continued development of a favorable framework for aggressive development of our wind energy resources.
Federal Farm Program
I have worked for and support a farm program that helps our producers deal with uncontrollable natural disasters and changes in the marketplace as well as encouraging new, value-added opportunities. Everyone benefits from good farm policy which helps our farmers produce the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world.
The farm program includes a counter-cyclical approach, which is very cost effective relative to the benefits generated for all Americans.
Health Care Reform
Instead of government run health care, our country needs a common-sense approach that empowers people and gives them a choice in choosing their insurance and their own health care provider. A major factor in many peoples' inabilities to obtain insurance is the increasing costs of health care. Government control of health care will reduce competition, limit personal choices, and increase overall costs.
To truly reform the health care system, we must:
- Enact tort reform legislation.
- Create competition among insurance companies by allowing companies to offer plans across state lines.
- Increase portability of insurance.
- Crack down on Medicaid and Medicare fraud that costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year, and reform the reimbursement system.
- Create a cohesive informational technology system for health care information to increase efficiency and accuracy in sharing health records and files.
- Promote the purchase of long-term care insurance through tax credits to relieve the pressure of these costs on Medicaid.
- Promote meaningful prevention and wellness.
- Increase not only health insurance opportunities for disenfranchised children, but also work to get already eligible children enrolled in the CHIP Program.
- Reduce or eliminate denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
- Increase transparency of medical pricing to allow consumers to make informed decisions.
At this crucial hour in our nation's history, we need a plan that will create good jobs and fresh opportunities for all Americans. It is the private sector that creates the jobs and careers that will produce a higher standard of living for our citizens. But for too long, government has stood as an obstacle to business. We will work hard to put policies in place that will build a positive business climate and spur job creation and growth, as we have in North Dakota. That means:
- Reducing the tax burden;
- Working to simplify the tax code;
- Freeing the economy from unnecessary regulations;
- Lowering energy costs;
- Encouraging entrepreneurial investment;
- Developing new technologies; and,
- Establishing a strong financial position for the country, so that we don't burden future generations with unsustainable debt.
For too long the federal government has been deficit spending, setting a level of debt on our children and grandchildren that will burden them for generations. We cannot borrow our way to prosperity. It's time the federal government reforms its budgeting process to live within its means - just like we do with our home budgets and just like we do in North Dakota.
Round-Up Ready Beets
The court ordered Environmental Impact Statement would take the USDA two years to complete. Because seed is short, the EPA should authorize genetically modified seed and root-crop plantings in the meantime under a combination of permits and other regulatory measures.