During our history, Americans have risen to face many challenges. Traveling throughout the Commonwealth listening to the voices of Virginians, I hear growing concern and frustration that today's challenges are being made worse by the federal government in Washington. It's difficult for our neighbors and family members to find work in a sputtering economy. People are worried about paying their bills due to rising energy and health care costs. And parents are fearful that Washington's out-of-control spending and rising national debt will rob our children of the same future opportunities our parent's generation handed to us.
I am respectfully asking that the voters of Virginia hire me on for six years to fight on behalf Virginia voices and values which are being ignored by Washington today. The 2012 election will be pivotal in determining the trajectory of our country: Will our children and grandchildren know the full blessings of freedom in the promise of America? Will they see their opportunities to achieve the American Dream continue to decline or will America's best years lie ahead? We can spark an American comeback, but only by listening to the owners of our government, "We the People," adhering to our foundational principles, reining in federal spending, and creating conditions for more opportunities for jobs.
While attending hundreds of town halls, rallies and meetings across Virginia, the message I heard consistently was that the people of Virginia want a leaner, less burdensome and more accountable government. Our nation's budget ought to be executed with the same discipline that small businesses and families use across the country. That is why was one of about a dozen other Senators to vote against funding the Bridge to Nowhere. Washington needs to show it has the discipline to ensure there is no more wasteful spending on Bridges to Nowhere, orchid gardens in Pittsburgh, and indoor rainforests in Iowa. It is past time to rein in government. And while earmarks may be a small part of the budget deficit, they need to be stopped until the overall budget is balanced, and then a two-thirds majority should be required to pass any earmark.
Congress also needs to enact a real budget reform plan that includes a balanced budget amendment, line item veto and a "Paycheck Penalty" that would withhold Members of Congress salaries if they don't pass appropriations bills on time. It's their job, and it's what they are paid to do. And, if they do not get this job done on time, then withhold their pay. The only way to rein in federal deficit spending is to change the way Washington operates.
Our leaders in Washington need to be willing to fight to repeal or defund the unfair, harmful, unconstitutional federal government takeover of health care. In the Senate I will stand up for the Virginia voices who oppose the dictates and mandates of this anti-jobs health care monstrosity and fight to replace it with reforms that will deliver on the promise to make health care more affordable and accessible, including personal health savings accounts, and expand competition and choice by allowing health insurance to be acquired across state lines.
Virginians are worried that skyrocketing electricity, fuel and food costs that are diminishing the quality of life and causing thousands of jobs to be moved overseas. To reduce energy costs for our families and small businesses, we need a winning American energy plan that encourages practical conservation and innovation; utilizes all of our plentiful resources including clean coal technology, natural gas and oil; and removes outdated regulatory barriers to the next generation of nuclear power. America is blessed with more energy resources than any country in the world and it is time to unleash our resources and creativity, not bury them under stifling EPA regulations.
Today America and Virginia face many challenges. The looming tax hikes, spending sprees, and government mandates from Washington are stifling the source of American innovation -- free people and free enterprise. Virginians are ready for Washington to stop being part of the problem and start implementing real solutions to the issues confronting our families and businesses. If given the honor and responsibility of serving Virginia in the United States Senate, I pledge to work hard for the voices, values and prosperous future of all Virginians.
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