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Candidate positions for Minnesota - 2nd Congressional District (2012)

Read the full responses from candidates below. “Answer option” is the choice given in the quiz, and “Candidate’s position” shows the candidate’s response to MPR News.

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Issue Question Position
Economy What should the federal government do to stimulate job creation and economic development? ANSWER OPTION
The federal government should pursue policies that provide certainty for the small businesses that drive our economy and enable taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money. Keeping taxes low allows families to build a better life for themselves and their children, enables businesses - large and small - to create jobs and compete in the global marketplace, and provides an environment in which innovation can flourish. The government should also invest in and simplify workforce training programs.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline said this in response to a 2010 inquiry from the Red Wing Republican-Eagle. He spoke to C-SPAN in the summer of 2012 about workforce training programs. Kline's campaign declined to respond to an MPR News questionnaire in 2012. (More Info)
Federal deficit Where are three specific areas where federal spending should be cut? ANSWER OPTION
Money can be saved by converting Medicaid into a block grant-style program run by the states and by converting Medicare into a voucher program; implementing defense cuts suggested by Defense Secretary Robert Gates; and slashing $1.8 trillion in non-Medicare, non-Social Security mandatory spending such as food-stamp programs and agricultural subsidies.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
When it was unveiled in 2011, Kline was a vocal supporter of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal. (More Info)
Bush-era tax cuts Do you support extending the Bush-era tax cuts? If so, all of them? ANSWER OPTION
Yes, all of them.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Not extending the tax cuts for all would harm small businesses, Kline said on MPR's Midday in October 2010. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Farm bill What type of agricultural policies do you support? ANSWER OPTION
A short-term $383 million package of loans and grants for livestock producers and a limited number of farmers.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline voted for the short-term House farm bill earlier this year. (More Info)
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
A unique combination of ideas and policies will be necessary to protect benefits for current recipients and strengthen the system for future generations. Privatizing should be an option.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline outlined his view on Social Security on MPR's Midday in October 2010, and to the Red Wing Republican-Eagle. (More Info)
Medicare What changes, if any, would you support in Medicare? ANSWER OPTION
Current seniors and future enrollees age 55 and up would stay on the current Medicare plan. Future beneficiaries would get a program almost exactly like the program that members of Congress are on now, the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program with a premium support plan.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline told MPR News in 2011 that he supported Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would reform Medicare using a voucher program. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Health Care What types of changes should be made in the health care system? ANSWER OPTION
Repeal President Obama's health care law and replace it with common sense reforms.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"I'll certainly be in that charge," Kline said in an appearance on MPR's Midday in October 2010. (More Info)
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
Replace No Child Left Behind with legislation that eliminates 'Adequate Yearly Progress' and directs each state to develop its own system that takes into account the unique needs of students and communities and provides flexibility in how schools measure student achievement. Each state will also implement its own methods for identifying and turning around low-performing schools. The legislation would maintain key requirements to ensure accountability. Another piece of legislation would consolidate several federal programs into a flexible grant state local leaders can use to fund programs shown to work.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline introduced the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act in 2012, which he hopes will replace No Child Left Behind. He opposes the Obama administration's practice of allowing some states to bypass some No Child Left Behind requirements. (More Info)
Energy policy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
Support an 'all-of-the-above' approach to domestic energy production in an effort to lower gasoline prices. Increase our energy independence by repealing costly mandates and unlocking America's abundant energy resources. Offshore energy production should be increased.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline supports the American Energy Initiative, "an ongoing effort focused on the simple solutions we need for a sensible, all-of-the-above energy policy." (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Environment Should the federal government's environmental protection efforts be changed? If so, how? ANSWER OPTION
The federal government should allow more offshore drilling and should not provide tax credits for wind energy. The EPA should have less power to impose water and air quality and coal disposal standards.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline supports more offshore drilling, opposed the wind energy tax credits that were part of the 2009 stimulus bill, and consistently votes to limit the EPA's powers. (More Info)
Abortion Where do you stand on legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Abortion should be illegal.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline has a 100 percent approval rating from National Right to Life, an advocacy organization that works to make abortion illegal.
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
No. Marriage should be defined as one-man-one-woman and same-sex marriage should be banned.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Kline voted yes on legislation that would Constitutionally define marriage as one-man-one-woman and yes on a Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose the Obama administration's decision not to deport upstanding young illegal immigrants. Current laws should be enforced.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"I support legal immigration, but I oppose all forms of illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for breaking our laws," Kline wrote in an email to supporters in 2012. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Economy What should the federal government do to stimulate job creation and economic development? ANSWER OPTION
We can create jobs by providing incentives for companies to hire, and passing policies that will increase American exports. We also need to invest in innovation and research and design so America can maintain its competitive edge in the world economy.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Federal deficit Where are three specific areas where federal spending should be cut? ANSWER OPTION
Federal spending needs to be cut in many more than just three areas. We need to cut the government redundancies recently cited in the GAO report, which would save us billions of dollars. Also, by rooting out fraud in Medicare, we can save almost $10 billion per year. Last, we need to take a hard look at programs and only pay for those we can afford.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Bush-era tax cuts Do you support extending the Bush-era tax cuts? If so, all of them? ANSWER OPTION
I support extending the Bush-era tax cuts to those making less than $1 million. We cannot raise taxes on the middle class in the midst of an economic recovery. However, deficit reduction can only be achieved through a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases and until we have balanced our budget and are paying down our debt, we need to ask the very wealthiest to pay a little more.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Issue Question Position
Farm bill What type of agricultural policies do you support? ANSWER OPTION
I support the Senate bill that passed and is currently awaiting action in the House. The Senate bill would cost $1 trillion over the next 10 years, financing dozens of price support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"This is an extremely important bill and failure to pass only gives farmers uncertainty as they prepare next season's crop ... It is pathetic that Congress has taken two recesses without bringing the bipartisan Farm Bill to a vote," Obermueller said in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
Congress needs to stop robbing the Social Security trust fund to pay for earmarks and other programs, so we can continue to keep this program.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"Social Security is a promise we have made to our seniors and a system they have paid into their entire lives. It is an essential middle class program," Obermueller said in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Medicare What changes, if any, would you support in Medicare? ANSWER OPTION
We need to root out Medicare fraud, which right now, costs us more than $10 billion per year. However, this is a promise we've made to our seniors and we cannot end the guaranteed benefit, such as the Ryan Budget would do.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Issue Question Position
Health Care What types of changes should be made in the health care system? ANSWER OPTION
What we need are policies that help control the exploding cost of health care. This means moving away from a fee-for-service model to one that incentivizes keeping people healthy, and switching to a non-profit insurance model, such as the one that works so well here in Minnesota. I also believe we have to have a serious discussion as a nation about end-of-life care.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
I would first repeal No Child Left Behind--while it was well intentioned, the law has been confusing to carry out and largely unsuccessful. I want to return more control back to the states who know their schools best. Finally, I will work to expand access to college education for hard-working students.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Energy policy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
We need a comprehensive energy policy which reduces our dependence on foreign oil and promotes green and renewable energies. This also means investing in technologies to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of oil and natural gas exploration.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Issue Question Position
Environment Should the federal government's environmental protection efforts be changed? If so, how? ANSWER OPTION
We need clearer guidelines for environmental agencies and better Congressional oversight and review. This will allow for better accountability. We also need more and better public input during the rule-making process.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Abortion Where do you stand on legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
I'm personally against abortion, but I think it's a decision that needs to be made between a woman, her doctor and her family--not the government. I think we need to reduce the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies by educating teenagers about abstinence and how to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
I don't think there's anyone who can say there is too much love and commitment in the world. We ought to be promoting those values as a society. Also, I do not favor the proposed marriage amendment.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
Issue Question Position
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
I believe Congress has passed the buck on immigration reform. Right now we have a broken system and the only way to solve it will be with comprehensive reform which strengthens the border and hold unscrupulous employers accountable for their hiring practices.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obermueller said this in response to an MPR News inquiry.
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