Issues

Where Bobby Stands

Healthcare

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Quality, affordable healthcare is a right — not a privilege. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than 20 million Americans are now insured. But instead of spending the last six years addressing areas of improvement for the ACA, Republicans have chosen to shout repeal, repeal, repeal. Political fights that result in market uncertainty are causing real families to suffer. Members of Congress, along with the President, have decided they would rather sabotage the system. As a result, they have driven premiums up and compelled insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield to pull out of large portions of Georgia’s marketplace. We deserve better. We need lawmakers that will put in the hard work to find real solutions.

Protecting the ACA

Under the ACA, Americans with pre-existing conditions don’t need to worry about being denied access to affordable coverage or hitting lifetime caps.

We must also protect the ten essential health benefits (EHBs) that the ACA requires insurers to cover. Before the ACA, millions of people with healthcare coverage did not realize they were lacking certain benefits until it was too late. Eliminating the ten essential categories of coverage effectively would begin a race to the bottom — a race to bare-bones coverage. It would also allow insurance companies to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions by offering drastically different classes and price points for coverage. That discrimination forces shoppers to spend excessive amounts of time comparing complicated plans to see if conditions ranging from allergies to cancer are covered.

Affordable access to these essential health benefits is a non-negotiable piece of ensuring opportunity for all in this country — regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Offering plans to women at a higher price simply because they might one day require maternity care is not acceptable policy. Neither is paying lip service to combating the opioid crisis, while at the same time trying to eliminate coverage for substance abuse. We can’t go back to a time where one diagnosis could bankrupt a family. When everyone has access to affordable, quality insurance -- we all do better.

Restoring Stability

Republicans aren’t willing to admit that the ACA has helped millions of Americans and simply needs to be fixed -- not repealed. Their attempts to force the law to fail have caused premiums to skyrocket and marketplace competition to plummet. Here are some things we can do right now to help.

  • Reducing drug prices

    • We should allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies directly. We must fight for more transparency in drug pricing and provider-supplier relationships.

  • Incentivize competition

    • Premiums fall with every additional plan added into the marketplace. Re-establishing the risk corridors that expired in 2016 will give insurers the confidence to not only re-enter a marketplace, but price their premiums competitively -- benefitting every consumer.

  • Encourage Medicaid Expansion

    • When states like Georgia do not expand Medicaid, the marketplace attracts a riskier pool than healthier consumers can offset. Expanding and covering many of these higher-cost consumers through Medicaid would drive down premiums in the general marketplace.

At the end of the day, solutions require lawmakers who are willing to listen to experts, sit down with their colleagues, and work through every question and consequence. Real leaders don’t run away from tough problems — they fix them. I am committed to working with everyone to ensure our healthcare system is affordable, while benefiting everyone.  

Bolstering Our Economic Future

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As your representative in Washington, I will prioritize policies that encourage economic opportunity for all. That means backing legislation that will attract industry, support a diverse workforce, invest in small businesses and encourage stable growth.

Small Business and Industry

Small businesses employ nearly half of the nation’s private-sector workforce. They populate our community with familiar storefronts and employ our neighbors; they are the fabric that make up the American Dream. When our economy crashed in 2007, small businesses were hit harder and experienced slower rates of recovery, largely due to gaps in access to small dollar loans. Credit is a key factor in ensuring that small businesses can hire new employees, purchase new inventory and grow their business. To promote an economic environment in which Georgia’s small businesses can thrive, we must ensure that affordable, easy-to-navigate loans and credit are accessible to our local innovators and entrepreneurs, especially those in lower-income communities.

Colleges and Community Colleges

Affordable higher education is essential to addressing income inequality and ensuring that Georgia can compete in the modern economy. We not only need to invest in our community colleges and vocational schools, but we must also work to develop partnerships and apprenticeships between these schools and local industry. Students and parents should feel confident knowing there are options for higher education without a crippling price tag. Working hard in school should translate into a job that pays a living wage. Every dollar we invest in these valuable programs will breathe life into our local economy.

Women's Rights

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“Women’s issues” affect us all: when women succeed, so does our whole community.

Women’s Health

Karen Handel has a long record of attacking women’s health and Planned Parenthood. These battles have only grown more urgent. I will fight any attempts by Washington to interfere in a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. This includes fighting medically unnecessary restrictions on reproductive health care providers. The right to choose must include straightforward access to safe, secure facilities. This also includes supporting policies that provide sustainable access to a person’s contraception of choice. Additionally, we must fight back against Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides life-saving health care services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Equality in the Workforce

Women are invaluable members of our communities and workforce. They unequivocally deserve equal pay for equal work, and we must ensure accessible channels exist to discover and pursue pay discrimination claims.

Sexual harassment and assault have no place in our society. We must ensure that survivors feel safe to come forward. Women in Congress should not be the only ones responsible for carrying this fight. All of our representatives need to make addressing this a top priority.

Preventing Gun Violence

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Gun violence has plagued the nation far too long. It is unacceptable for lives to be lost because of our representative’s refusal to enact common-sense gun legislation.

Requiring Stronger Background Checks

More rigorous background checks at the point of every firearm purchase are necessary to keep violent criminals, potential terrorists, or domestic abusers from obtaining deadly weapons.

Domestic Violence and Guns

In this country a woman is more likely to be killed by a romantic partner than a stranger. Key legislation in the 1990s made great strides in curbing fatalities from domestic violence; however, we must close dangerous loopholes that still exist. The definition of domestic violence should be expanded to include dating violence. Current law only covers spouses, cohabitation, or those who share a child. Misdemeanor stalking should  be added to the list of disqualifying crimes, as data clearly identifies stalking as a key indicator of future violence.

Ban Bump Stocks

Bump stocks convert a rifle into a machine gun with the purpose of inflicting carnage. This tool should not be for civilian use.

Repealing the Dickey Amendment

Alex Azar, the current Secretary of Health and Human Services, called it an “important mission” of the Health Department and the CDC to do proactive research on the causes of gun violence. It’s time to hold him accountable. Repealing the ban on studying gun violence is an essential step to understanding the problem, conducting productive dialogue amongst our lawmakers, and finally passing legislation with solutions.

Education

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Our district is one of the most educated in the country; but as parents, many of us remain anxious that our children will not have access to the same opportunities to learn as we did. Quality K-12 public schools and affordable higher education are essential for an informed community, thriving democracy and booming economy.

Betsy DeVos’ leadership in Michigan and at the Department of Education continuously prioritizes her own political and personal agenda over the needs of students and teachers across the country. Her plans would gut public education and create a second tier of public schools, leaving behind those who aren’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to “choose” a better one. Congress must shield our children and teachers from such a dangerous program.

Ensuring Student Success and Safety

We need to allow our children to enjoy learning, and our teachers to enjoy teaching. Teachers should be able to tailor classroom time to our students’ needs -- not the needs of standardized tests. Ensuring our kids have passionate, excited, quality educators involves more than just offering competitive salaries. At the federal level, Congress must block Betsy DeVos’ budget from gutting Title II funds necessary for recruiting, training and coaching teachers.

DeVos’ budget also proposed eliminating a violence-prevention federal grant program. The grant provides mental health services and conflict resolution. It also offers programs aimed at decreasing bullying, harassment and substance use. As our children go through some of their most formative years, we should be expanding comprehensive resources for mental health and community support… not cutting them.

Vocational Training and Apprenticeships

We need to give students the opportunity to learn about career paths that do not require a traditional college degree. Expanding access to trade and vocational schools — in addition to four-year universities — will expand opportunities for our hard-working students to graduate into a job that pays a livable wage.

Affordable, Quality Higher Education

We need to address immediate ways to make it easier for students and families to pay for college, while also working on bringing down the overall costs of higher education.

Congress must work to fix and clarify the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, an initiative that encourages our country’s best and brightest to give back through careers in community service. Too many of our public school teachers and public servants are getting caught in the Department of Education’s bureaucracy.  This puts stress on families and costs them money. As your representative, I will help recipients navigate and secure the PSLF credit they deserve, and will fight to correct confusion and restore confidence in the law.

Foreign Policy and Immigration

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Donald Trump has alienated our allies, decimated the State Department and embarrassed our country on the international stage. With the safety of American citizens and American troops at stake, we need leadership in Washington that cultivates trust amongst our allies and respect throughout the world. Keeping America safe and secure requires nuance. We need representation willing to listen to nonpartisan experts and colleagues in order to combat threats to our nation.

Engaging with Strategic Allies

In a time of geopolitical tension throughout the world, Congress must act to fill the policy and diplomatic vacuum that executive incompetence has created. I feel strongly that diplomacy must remain a valuable tool in securing our interests at home and abroad. I am deeply concerned by the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor. Bolton refuses to learn from America’s past mistakes. We must ensure there are firm checks in place on Bolton’s power.

United States Support for Israel

The United States relationship with Israel is one of our most important alliances in the Middle East. I am proud to strongly stand with Israel, one of the only fully liberal democracy in the Middle East. Our countries have a number of shared values in democratic, economic and security objectives that require Congress to remain a staunch advocate for strong American-Israeli relations.

Countering Violent Extremism in the Modern Era

Home to the busiest airport in the world and a rapidly growing metropolitan hub, Metro Atlanta needs someone in Congress who will fight tirelessly to keep us secure. Specifically, we must ensure our systems are evolving to combat threats in the digital and social media space. I will work to ensure the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs to secure sophisticated responses to extremist threats.

Immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Dream Act)

Targeting people based on race or religious affiliation is morally wrong, violates our Constitution and distracts from real threats to our safety. President Trump’s decision to sign away the rights of DREAMers with the stroke of a pen was reckless and cruel. Dreamers have been in limbo for months, not knowing whether or not they may be ripped away from their country, life and community. Congress must fight to write the protections of Dream Act into law.

Infrastructure

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Georgia’s highways are among the most congested and dangerous in America. An investment in infrastructure is an investment in our community. I am committed to bringing federal infrastructure grants to metro Atlanta and maximizing every dollar to improve our transit system.

President Trump loves to pay lip service to the possibility of a bipartisan infrastructure bill. I am open to that idea if it would create jobs, improve our commutes and make our transportation systems safer. However, any legislation must include provisions that guarantee investment in infrastructure will not come at the expense of future cuts to social security or medicare.

Net Neutrality and Privacy

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Net Neutrality

Imagine if the water company could decide which faucets in your house worked, or how fast the water comes out. We have to ensure that our Internet Service Providers don’t have the power to turn off the faucet unilaterally. We can make sure everyone plays by the same rules, guaranteeing a more competitive and open internet.

President Trump’s FCC and his Chairman Ajit Pai have systematically destroyed protections in place for consumers across the country. I stand with efforts to treat ISPs as utilities and to make sure everyone is on an equal playing field.

Privacy

The recent hearings on Facebook have made one thing clear: we must stand up for consumers and make sure everyone knows how their data is being shared. Millions of Americans had their most intimate details shared with advertisers and political advocacy groups without their consent. I will fight to expand privacy protections once I am in Congress.

LGBTQ Rights

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I will always oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s just plain wrong that our current representative opposes a same-sex couples’ right to adopt. We must do more than simply oppose discrimination -- our lawmakers must fight to advance respect, opportunity and safety for the LGBTQ community. That means recognizing the unique challenges and threats that LGBTQ individuals face in all aspects of society: in our schools, workplaces, courts, doctor’s offices, government, military, immigration system and businesses. People of all identities should be embraced in our community.

LGBTQ Youth

It is heartbreaking for a parent to witness bullying and its effects on a child. It is crucial to foster and encourage a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our legislators must recognize that LGBTQ youth experience higher rates of bullying, depression and self-harm than their peers. Schools should have a responsibility to offer an environment where all students are celebrated for who they are. In Congress, I will fight for comprehensive mental health resources, access to the appropriate facilities and incentives for inclusive programming.

Veterans Affairs

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America has a commitment it must fulfill to those who have served in our military. There are more than 640,000 veterans in Georgia. After sacrificing so much, they deserve the best care that our country can provide — and a Congress that isn’t going to shirk its responsibility to oversee and fund Veteran Affairs.

Mental Health

Our servicemen and women need to have access to mental health services when they come home. I support increasing funding for mental health and post-traumatic stress research.

Homelessness

There are more than 57,000 homeless veterans across the United States. That is wrong and it’s why I support the Shelter Our Servicemembers Act, which would ensure that our aging veterans always have a roof over their heads.

Environment

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Scientists agree: climate change is real and poses a serious threat to every Georgian’s way of life. It is disappointing that the White House refuses to step up and be a global leader when it comes to preserving our world for the next generation. As President Trump removes environmental protections with the stroke of a pen, Republicans in Congress have moved in lock-step to fasten these rollbacks into legislation. We need representatives that will fight these dangerous policies and prioritize protecting our environment through legislation.

Protect Our Parks

We have to protect the natural resources in our country. Our National Parks and Monuments must be sheltered from reckless re-designation by President Trump’s haphazard environmental policy.

Protect Our Continental Shelf Waters

We cannot recklessly expand oil drilling across U.S. continental-shelf waters. Georgia is home to one third of the East Coast’s salt marshes critical for maintaining shrimp and fish populations. It’s also home to various endangered marine species. We must stand against thoughtless expansion.

Natural Disasters

This past year marked one of the most expensive years of natural disasters in modern U.S. history. The data clearly shows that climate change increases the risk and intensity of extreme weather. But under the Trump administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has removed “climate change” from its vocabulary. The White House has also rescinded recommendations that agencies consider rising sea-levels and climate change when investing in infrastructure. This removal is dangerous and economically reckless. Not only can disaster preparation save lives, but one dollar invested strategically in pre-disaster mitigation can prevent four dollars in average losses.

Criminal Justice Reform

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Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Criminal justice reform has garnered bipartisan support in states across the country. It’s time to work on real solutions at the federal level. Our lawmakers must stand up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and recognize that it is possible to reduce crime and imprisonment at the same time.

Sentencing Reform

Excessive mandatory minimum sentencing takes the authority to administer fair punishment after considering facts and circumstances away from our judges. There is bipartisan support for sentencing reform and Congress should act. Lawmakers should also work to fix the discrimination within our criminal justice system that sees longer sentences along with disproportionate rates of incarceration for people of color.

Alternatives to Incarceration

Our current corrections system fails to correct: the majority of those exiting our country’s prisons will be re-arrested within three years. Education programs and regular contact with family can increase a prisoner’s chance of successfully joining society upon release. But more needs be done to reduce the number of people entering prison in the first place. Congress should stand up to Jeff Sessions and change the inhumane, overly vindictive tone in Washington. Alternatives to incarceration, like rehabilitation, should be emphasized, especially for youth, young adults and primary caretakers.

Restoring Dignity

Something must be done about the disturbing, inhumane reality within many of this country’s prisons. We need to invest in finding and implementing programs that ensure safety and dignity from arrest to release. That includes focusing on gender-responsive interventions to making sure all resources and assessments actually reflect the unique needs of those incarcerated.