Republican Kansas 3rd Congressional District candidates on the issues: Stimulating recovery from COVID-19 shutdowns

Warren East Theater in Wichita, Kansas temporarily closed due to coronavirus this spring. Photo credit Brian Grimmett/Kansas News Service.

Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for office address ahead of this summer’s primary elections. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for Republican candidates running for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District seat.

We’ll be publishing the candidates’ responses to one item per day each day this week. Today we’re publishing the candidates’ responses to item one:

What should the federal government be doing to stimulate economic growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns?

Amanda Adkins

The most important step we can take to stimulate economic growth is to protect and grow jobs for the good of our families and our community. I am the only candidate in this race who has laid out a plan for economic recovery in the aftermath of the Coronavirus. You can view that plan here.

In addition to the economic impact of pandemic shutdowns, I am very concerned about the national debt. Congress needs to foster policies that reign in national spending while stimulating the economy. The end of year projected national debt is a staggering $27.2 trillion. We have exceeded the debt-to-GDP ratio in comparison to World War II.

America must elect leaders who are committed to reducing the debt, growing the GDP and stimulating the economy.

I am committed to breaking government barriers to opportunity and supporting economic advancement for the Kansas City community. When elected, I will fight for policies that support businesses and families when they need it most.

For example, I believe Congress should be working with the private sector to ensure appropriated funds, intended to support businesses hurt by the Coronavirus, get to the communities, businesses and families who need it most. Small businesses are the engine that drives economic recovery. We need to enable these businesses to thrive. Congress should remove barriers to doing business, ease restrictions that prevent people from returning to work and ensure business owners have access to capital needed when operations are stalled or slowed.

I am also a strong supporter of a Payroll Tax Holiday. One of the best things we can do as a country in the face of an economic crisis is ensure employees and businesses keep more of the money they earn. Suspending the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) – a tax of 15% on every dollar workers earn – will immediately mean a raise to workers and a cost savings to employers, providing a much needed powerful boost to the economy. This simple, easy to administer tax holiday would mean a person earning $50,000 a year would, in effect, receive an annual raise of $4,000.

Business owners of all sizes are concerned about the liability associated with employees returning to work, as well as the risk in making capital investments in uncertain times. Government should be incentivizing businesses to make capital investments, as well as protecting against liability, while protecting public health.

Mike Beehler

President Trump and a Republican Congress will “Make America Great Again, Again.” The President and his team will restore the economy, and we will grow our competitive advantage in the world marketplace in part by bringing more high tech manufacturing and jobs home from overseas. As a Congressman, I will support the President on balancing the budget (no more continuing resolutions) with real cuts on big government programs, cutting regulations, and using Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to build $2 trillion worth of new infrastructure in this country. New bridges, highways, airports and seaports, water and wastewater treatment plants, the electric grid and 5G (fiber optic cable) to all. My goal of Equal Opportunity for the American Dream is made possible when we eliminate the “digital divide” by getting affordable, high-speed data coverage everywhere — from the most remote areas of our district to the least privileged. When through my engineering and business experience, I help bring thousands of new jobs to the district as part of the $2 trillion infrastructure program, this connectivity will be accelerated as will the opportunities for all.

Adrienne Vallejo Foster

The federal government has already done its share with the stimulus packages which included but not limited to enhanced unemployment, Payment Protection Program (PPP), and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). I spent my time during COVID-19 shutdown providing direct constituent services by helping over 200 businesses complete the PPP, EIDL applications as well as assist those applying for unemployment. It is now up to the governors and mayors to work with their small businesses to help open up our economy. I believe that the government closest to the people is the best. With that said, government needs to get out of the way and allow the free market to make the best business decisions for both their employees and their customers.

Sara Hart Weir

It shouldn’t be a partisan issue to say the number one sector that needs to be protected in the COVID-19 recovery needs to be American small businesses. They are the backbone of our economy and are the primary source of income and benefits for the vast majority of American workers. Congress did pass the Payroll Protection Program which did provide some relief to this sector of our economy; however, this legislation is far from perfect both in principle and practice. In order to move to the next phases of recovery, Congress needs to fully consider and debate a temporary payroll tax freeze in order to provide relief to both workers and employers.

Additionally, Congress needs to make targeted investments in sectors that benefit American communities while providing job opportunities to American workers. Specifically, this should be done through an infrastructure bill as both President Trump and Democrats have called for. For years, both Republicans and Democrats have been promising a renewed investment in American’s roads, bridges, and waterways. There is no more critical time for these important projects to begin breaking ground to both fix our broken roads, but to also help our economy heal. While I believe this is critical, I also believe strongly that now is NOT the time for increasing gas taxes. Our government has more than enough money, we simply need to reallocate existing funding streams.

Finally, if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything as a global partner, it’s that we must begin the process of decoupling the American and Chinese economies. This is particularly true in the manufacturing sector. For far too long American companies have benefitted by exporting jobs to China. Additionally, Congress has allowed many of these companies to get even richer by granting government contracts to American businesses that manufacture their products overseas. This is a practice that has to stop both for the health and security of our country’s economy as well as the health and security of America’s supply chain. The Chinese government must be held accountable.

Tom Love

Did not respond.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item two:

With the tax cuts passed in 2017 and the passage of the relief bill earlier this year, the federal deficit has grown by trillions of dollars. Are you concerned about rising national debt? If so, what steps would you support to reduce it? If you recommend cuts to federal spending, please specify which areas you would cut.