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20 QUESTIONS
FOR OUR CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES

By Kip Hill
The Spokesman-Review

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is seeking her ninth term in Congress against Democrat Dave Wilson. The Spokesman-Review compiled a list of questions about policies involving the environment, health care, social justice and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.



Do you support the inclusion of $120 billion in additional unemployment assistance included in a COVID assistance package proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Maybe. If there is additional unemployment assistance, it should also come with liability protections for reopening businesses and greater access to federal loans.

WILSON
Yes. The solution brought forward by the Problem Solvers Caucus is a good compromise, and pandemic relief is the No. 1 thing we need to do, particularly for the service industry.


Do you support the White House's position not to participate in the international effort, headed by the World Health Organization, to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The World Health Organization has not proven reliable during this pandemic, and Operation Warp Speed is showing good collaboration between public, private sectors.

WILSON
No. We absolutely should be working with the WHO, and supporting them.


Should Congress ensure that testing for COVID-19 is free for all who want to be tested?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes, and we have with the initial round of coronavirus assistance. Some testing sites may be requiring those seeking a test to show symptoms, and that's their decision.

WILSON
Yes, unequivocally. Cost should be no object.


Should Congress require local law enforcement agencies to ban chokeholds in order to receive federal assistance?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. Co-sponsored Republican legislation that would prohibit funds from jurisdictions that do not ban the practice "except when deadly force is authorized."

WILSON
Yes. Recent events have shown training is not sufficient for many officers when applying the technique.


Should Congress end qualified immunity for government officials, including law enforcement agents, in civil actions alleging deprivation of rights?

McMORRIS RODGERS
No. When there's misconduct, police should be held accountable. But they also have very tough jobs.

WILSON
Maybe. Police unions are too powerful, and we need more civilian oversight.


Do you support the use of federal law enforcement agents this summer to police streets in cities with large-scale demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. As a nation, we value life and property and should protect them against rioters, who are separate from peaceful protesters.

WILSON
Not without the request of local government. It's a dangerous step for the federal authorities to be taking without that request.


What is the one most important thing Congress should do in order to prevent the spread of wildfires in the West?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Better forest management. We have an example of private/public partnerships that can help on the Colville National Forest.

WILSON
More resources from the federal government, and less concern about property boundaries.


Has human-caused climate change contributed to increasing intensity and length of wildfire season in the West?

McMORRIS RODGERS
A lack of forest management has been a greater contributor to larger fires and a longer season than climate change.

WILSON
Yes.


Do you support the Trump administration’s decision in April to lessen fuel efficiency standards for American-made cars to 40 mpg by 2025, after the previous administration’s push for 54.5 mpg that same year?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The Obama administration standard was unachievable.

WILSON
No. The Obama administration's plan was a responsible, incremental path to take.


Should Congress pass legislation requiring the United States to release net-zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere by the year 2050?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Not legislation. Laws with benchmarks often aren't met, they're just feel-good measures.

WILSON
Maybe. It's a good aspirational goal to have. Legislation should focus on funding research.


Should the ICE detention facilities in the United States be subject to greater Congressional oversight?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. We're spending a lot of money in these facilities, and for transparency's sake lawmakers should have more oversight on what's being done.

WILSON
Yes. The immigration policy under the Trump administration has inflicted harm, and lawmakers should have oversight.


Do you support the EPA's recent decision on allowable levels of PCBs in Washington's waterways, including the Spokane River?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The previous 7 parts per quadrillion standard is beyond a level that is measurable, and Spokane has made extensive investments in cleaning up the river.

WILSON
No. While the 7 parts per quadrillion standard may have been too restrictive, a compromise should be reached by local stakeholders.


Do you support the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration's recent decision to not remove the Snake River dams, but instead to change water spill rates, in response to concern about salmon runs?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The decision was based on science and demonstrates the importance of clean energy to the state.

WILSON
Yes. Green energy to the state is important, and until we have a plan to replace what is lost we shouldn't be breaching the dams.


Should the U.S. Supreme Court consider another challenge to its decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman's right to receive an abortion as an extension of the right to privacy?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The Constitution guarantees the right to life and the courts should review their decision.

WILSON
No. This has been settled, and while no one favors abortion, we need to make sure they can be practiced in a legal and safe way.


Do you support the White House's position that those who have entered the country unlawfully should be excluded from the U.S. Census?

McMORRIS RODGERS
While the Constitution makes it clear everyone needs to be counted, the question of citizenship should be asked.

WILSON
The question should be decided by the courts.


Should Congress ensure access to banking for state-regulated cannabis businesses?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. It's a security issue for businesses, though marijuana needs to be studied more to determine potential risks.

WILSON
Yes, and we made the right decision to legalize marijuana.


If the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act following arguments after the November election, would you support a replacement bill that ...

... expands Medicaid to cover households with an income below 133% of the federal poverty guidelines?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Maybe. Medicaid should be available for those who most need it, and those with disabilities remain on waiting lists. If overturned, we should look at Medicaid eligibility.

WILSON
Yes. We need to cover more people.

... guarantees access to birth control with no out-of-pocket cost?

McMORRIS RODGERS
That question should be left up to the states.

WILSON
Yes.

... reinstates a penalty (or tax) for those that don't purchase coverage?

McMORRIS RODGERS
No.

WILSON
No. We should look at a public option to help people afford coverage.

... prevents states from allowing insurers to deny coverage for some policy-seekers with pre-existing conditions?

McMORRIS RODGERS
Yes. The 2017 Republican healthcare plan would have given states the flexibility from requiring insurers to accept all applicants, but the state would have to establish a risk-sharing program to guarantee that uninsured individuals who have pre-existing conditions still have access to affordable health insurance.

WILSON
Yes. We should cover pre-existing conditions.

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