Jobs, Economy & Financial Services
Ashley’s top priority is helping to rebuild the economy of Eastern North Carolina. Bad trade deals have been the cause of the significant job losses experienced in our region over the last 15 years. Ashley will oppose every unfair trade deal that sends American jobs overseas.
As textile, and other manufacturing jobs have moved away, workers find themselves in need of retraining for a new career field. While Community Colleges are helping displaced workers get marketable skills to pursue a new career, Ashley believes in much more job skills training at the middle and high school levels. He will work closely with local community officials to see that worker training and retraining programs are adequately funded. He believes that having a well-trained workforce is necessary to create a business climate that will attract new employers to Eastern North Carolina.
Ashley supports reforming our tax code to promote investment in American industries. To help spur economic growth and job creation, He supports permanent repeal of the death tax, reform the alternative minimum tax, end frivolous lawsuits, and reform job-killing regulations imposed by federal agencies without appropriate legislative review.
Taxes are also an important factor in job recruitment. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s position as the highest-taxed state in the Southeast puts it at a competitive disadvantage to other states. That is why Ashley believes that we must work to reduce taxes at all levels of government so that businesses will find our state a more hospitable place to relocate
Every American should have access to quality and affordable healthcare. However, a government-rationed healthcare system is not the answer. Patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats, should make healthcare decisions.
Ashley supports the establishment of Association Health Plans, which would allow small businesses that could not otherwise afford health insurance to band together and purchase insurance as a group so that more working Americans have access to health insurance. It should be the right of every American to have tax-free Medical Savings Accounts to help cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with healthcare.
To make healthcare coverage more affordable and accessible for workers, Ashley supports the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which would allow small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance.
Lawsuit abuse is putting many doctors out of business and increasing the cost of healthcare for everyone. Some counties in North Carolina now have no doctors practicing obstetrics because they cannot afford insurance premiums. Lawsuit abuse needs to be reformed, including capping jackpot jury awards on non-economic damages and limiting what trial lawyers take from injured patients.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, creating more than 70% of all new jobs in the United States. Ashley is a small businessman. He understands the issues that affect the success or failure of these ventures.
First, we need to have a system of taxation that encourages investment and entrepreneurship. Currently, small businesses are penalized by the tax code, costing us jobs and opportunity for growth. Ashley supports a permanent repeal of the death tax – which disproportionately affects small businesses and family farms.
Small businesses are also impacted by the rising cost of providing health care to employees. Ashley supports the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which would allow small businesses to band together to purchase insurance, making healthcare coverage more affordable and accessible for employees.
While lawsuit abuse increases the cost of healthcare, it also puts small businesses at risk of being named in frivolous lawsuits. As a result, small businesses are less willing and able to provide benefits and job security to employees.
Federal regulations are tilted in favor of big corporations, making it virtually impossible for small businesses to compete with larger entities. These small businesses need help, not complex regulations that make compliance expensive and time-consuming. Ashley believes that we need to provide regulatory relief to small and family-owned businesses. Only by leveling the playing field can we help small business grow, prosper, and create jobs.
Ashley believes in lowering the tax burden on American workers, families and small businesses. As a Member of Congress, he will never vote for a tax increase.
Ashley strongly supports the small business and middle class tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. But that tax relief is set to expire this year, and he believes those reductions need to be made permanent. Unless Congress acts, Americans will be hit with across-the-board increases in federal income taxes, higher taxes on retirement and pension accounts, a 50% reduction in the child tax credit, and return of the marriage tax penalty.
The complex U.S. tax code, which penalizes working families and small businesses, must be simplified and reformed. All options, except tax increases, should be on the table. In the meantime, Ashley supports permanently eliminating the death tax, reforming the alternative minimum tax, allowing tax-free savings for working Americans, and enabling small businesses to fully deduct their expenses
Immigration & Border Security
Illegal immigration threatens both our national security and economic security. North Carolina has one of the highest populations of illegal immigrants in the country. Social services such as health care and education for illegal immigrants cost North Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars every year.
In addition to stringent enforcement of existing immigration laws, Ashley supports the immigration reform bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005. Among other provisions, the bill called for the construction of a security fence along our southern border, streamlined federal and local law enforcement cooperation on immigration matters and helped protect American workers by mandating an instant check system, such as E- Verify, for businesses to verify the legal status of their employees. Ashley believes that all local, state and federal agencies should be able to communicate with each other to apprehend and deport illegals. He also will fight to repeal the “anchor babies” law that grants citizenship to any child born in the U.S. regardless of the status of the child's parents.
Securing the homeland and keeping Americans safe is the most important duty of our federal government. Ashley supports the Keep Terrorists Out of America Act, which would prohibit the Obama Administration from releasing or transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to any state without the approval of the Governor or State Legislature. The measure would also require the Administration to provide Congressional notification and security certifications for each detainee before they can be transferred to U.S. soil.
Federal investment in local emergency services is an important component of homeland security. Ashley will work to assist local first responders in obtaining federal grants in the First District.
Ashley supports reauthorizing provisions of the Patriot Act that are scheduled to sunset, which will ensure that law enforcement and intelligence agents have the necessary tools to combat terrorism. The Patriot Act effectively updated statutes to account for new technologies and threats to the American homeland. The measure extends the tools that law enforcement already uses to fight organized crime and allows them to be used to fight terrorist threats. Most important, the legislation allows for intelligence and law enforcement officials to share information in pursuit of counter-terrorism investigations. We must, however, be ever vigilant to ensure that a power grabbing administration does not use these to tread on the rights of honest, law abiding American citizens.
The primary responsibility expressly outlined for the federal government in the Constitution is providing for national defense. Congress faces no greater duty than ensuring that members of our armed forces have the training, equipment, and funding necessary to protect citizens of the United States and our interests abroad.
After the tragedies of September 11th, it is clear that our national security is dependent not only on protection from hostile countries, but also from terrorists bent on the mass murder of American citizens. Ashley supports global efforts to track down and eliminate terrorists. We must prevent rogue regimes in North Korea and Iran from giving nuclear technology to terrorists.
Ashley will vote to provide our troops with the tools and support they need. The surge in Iraq has reduced violence considerably and now Iraqis are taking over more and more responsibility for their country. This will enable the United States to bring our combat troops home with honor and victory. Afghanistan remains a work in progress. Allowing Afghanistan to once again become a terrorist sanctuary is not option.
Education, Worker Training & School Choice
Now more than ever, quality education is vital to success in life. As our economy changes, we must provide the skills and training necessary to prepare today's workers and future generations for new technologies and developing industries.
Ashley believes that vocational training programs at the middle school, high school and community colleges help enhance workers' skills and marketability. A well-trained and well-educated workforce will help attract new businesses and jobs to Eastern North Carolina.
The federal government can play a role in education, but schools should be controlled to the greatest degree possible at the local level. The No Child Left Behind Act sets priorities for accountability and allows for children to escape failing schools, but Ashley believes the legislation is overreaching and establishes a cumbersome and expensive bureaucracy. He believes we should consider abolishing The U.S. Department of Education, and severely cut back the North Carolina Department of Education and return control of our schools to local school boards who know better how to deal with the needs of their students and their communities.
Ashley supports innovative education reform ideas such as charter schools and vouchers. He believes that parents should have the ability to move their child from an under performing school to an educational institution of their choosing. As a strong supporter of home schooling, Ashley is working to protect the rights of those who wish to teach their children at home.
Strengthening Social Security
Ashley believes that every older and middle-aged American must receive the Social Security benefits to which they are entitled. He will never vote for a cut in benefits.
Social Security has served Americans well for generations, and we must take proper steps to ensure that the program remains solvent for future generations. But the program was designed in 1935, is broken, and unless Congress acts Social Security will be in serious trouble. In the 1950s, there were 16 workers supporting every retiree on Social Security. Currently, there are only 3.3 workers per retiree, and when the baby boomers retire there will be only two workers supporting every Social Security recipient.
As the program currently exists, it will go completely bankrupt in 2037. Ashley believes in transforming and modernizing the Social Security system – as many industrialized countries have done – to allow younger workers to control a portion of their Social Security taxes into a nest egg that they can pass on to their children and grandchildren. Just like federal workers invest their pensions into safe market options, younger workers should be able to do the same. This will keep the system solvent for decades to come.
Few issues are more important to Eastern North Carolina than U.S. trade policy. International trade must be fair: When a foreign country’s industries export goods to the United States, we must require that they allow our American industries to have access to their markets. Otherwise, the only thing we ship overseas are American jobs.
That is why Ashley will seek to reexamine The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
NAFTA and CAFTA have been disastrous for North Carolina manufacturing industries like textiles and furniture. When NAFTA went into effect in 1994, the hope was that new markets for American products would be opened in Mexico and that increased trade would benefit both countries. Instead, many Mexican markets remained closed and cheap Mexican labor stole American jobs. North Carolina was hit harder than any state, losing over 200,000 jobs and counting.
Energy Policy & Gas Prices
Ashley will work for a new American energy policy that is balanced between conserving energy, investing in alternative energy sources, and drilling for America’s abundant energy resources. One day, America will be powered by alternative energy – and Ashley will work to make that happen – but until then, we must drill for American oil and natural gas to power the American economy and bring down energy costs for American families.
Ashley supports the exploration and development of oil and gas resources of the coast of North Carolina. In addition to the much needed energy and royalties, thousands of potential jobs would be created for Eastern North Carolinians.
The inter-mountain west of the United States is home to the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. Oil shale is sedimentary rock that over the course of millions of years would geologically mature into common crude oil. Scientists have developed a process that heats the rock, speeding up the geological process and converting the rock to oil in a few short years. America’s reserves of oil shale are larger than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Iraq, Mexico and Russia combined.
Ashley favors investing some of the new revenue from drilling into the development and practical applications of alternatives energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric. This approach would lower energy costs in the short run and make America energy independent in the long run. A comprehensive energy policy of this type would create millions of new jobs in the energy sector.
Ashley is opposed to the national energy tax, known as "cap-and-trade," that is currently being considered by Congress.
Sanctity of Human Life
The United States has always been a compassionate nation that cherishes innocent human life at all stages of development, from conception to natural death. Tragically, judicial activists on the Supreme Court manufactured an interpretation of the Constitution allowing abortion in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, resulting in the death of millions of unborn children every year.
Ashley is a champion of pro-life causes In the House of Representatives Ashley will fight to foster a culture of life for all Americans. This includes defending the ban on partial birth abortion, fighting any effort to legalize euthanasia, and supporting efforts to reduce abortions and increase adoptions through tax credit and adoption assistance programs.
Defense of Marriage & Traditional Values
In Congress, Ashley will be a vocal and effective advocate for traditional values. He strongly supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, including legislation that mandates the traditional definition of marriage in the District of Columbia. Ashley believes that Congress must act to curb the influence of judicial activists who seek to recklessly redefine marriage and other traditional institutions.
Marriage, family and community are not just catch phrases; they are the backbone of American society. Sadly, however, there is an organized effort by the radical left to destroy our traditional American culture. America is an inclusive nation and we respect other cultures and traditions, but we must defend what is sacred and unique to America.