Candidates for the U.S. Senate were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Programs: To what extent should the federal government provide benefits for the unemployed and for those in the Medicaid program? What programs, if any, should the federal government cut or expand?
Defense: How much should the government spend on national defense, and which military programs do you believe are vital to that defense? Do you support a freeze on the production of nuclear arms?
Social Security: What changes do you favor in the funding and eligibility requirements for Social Security?
Lawrence J. Hogan (R), 53, of 8401 Hillview Rd., Landover, has been county executive of Prince George's County since 1978. Previously, he was a member of the U.S. House for six years. A graduate of Georgetown University law school, he has been an FBI agent, a University of Maryland professor and manager of a public relations and advertising firm.
Programs: Government has a responsibility to assist those who, through no fault of their own, cannot work. Reducing jobless benefits, at this time, would be wrong. However, the root of the problem must be attacked. A healthy economic climate must be created. Unemployment must be brought down.Interest rates must be brought down. We must continue to keep the rate of inflation under control. This will require continued efforts to reduce the size of the federal deficits; incentives for plant modernization and job expansion; forging a partnership between government, management and labor aimed at increasing productivity and our competitive posture; and establishing effective job training and retraining programs. Government must also continue to protect the elderly and indigent who cannot afford needed health care. This is particularly true in instances of catastrophic illness. The problem with the current system is that it is not susceptible to cost savings and does not adequately recognize community-based care.
Defense: Since the mid-1960s, the U.S.S.R. has engaged in a sustained program of military buildup. The opposite has been true for the U.S. Our national security interests were severely damaged by the Carter administration. A "catch-up" program is needed. Funding must be provided to increase the readiness and sustainability of the present force; restore the strategic weapons balance; and enhance our quick response capability. Concomitant with that, our intelligence apparatus must be reinvigorated; our alliances rebuilt; and our allies required to provide a greater share in the costs of common defense. Lastly, there must be greater congruence between our foreign policy interests, various aid programs and defense objectives. I support a reduction in arms with the Soviet Union that is truly mutual and genuinely verifiable, However, it cannot be unilateral. We must make sure the Soviet Union will comply with verification provisions. More important, we cannot risk a "freeze" that would lock them into a position of permanent superiority.
Social Security: The Social Security system is in serious financial jeopardy. It is losing $17,000 each and every minute. Even with interfund borrowing, it may well be broke by July 1983, unless something is done. Moreover, because of the changing demographics of the American work force, an economic turnaround will not completely solve the problem. The ratio of workers paying into the system to those receiving benefits continues to decline. We must act to protect the integrity of the trust funds and the basic benefits structure for current recipients. For the short-term, abuses, inequities and benefit elements that duplicate other programs must be dealt with. For the long run, the question of coverage -- who pays in, and who receives benefits -- must be addressed. But, we can now no longer put off taking the steps necessary to preserve Social Security. We must make it financially sound.
Paul S. Sarbanes (D), incumbent, 49, of 320 Suffolk Rd., Baltimore, an attorney, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. Previously, he served in the U.S. House from 1970 to 1976 and the state House of Delegates from 1966 to 1970.He was executive director of the Charter Revision Commission of Baltimore and has been an associate in a Baltimore law firm.
Programs: Putting our people to work -- jobs -- is the primary objective. But unemployment insurance and Medicaid are two of the programs developed over a period of years that are considered essential both to meeting the needs of our citizens and to serving the best interests of the nation. I have fought hard to stop the administration's onslaught on these and other important programs. More than 11 million Americans are now out of work and looking for jobs, yet so many have now been without work so long that nearly two-thirds are not receiving any benefits at all. I am opposed to administration policies which, on the one hand, have led to the dramatic increase in unemployment and to spreading poverty and which, on the other hand, have rejected congressional efforts to put into place unemployment insurance and health care programs to meet people's immediate needs, and economic development and job programs to restore a healthy and vigorous economy.
Defense: I have supported prudent efforts to strengthen our national defense, with particular emphasis on operational readiness capability, the quality and training of our military personnel and elimination of duplication and inefficiency in weapons programs; but the current "blank check" approach of the Reagan administration to the defense budget is unrealistic. I am cosponsor of the resolution calling for immediate negotiations for a mutual and verifiable freeze on the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons as a constructive interim measure while longer range arms reduction agreements are negotiated.
Social Security: Population trends and economic conditions influence the retirement system. A strong economy, with high employment and low inflation, would mean increased revenues and lower cost-of-living adjustments and would restore the system's health. Any modifications for long-term population and economic trends must be developed responsibly, without breaking our commitment to present and future retirees. The efforts to use cuts in Social Security benefits as a device for reducing overall budget deficits must be rejected, and separation of the Social Security trust funds from the unified budget may be necessary to prevent such a possibility.