Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives 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?
Roscoe Bartlett (R), 56, of 4317 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, is president of RBA Construction Co., an assistant professor at Frederick Community College and a dairy farmer. He has headed development groups at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and IBM Corp. and began an engineering research and development firm.
Programs: At some point continued deficit spending, with its detrimental effects on the economy, will be counterproductive in helping those who most need help (those on Medicaid and the unemployed). On a short-term expediency basis, such help is justified, but without economic recovery a vicious cycle is possible; more red ink and the resultant depressed economy produces more unemployed citizens, which produces more deficit spending, etc. When this is obvious it is clear that continued spending at the federal level can only make the problem worse, and other vehicles will have to be sought to make sure that no one suffers unduly. It is increasingly clear that we cannot spend our way out of a spiraling depression. In general, programs such as these should be moved to lower levels of government. With reduced bureaucracy it will take less money at these levels. There is also an urgent need for more private-sector involvement.
Defense: It appears clear that the U.S.S.R. will not seriously negotiate arms reduction so long as they perceive that they hold an advantage in armament. We must have meaningful negotiation with resultant arms reduction, especially nuclear arms. To assure this we must prudently spend what is necessary to close the armament gap. The B1-B bomber, the neutron bomb, the MX missile and a serious civil defense effort are critical elements. To be believable in negotiation, the U.S.S.R. must believe that we are prepared for any confrontation. With the present imbalance, they are not so convinced. The real consideration in the nuclear arms race is not bombs, but delivery systems. Both sides appear to have more bombs than could be delivered, so the discussion should really be on delivery systems. I, with all other concerned citizens, support not only an eventual freeze, but a reduction of nuclear arms. Only the means is at contention.
Social Security: The presidential task force can bring no magic solution. Committed expenditures exceed the projected income. Uncorrected, the gap will widen with time. Either income must go up or expenditures must come down. Using general revenue doesn't solve the problem; it only increases an already too large federal deficit. Moving programs to other agencies is likewise no solution, if they must still be funded. It would be easy to make Social Security solvent by bankrupting other funds. If the tax burden is already unacceptably high for business recovery, there is then, no solution but to cut outlays. This mustn't be done so as to affect the elderly or those about to enter retirement. For others under the umbrella, alternative solutions must be sought. Scaling down anticipations, moving programs to lower levels of government (saving federal overhead costs), involvement of the private sector and more individual responsibility must all be pursued.
Beverly B. Byron (D), incumbent, 50, of 306 Grove Blvd., Frederick, has represented the 6th District in Congress since 1978. She is on the House Armed Services and Interior committees and the Select Committee on Aging. She chairs the Maryland Commission on Physical Fitness and serves on the boards of Hood College and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Programs: I have supported targeted extended unemployment benefits for unemployed workers in states with high unemployment rates, as well as the establishment of a temporary program of emergency supplemental benefits to assist idled workers during the present recession. However, in addition to favoring program reforms, such as stricter work tests, to ensure that no benefits go to those who prefer collecting benefits to working, I have sponsored and supported measures designed to reduce unemployment through increased economic growth and investment. While I support the provision of essential health services to those most in need, I am concerned about the increasing costs of federally supported medical assistance programs, including Medicaid. I favor making changes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Medicaid to reduce excessive costs and ensure that limited federal health dollars are targeted to those most in need. I feel that all federal programs should be examined for achieving greater economies, and my voting record reflects this view. I am particularly supportive of reducing funds for foreign aid programs, public works projects and achieving additional taxpayers savings through cutting waste and fraud in government.
Defense: I am committed to improving our national defense and have supported increased defense spending to improve our key weapons systems, to upgrade our conventional forces and to attract high-quality men and women to serve in our military forces. I have also opposed multibillion-dollar expenditures for weapons systems that I did not believe could be justified. For example, I recently sponsored a House floor amendment to delete funding for the production of the first nine MX missiles because of my concern over the vulnerability of the basing mode planned for their deployment. I am in favor of a reduction of nuclear arms for both the United States and Soviet Union. Nuclear arms reduction talks are presently under way in Geneva and I had the opportunity to serve as a congressional observer to these important negotiations several weeks ago. I strongly support efforts to encourage substantial, equitable and verifiable reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both countries.
Social Security: I firmly believe that the Social Security system needs comprehensive reform. Consideration must be given to separating the retirement aspects of Social Security from the public assistance features of the system. Our present Social Security system is not the partial retirement plan it was intended to be, and favor a reexamination of those features that have been added over the years and the financing of them. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the bipartisan commission on Social Security, which has been studying proposals to strengthen both long-term and short-term Social Security financing. I also think that we have a duty to ensure that present beneficiaries and those near retirement age receive the benefits to which they are entitled.