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Cliff, on the issues

Below you will find explanations for how Cliff would address various issues in Congress as your representative. Click the issue name to "jump" to that section! Also, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about issues that are present on our page, or that you feel should be on our page. We look forward to your feedback!

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US Mexico Border - the secondary fence _ BBC World Service _ Flickr.jpg
Image by shavnya.com
Issue 1
Issue 8

Immigration

Middle East

The chaos on our southern border must end. We can secure our borders, curtail illegal entry into the United States, and make narcotics trafficking riskier without shutting down our ports of entry or descending into xenophobia. Unfortunately, we have two immigration systems: In the legal system, applicants can wait decades before being interviewed, and the likelihood of successfully immigrating to the United States can vary based on your country of origin. In the unlawful system, management of immigration across our southern border has been outsourced to criminal cartels. We have also seen the asylum process misused because it affords access to the U.S. legal system and the ability to remain in the United States for years awaiting adjudication, both unavailable to legal immigrant visa applicants overseas. Many Virginians ask why immigrants who entered illegally are able to benefit from living and working here while 34.7 million who have applied to enter lawfully remain overseas, in some cases for more than 20 years. We need one system that provides an equal opportunity to qualified applicants for immigrant visas regardless of their country of origin, while assuring that the system is balanced in meeting the legitimate needs of employers without undermining U.S. workers. This can be accomplished through a single piece of legislation. 

As your Representative in Congress, I will work to:

  • Improve the security on our southern border using a proven combination of enforcement patrols, electronic surveillance, and where necessary, physical barriers.

  • Quickly repatriate, rather than detain, individuals who enter illegally.

  • Support issuance of a biometric national identification card that works with the E-Verify system, and enforce its use by employers.

  • Address the factors that motivate migrants to attempt to enter the United States illegally by promoting economic development and political stability in their countries of origin.

The United States has a vital national interest in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. That can best be achieved by a ceasefire in Gaza now, not more fighter jets or bombs. More death and destruction will only exacerbate the cycle of violence that has plagued Israel and Palestine for decades, and providing Palestinians with viable political and economic alternatives is far more likely to neutralize Hamas than Israeli strikes. Further expansion of the conflict will only make our position in the region more complex and challenging.

To further a peaceful and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as your Representative in Congress, I will advocate for policies that:

  • Call on all parties to protect civilians under the Geneva conventions and other applicable international agreements.

  • Facilitate the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

  • Seek to de-escalate the conflict and produce an environment more conducive to diplomatic engagement and constructive negotiation.

  • Counter groups that conduct acts of terror.

  • Assure that the United States actions support human rights, equality, and self-determination.

  • Oppose regional malign actors, such as Iran, who support violence directly or indirectly.

  • Call for the Government of Israel to halt actions that will make establishment of a Palestinian State more difficult or peaceful resolution of the conflict less likely.

  • Work to prevent the United States from being drawn into a wider regional conflict.

  • Curtail use of our veto in the United Nations Security Council to shield the Israeli Government from responsibility for its actions.

  • Provide security assistance to Israel with no exception to the legal requirements placed on all other recipient nations, including human rights vetting.

Traffic Jam
Pharmacist Assisting Customer
Issue 2
Issue 7

Traffic

As I'm sure you are already (unfortunately) aware, our district suffers from some of the worst congestion in the United States, and residents have grown weary of half-measure solutions that are both expensive and ineffective. Every day, commuters and travelers lose countless hours stuck in traffic, taking a toll on their pocketbooks, family, health, and quality of life. The greenhouse gasses generated by vehicles moving at a crawl cause additional harm to the environment as well. The reason that traffic is so bad here is because there is no viable alternative for long haul travelers; between Richmond, Virginia and Wilmington, Delaware, I-95 is the only interstate that parallels the coast.  The unaffordable one-way express lanes will never solve the problem, yet Virginia has signed them away for 75 years to foreign companies that profit the most when traffic is at its worst.  Adding additional lanes to I-95 isn't the answer, in fact it could actually prevent the future extension of Metro where it could provide the greatest benefit. Traffic is not just a problem in the I-95 corridor; rapid development throughout the district is bringing congestion to many communities.  Despite costly improvements, I don't believe that Virginia Railway Express will ever be able to provide an efficient alternative to commuters the way that Metro can.  

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will work to:

  • Extend the Metro Blue Line down to Fredericksburg.

  • Construct an interstate bypass that routes long-haul east-coast traffic around, rather than through the Washington and Baltimore beltways.

  • The bypass project would include new bridges over the Potomac near Dahlgren and another to parallel the Route 50 Bay Bridge in Maryland.

  • Invest in transportation infrastructure anywhere it is needed in the district, including bringing rail service to growing communities that currently have no transit options.

  • In all projects, I would push for a focus on stimulating the local economy, hiring local workers and companies in each area. 

Healthcare

Americans have the highest health care costs in the world, averaging $12,555 per person in 2022, $4,000 more than any other high-income nation, but we have lower life expectancy (77 years vs 80-85 for other developed nations) with higher maternal mortality (9.8/100,000 OECD, 23.8 U.S.) and infant mortality. Health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable. Health care costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. We also pay far more for prescriptions than our Canadian neighbors do. Just scheduling an appointment with a physician can take weeks or months, but if you must go to the emergency room, you can expect surprise medical bills. Your insurance company, rather than your physician, has the final call on what care you can get, and pharmacy benefit managers determine which prescriptions you are allowed.

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will work to advance:

  • Medicare-X, the Medicare Exchange health plan, which allows individuals who are not otherwise eligible for Medicare to enroll in a government-administered health insurance plan.

  • Legislation such as the Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, and the 340B Drug Pricing Program to reduce the inflated cost of prescription drugs.

  • Measures that assure that patients and their doctors, not insurance companies, have the final say in the care we receive and the drugs we are prescribed.

Red Barn
Army Boots
Issue 3
Issue 5

Rural Communities

Our smaller communities are suffering from decades of inattention and have never fully recovered from the 2008 recession. Today, they are forced to grapple with many of the same problems facing urban and suburban areas, but without the same resources. Young people who have other opportunities are leaving their communities behind, and the cost of entry into agriculture has soared beyond reach. 
 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Oppose policies that support the corporate consolidation of agriculture and instead work to promote and protect family farms.

  • Advocate for programs to reduce the barriers to entry for young people who want to get into entrepreneurial agriculture

  • Support sustainable development through improved access to the technology, education, health, and transportation resources rural communities need.

  • Promote the use of regenerative agriculture, including cover crops, crop rotation, and no-till practices.

National Security & Defense

The United States must confront our 21st Century strategic challenge, the loss of the advantage we enjoyed in industrial capacity during 20th century conflicts. For example, if we were to find ourselves in a confrontation in the Pacific, we would have to overcome the reality that China has over TWO HUNDRED TIMES our shipbuilding capacity. If there ever was an era when we could risk unilateralism, it has passed. Our future security rests with strong alliances, firm commitments, and deft diplomacy. The evolution of warfare that we see unfolding in the Ukraine suggests that our 20th Century combat systems are nearing the end of their usefulness, and we will need timely, effective, and affordable replacements. We must build the force we need for the coming decades, including a renewed strategic deterrent. Our military capability is linked to and limited by the strength of both our economy and democracy. 

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Work to restore United States domestic industrial capacity and the defense industrial base to levels that can produce the systems we need to prevail in future conflicts.

  • Urge DoD to stop outsourcing weapons purchases to foreign companies. 

  • Support legislation that will address the recruiting and materiel challenges our armed forces face;

  • Legislate to provide more robust assistance to Ukraine to assure it has the arms it needs to defeat Russian aggression, while working with our European partners bolster NATO’s defenses;

  • Encourage administration efforts to enhance defense cooperation with Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other regional allies and partners.

  • Sustain the vital work being done at Fort Belvoir, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Walker, and Naval Support Facility Dahlgren.

Protest
Image by Clay Banks
Issue 4
Issue 6

Our Rights

No one should be denied an opportunity for employment, education, or promotion; worry that they will be treated differently by officials, banks, businesses, or the police; or lose the right to vote because of who they are. We should not have to fear loss of employment or freedom of expression because of beliefs we hold (incitement to criminal activity, violence, insurrection, or violent overthrow of the government excepted). We should not see books removed from library shelves because they make others uncomfortable. Yet these are concerns for many of us today. That has to change.  

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Advocate for those who have been denied equal opportunity, treated unjustly, or denied freedom of expression.

  • Support legislation for comprehensive criminal justice reform and an end to civil asset seizure.

  • Work with other House members to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Partisan Gridlock

Congress is unable to get anything done just when we need urgent action on the southern border, infrastructure, and the Middle East.  Last year, the House only passed 27 bills, most just to keep the government from shutting down or defaulting on the debt.  With 90% of house districts so gerrymandered that primary elections rather than the general determine the winner, grandstanding for your base has replaced negotiating, representatives produce soundbites, not solutions, and too few will support bipartisan legislation out of fear of being primaried.  

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Promote the common good rather than the agenda of special interests.

  • Negotiate across the aisle to advance CD 7 priorities.

  • Support campaign finance reform—it is time to put voters, not donors in the driver’s seat.

  • Support adoption of independent citizen-redistricting commissions.

  • Support the Fair Representation Act, put forward by Representative Don Beyer and others, that would require states to use ranked choice voting and states with six or more representatives to create districts with three to five members each.  States with fewer than six representatives would elect all of them as at-large members of one statewide district.

  • Examine the possibility of increasing the total number of House seats to make districts more representative.

  • Never forget that my job performance is measured in the problems I fix, not the media attention I generate.

Image by Gayatri Malhotra
Blue-collar workers
Issue 9
Issue 10

Women's Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade set the clock back 50 years on the protection of women’s freedom, health, and privacy.  We must never forget that decisions on reproductive health belong to a woman and her physician, not government officials.  While immediate legislative protections are essential, we must also address more long-term issues including the composition of the Supreme Court and insufficient constitutional protections for women.

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will work to:

  • Enshrine a women’s right to choose in federal law.

  • Guarantee access to mifepristone and misoprostol.

  • Protect IVF from political agendas and special interests

  • Advance the Supreme Court Biennial Appointments and Term Limits Act that would establish 18-year term limits and regularized appointments for Supreme Court justices.

  • Reinvigorate efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Economy

Over the past four decades, working Americans have seen their economic prospects decline while the wealthiest Americans have gained a greater share of the rewards. Pay has not kept pace. Childcare is increasingly unaffordable. Many of us do not feel secure about our prospects for a rising standard of living. 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Legislate to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest, by assuring a living wage and expanding the middle class. 

  • Pursue trade and immigration policies that do not disadvantage working Americans or send well-paying jobs overseas, while assessing the potential impact of AI on the future workforce. 

  • Work to assure that training and education, including apprenticeships, technical programs, and colleges, remain accessible and affordable to every constituent.

Image by Mitchell Kmetz
Image by Jeffrey F Lin
Issue 12
Issue 15

Environment & Climate Change

I grew up in a time when rivers caught fire, housing developments were built on waste dumps, and smog shut down cities. There has been progress, but we need to do more to reduce the risk we face from climate change. In our district, the rapid advance of suburban sprawl makes the preservation of our remaining green space ever more important. 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Defend the Environmental Protection Agency from politicization and attack by special interests; 

  • Support incentives for the further development of clean energy sources and an orderly transition away from fossil fuels; and 

  • Seek funding for the protection of green spaces in our communities.

Military, Civil Servants, Veterans, and Retirees

All too often, those who have served the United States find themselves at the mercy of an indifferent bureaucracy. The VA has yet to achieve the standards we should be able to expect. Inflation is complicating the retirement plans of former military members and civil servants alike. We must stop politically motivated attacks designed to intimidate and silence government workers. 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • See that the needs of service members and their families are addressed and that the sacrifices made by veterans in defense of our nation are never forgotten

  • Protect those who have served the United States, whether in uniform or in the halls of government, from a retirement jeopardized by inflation. 

  • Work with other House members to shield government employees from efforts to politicize their work or circumvent civil service protections.

Voting in Election
Handgun and  Ammunition
Issue 13
Issue 16

Defending Democracy

Crime & Gun Violence

Our democracy is under assault. Opportunists promote fear, market conspiracy theories, question the legitimacy of our elections, and employ threats of violence. Many Americans feel disenfranchised and alienated. Autocracy is gaining traction overseas; we must not allow that to happen here. 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Work to isolate those who seek to turn Americans against each other.

  • Defend our institutions, voting rights, and first amendment freedoms.

  • Focus on reversing the concentration of economic and political power that has left tens of millions of Americans feeling that they have no voice in our society, economy, or governance.

Over the past several years, many of us have become increasingly concerned about crime. The causes of crime are complex, but that does not mean they cannot be addressed. Law enforcement agencies are facing a recruitment crisis that jeopardizes their ability to keep communities safe. Gun violence is particularly problematic today. Too often, following a shooting, we learn that the perpetrator was known to pose a threat beforehand

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Seek solutions that address the root causes of crime.

  • Find solutions to the recruiting challenges law enforcement agencies face.

  • Facilitate federal-local law enforcement cooperation that can help to reduce crime;

  • Legislate to enhance federal jurisdiction over crimes committed on commercial flights in U.S. airspace;

  • Require universal background checks and keep military style weapons out of the wrong hands;

  • Ensure that guns are used and stored responsibly;

  • Reduce gun trafficking and improve oversight of weapons sales;

  • Remove civil liability exemptions for gun manufacturers;

  • Advocate to curtail the use of civil asset seizure;

  • Work to protect federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, from politicization and politically motivated attacks.

Types of Gasoline
Family with Tablet
Issue 11
Issue 14

Inflation

A surge in inflation rarely has a single cause and is generally the consequence of decisions made years earlier. Too little competition among the corporations that dominate our economy, printing trillions of dollars to support Wall Street, and massive tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans combined to create an economic environment so volatile that all it took was a supply chain shock to set off explosive inflation.  

As your Representative in Congress, I will:

  • Support legislation that benefits consumers by making our economy more competitive.

  • Advocate for monetary policies that will benefit working Americans, not just investment bankers.

  • Focus on reducing deficits, not tax cuts for the wealthy.

Families

Families in Virginia are under more stress than at any time in memory. We see the effects in school, the workplace, and the mental health crisis. Investing in programs that help strengthen families is one approach we need to take to solve this problem. Building a strong economy starts with supporting our families. 

 

As your Representative in Congress, I will work to advance:

  • Access to high quality affordable childcare.

  • Universal preschool.

  • Paid family leave.

  • Direct federal funding to public school districts.

  • Keeping technical training and higher education affordable.

  • Affordable housing in every community.

  • Healthy and safe environments for families to thrive.

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