While Republicans from all over the United States descended on Tampa, FL, for the Republican National Convention, Medicare and energy took top billing in comments from United States Senate candidate George Allen (R) to members of the Leisure World Republican Club in Lansdowne during a stop in Loudoun County Tuesday.
Allen and his Democratic rival Tim Kaine, both former Virginia governors, have been making lots of stops in the county, along with the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Allen echoed comments , saying Virginia overall is key to not just the national election, but also overturning the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare."
“Loudoun County is crucial. So is Prince William and Fairfax and Virginia Beach and Chesterfield. But Virginia is really crucial,” the former governor said. Allen borrowed a phrase from Ronald Reagan and said this year’s election is “our generation’s ‘rendezvous with destiny.’”
Not only can Virginia help defeat Obama, Allen said, but by electing him for Senate, it could give control of both houses of congress, the presidency and the U.S. Supreme Court to Republicans.
“I want to be the deciding vote to repeal Obamacare,” he said, criticizing the bill for adding costs to small businesses with 50 or more people.
Allen said one Virginia CEO estimated the health care bill could cost his company anywhere form $5 million to $20 million, resulting in cuts to advertising, trade shows and research.
“Advances are going to be limited,” Allen said, placing the blame on higher costs for health care and potential higher taxes.
Allen pointed to more than $700 billion in cuts under Obama’s health care law, targeted at providers, which could reduce the number of providers.
“The question is accessibility to doctors who will take Medicare patients,” Allen said.
The GOP plan currently on the table for Medicare would convert the program to a voucher system with set amounts given to recipients, who would then find services in the market. [Information about Medicare claims by both parties can be found on FactCheck.org.]
“My view is you shouldn’t be raiding from Medicare. You’ve paid into Medicare,” Allen said, adding that individuals should make health care decisions, “not bureaucrats in Washington.”
While Republicans and Democrats have been on the attack this year, Allen said he hopes to focus more on lifting people up.
“I think the campaign ought to be about motivating and inspiring people,” he said, before calling Washington’s energy policies an “assault on coal.”
Energy received a significant amount of attention from Allen, who said he even preferred some policies in France over those in the United States.
“I know it’s blasphemous to say, but we could learn from the French,” he said, explaining that the country reprocesses nuclear waste, which is not allowed in U.S.
“The folks in Washington seem to look at our energy resources as a curse,” Allen said, adding that he would push for “affordable, reliable, preferably American energy.”
Allen called Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline a “foolish policy” that’s driving up costs for American businesses.
“All of this is unnecessary,” he said. “We have the energy under our soil and under our water.”
When asked if some of the oil from the Keystone Pipeline could end up in foreign hands after passing through American refineries, Allen conceded that might be true.
“Could some of it be sold overseas? Sure, some of it could,” he said. “But it’s still coming into the United States.”
He also said it’s better to have such a deal with Canada instead of an OPEC nation or Venezuela, which outweigh, in his estimation, environmental concerns.
He then turned to the environment, calling on the country to construct green building and use nanotechnology, as well as advanced nuclear.
He also said a constitutional amendment should require a balanced budget with a line-item veto for the president.
Allen said he opposed ending Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans, saying, “That will cause even more job losses.”
He also pushed to end the estate tax, commonly called the death tax.
“Death should not be a taxable event,” he said, adding does not support government “mandates, dictates or redistribution.”
When one resident asked about immigration policies, Allen said he opposed an amnesty proposal under consideration during the George W. Bush administration but that he also sees value in immigration.
“Immigration has always strengthened and improved our country,” he said.
While not advocating a policy to send all immigrants home, he said, immigrants must enter legally and that criminals should be deported. The first key to ending illegal immigration, he said, is controlling the country’s borders, “particularly the southern border.
“A country that cannot control its borders cannot control its sovereignty,” he said.
Kaine was also in town this week, making stops at businesses in Leesburg.