U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R)
HOMETOWN: Vienna , Virginia
FAMILY: Married to Carolyn Stover. Five children. Twelve grandchildren.
EDUCATION: LL.B., Georgetown Law, 1965; B.A., Penn State , 1961
EMPLOYMENT: Member of Congress
CAMPAIGN ADDRESS: Friends of Frank Wolf, PO Box 710235, Oak Hill, Va. 20171
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-817-9691
BEST BOOK YOU READ THIS YEAR: Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer
FAVORITE MOVIE: Man for All Seasons
QUALIFICATIONS: Elected to Congress, 1980. Reelected 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004. House Appropriations subcommittee chair, Science-State-Justice-Commerce; member, Transportation-Treasury-Housing subcommittee. Co-chair, Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Former Interior Department congressional affairs staff and former legislative assistant to member of Congress.
1. Was the Iraq war a mistake? Why or why not?
War is never something we seek, but because of my concern that Iraq was a threat to peace and stability in the world and to the security of our country, I joined with a bipartisan majority in Congress to authorize the use of military force against the regime of Saddam Hussein. I have visited Iraq three times and while I have seen some progress in rebuilding that country, I know there remain many unanswered questions about ongoing operations. To that end, I proposed an independent review — "fresh eyes on the target" — and from that has formed the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan 10-member group co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman and 9/11 Commission Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton, which is now at work taking a forward-looking assessment of the situation and preparing to report to the American people later this year.
2. Five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, what more could be done to protect America ? What limits on civil liberties are acceptable?
The war on terrorism is a critical national priority, as is protecting the freedoms and rights of our citizens. Finding terrorists before they can inflict harm on our country and its people is the first priority. But any new laws to provide additional law enforcement powers to root out terrorists must also take into account the constitutional protections and rights of American citizens.
3. What is the nation's best long-term strategy in combating terrorism?
In Congress, I have the responsibility as the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on Science-State-Justice-Commerce — which oversees the Justice Department, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service, among other agencies — to help lead our nation's fight against terrorism and to help provide security for the people of Northern Virginia, including funding a national first responder training center in Loudoun County and heightened homeland security measures. As the author of the legislation creating the National Commission on Terrorism, I understand the terrorist threat and have worked to reorganize the FBI to better equip the bureau to fight terrorism both at home and abroad.
4. In light of recent corruption scandals in Congress, do you believe reforms are needed? What would you propose?
I am very concerned about the corrupting influence of a political system awash in money. We must break the cycle of "Washington business as usual." The American people demand honesty and integrity in their government — as they should. Cosmetic changes will not suffice. Bold, sweeping reforms must be enacted. When the House considered a lobby reform bill on May 3, I was very disappointed that legislation was such a weak response to the need for comprehensive change. What we need is ethics and lobbying reform that sets up an independent Office of Public Integrity to oversee ethics investigations, which I believe will change business as usual and provide credibility and fairness in the ethics process.
5. What should be done about the 45 million Americans who are living without health insurance?
Most Americans who have health insurance obtain it through their employer as a workplace benefit, but almost half of the uninsured work for or are family members of employees who work for small businesses. In Congress I cosponsored and voted for legislation to allow small businesses to band together to offer association health plans for their employees. I also voted for medical liability reform to control health care costs by curbing frivolous lawsuits, which are driving up medical costs and driving out doctors from their medical practices.
6. President Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind, requires high-stakes testing in all public schools. What is your view of the law? Should it be reformed? Why or why not?
I voted for this comprehensive federal education law reform to give states and local school districts greater flexibility in spending federal education dollars while also holding school systems more accountable for increasing student achievement and to give parents more control over their children’s education. I have always believed that states and local communities understand best how to improve their schools. Over the past 10 years, federal education funding has increased nearly 150 percent.
7. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the federal deficit will grow to $286 billion in 2007 and to $1.76 trillion over the next decade. How would you address this?
I do not believe it is right for one generation to live well knowing that its debts will be left to be paid for by their children and grandchildren. I am very concerned that in just a few years when the baby boom generation starts to retire, our nation will be faced with skyrocketing increases in mandatory spending for which we will not be able to foot the bill. We must find a way to control this spending to meet the needs of future generations for programs such as education, transportation, and medical research. We must act now and I have introduced legislation to set up a bipartisan panel called the Securing America’s Future Economy (SAFE) Commission to put everything – entitlement spending, all other federal spending and tax policies – on the table for discussion, and then require Congress to vote up or down on the commission's recommendations in their entirety, similar to the process set in 1988 to close military bases. I believe a commission of men and women working in a truly bipartisan fashion is the only way to find common ground and address this crisis facing our country.
8. What is the best way to deal with the record high oil prices of recent years?
There are many factors which impact oil prices, and unfortunately there are no overnight solutions. The U.S. is affected by the global supply and demand for oil. But we import too much oil and must work to become energy independent, including conserving the resources we use and finding alternative energy sources. I support increased gas mileage requirements for auto manufacturers, hydrogen fuel-cell and other alternative fuel vehicles, a monetary prize for scientists and engineers to develop hydrogen energy technology, E85 (ethanol) service stations, incentives for solar energy use, exploration for domestic energy sources, and telework to save energy and reduce air pollution.
9. While the economy has grown in the last five years, the wages of middle- and low-income Americans has stagnated. How would you address the income disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of the working America?
Every American who wants a job deserves the opportunity to pursue the American dream. We must continue to pursue policies to foster economic growth and development and create jobs and opportunities for every American. That includes working to keep the economy strong and providing lower taxes that let working people keep more of their own hard-earned money. I support and have voted for tax relief legislation to protect middle class families and reduce the tax burden for lower income Americans. The economy grows when people are allowed to keep more of their own money. I also have voted to increase the federal minimum wage.
10. Opinion polls suggest that the international community views the United States in a negative light. Does this matter? If so, what can the United States do to repair its standing with the rest of the world?
I am very concerned about how America is perceived in the world. The need to strengthen U.S. public diplomacy continues to gain urgency as we see alarming public opinion polls and foreign media content relating to the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq that reveal profound anti-American sentiments, and often a rejection of our policies. The appropriations subcommittee I chair has oversight responsibility for the State Department and its public diplomacy programs, and I have worked to increase funding to support reforms and strengthen the public diplomacy effort, including U.S. government-sponsored international broadcasting as an essential component of public diplomacy.
For the following questions, please respond with a yes or no answer.
For the following questions, please respond with a yes or no answer.
1. The minimum wage has been $5.15 since 1997. Is it time to increase it?
I co-signed a letter with a bipartisan group of House colleagues in urging the House leadership to bring the minimum wage issue to the full House for a vote, and when that happened in July, I voted to increased the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 over a three-year period.
2. Congress is considering the elimination of the federal estate tax, which requires the wealthiest 2 percent of all Americans to pay taxes on inherited property. Do you believe the estate tax should be discontinued?
Lessening the burden of this unfair tax will help to ensure that families are able to retain financial assets, ownership of family-owned businesses, and family farms after the death of a loved one. The estate tax has devastated too many small, family businesses, farms and personal savings. It punishes people who build a successful business or farm and try to leave that legacy to their families. This is especially true in our growing area where there is mounting pressure on families who wish to keep their farms intact to sell their land for development.
3. Is global warming real?
I believe that global warming is real and that the National Academy of Sciences has presented evidence that the Earth's surface is warming because of human activities, including increased worldwide industrial development, over the past several decades.
4. On Nov. 7, your name will appear on the same ballot as a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Considering the full text of the amendment, will you vote for it?
Yes, I will vote for the state ballot question.
5. If President Bush's tax cuts are made permanent, $2.2 trillion would be added to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Would you vote to extend the tax cuts past the 2010 expiration date?
Unless all 2001 tax cuts are extended beyond the 2010 expiration date, the combined effect will mean a tax hike of almost $200 billion on American families in 2011 alone. I voted to make tax relief legislation permanent because it lets middle class Americans keep more of their own money. Tax relief translates into good news for our economy – businesses grow, jobs are created, and incomes rise.
6. Should the United States have higher fuel economy standards for vehicles?
We must have fuel efficient automobiles that do not waste gasoline, and I have voted in the House to raise corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for U.S. auto makers to 33 mpg over 10 years consistent with the findings of the National Academy of Sciences, which can save 10 percent of the gasoline the nation would otherwise consume.
7. Do you believe in evolution?
This is a complicated matter and not one that would come before Congress.
8. Should electronic voting machines be required to have verified voting paper trails?
I am a cosponsor of House legislation to require voter verification and mandatory paper record audit capacity.
9. Do you believe the sectarian violence in Iraq is a civil war?
There are differing opinions on whether the escalating violence in Iraq has reached the level of a civil war. I have been to Iraq three times and returned committed to making certain that the American people have the answers about ongoing operations there and what America’s future role should be. That’s why I proposed the Iraq Study Group, now at work to provide an independent assessment expected later this year.
10. Should the federal government fund stem cell research?
The question raised by this issue is whether or not federal funds should be used for medical research using new human embryos beyond the president's authorization for research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells. I have always been a strong supporter of medical research and believe that the federal government has a responsibility to provide substantial funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find better treatments, and ultimately cures, for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. I support promising research using adult stem cells being federally funded through NIH as well as increasing the number of umbilical cord blood units available for transplant and research. Transplants of such cord blood stem cells have saved the lives of roughly 20,000 Americans with such diseases as leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma.
11. The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign a global ban on land mines. Would you vote to sign the treaty banning the use of land mines?
I have seen the horrific human toll of land mines in many countries. While the U.S. Senate has sole responsibility for ratifying treaties, I have cosponsored legislation in the House to restrict the funding of new anti-personnel land mines.
12. California has enacted the nation's toughest restrictions on air pollution, requiring a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide pollution. Should similar action be taken for the rest of the country?
I support and voted for the Clean Air Act. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is important and one prime example of working to cut air pollution is to keep cars off the road by promoting mass transit and telework. That’s why I have led the effort in Congress to mandate that all federal agencies allow every eligible federal employee the opportunity to telework at least one day a week and to bring mass transit through Tysons Corner and out to Dulles airport.
13. Do you support "Net Neutrality," which would guarantee that every website on the Internet loads at an equal rate of speed?
I voted for network neutrality when telecommunications reform legislation was considered this year in the House.
14. Do you believe that Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that overturned state laws banning abortion, should be overturned?
This is a difficult issue with good people on both sides. I have voted to prohibit federal funding of abortion, except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened.
15. Would you support a guest worker program for illegal immigrants that would lead to citizenship?
Immigrants are at the foundation of our diverse nation and that diversity is one of our greatest strengths. But as a nation governed by the rule of law, we expect those who come here to follow the law. I do not support amnesty for people who are in our country illegally. Amnesty is an insult to all the law-abiding people who have been waiting patiently and legally for their immigration number to come up. Ours has always been a welcoming nation, but we must work to control our borders as the first priority. After that we can work to offer an orderly immigration system that reflects America's diversity.