Duckworth, Roskam Talk about Iraq Social Security
Candidates to replace retiring Congressman Henry Hyde in this DuPage County and Cook County district are Republican Peter Roskam of Wheaton and Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.
Q. Are U.S. strategies to defend against terrorism on the right course? If not, what changes should be made?
Duckworth. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was commanding a National Guard military aviation unit patrolling the skies over Chicago. We didn't know whether we might be the next terrorist target.
This experience informs my commitment to do everything possible to prevent future attacks. Unfortunately, this Congress has failed to implement many of the measures recommended by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to help prevent another act of terrorism against our nation. This includes protecting our key transportation assets like O'Hare International Airport, improving security at our ports, and hardening our vulnerable nuclear and chemical plants.
Our first responders must be able to communicate with one another. I have met with local emergency personnel who are using radio equipment first purchased in the 1960s. It must be updated with federal help.
Finally, Congress needs to allocate homeland security dollars by priority rather than as another exercise in political pork.
Roskam. I believe that we must continue to fight terrorism abroad. The events in Britain and the five-year anniversary of 9/11 are reminders that we must be vigilant in our pursuits. I believe that we must give law enforcement the necessary tools to combat terrorism abroad and within the United States.
One of the failures in Washington regarding terrorism is the lack of action on the issue of immigration. We must secure our border in a first, yet important step in winning the War on Terrorism.
Q. Do you favor any changes in Social Security?
Duckworth. The greatest threat to the solvency of Social Security is our nation's exploding federal debt. The federal government is borrowing billions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund to finance our debt, which is approaching a record $9 trillion. The wrong approach to Social Security is a risky privatization scheme that would reduce guaranteed benefits to seniors while diverting billions in payroll taxes away from the Trust Fund.
A better approach is to protect against "raids" on the Trust Fund by reducing the deficit, while strengthening the other two legs of the retirement security triad - employer pensions and private savings. We need to modernize pensions by encouraging companies to make 401(k) plans available to their workers, and by moving toward true portability of pensions. When companies, such as airlines, emerge from bankruptcy, pensions should be the first creditors to receive pay outs, not the first place where cuts are made. …