W.Va. 3rd District race for Congress issue stances

AP News
Posted: Oct 12, 2014 10:31 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In the race for West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District, here's a look at where Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and Republican Evan Jenkins stand on issues.

ENERGY/COAL: Both Rahall and Jenkins oppose EPA proposed regulations to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Rahall was one of 10 House Democrats to vote to block a carbon limit on new plants, and has sponsored a bill to block a rule on existing plants. Both candidates say they oppose a carbon tax. In March 2013, Rahall voted for a Congressional Progressive Caucus budget last year that included a $25 per ton tax on carbon dioxide, with rebates to shield low-income families. The budget yielded only 84 'yes' votes and had no chance to pass. The next month, Rahall sponsored legislation to block any proposed carbon tax, which was never taken up.

Rahall has voted against measures to cap emissions from companies in regulated industries and voted to prevent additional regulation of greenhouse gases.

Jenkins supports a GOP-driven concept to allow major executive rules to take effect only with congressional approval. Rahall voted against it in 2011, as did all but four House Democrats.

The West Virginia Coal Association is supporting Jenkins, while the United Mine Workers of America union group is backing Rahall. Rahall also says an "all of the above" domestic energy portfolio is necessary.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Rahall voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2009. He also voted to delay the individual and employer mandates, and repeal stricter, costlier reporting requirements on small businesses. Rahall consistently voted against repealing the entire law. Jenkins has said he would repeal the law and replace it.

Both support popular parts of the law, like not precluding people from insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Jenkins said even with a repeal, he would keep in place provisions dealing with expanded black lung benefits. He said he would look to replace the expansion of Medicaid to cover the same 150,000 or so newly covered West Virginia patients. Rahall favored the Medicaid expansion and the black lung component.

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BUDGET: Rahall has voted against House GOP budgets with cuts to a variety of domestic programs. The latest version relies on domestic program cuts, like education and food stamps, and shifts money to the Pentagon and veterans' health care.

He has voted for Democratic budgets that would increase taxes for millionaires. Rahall has also been an outspoken proponent for bringing back earmarks, which he used to land local project money as the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Jenkins said he will not support any budget he hasn't personally helped craft, including previous House Republican budgets. Like Rahall, Jenkins says he does not support privatizing Social Security or Medicare, and would not favor putting future Medicare patients into a subsidy-based health insurance option on the open market.