Martin Sabo, Democratic incumbent

Sabo has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1979.

.What is your position on same-sex marriage? Should marriage be dealt with at a state or federal level?

I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act when it came before Congress and was enacted in 1996. This law allows states to refuse to recognize the public acts of another state if they relate to that state’s recognition of same-sex marriage. Marriage laws are state and local statutes, and the federal government recognizes marriages performed in all 50 states. There is no such thing as a “federal marriage license.”

I am also a co-sponsor of House resolutions 2677, the State Regulation of Marriage is Appropriate Act. The resolution would repeal the federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse.”

I also voted against House resolutions 3313, the so-called “Marriage Protection Act,” which would strip all federal courts of jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to this legislation should it become law, or the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that provides that no state shall be required to give effect to any marriage of persons of the same sex under the laws of any other state.

What is your position on abortion?

I support the rights of women to make their own reproductive decisions and believe abortion should remain safe and legal, consistent with the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

What is your position on stem cell research? Should the federal government fund stem cell research?

I support stem cell research which has the potential to save lives and produce cures for many debilitating diseases. I oppose bans on funding for such research and believe such decisions should be based on scientific evidence, rather than on politics.

How would you address the rising costs of health care?

In recent years, Congress has considered numerous proposals to expand access to health insurance so that all Americans will have access to necessary medical treatments. In particular, there has been a great deal of interest in the use of tax subsides to expand health insurance.

I have been a long-time supporter of reforming our health-care system to guarantee every American access to quality and affordable health care. You can be sure that as we debate this issue in Congress, I will work to enact a reform proposal that is thoughtful, comprehensive and fair.

On the issues of rising costs, one of the reasons I voted against the new prescription drug package for Medicare is because it fails to control drug prices by prohibiting our government from negotiating lower prescription drug prices like other governments.

Would you change the current tax policy? If so, how?

I believe that our tax system has much room for reform. However, I strongly believe that a progressive income tax, which taxes higher levels of income at higher rates, is inherently more fair. We should work to improve those aspects of our current system which are overly complex or ineffective, rather than start over with an inherently inequitable regressive tax system, like a national sales tax, which would have a disproportionable impact on those with lower incomes.

I also support tax relief for working families. However, I voted against the President’s 2001 and 2003 tax packages because they were too costly over the long-term and benefit wealthy individuals at the expense of middle- and low-income families. Instead, I supported plans that would have provided more help for those who lost their jobs, given more money back to working families and provided more help for small business owners.

What is your position on funding for higher education?

I believe Congress should increase the buying power of the Pell Grant and continue its important role in helping to finance higher education.

What role should the federal government play in providing financial aid to college students?

The current federal role should continue to focus on affordability issues.

How should we proceed with military operations in Iraq?

The president oversold Americans on the reasons to begin the war, and he is now underselling the costs and obligations to our country that have since arisen. While I opposed the war, we now have a responsibility to the Iraqi people to secure peace, aid in reconstruction and help establish a democratic government. I firmly believe the president must come clean with the U.S. people about the long-term commitments and costs – in time, money and the deployment of U.S. soldiers – that will be required to stabilize Iraq.

What is your plan to improve the economy and stimulate job growth?

The single most important thing we can do to stimulate economic growth is to get our fiscal house in order. High budget deficits mean government crowds out private investment. Throughout the 1990s, we worked hard to get our fiscal house in order and balance the federal budget. The ten-year budget we enacted during my tenure as Chairman of the House Budget Committee resulted in substantial surpluses. We also enjoyed the longest period of economic expansion in our nation’s history.

Unfortunately, the federal fiscal outlook has deteriorated rapidly since then, and we are now running the largest budget deficits in history. As the baby-boomer generation begins to retire, our nation can no longer afford to ignore these real, very serious fiscal problems.

How would you handle the threat of terrorism?

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, I have been the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds and oversees its programs.

As the 9/11 Commission reports state, I believe that we are “safer” but not “safe” since Sept. 11.

With the continual warnings about imminent threats to homeland security, we must work harder to close the biggest gaps and vulnerabilities.

Priorities that require more scrutiny or additional funding include first responders programs, chemical plant security, screening cargo on passenger airplanes and Northern border security.