Live web chat with Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici
Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's live chat with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. We look forward to a good discussion. I'm George Rede, Opinion editor at the Hillsboro Argus and Forest Grove Leader, and I will be moderating today's conversation.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 11:50 
We ask that participants refrain from personal attacks, name calling and vulgar language. Please also be concise with your questions and comments. We will try to accommodate as many questions as we can.

Now is a good time to submit one, so it can be in the queue when we get the conversation started. .

Wednesday February 27, 2013 11:55 
This just in from Bonamici's office: She's likely to be delayed about 15 minutes as the House is preparing to vote on some measures this afternoon.

We'll push the starting time to 12:30 p.m. and we'll keep you posted.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 11:59 
[Comment From Kathleen Morgain KMUN AstKathleen Morgain KMUN Ast: ] 
Will audio from this forum be available on the web later?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:11 Kathleen Morgain KMUN Ast
Thanks for the question. There is no audio or video associated with the chat. Just the stream of comments as typed in real time by everyone here.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:12 
[Comment From Carmen, Seaside, ORCarmen, Seaside, OR: ] 
Will a transcript be available, then?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:21 Carmen, Seaside, OR
Yes, soon after the chat has ended you'll see a replay button.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:22 
Update from Washington, D.C.: Voting, belatedly, is under way in the House. Expect about another 15 minutes delay.

We'll post the first couple of questions now so the congresswoman can hit the ground running in responding. Thanks for your patience, everyone.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:26 
[Comment From RickyRicky: ] 
Representative, what are Democrats doing to help prevent the sequester from taking force?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:26 Ricky
[Comment From johnbrownraiderjohnbrownraider: ] 
Do you believe that the 2nd Amendment was for hunting and target shooting or was it for the right to bear weapons that were designed for military use?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:27 johnbrownraider
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
I am hoping that the voting happening in the House right now is passage of the bipartisan version of VAWA [Violence Against Women Act]. Representative, can you give us an update on how this seems to be going?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:45 Guest
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Currently they are in a roll call on ordering the previous question on HR51, meaning voting whether to vote on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Suzanne has to stay for this one.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:45 Guest
Hi everyone! Sorry I’m late. I just returned from the House floor where we voted on the procedural rules for the Violence Against Women Act, which will be considered on the floor tomorrow. I’m so happy to be here to discuss this important issue, and other topics. Thanks to the Hillsboro Argus for hosting this forum. I’m looking forward to a great discussion.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:53 
Welcome, Rep. Bonamici. And thanks to everyone for their patience.

Let's get started with the question above from Ricky (12:26).
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:55 
Replying to Guest: Thanks for your question about VAWA! I agree this is an important policy that must be renewed. House leaders announced yesterday that we would be voting on the Senate version of the bill tomorrow which includes stronger provisions to protect victims of violence. Today we voted on a procedure that allows the debate to move forward.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:55 
Ricky - Thanks for the question about the sequestration. This is something we are very concerned about. Negotiations are taking place now, and the White House will meet with Congressional leadership from both parties on Friday. I am hopeful that something will be worked out to avoid the across-the-board cuts. See my website for a report about how the cuts will affect Oregon.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 12:57 
Again, thanks for sticking with us while Rep. Bonamici was voting and then hustling back to her office. We will get to as many of your questions as we can.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:03 
Response to johnbrownraider - Thanks for the question. We've had a lot of discussions about gun violence prevention since the tragic shooting in Newtown; in fact, just this afternoon I was in a hearing about school safety. I support the 2nd Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:03 
[Comment From MarkMark: ] 
Represtative Bonamici: is bipartisanship truly dead in Washington?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:03 Mark
Mark - not at all. I've been working with colleagues across the aisle on many issues, including cleaning up tsunami debris, expanding access to health care for veterans, and I have formed a bipartisan caucus to discuss the importance of integrating arts and design into STEM education. Many of the bills we pass are bipartisan and I hope that continues.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:05 
[Comment From ryan ryan : ] 
Currently the U.S. debt to GDP ratio is roughly 101%. How long can the U.S. sustain this type of fiscal condition?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:06 ryan
Ryan - There's no question that we need to address the debt and deficit, but we need to do so in a way that does not stifle economic growth. We already passed about $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction. There are other places we could cut, but across-the-board cuts are the wrong way to do it.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:08 
[Comment From benjamin barber benjamin barber : ] 
Given that healthcare costs a disproportionate amount of GDP, would you be willing to pass strict laws on the non-profit eligibility of hospitals, and reduce the artificial scarcity of doctors implemented by the AMA (American Medical Association), by either streamlining foreign doctors' immigration or implementing more doctor training programs?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:09 benjamin barber
Benjamin - I agree that healthcare costs are too high, and it's encouraging to see the work that Oregon has been doing by creating coordinated care organizations. Governor Kitzhaber was in DC earlier this week, and he discussed with other leaders here that, if other states adopted this approach, savings would be significant. I (would be) willing to consider proposals to increase the number of providers, which is something that's addressed in the Affordable Care Act.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:11 
Back to the Violence Against Women Act for just a minute...
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:12 
[Comment From Carmen, Seaside, OR Carmen, Seaside, OR : ] 
Why does the VAWA need to be reauthorized, unlike some other acts, every few years?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:12 Carmen, Seaside, OR
Carmen - legislation often has an authorization period of only a few years, which allows legislators the opportunity to review the policy and make needed changes. Several provisions have been added to VAWA that strengthen protections, including protection for LGBT, Native American, and immigrant communities.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:14 
[Comment From Paul G. Paul G. : ] 
Suzanne, Paul Gronke of Reed College. After four campaigns in five years, do you feel like you are finally able to focus on governing and not campaigning? How have you changed in the last four years?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:15 Paul G.
Greetings, Professor! I've always preferred the policy to the politics, and legislating is why I'm here. That being said, it's exciting to be at the start of a new Congress with last year behind me. It's been a fascinating albeit challenging year, and I continue to be honored by the awesome responsibility of representing this great district.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:18 
[Comment From George George : ] 
Thanks for your time today. My question is why a tunnel cannot replace the I-5 bridge?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:18 George
Just to be clear, George is the screen name of a guest -- not that of George Rede, the moderator.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:19 
George - interesting question. I haven't heard this idea before; maybe it's an engineering challenge?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:20 
A quick followup re: the previous discussion on VAWA...
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:21 
[Comment From Carmen, Seaside, OR Carmen, Seaside, OR : ] 
So reauthorization is meant to change the Act for the times?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:21 Carmen, Seaside, OR
Carmen - reauthorization of any legislation gives policymakers an opportunity to review how it's working and make necessary changes. The changes in the VAWA we will vote on tomorrow are good changes that strengthen the Act. This reauthorization also includes programs preventing human trafficking, sexual assault on college campuses, and additional resources to address rape kit backlogs.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:24 
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
What is your opinion about the recently signed disabled abuse act by the governor? Will it prevent abuse (reported by The Oregonian in 2007) that has increased 73% since Fairview Training Center closed?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:24 Guest
Guest - you mentioned a state law and I'm not certain which law you are referring to. But any abuse is a problem and should be addressed. If there is an increase in abuse, it is a cause for concern.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:28 
[Comment From johnbrownraider johnbrownraider : ] 
What is Congress doing to stop POTUS from spending Americans' hard earned money on the CIA so they can purchase weapons for Al Qaeda, FSA (aka Radical Sunni Militias), Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and other TERRORIST organizations? Why didn't the president think of it before he told the CIA to start selling weapons?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:28 johnbrownraider
While we are waiting for a response, we have about 10-15 minutes left. Are there any of you who've been content to read along who now have a question of your own? Happy to plug you into the stream of comments...
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:30 
John - Congress has an important oversight responsibility, and I'm certain that my colleagues on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees would be very concerned, as I would be, about weapons getting into the hands of terrorists.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:30 
[Comment From benjamin barber benjamin barber : ] 
Given that the Federal Reserve Bank and many economics departments have shown that the scope and length of copyright and patent protection are actually preventing innovation and causing economic harm through legal wars, would you be willing to spearhead comprehensive intellectual monopoly rights reform?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:31 benjamin barber
Benjamin - it's a good question and an important issue. The U.S. Patent law was revised recently, but I am certainly open to suggestions about how policy could be changed to encourage innovation. Please send your ideas to my office.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:32 
Here is an issue that comes from the blog post advertising today's chat:

USA Patriot
Here is your top legislative priority: cut federal spending now! You and your big-government colleagues in DC are bankrupting the USA. Patriots demand less spending and smaller federal government now. There is no honor in massive deficit spending. There is no honor in burdening our young people with a trillion dollars in new debt every year. The time for talk is over; it is time now for action.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:33 
USA Patriot - We have already passed more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction. I'm always looking for smarter, more efficient ways to do things, and for places to cut. What I don't support, however, is across-the-board cuts that will stifle economic recovery.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:35 
Circling back to the previous exchange about abuse of the elderly, here is a followup question.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:36 
[Comment From George, From Cornelus George, From Cornelus : ] 
Do you think better oversight for the disabled will help decrease abuse?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:36 George, From Cornelus
George - yes. Any abuse of the disabled is inexcusable and should be prosecuted. I support policies that prevent abuse, but when it happens there should be consequences.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:37 
[Comment From Guest Guest : ] 
Given that many small ports are economic drivers in their communities, is there any hope of the Corps of Engineers resuming the responsibility for dredging?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:37 Guest
Guest - I support resources for the Corps to resume dredging. It's a critical part of the economy of the Northwest, especially in the district I'm honored to represent. Our ports are an important part of Oregon's economy and dredging is necessary to keep them operating at full capacity.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:40 
Time for maybe one, possibly two more, questions.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:41 
[Comment From benjamin barber benjamin barber : ] 
Given that the director of national intelligence has reported a decline in food inventory as well as decade over decade food production, and is anticipating by 2030 that energy and food scarcity will produce global economic instability, do you have any plans on addressing the challenges of climate change and mineral scarcity?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:41 benjamin barber
[Comment From benjamin barber benjamin barber : ]
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:42 benjamin barber
Benjamin - thanks for this important issue. As the Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee of the Science Committee, I'm very much aware of the challenges of climate change. We are holding a hearing next week on the issue, and I look forward to continuing to work toward policies that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, among other things.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:44 
And, finally, this on education.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:44 
[Comment From Jane Hise Jane Hise : ] 
You said you 'have formed a bipartisan caucus to discuss the importance of integrating arts and design into STEM education.' Can you tell us more about that? How do you see that happening, and do you think Oregon is in a good position to take the lead on this?
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:44 Jane Hise
Jane - We had a great kick-off of the bipartisan STEAM caucus recently. The issue is about the importance of a well-rounded education that strengthens the STEM disciplines by incorporating arts/design. Speakers included the President of the Rhode Island School of Design, Adobe, the U.S. Patent office, and the National Endowment for the Arts. And yes, Oregon is in a good position to take the lead. There's a lot of interest among many different sectors, including high tech, the arts, and education. The main message from our first meeting is that STEAM is important for U.S. innovation and global competitiveness. I look forward to continuing to work on this issue from my position on both the Science and Education Committees.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:49 
On behalf of The Argus, The Leader and OregonLive, thanks to Rep. Bonamici and everyone else for being here. A good discussion on a number of topics. We'll go through the Q&A and clean up the typos and post an edited transcript shortly.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:49 
Thank you to everyone who participated, and to George Rede from the Hillsboro Argus for organizing this forum. Please keep in touch! Suzanne
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:49 
You can reach me at or on Twitter @repbonamici.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:50 
We'll have another live chat with Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett on Wednesday, March 20. More details to come.
Wednesday February 27, 2013 1:52 
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