How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Brown: The Trump Administration has been a failure, both domestically and internationally.
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Brown: Oppose. The federal tax cuts resulted in the top 1% of income earners receiving 83% of the benefits, and will increase the federal debt by $2.3 trillion dollars.
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Brown: The national debt is a concern and will be a crushing burden on our children and grandchildren. To reduce the national debt, we must reduce our trade deficit, grow our economy through targeted investments in education and infrastructure, and reform our tax code to ensure that everybody pays their fair share of taxes.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Brown: Economic inequality is a severe problem in the United States and can be addressed by a more progressive tax code, greater investments in education and workforce development, greater federal investments in communities experiencing persistent poverty, expand small business and entrepreneurial opportunities, and ensure equal access to homeownership.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Brown: Federal gun laws should be changed by establishing universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, banning bump stocks and assault weapons, limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines, and expanding the no-buy list to domestic violence perpetrators and people on the no-fly list.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Brown: The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction and needs to be strengthened, and eventually replaced with a single payer system.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Brown: The federal government should help cities like Baltimore by investing in federal programs that create employment opportunities in high unemployment communities, investing in aging infrastructure and affordable housing programs, providing summer jobs and year-round training to at-risk youth, addressing food insecurity by combatting food deserts, and implementing the Congressional Black Caucus’ 10-20-30 formula whereby federal agencies commit 10% of their budgets in communities where 20% of the population has been living in poverty for the last 30 years.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Brown: Congress must increase funding to state and local government to support community and evidence-based programs to address the opioid epidemic, and develop opioid prescribing practices to reduce opioid misuse and overdoses.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Brown: Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform that promotes family reunification and diversity, strengthens our workforce and economy, and provides refuge for asylum seekers and refugees, while at the same time protects our borders.
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Brown: The United States should support free trade, while also ensuring that our trading partners abide by the international rules, do not manipulate their currencies, and protect consumers, the labor force, the environment and intellectual property rights.
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Brown: The Iran Nuclear Deal is a framework agreed to by Iran, the United States, and a group of world powers. The framework did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its malign activities throughout the Middle East, and its arms sales to state and non state actors that pose a threat to the United States and our allies and partners. The framework also is weak in the areas of inspecting Iran’s compliance and with next steps when the framework terminates. As a member of Congress, I support addressing these issues.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Brown: The United States should emphasize diplomacy, supported by a strong military posture, with the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. Diplomacy should include our allies and engage China.