By Travis Mounts
While Rep. Mike Pompeo and Todd Tiahrt are generally both considered to be conservative Republicans, Pompeo – the incumbent who succeeded Tiahrt as the Fourth District congressman from Kansas four years ago – asserts there are vast differences between him and his opponent.
“I truly believe in a small central government. Mr. Tiahrt will say that…but he truly believes in taking money to Washington and then allocating it,” Pompeo said on Monday. “That is a big-government Republican.”
He said he wants to leave money in communities to spend as they see fit.
Pompeo said he has accomplished as much legislatively in the past four years as Tiahrt did in the 16 years prior to that. He pointed to his bill, the Small Airplane Revitalization Act. The bill, which was approved and signed by the president, directs the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to streamline the approval of safety advancements by reorganizing certification requirements. Pompeo has said the existing certification process increases the cost of safety and technology upgrades. The bill had the support of many industry groups; critics noted it was too limited in scope and that the effectiveness would be limited by the FAA’s unwillingness to give up power.
“Mr. Tiahrt passed two pieces of legislation in 16 years,” Pompeo said, noting that both renamed post offices. “The record of accomplishments is very different.”
Pompeo said he’s learned in his first term that most issues are very complex. He said also was surprised by the number of “big government” Republicans.
“They want to bring earmarks back. They want more power,” he said.
Like nearly every Republican, Pompeo wants to see the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, repealed. He offered his own prescription for improving access to insurance and healthcare.
First, he said insurance companies need to compete across the country. The system of having two or three, or in some cases, one health insurer in a country drives up prices. By allowing insurance to be sold nationwide, he said, prices would fall and consumers would get better products.
He said doctors and hospitals could to the same thing if they were freed of the restrictions of the ACA. As for pre-existing conditions, Pompeo advocated for the creation of a high-risk pool with everyone contributing in a way that would support it.
“If you address those things, costs will decrease and coverage will increase,” he said.
When asked about ways for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground, Pompeo said there are opportunities there for reforming the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. He said the IRS is a “disaster” and called the EP “out of control.”
With days left in a campaign that has tightened up, Pompeo said he is more trustworthy than his opponent.
“Mr. Tiahrt is telling Kansans things that aren’t true,” he said. He cited several media reports that have criticized Tiahrt’s campaign television ads. “I think it’s important for readers to know I’ll never do that. I’ll always shoot straight…I don’t think Kansans will be fooled.”