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Dennis Kucinich on Technology

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


Create a federal bank of infrastructure modernization

Q: Should governments subsidize private businesses like sports teams by building them stadiums, when perhaps that choice is being made at the expense of infrastructure and bridges?

A: I’ve actually been involved in that argument for many years.

Q: I know.

A: Here’s what I said in Cleveland. Instead of spending $400 billion or more for a stadium, why don’t we just buy the team? I think that we ought to be talking about an approach that gives people a return for their investment. Now with respect to infrastructure, for the third time, I’ve introduced a bill. This time it’s H.R. 3400, a bipartisan bill. It will create millions of new jobs, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, rebuilding roads, water systems, sewer systems, bridges. It’ll create a federal bank of infrastructure modernization.

Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 7, 2007

Technologies will create jobs

Q: What priority would you give to the space program under your presidency?

A: our work has to be done here on earth. But we also must keep in mind that there’s tremendous spin-off technology. I have the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Glenn Research Center in my district. And they create a great number of jobs and spin-off technologies and propulsion and environmental technologies, in medicine and communications, in metallurgy. And this is where the jobs of the future will be.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Rebuild cities to prevent urban sprawl

Q: What are your thoughts on urban sprawl?

A: We must create sustainable, livable communities. This means city planning becomes a matter of urgent concern. Urban sprawl has created duplication of infrastructure and services. Cities have such great potential for economic and social growth. As a former mayor, I intend to lead the resurgence of cities through rebuilding America’s schools, bridges, sewer & water systems and through building new transportation and energy systems. I will lead the discussion on sustainability through working to preserve our farm lands and through protecting the interests of family farmers. I want to see great resources focused on rebuilding our cities and our neighborhoods and thereby creating a new sense of community in America.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 4, 2003

Stimulate economy with massive new WPA-type program

Q: Your economic strategy?

KUCINICH: My economic strategy would be working to rebuild cities with a massive new WPA-type program. My economic policies will work toward universal health care, which will inspire further growth in the economy; universal pre-kindergarten, which will enable parents to be able to have their children ages 3, 4 and 5 for a five-day-a-week child-care program, saving families between $5,000 and $7,000 per child.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Americans need more info about genetic alterations in food

The public interest is a transcendent, irreducible imperative in matters of peace, life, health, safety, and the environment. As the public becomes better informed of the effects and risks of genetic alteration of food, an enlightened public can pursue choices which will truly be in their best interest. Food choice is a very personal act. Partaking of food expresses cultural and ethnic affirmation, religious affiliation, ethical choices, political, economic, and social orientation.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Subsidize farmer losses due to genetic modifications

The Kucinich Administration will advocate for only responsible farm sector biotechnology, creating an indemnity fund-financed by the corporations responsible for the technology-for farmers who incur losses caused by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” Aug 1, 2003

Voted YES on delaying digital TV conversion by four months.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act to delay the transition of television broadcasting from analog to digital to June 13, 2009. Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend for a 116-day period the licenses for recovered spectrum, including the construction requirements associated with those licenses.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. RICK BOUCHER (D, VA-9): Fully 6.5 million households are totally unprepared for the transition on February 17; these 6.5 million households will lose all of their television service, and that number represents about 5.7% of the total American television viewing public. If almost 6%of the nation's households lose all of their television service, I think that most people would declare that the digital television transition has been a failure. In recognition of that reality, this legislation would delay the transition until June 12.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JOE LINUS BARTON (R, TX-6): The majority is trying to fix a problem that I do not think really exists. We have sent out 33 million coupons: 22 million of those coupons have been redeemed, and 11 million coupons are outstanding. The outstanding coupons are being redeemed, I think, by about 500,000 a week, something like that. In my opinion, you could keep the hard date and not have a problem, but if you think there is a problem, it is not from lack of money. We have appropriated $1.3 billion. About half of that is still in the Treasury, so the redemption rate is only about 52%. Even though we are delaying this until June 12 if this bill becomes law, according to the acting chairman of the FCC, 61% of the television stations in America are going to go ahead and convert to digital. 143 television stations already have converted, and in those areas where they have converted, I am not aware that there has been a huge problem.

Reference: DTV Delay Act; Bill S.352 ; vote number 2009-H052 on Mar 4, 2009

Voted NO on retroactive immunity for telecoms' warrantless surveillance.

Proponents argument for voting YEA:Rep. ETHERIDGE. This bipartisan bill provides the critical tools that our intelligence community needs to ensure the safety of our Nation--to authorize surveillance in the case of an emergency situation, p companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. It sets a dangerous precedent for Congress to approve a law that dismisses ongoing court cases simply on the basis that the companies can show that the administrat
Reference: FISA Amendments Act; Bill HR6304 ; vote number 2008-437 on Jun 20, 2008

Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-1040 on Nov 6, 2007

Voted YES on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).

An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
  1. not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
  2. to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
  3. if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet, which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
Reference: Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act; Bill HR 5252 Amendment 987 ; vote number 2006-239 on Jun 8, 2006

Voted NO on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.

Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
  1. additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
  2. indecency penalties for non-licensees;
  3. deadlines for actions on complaints;
  4. additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
  5. provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]; Bill H.R.310 ; vote number 2005-035 on Feb 16, 2005

Voted NO on promoting commercial human space flight industry.

Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004: States that Congress finds that:
  1. the goal of safely opening space to the American people and to their private commercial enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations;
  2. private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space;
  3. greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the commercial space transportation industry;
  4. space transportation is inherently risky, and the future of the commercial human space flight industry will depend on its ability to continually improve its safety performance; and
  5. the regulatory standards governing human space flight must evolve as the industry matures so that regulations neither stifle technology development nor expose crew or space flight participants to avoidable risks as the public comes to expect greater safety for crew and space flight participants from the industry.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]; Bill H.R.5382 ; vote number 2004-541 on Nov 20, 2004

Voted NO on banning Internet gambling by credit card.

Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL; Bill HR 2143 ; vote number 2003-255 on Jun 10, 2003

Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.

Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA; Bill HR 1542 ; vote number 2002-45 on Feb 27, 2002

Require text on TV for visually-impaired viewers.

Kucinich co-sponsored requiring text on TV for visually-impaired viewers

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's rules for the description of video programming.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill would require television broadcasters, during at least 50 hours of their prime time or children's programming every quarter, to insert verbal descriptions of actions or settings not contained in the normal audio track of a program. This can be accomplished through technology commonly referred to as "video description services," which allows television programming to be more accessible and enjoyable for the visually impaired.

This bill is necessary due to a 2002 decision by District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2000, the FCC, recognizing the need to make television programming accessible to the visually impaired, mandated that television broadcast stations provide 50 hours of video descriptions during prime time or children's programming every calendar quarter. Television programmers challenged the Commission's authority to promulgate such rules. The Circuit Court held that the Commission did not have authority to issue the regulations.

This bill would provide the Commission the authority to promulgate such regulations and reinstate the FCC's video description rules issued in 2000. Since the spectrum that television broadcasters utilize is a public asset, one would expect that programming over the public airwaves is accessible to all Americans. Unfortunately, that is not the case today and that is why we must pass the TIVI Act. I sincerely hope that television broadcasters will work with us to provide video descriptions for individuals with visual disabilities.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

Source: TV for the Visually Impaired Act (S.900/H.R.951) 05-S0900 on Apr 26, 2005

Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.

Kucinich co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services

A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
  2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
  3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
  4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
  5. A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
  6. While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in 41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
  7. 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.

Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.

Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007

Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.

Kucinich co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation

Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.

Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.

The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets. The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.

The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.

This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.

This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.

Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008

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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010