Issues

GROW THE ECONOMY & CREATE JOBS

As a former small business owner, I observed how businesses have to navigate through too many government regulations and a convoluted tax code. Therefore, I support a pro-growth agenda that cuts burdensome and unnecessary government regulations and lowers taxes for businesses. I understand that in order for businesses to succeed and grow and for investors to invest, the government must create an environment that is conducive to it, and then stay out of the way. To grow the economy, we need more private sector jobs. But, we also need for workers to be able to keep more of the money that they make in their pockets as opposed to sending it to the Washington bureaucrats.

Tax Reform is Necessary

Our convoluted income tax system hurts small businesses and the average taxpayer. Our Founding Fathers did not intend for our government to become so powerful to the point of bullying Americans via taxes.

The current tax code includes loopholes and incentives put there by politicians and lobbyists to appease special interests. This type of crony capitalism hurts small businesses and folks trying to make ends meet.

It’s time to pass tax reform!

I will support and vote for bills that downsize the IRS and bills that eliminate or lower as many taxes as possible for all Americans no matter the income bracket, including businesses. This is important so that we can move towards economic prosperity by leaving more money in the hands of job creators, investors, and hardworking Americans.

I also support repealing every single tax currently levied by the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare). The elimination of the Obamacare tax penalty levied against individuals and businesses that don’t purchase health care insurance is a high priority. This is hurting middle class Americans and small businesses the most.

Cut Unnecessary and Burdensome Regulations

A robust and healthy economy that creates jobs for Americans can be accomplished, when unnecessary and burdensome government regulations are cut back. A balance can be struck between safety and environmental protections and creating the proper conditions for businesses to grow. The problem is that government often goes too far in enacting crushing regulations due to its ever increasing power. Overregulation hurts small businesses the most since they do not have the resources to deal with meeting all of the government mandates. Onerous regulations prevent small businesses from growing and hiring more workers. It is difficult for our economy to prosper if small businesses are unsuccessful since they employ most of the American workforce.

So far, the Trump administration has done everything possible, within their power, to scale back and cut unnecessary and burdensome regulations. This has caused the economy to once again begin to flourish and job creation has increased. However, Congress has to do more to help, if we want to continue down that path. The executive branch can’t do it all. Congress must pass regulatory reform bills that will continue to scale back regulations and prevent too many new regulations from being enacted in the future.

EDUCATION

Education is valuable for our society’s economy and people’s personal lives because it is the greatest equalizer. However, as a veteran educator in the public school system for 22 years, I have witnessed firsthand the negative effects caused by the federal government's intrusion in state and local educational issues. The U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government such power. Education is a power delegated to the states based on the Tenth Amendment. Our Founding Fathers intended for education to remain in the hands of those closest to the students: the states, local governments, and the parents.

During most of our nation’s history, the federal government’s role in education was very limited until 1980 when it further expanded its role by creating the U.S. Department of Education as a cabinet level agency. Our country’s public educational system is no better off today than it was before we began to federalize education. On the contrary, our students are now less prepared and perform at a lower level than students in other developed nations.

It was through the Federal Department of Education that one-size-fits-all programs such as the “No Child Left Behind Act” and “Common Core” entered our schools. The federal government dangles federal funds in front of state and local governments, and this is how it is able to reach its tentacles into our children’s educational decisions and place unnecessary and counterproductive mandates on our local schools. I oppose federalized programs such as the No Child Left Behind Act and Common Core, and I support completely eliminating these two programs.

I would support abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. This would cut a layer of bureaucracy and save money that can be used to decrease our national debt. The federal government can continue supporting education independently or through other areas of government without needing the U.S. Department of Education to remain in place. Until this bureaucratic department can be abolished, I will support scaling back the U.S. Department of Education and making it as inconsequential as possible in the education of our children by supporting and voting for bills that will put educational matters in the hands of those who know the students best: states, local school boards, administrators, teachers, and parents. I will also support evaluating in a very rigorous manner the existing federal education programs to determine their effectiveness. Through this process, Congress members will be able to better decide which programs should be kept and which should be eliminated. We cannot continue to spend taxpayer dollars in programs that are not producing the necessary results.

The funding that the federal government provides for education needs to prioritize the needs of local schools and students. There is a long distance between Washington and the classroom. Federal funds and programs travel through multiple layers of bureaucracy before it even reaches the classroom, and along the way much funding is lost. Funding and programs go through 50 state departments of education, which send them to local school districts, then to administrators at school sites, and finally, maybe, to classroom teachers. I support finding a way to cut bureaucracy by creating a more direct route from Washington to the schools so that money is saved and our teachers are able to receive the most resources possible.

I am a strong supporter of School Choice. I believe that everyone no matter the background, ethnicity, income level, or race should have the opportunity to receive the best education possible. School Choice provides access to better quality education for many of our disadvantaged students who would otherwise not have that access in their own neighborhood public schools. School Choice also promotes competition, which in turn increases quality. As a public school educator, I have witnessed the positive effects of the School Choice movement. Because public schools now have to compete with other types of schools, the public school system has had no choice but to work harder to improve in order to be more competitive. I support giving parents many different choices since they are the ones who know what is best for their children. One of those many choices I support is homeschooling. I believe it is a parent’s right to decide if the best way to educate their child is at home. With that said, I support lowering taxes in order for parents to keep more of their money and use it for homeschooling should they choose to do so, and I support more School Choice programs.

IMMIGRATION

Throughout the years, the United States has been extremely generous to immigrants allowing millions to migrate legally and settle down in our great nation. However, if we are going to survive as a nation, elected officials must have the resolve to tackle the many immigration problems that we currently face, and I will do just that as your Representative in Congress.

Get Rid of the Magnets to Reduce Illegal Immigration

The most cost-effective and quickest way to reduce illegal immigration is by getting rid of the magnets that attract people to come to the U.S. illegally and remain here as such. If the rewards no longer exist, many whom are here illegally will return to their home country on their own.

Stop Sanctuary Cities

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there are over 300 cities, counties, and states that are considered sanctuary cities, which protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes from being deported by refusing to comply with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Sanctuary cities make it easier for illegal aliens, including those who have committed crimes, to live undetected in the U.S. This puts American lives at risk. Sanctuary cities are breaking federal law and as such they must be punished accordingly. I support passing legislation that would strip federal funding from sanctuary cities.

Reform Birthright Citizenship

Currently, children born in the United States receive automatic citizenship, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. According to Pew Hispanic Center, in 2010, 4.5 million children born in the United States were born to parents living in the country illegally. This practice is a magnet for foreigners who want their children to have U.S. citizenship. I support legislation that would end the practice of granting automatic citizenship to every child born in the United States, unless the parent is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Mandatory E-Verify

A huge incentive that attracts people to come to the United States illegally is their ability to work without documentation once they are here. Eliminating this magnet across the nation would make it extremely difficult for an illegal alien to remain here. At a time when we have millions of Americans unemployed and underemployed, we cannot afford to have millions of illegal aliens competing in our workforce with American workers.

To prevent the hiring of illegal aliens, E-Verify needs to be implemented nationwide. E-Verify is a free online system that provides an automated link to existing federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their social security numbers.

I support passing legislation making the use of E-Verify mandatory for businesses in all 50 states. Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens are breaking federal law. Therefore, I also support enacting penalties against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens.

Stop Amnesties

Giving amnesty to illegal aliens encourages more illegal immigration. In 1986, amnesty was given to 3 million illegal aliens, and now we have 11 million (or more) living in the U.S. The fact is that amnesty is a magnet that increases illegal immigration. As long as the government continues to give the hope of amnesty, those who are here illegally will remain to benefit from the next amnesty program, and those who are planning to come illegally to the U.S., will continues to see it as an opportunity to receive legal status once they are here.

The Center for Immigration Studies found that “the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants have modest levels of education; therefore, the high use of welfare associated with less-educated legal immigrants indicates that legalization would likely increase welfare costs, particularly for cash and housing programs.” Thus, giving amnesty to illegal aliens will cause an undue burden on the taxpayers.

I oppose giving amnesty to illegal aliens. Instead, our immigration laws already on the books must be enforced.

Stop Taxpayer-Funded Assistance

Currently, an average household headed by illegal aliens benefits from taxpayer-funded assistance programs such as government housing, free lunches for children at school, free cell phones, and food stamps to name a few.

The Center for Immigration Studies found that “the average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits, which is 41 percent higher than the $4,431 received by the average native household.”

I support legislation to stop taxpayer-funded assistance programs for illegal aliens. American taxpayers cannot be responsible for carrying this burden.

Stop Giving Tax Refunds

Illegal aliens receive thousands of dollars in tax refunds by claiming their children under the Earned Income Credit costing taxpayers billions of dollars. To add insult to injury, in many instances, the children they claim for these tax credits are not living in the United States. Congress has failed to pass a bill to close the loophole in our tax system that allows this. I support legislation to close this loophole.

Fix Immigration Enforcement to Stop Illegal Immigration

Implement a Biometric Entrance/Exit System

There are many illegal aliens who crossed over the border illegally. But, there are also many who came to the U.S. with a visa and decided to overstay their welcome and remained here illegally. At this moment, the Department of Homeland Security does not have the ability to comprehensively match entry and exit records, which means they have little information about who is coming in and not leaving. I support the full implementation of a biometric entry/exit system to help reduce the number of visa overstayers.

Strengthen Interior Enforcement

For years, hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens who were caught in the U.S. were released instead of being removed under a common practice known as “Catch and Release”. “Catch and Release” became most prevalent during Obama’s administration. Although President Trump’s administration has taken some steps towards ending this practice, his administration can’t completely end it alone without the help of Congress. I support legislation that would put an end to “Catch and Release” practices by requiring mandatory detention of any aliens who enter the U.S. illegally until removal proceedings are completed in an expeditious manner. I also support providing Trump’s administration with funds to hire more immigration judges in order to expedite cases of removable aliens.

Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. However, the cooperation of state and local police is needed to help federal immigration authorities catch and detain illegal aliens. I support legislation that clarifies the authority of state and local police to detain illegal aliens and that requires the federal government to respond to state and local requests to pick up and remove the illegal aliens.

Secure the Borders

It is the sole responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders, and the funding must be provided to ensure that it is done once and for all. I support providing adequate funding to increase the number of border patrol agents to protect land and sea borders and to provide the tools and equipment necessary to deter and catch smugglers and illegal border crossers. I also support building physical structures at the border to keep illegal aliens, drug cartels, and human traffickers out. I fully support President Trump’s promise to the American people to build a border wall.

HEALTHCARE

Had I been in Congress when Obamacare was first introduced, I would have voted against it. But, it is here now, and Congress must stop putting off the task of repealing and replacing it. Too many hardworking Americans are now experiencing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and poorer quality healthcare. Obamacare is hurting our economy and putting our country further into debt.

I don’t believe that the healthcare system was in top shape before Obamacare. There were some problems that needed to be solved. However, Obamacare was not the right solution. It just made matters worse. Under Obamacare, the overregulation and lack of free-market principles do not make our healthcare system competitive enough.

I support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with free-market solutions that lower costs, increase patient access to care, spur competition, and improve quality. Americans should have more choices and the freedom to choose. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work. I will work towards solutions that ensure that our health care system remains the best in the world.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

According to the U.S. National Debt Clock http://www.usdebtclock.org, our national debt is almost at $20 trillion dollars and rising! If the debt is not addressed, the excessive federal spending will slow our country’s economic growth, reduce income levels, and continue to lead us down an unsustainable fiscal path. Eventually, the burden will be placed on the backs of our future generations.

The debt is also a matter of national security. The fact that foreign countries own trillions of dollars of our nation’s public debt could limit our country’s leverage with foreign powers. Additionally, if our nation is economically unstable, then America’s power projection is decreased.

Washington, D.C. has become addicted to deficit spending. But, just like millions of Americans must balance their checkbooks and state governors and legislatures must balance their budgets, requiring the federal government to do the same is a must to rein in the out-of-control spending. Therefore, a constitutional amendment outlawing deficit spending should be the central point of federal budget reform. Floridians overwhelmingly agree that Congress must balance its budget. In 2010, a nonbinding referendum on the Florida ballot asked voters whether Congress should add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget without raising taxes. The question passed with 71.90% of Floridians voting in favor. I agree with my fellow Floridians and will represent their will in Congress. I support passing a Federal Budget Amendment, which will force Congress to be fiscally prudent. If states and households have to balance their budget, then the Feds should be made to do the same. Our economic prosperity and national security depends on it. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle need to realize that spending cuts are necessary to get our fiscal house in order. We spend federal funds in many areas and programs that are not under the constitutional responsibility of the federal government and that are best handled by the states and local governments. We have to make fiscally sound decisions by cutting or eliminating some of the programs that are not the function of the federal government. When voting for budgets, I will vote in favor of budgets that move our nation towards a path of fiscal balance. I will also vote against funding new programs unless there is an offset in cuts in other programs. I will work with other Representatives who have dedicated their time and effort to finding ways to cut waste and fraud but haven’t been able to do so because they need more allies in Congress. I will be that ally. As a grassroots activist in Miami-Dade, I have fought for the same things at a local level, and I am more than ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on behalf of the American taxpayer in Congress.

PROTECT THE SECOND AMENDMENT

I am a strong supporter of gun rights. In 2016, I received an Aq Rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). This is the “highest rating” that a first time candidate can receive from the NRA.

The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. It provides “we the people” with the guarantee of liberty. History has proven that the most effective way for an oppressive government to enslave its people is to disarm them. Having lived under a dictatorship in Cuba where my father was a political prisoner, I know the impotence of an unarmed citizenry too well.

As free people, we have the right to protect our lives, families, and homes from criminals. Law enforcement works hard at protecting us and deterring crime. However, we as individuals are the first line of defense against a criminal threat. Criminals will always find guns to do their harm, and laws that take away the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families, only serve to encourage rather than prevent crimes.

If elected, I will oppose any efforts to undermine or limit the constitutional right to bear arms.

Maria Peiro Issues