Houston Matters

Culberson Addresses Flood Mitigation, Immigration, Energy And Other Issues

Houston Matters interviews the Republican Congressman as part of a series of interviews with candidates in major races ahead of the midterm election

Congressman John Culberson talked with Houston Matters about a variety of issues ranging from flood mitigation to immigration, as well as energy and health care, as part of a series of interviews with candidates in major races ahead of the midterm election.

Culberson is the incumbent Republican in Texas' 7th Congressional District and, on the topic of flood mitigation noted that he has secured hundreds of millions of dollars for flood mitigation projects by the Harris County Flood Control District during the time he has served on the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Congressman also said that when Congress was working on relief bills for Texas and other states because of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey last year he made an effort to take a leadership role. He underscored that he worked towards writing the bill pertaining to Harvey relief in a way that put “the flood control construction money for Harris County, in southeast Texas, at the front of the line.”

House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, center, speaks during the subcommittee’s hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation FY 2017 budget, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Others are House Appropriations Full Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., left, and subcommittee acting ranking member  Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., right.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, was interviewed on Houston Matters as part of a series of interviews with candidates in major races ahead of the midterm election.

Trade

Trade was another topic Culberson spoke about. He said that, because his congressional district houses some companies that need specialized steel products that can only be obtained from certain foreign sources, he has worked to make sure the Department of Commerce grants them exemptions from the tariffs established by the Trump administration.

The Congressman also addressed immigration and said he supports hiring hundreds of judges and prosecutors for the southern border so that they can “rapidly hear claims of asylum and deal with them expeditiously so people can have their day in court.” In that sense, Culberson underlined he wants that all asylum claims are made at a port of entry.

“Any construction of a wall has to be decided by the individual Border Patrol sector chiefs in each sector because the geography is different, the smuggling and the illegal activity is different in every sector,” the Congressman also said, still speaking about immigration, and added he supports a guest worker program.

When asked about how to strike a balance between promoting the development of the energy industry and protecting the environment, Culberson said the United States already has “very good environmental safeguards in place” and added that “technology advances in the oil and gas industry have made it possible to find and produce oil and gas much more quickly and much more cleanly than in the past.”

Health care

As for health care, the Congressman criticized the Affordable Care Act –commonly known as Obamacare— because it made premiums increase and explained he supports enabling Americans to buy insurance across state lines. Culberson also noted pre-existing conditions could be covered through high risk pools that states could set up.

Regarding public transportation, the Congressman said he has always helped the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) receive federal funding and “the only rail lines that I have blocked are those in my district that my constituents overwhelmingly oppose and that the voters did not approve.”

Culberson alluded to potential light rail lines on Richmond Avenue and Post Oak as projects that are opposed by many of his constituents and explained he has required that METRO “before they could build rail on Richmond or Post Oak, they must have an election in the service area that includes many different forms of transportation, that’s multi-modal, that tells us precisely what they’re gonna build, where they’re gonna build it and how they’re gonna pay for it.”

Gun rights

On the gun rights issue, the Congressman said he supports existing law which, according to him, is already clear about keeping firearms out of the hands of people who have been convicted of a crime or people who have been declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.

In that sense, Culberson underscored it is important that those persons are properly listed on the national instant criminal background check database and noted he passed legislation to make the database more accurate by eliminating bonuses and cutting the pay of any federal employee that fails to update the database accurately.

Culberson is running against Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, who was interviewed on Houston Matters on September 11.

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Alvaro 'Al' Ortiz

Alvaro 'Al' Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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