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Five Questions With: J.D. Vance says he wants to end tax loopholes for tech companies and ban congressional stock trading

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J.D. Vance, an Ohio Republican in a tight U.S. Senate race against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, indicated he would support the bipartisan push to ban members of Congress from trading stocks, in an interview with MarketWatch.

Answering five questions from MarketWatch, Vance, a venture capitalist and author of the memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” also reiterated his support of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 abortion-rights decision in Roe v. Wade and his criticism of President Joe Biden’s move to cancel $10,000 in federal student debt per borrower (or $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients).

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pushed for a stock-trading ban, or at least restrictions on buying and selling individual stocks, with some members of Congress having come under scrutiny for trades made before the market
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plummeted in 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose husband owns and operates a San Francisco–based venture-capital and investment firm, initially frowned on the proposal, saying last December that the U.S. is “a free-market economy” and that members of Congress and their families “should be able to participate in that.” She has since softened her stance on congressional trading reform, and recently backed a bill that would prohibit lawmakers, senior congressional staff, Supreme Court justices, and members of the executive branch from owning or trading individual stocks.

Read: Watchdog blasts top House Democrats’ plan for banning congressional stock trading: ‘They’ve included poison pills’

Vance and Ryan, who has represented northeast Ohioans in Congress since 2003, are set to face off in their Senate race’s second debate Monday night. MarketWatch sent the same questionnaire to Ryan’s campaign, as well as candidates in other competitive Senate races. Ryan has not responded.  

Highlights from the first debate: Ohio hopefuls Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance debate abortion, inflation, Ukraine, China and Senate qualifications

The fight for the open seat has been closely watched since Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced his retirement, prompting a fierce GOP primary competition from which Vance emerged victorious with 32.2% of the vote. Vance’s bid benefited from both the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and $15 million in support from Vance’s fellow venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Read: Meet the 10 biggest megadonors for the 2022 midterm elections

The race is rated as “lean” Republican by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, and polling since the beginning of September shows Vance leading by an average of one point.

The following are MarketWatch’s questions and Vance’s replies.

How do you propose to address high U.S. inflation?

First, stop the runaway spending. Second, open up our energy sector
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: more oil and gas leases, more refining capacity, and less ESG regulations that prevent us from developing our own energy capacity.  

If you could make one change to corporate tax policy and one change to individual taxes, what would they be?

In corporate taxes, eliminate the loopholes that allow digital tech companies
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and other asset-light corporations to pay far lower effective rates than manufacturing and energy companies. In individual taxes, there’s a lot we could do, but we really need to fix the marriage penalty built into the earned-income tax credit.

Was the Supreme Court right to overturn Roe v. Wade? What should the White House, Congress and U.S. states do in response?

The Supreme Court’s decision gave power back to the elected representatives of the people, which was the right thing to do. I’m pro-life, and would like to see new legislation that saves lives, promotes healthcare
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access for young families, and increases options for adoption services. 

What’s your view on President Biden’s move to cancel certain amounts of student-loan debt?

It’s a joke, and it’s unfair. It transfers money from the working class to professionals, and bails out a corrupt university system that has seen skyrocketing costs. We should tax the endowments of universities and make the colleges pay for this, not the average American. Notably, my opponent flip-flopped on this issue — he supported debt relief two years ago and now opposes it because he fears it will lose him a Senate seat (which it will). 

Related: Democrats in tough Senate races distance themselves from Biden’s plan for student-loan forgiveness

To what extent do you support the bipartisan push to ban U.S. senators and representatives from trading individual stocks?

I think it’s a good idea. Nancy Pelosi should not be able to guarantee special favors for Google
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and then buy their stock to profit from her political power.

Related: Pelosi says her husband has ‘absolutely not’ made any stock trades based on information from her

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