Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. It is time again for my weekly update report, as I reflect upon another week.
Sadly, the United States Senate voted this week on the selective use of the federal tax code as a weapon for political posturing, instead of doing authorization and appropriation legislation. By a vote of 51-48, with Vice President Joe Biden in attendance in case of a tie vote, the Senate voted to raise taxes on the top two out of six existing income tax brackets.
I find it quite perplexing that politicians can artificially determine what is “rich” in America for the intended purpose of targeting and demonizing a group. Many small business owners pay their company taxes on their individual returns with a total income of $200,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a family.
The additional revenue resulting from this tax increase on these two brackets is barely enough to fund our Federal Government at its current spending rate for 10 days. Similar to the misguided logic of the “Buffet Rule” (which would only yield $40 billion over 10 years), this policy is politically driven, not driven by sound economic principle.
The recently released Ernst and Young report clearly articulates the danger of these targeted tax increases on American small businesses, which are no doubt the economic engine of this country.
As I sit here, I am seeing more liberal progressive legislative actions and presidential Executive Orders resembling what Frederic Bastiat termed in his essay, “The Law” as legal plunder. The problem is, when the American people are told the truth, like with the 20 taxes in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which I prefer to call the Patient Protection Unaffordable Tax Act, the left uses guilt tactics claiming anyone against it doesn’t have a heart. Instead, the liberals and the current Obama Administration want you to believe theCongressional Budget Office (CBO) rescoring of the PPACA this week is all rosy, which it clearly is not.
Highlights of CBO report on PPACA:
– The gross cost of the bill for 2012-2022 is $1.683 trillion instead of the $1.762 trillion assessment from a March review. The original estimate was $940 billion, so it is still not anywhere near good news for Americans. Also, the primary reason for the $289 billion decrease is because the CBO expects fewer states to participate in the legislation’s MEDICAID expansion– ruled optional by the United States Supreme Court June 28th decision.
– 3 million more Americans will be uninsured compared to the March analysis.
– The new “individual mandate tax” will impose a tax increase of $55 billion over the next 10 years on Americans.
– The PPACA’s employer mandate penalties will impose a tax increase of $117 billion on job creators.
All of these taxes on the horizon and then we also learn this week the United States is at a 46-year-high for the number of Americans in poverty. The Obama Administration has managed to drive more than nine million Americans into poverty in less than four years.
In closing, I find it unconscionable that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to recognize the 40th Anniversary of the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Islamic terrorists, something I remember as an 11–year-old child.
40 years later and we are still contending with this scourge, but at an even greater scope. Just two weeks ago, five Jewish tourists were killed in a bus bombing in Bulgaria. We have recently had Israelis attacked by Islamic terrorists from the Sinai. Almost daily rockets and missiles are fired into southern Israel from the Gaza strip, courtesy of Hamas. Hezbollah has grown into an even greater threat to Israel, and we all are aware of the intentions of the radical Islamic theocracy of Iran towards Israel.
Right here in America we still await the trial of Army Major Nidal Hassan, accused of gunning down his own fellow American soldiers at Fort Hood Army Installation two years ago. News reports this week reveal Al Qaeda in Iraq is seeking to unleash new attacks against America. If we do not call this radical terrorism out for what it is when we see it and realize when tolerance becomes a one way street, it leads to cultural suicide, we will continue down the path of surrender in the face of the most determined, resolute enemy the free world has ever known.
I would hope the IOC reevaluates its position and allows a moment of silence at the opening ceremony. If it fails to do the right thing, I fear the Olympic flame will not burn as bright.
Steadfast and Loyal,
Congressman Allen West’s Website: west.house.gov
– Offshore Energy — On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan, by a vote of 253-170, I VOTED YES. H.R. 6082 would officially replace, within the 60-day Congressional review period under the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act, President Barack Obama’s Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program (2012-2017) with a congressional plan that will conduct additional oil and natural gas lease sales to promote offshore energy development, job creation, and increased domestic energy production to ensure a more secure energy future in the United States. H.R. 6082 would require the Secretary of the Interior, in order to conduct lease sales in accordance with the lease sale schedule established under the bill, to prepare a multi-sale environmental impact statement for all lease sales required under this Act that are not included in the Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program (2012-2017). According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), implementing H.R. 6082 would increase offsetting receipts collected from lease sales over the 2013-2022 period, thus reducing net direct spending by about $600 million over that period. In addition, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $35 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
– Regulations — On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 4078, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, by a vote of 245-172, I VOTED YES. H.R. 4078 is a package of seven bills aimed at providing additional regulatory relief from the red tape that continues to burden our small businesses. The bill would impose a freeze on economically significant regulations that harm the economy until unemployment reaches six percent or below; permanently prevent “lame duck” administrations from issuing economically significant regulations (“midnight regs”); ensure that impacted parties have a right to intervene before federal agencies agree to binding legal settlements (“sue and settle”); require independent federal agencies to comply with the same regulatory review requirements as other agencies and requires increased transparency with respect to unfunded mandates; create a streamlined process for consideration of federal permits for construction
– Preventing Tax Increases — Next week, the United States House of Representatives is expected to consider legislation not only to stop the tax hike set for next year but also establish a pathway to comprehensive tax reform next year – sending a clear signal to families, employers, and the financial markets that taxes will not go up on January 1, 2013. According to a study by Ernst and Young, the President’s small business tax increase will destroy more than 700,000 jobs and reduce wages for average American workers by two percent. In 2010, a two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax policies won broad bipartisan support including “yes” votes from 40 sitting Democrat Senators, 85 sitting Democrat House Members and President Obama. Prior to that vote, President Obama said “You don’t raise taxes in a recession.” House Republicans agree and will vote to provide some certainty in our struggling economy by ensuring no families or small businesses are hit with a job destroying tax increase.
– Pro-Growth Tax Reform — In addition to stopping the tax hike, the United States House of Representatives will vote on legislation that provides a pathway to pro-growth tax reform. H.R. 6169, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012, would require the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to consider legislation containing the following principles for tax reform, included in the last two House-passed budgets: (1) consolidation of the current individual income tax brackets into not more than two brackets and a top rate of not more than 25 percent; (2) reduction in the corporate tax rate to not more than 25 percent; (3) repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax; (4) broadening of the tax base to maintain revenue between 18 and 19 percent of the economy; and (5) change from a ‘‘worldwide’’ to a ‘‘territorial’’ system of taxation.
Highlights of the Week:
– Monday, 23 July; flew back to Capitol Hill; attended a policy briefing with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton on the Syrian Civil War; met with Steve Cernak, Port Director, Port Everglades to discuss Port priorities to include deepening and widening United States Army Corps of Engineers study and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
– Tuesday, 24 July; attended a breakfast with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn and Dr. Richard Vedder, Professor of Economics, Ohio University on Federal Student Aid and the Law of Unintended Consequences; met with House Ways and Means Committee Senior Staff on the issue of Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) legislation; addressed the Junior Statesmen Foundation summer seminar students on the idea of a Constitutional Republic and its roles and responsibilities; met with young constituent, Alexis Stannis, of Pompano Beach who was honored by the Wireless Foundation as a Wireless Samaritan for Heroic Action; met with Todd Homan, Senior Vice President, Aurora Diagnostics on pathology lab cuts and elimination of MEDICARE IOAS exemption; dinner with Army buddy Colonel (Retired) Valerie Jircitano, with whom I served multiple tours of duty (Ft. Riley, Korea, and Ft. Bragg).
-Wednesday, 25 July; attended the quarterly Army Aviation Caucus breakfast briefing which focused on the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) mission and capabilities and had the honor of sitting next to one of the Bin Laden raid pilots; participated in the first ever joint Committee hearing with House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss key transition issues for troops transiting from Active Duty to Veteran; met with government affairs team for Florida Power & Light and NextEra Energy, Inc. to discuss full spectrum development programs and plan for a visit to nuclear power plant in St. Lucie County; presented a one-minute House floor speech on the dangers of sequestration– you can see my speech here; attended a Small Business Committee hearing on “Small Business Survival in the Recession.
– Thursday, 26 July; participated in a panel discussion with colleague Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) sponsored by the YG Network Policy Forum on the topic of Department of Defense sequestration; met with constituents Jason Lovelady and former United States Army Special Forces Soldier Rafael Rivera on the launch of their new small business; had lunch with my cousin, United States Air Force Major General Ed Bolton.
– Friday, 27 July; met with Consul General Chaim Shacham of Israel- picture here; addressed the United States Department of Commerce Export Free Trade Agreement event at Northwood University; met with dear friend Dr. Mary Drabik, Provost, South Florida Bible College; conducted our monthly town hall meetings in Pompano Beach and Jupiter focusing on “Stop the Tax Hike”- more details here.