Friday, January 30, 2009

The House Republican economic recovery plan

Today, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor launched a new website outlining the House Republican Economic Recovery Plan. The website details a smart, simple stimulus plan that will create twice the jobs at half the price of the economic package that Democrats forced through the House despite bipartisan opposition.


The website, which highlights the House Republican Economic Recovery Plan, and asks for feedback from the American people is another example of how committed House Republicans are to an open and transparent exchange of ideas to find the best solutions to get the U.S. economy back on track. 

The House Republican Economic Recovery Plan


Immediate Tax Relief for Working Families: Rather than a refundable credit based on payroll taxes, House Republicans propose reducing the lowest individual tax rates from 15% to 10% and from 10% to 5%. As a result every taxpaying-family in America will see an immediate increase in their income with an average benefit of $500 in tax relief from the drop in the 10% bracket and $1,200 for the drop in the 15% bracket. A married couple filing jointly could save up to $3,200 a year in taxes.


Real Help for America’s Small Businesses: Small businesses (those employing less than 500 individuals) employ about half of all Americans, yet they can be subject to tax rates that siphon away one-third or more of their income. House Republicans propose to allow small business to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income. This will immediately free up funds for small businesses to retain and hire new employees.


No Tax Increases to Pay for Spending: The stimulus proposal pending in Congress includes record levels of government spending that will substantially increase the current deficit. House Republicans are concerned that this level of spending will result in new tax increases on American working families. House Republicans are insisting that any stimulus package include a provision precluding any tax increases now or in the future to pay for this new spending. House Republicans believe that any stimulus spending should be paid for by reducing other government spending, not raising taxes.


Assistance for the Unemployed: Incredibly, the Federal Government actually imposes income taxes on an individual receiving unemployment benefits. House Republicans propose to make unemployment benefits tax free so that those individuals between jobs can focus on providing for their families.  The plan would also extend unemployment benefits from March to December, 2009.


Stabilizing Home Values: The real-estate market is paralyzed as potential buyers wait on the sidelines waiting for prices to fall even further. This is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to encourage responsible buyers to enter the market and stabilize prices, House Republicans propose a home-buyers credit of $7,500 for those buyers who can make a minimum down-payment of 5%.

Posted by: Press Secretary

Morning Read: David Brooks on the Democrat 'Stimulus'

Great David Brooks op-ed in the New York Times today explaining why the stimulus bill passed by the Democrats and opposed by Shuster in the House is a bad deal.  

Take away lines from the Books piece include:

"It’s easy to see why Democrats decided to do this. They could rush through permanent policies they believe in. Plus, they could pay for them with borrowed money. By putting a little of everything in the stimulus package, they avoid the pay-as-you-go rules that might otherwise apply to recurring costs.

But they’ve created a sprawling, undisciplined smorgasbord, which has spun off a series of unintended consequences. First, by trying to do everything all it once, the bill does nothing well. The money spent on long-term domestic programs means there may not be enough to jolt the economy now (about $290 billion in spending is pushed off into 2011 and later). The money spent on stimulus, meanwhile, means there’s not enough to truly reform domestic programs like health technology, schools and infrastructure. The measure mostly pumps more money into old arrangements."

The stimulus bill is a cure that could easily be worse than the disease it was intended to defeat. Instead of using targeted spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy, Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues in the Majority decided to pack the bill with nearly 40 years of pent up liberal social spending and wasteful programs.  The Books article explains some of the reasons why Shuster opposed the bill on Wednesday and instead, supported a Republican alternative that focused on tax cuts and spending reductions.

Posted by: Press Secretary 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Military judge denies Obama request

Here is an interesting article from the Washington Post on a military judge's decision to deny the Obama administration's request to delay the trials of any detainee accused of planning or executing the 2000 al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.   

Posted by: Press Secretary

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shuster offers amendment to Stimulus Bill

Today, Congressman Shuster offered an amendment to protect transportation funding in the stimulus bill being debated in the House.  During amendment debate, Shuster made the following remarks on the House Floor:

Representative Bill Shuster

January 28, 2009

Mr. Speaker,

My amendment is straightforward.  It simply ensures that states do not use federal funding provided in this bill to reduce state dollars that were already committed to projects.    

At the end of the day our goal is to have a net increase in total spending -- from all levels of government -- on infrastructure.  It does not make sense for us to provide additional federal transportation dollars if the States are going to turn around and cut their State transportation budgets. 

Under my amendment, if a State were to use stimulus funds to replace State funds that were already committed to a project, the appropriate federal agency would be empowered to re-capture those funds.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave America’s Infrastructure a “D” in their 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.  They estimate that more than $2 Trillion dollars needs to be invested over the next 5 years to improve the condition of our nation’s infrastructure.  We make no progress toward meeting these needs if we allow states to decrease state funding for infrastructure at the same rate that we are increasing federal funding for infrastructure.

In recent testimony before the Transportation Committee Tom Donahue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commented on his concerns regarding the stimulus package, “While the Chamber supports federal spending on an array of near-term infrastructure efforts, Congress and the Obama administration must ensure the accountability and transparency of these efforts.  If Congress and the administration do not take the necessary steps to ensure this money is spent where it is most needed, there is a real chance this effort could fail and billions of taxpayer dollars could be wasted.  Furthermore, if States divert their transportation dollars to other projects as a result of increased federal funding, this stimulus will be for naught.”

Mr. Donahue hits the nail right on the head, if we allow states to divert State dollars that were previously programmed for infrastructure projects we will make no progress in creating new jobs and no progress on meeting the enormous infrastructure needs of this country.

Mr. Speaker, I would also point out that transportation and infrastructure projects have a proven track record of creating jobs.  However, the infrastructure component of this measure is relatively small.  Transportation funding is roughly 8 percent of the total spending in the bill, yet it is responsible for creating 45 percent of the jobs HR 1 is expected to generate.  Logic, it seems to me, would dictate that if we are going to spend $1 trillion in taxpayer money we should invest more robustly in projects that we know create jobs and ensure that the funding is used as Congress intended.

Thank you and I yield back my time

Posted by: Press Secretary



Friday, January 23, 2009

Shuster's Statement on President Obama's Decision to Close Guantanamo Bay

Yesterday, Congressman Shuster released the following statement after President Obama signed an executive order closing the Guanatanamo Bay detainee facility before figuring out what to do with the terrorists being held there. Shuster said:
“In signing this executive order, President Obama has put politics before national security and the safety of all Americans. Any action without a plan to deal with the violent and dangerous terrorist detainees is premature and shortsighted.

The fact that the Obama Administration cannot answer the question of where we would send Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the confessed and unrepentant mastermind of the September 11th attacks, should give everyone pause. ‘I don’t know’ is not a satisfactory answer by the Commander in Chief who is charged with the safety and security of the American people.

American security should always come first. Of the 520 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, dozens been recaptured after returning to terrorism overseas. We are seeing them return to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan with the intent of killing American soldiers and if they get the chance, American civilians.

The Obama Administration must give me and the American people a valid answer on where these terrorists will be sent and how their movement will affect our national security.”
Today, the New York Times reports that one of the detainees already released from Guantanamo, Said Ali al-Shiri, has returned to terrorism and has become the deputy leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch.
"Mr. Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier. Two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he traveled to Afghanistan via Bahrain and Pakistan, and he later told American investigators that his intention was to do relief work, the documents say. He was wounded in an airstrike and spent a month and a half recovering in a hospital in Pakistan."
However, according to documents obtained by the Times, Shihri's idea of "relief work" doesn't seem quite right:
"The documents state that Mr. Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order, issued by an extremist cleric."
According to the Times article, Shihri's acitivites with Al Qaeda in Yemin isn't something to be taken lightly. Al Qaeda Yemin is gaining strength and poses to spread its jihad throughout the region:
"Long considered a haven for jihadists, Yemen, a desperately poor country in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, has witnessed a rising number of attacks over the past year. American officials say they suspect that Mr. Shihri may have been involved in the car bombings outside the American Embassy in Sana last September that killed 16 people, including six attackers."
The Times article underscores exactly why it is critical for our national security and the security of our allies, that we have a plan in place to deal with Guantanamo detainees before we decide to close the detainee facility. The terrorists at GITMO aren't your garden variety criminals. They pose a direct threat to our security and should be treated as such.

Posted by: Press Secretary

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shuster Statement on the Inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th President

"Todays historic inauguration is an incredible moment for all Americans. Todays ceremonies are a celebration of our democracy through the peaceful transition of power.

The world is watching American democracy in action and we are proving to the world once again that in America, political power is loaned by the consent of the people, not taken through coercion or the force of arms.  We should observe and celebrate this moment and be proud to be Americans."

Posted by: Press Secretary

Friday, January 16, 2009

Four days and counting....

...and 17 degrees Fahrenheit.  Here's the U.S. Capitol on an incredibly freezing Friday as Washington, DC prepares for Tuesday's Inauguration. 

Posted by: Press Secretary

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shuster meets with Juniata College students

Congressman Shuster met with eleven students from Juniata College on the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building this afternoon.  The students and their professor, Dennis Plane are visiting Washington, DC this week and will remain in town for the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Obama. Shuster held a question and answer session with the students that covered a full range of topics from Pennsylvania's political landscape to what Congress should expect from the new Obama Administration.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shuster welcomes the new Congress

Click here to see my statement on the opening of the 111th Congress

Tuesday's votes in the House

Make sure to stop by the Republican Cloakroom for a breakdown of today's expected votes.

Welcome to the blog!

Welcome to Bill's Blog. It seems that nearly every day a new advancement in technology becomes available that can make it easier for me to communicate with my constituents.

Last year, I redesigned my website to make it easier to navigate and offer more content including access to video and audio. This blog is the next step in improving my online presence. I want this blog to be a place where I can communicate with you in real time about the issues I am dealing with in Congress and how they affect you back home.

I hope you stop by regularly to see what's happening in Washington, DC as well as back home in the district.

Thanks for reading and there will be much more to come.