Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More on the Senate Cap and Trade Bill

The Democrats’ Plan for a National Energy Tax:

The energy policy proposed by President Obama, as well as House and Senate Democrats, is nothing more than a national energy tax that will lead to more taxes, fewer jobs and more government intrusion into your lives and businesses. The majority of the burden to pay for the Senate Democrats' cap and tax nightmare will be the poor, who spend a greater portion of their income on energy than other economic groups. According to one independent estimate, 2.3 to 2.7 million jobs will be lost each year for the next twenty years, as a result of the Democrat national energy tax.

Senate Cap and Tax Bill

Senator Boxer and Senator Kerry just introduced their version of cap-and-tax this afternoon. The Senate bill increases the mandate on emissions to a 20% reduction by 2020, 3% higher than the contentious Waxman-Markey bill. In includes the disastrous cap and trade provision and does little more than the House version to encourage nuclear energy development. This bill is bad for families, small businesses, and domestic energy production. Like Waxman-Markey, it will ship our jobs overseas to countries with little benefit for the environment. Read more about the Boxer-Kerry bill here.

Morning Must Reads

Progressive Railroading: NS takes wraps off electric locomotive.
International Analyst Network: Lawmakers condemn Iran human rights abuses.

Politics PA Profiles Congressman Shuster

Politics PA, a premier political blog focused on Pennsylvania politics and government, recently profiled Congressman Shuster. The article is posted below, and can be found here.

Out of Father's Shadow, Bill Shuster Looks to the Fast Lane
By Louis Jacobson
Special to PoliticsPA

Just eight years into his Congressional career, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is quietly gaining stature in Washington – and stepping out of the long shadow of his father, former House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.).

The younger Shuster got an early start in leadership, taking the chairmanship of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management less than four years after taking his father’s old seat in May 2001 a special election. That led to a seat on the Select Committee on Hurricane Katrina and a role negotiating legislation to overhaul the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

After the GOP lost its majority in 2006, Shuster became the ranking Republican on the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. From that perch, he helped shape a bill that included an Amtrak reauthorization and rail safety provisions. The measure was eventually signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Shuster also serves on the most sought-after T&I subcommittee -- Highways and Transit – and helped write a bus safety measure that is poised for inclusion in an upcoming surface transportation bill. Separately, he serves on two other full committees, Armed Services and Natural Resources.

It’s an impressive lineup of assignments for a junior lawmaker.

“If you compare him to his Dad in terms of how much power he has, he pales in comparison,” said Muhlenberg College political scientist Christopher Borick. “But by other standards, you’d have to consider him a fairly active and engaged Member of Congress. By no means is he just taking up a seat on Capitol Hill.”

Observers describe Shuster’s approach to legislating as workmanlike rather than showy.

“I witnessed both Bill and his father in Congress, and I think he is a quiet player -- not the kind of guy who needs to be in the spotlight all the time,” said one transportation lobbyist in Washington. “The longer he’s reelected to Congress, he may have a shot at being chairman of one of those committees.”

One veteran political observer from western Pennsylvania added that Shuster “impresses me as a guy who was schooled in the old ways of the House. You go to D.C., you go along, and you take care of your district. Eventually, you will get to be significant on issues beyond your district.”
Shuster acknowledges that the possibility of a chairmanship has crossed his mind.

“I don’t want to sit here and say I’ll be chairman or ranking member a few years from now,” Shuster told PoliticsPA. “But it’s a real possibility if you work hard and if you learn the subject matter and if you move legislation through. And you need to work with the team and help elect Republicans by raising money for candidates and the party.”

Those who have watched the Shuster family in action see some differences in father and son, at least at this stage of the son’s career.

At his apex, the elder Shuster was able to wield the power of his committee and his position freely, with his interests zealously guarded by his top aide (and later a prominent lobbyist) Anne Eppard. Transportation legislation often micromanages routing and funding priorities, and the chairman wields enormous influence over those details.

“Most members of T&I are there because of the chairman's insistence that they promise to be inconsequential ciphers if allowed on in exchange for extra earmarks,” said Ronald Utt, a transportation policy specialist at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The younger Shuster has nowhere near enough juice to match his Dad’s, both because his father had greater seniority and because the Republicans are now in the minority. But several sources said that Bill Shuster has used good relations with fellow lawmakers to advance his district’s interests. He’s known as personable -- a natural politician who is able to work his district and the Capitol well.

“Bill seems to project a nicer image,” said one Pennsylvania political veteran. “Bud managed to step on a whole bunch of toes. Bill seems to be willing to be conciliatory.”

The younger Shuster – who essentially won his seat in a Republican convention heavily influenced by his father and his allies -- doesn’t deny that he’s benefited from being Bud Shuster’s son.

“Anybody who doesn’t utilize the experiences and the friendships that a father or mother in Congress has is missing the boat for the people they serve,” Shuster said. “It presents some challenges -- people look at me and expect that either I’m going to be just like Bud or not at all like him. … He’s a tough act to follow.”

Bill Shuster said he does periodically pick the brains of his father, who, according to one source who knows the family, has eschewed the prospect of being a big-time lobbyist, instead “teaching, serving on a few boards -- a small university, an advisory board to the World Bank – and taking an interest in a few companies and consulting for a few entities, as well as working on his farm.”
Shuster said that his father is “one of my constituents, and sometimes I call him for advice. Sometimes he calls me to offer advice. But I’ve found over the last eight years, the thing I really talk to him about is the other Members and their personalities. This is a people business. When you go into talk to a Member who’s important on a certain committee, it’s good to know what that person is like.”

It was all but predestined that Shuster would zero in on transportation. Not only did he have a leg up given his family history and a career as a car dealer, but transportation is also a longstanding priority for the Keystone State. The elder Shuster was most closely associated with highways -- one of which in the Altoona-based district is now named for him – but the district is also dependent on hundreds of train-related jobs for Norfolk Southern and a host of short lines.

Traditionally, T&I is less partisan than other committees because all committee members agree on the need for spending; the divides are usually geographical rather than ideological. But today, the harshly partisan atmosphere has tested that comity.

“I still think T&I is fairly bipartisan, but it has been strained -- no doubt about it,” the Congressman said.

For a Republican on T&I in this climate, the biggest challenge may be retaining one’s fiscally conservative credentials despite seeking to spend federal dollars on infrastructure. Shuster has been careful not to desert the GOP on most issues, but sometimes that has proven difficult.

For instance, earlier this year, Democrats attacked Shuster for claiming credit for projects in his district that were aided by President Obama’s stimulus bill – a bill Shuster voted against.

“He’s by no means out of step with the GOP, but he’s also clearly the type of Pennsylvania political figure who’s willing to work with and make deals with people who are not traditional Republicans,” Borick said.

Borick said that rail policy is one case where Shuster’s approach could prove important to the state’s future.

Fiscal conservatives are not wild about projects such as high-speed rail, but the reemergence of rail in a more carbon-constrained environment will, “in my mind, emerge as one of the key focal points of transportation policy and infrastructure,” Borick said. “He’s well-positioned in Congress to be a bigger player as that issue moves forward.”

One factor limiting Shuster’s influence in the short term is that Congress is expected to do a short-term extension of the major surface transportation bill later this year instead of a major reauthorization. That will reduce the opportunities he’ll have to target provisions to his district.

“We will do three-month extension to take us to the end of the year,” Shuster said. “I don’t really see potential for a bill -- maybe late next year, because the Senate kicked it down the road.”
On the electoral front, Shuster seems safe, at least until after the 2010 Census. He narrowly won a 2004 primary, but otherwise has not faced stiff challenges.

“The area he is in is simply so Republican that I find it hard to think that the Democrats would really attempt a credible challenge,” said one observer in western Pennsylvania. “If he were to get in any general election difficulty, I would say that it would be after new lines were drawn.”

Louis Jacobson is a staff writer for PolitiFact, the website that checks the accuracy of comments by politicians and pundits. He is also a contributing editor at National Journal magazine, where he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy and lobbying. He has also served as deputy editor of Roll Call, the newspaper covering Congress, and as founding editor of Roll Call's legislative wire service, CongressNow. In 2004, he originated the Out There column on politics in the states, which has run in Roll Call and Jacobson has been a contributing writer for two editions of The Almanac of American Politics and has handicapped state legislatures for both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shuster, Secretary LaHood unveil revolutionary electric locomotive

Today, Congressman Shuster joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in unveiling a revolutionary new electric locomotive at the Norfolk Southern Juniata works in Altoona. The new engine, developed by Penn State and Norfolk Southern, with funding from Congress and the private sector, will help usher in a new generation of clean and green rail transportation. A news story covering today's announcement can be read here.

NS 999 is unveiled to the audience.

Congressman Shuster and Secretary LaHood pose in front of NS999.

Congressman Shuster speaks with Secretary LaHood on the dais.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Push is on to complete Route 219

Here is an article from the Somerset Daily American that covered Shuster's speech to the Somerset Chamber of Commerce yesterday: Push is on to complete 219.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shuster interviewed live on BBC4 radio on the situation in Afghanistan

On tuesday, Congressman Shuster was interviewed live on BBC Radio 4 by host Eddie Mair on his recent trips to Afghanistan and the prospects of General McChrystal's new strategy for the war being accepted by the Obama White House. The interview can be heard below:

Be sure to visit Congressman Shuster's YouTube page for more videos at

Shuster Meets Newly Promoted Navy Chiefs

Congressman Shuster poses with newly promoted Navy Chiefs as well as members of the U.S. Navy SEALs.

Democrat Health “Reform” IS a Massive Middle-Class Tax Increase

From GOP Conference: (Twitter: @gopconference)

Click links for background information

"I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."
-President Barack Obama, Rally in Dover, New Hampshire, September 12, 2008
"Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax-‘a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.'"
-George Stephanopolous, interview with President Obama, September 20, 2009
One year after making his now-famous "No new taxes" pledge during the campaign, President Obama has attempted to deny the impact of his health "reform" proposals on the middle class. However, most economists, his own advisors, his previous campaign rhetoric, and sheer logic all dictate that the President should provide straight answers to several inconvenient questions:

  • Finance Committee Chairman Baucus' bill would require individuals with three times the federal poverty level to spend 13 percent of their income on health coverage premiums. Committee staff estimates found that in 2016-the fourth year after the bill's mandates and insurance "reforms" would take effect-a family of four making $72,000 would be required to pay up to $9,400 in premium costs alone. Additionally, a family subject to the bill's maximum annual cost-sharing would spend 29.5 percent of its income on health costs. How is requiring Americans to spend nearly one in seven dollars of income to pay for government-approved insurance, and nearly one in three dollars on potential health care costs-more than a family's mortgage payments in most parts of the country-not a massive tax increase on the middle class?
  • In a January 31, 2008 presidential debate, candidate Obama asked how a mandate to purchase health insurance would be enforced: "Are you going to garnish [people's] wages?" Likewise, on Meet the Press in April 2008, Obama's senior campaign advisor David Axelrod criticized Hillary Clinton on the same grounds: "She said, ‘I will...garnish people's wages if they don't sign up for this health care plan'...Her mandate is a mandate on people to buy health insurance." How is "garnishing people's wages" to enforce an individual mandate not a tax increase on the middle class?
  • All the Democrat bills include tax penalties, administered through the Internal Revenue Service, for individuals and families who do not purchase "government-approved" coverage. Page 29 of the Baucus bill would subject families with incomes higher than three times poverty to an "excise tax" of up to $3,800 per year. Likewise, page 167 of the introduced version of House Democrats' government takeover of care (H.R. 3200) includes the following language:"There is hereby imposed a tax" on individuals who do not purchase "government-approved" insurance-and neither the House nor the Senate bills exempt those with incomes under $250,000 from the penalties. How is what the legislation plainly calls a new tax on all Americans not purchasing "government-approved" insurance not a tax increase on the middle class?
  • Senior Obama Administration officials have also dubbed government mandates to purchase insurance for what they are-tax increases. Chief Health and Human Services policy advisor Sherry Glied has previously written that a mandate has the potential to be a "very regressive tax, penalizing uninsured people who genuinely cannot afford to buy coverage." Moreover, the National Economic Council Director, Larry Summers, has also written that government mandates to purchase or provide various benefits "are like public programs financed by benefit taxes," and that most economists regard such mandates "as simply disguised tax and expenditure measures." How is what one of the Administration's own advisors called a "very regressive tax" not a tax increase on the middle class?
  • The Baucus bill includes nearly $215 billion in tax increases on insurance companies who offer high-value insurance policies-which the President endorsed in his address to Congress. Both business and union groups alike are concerned that these taxes will be passed on to middle-class families in the form of higher premiums-exactly what candidate Obama criticized during his campaign as "taxing people's benefits." How is raising Americans' insurance premiums through indirect taxes on insurance companies, and then forcing all individuals to purchase this more expensive coverage, not a tax increase on the middle class?
  • The Baucus bill also includes an additional $93 billion in "industry fees" on insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, and clinical labs. Many economists agree that some, if not most, of these tax increases will be passed on to consumers of all incomes. How are higher fees for life-saving medical services used by millions of Americans not a tax increase on the middle class?

Given the overwhelming arguments-from Administration officials, President Obama's prior statements, and the legislation itself-many may view the Democrat health "reform" agenda as imposing tens of thousands of dollars in tax increases on vulnerable middle-class families to fund a government takeover of health care.

Facts dispute "no tax increase" claim in latest Democrat healthcare plan

House GOP Leader John Boehner has some interesting information that dispels the President and the Democrats' claim that their healthcare plan won't require a tax increase to cover the cost of the massive new entitlement. Read it here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shuster Statement on House Vote to Defund ACORN

Today, Congressman Bill Shuster joined 344 of his colleagues to pass a Republican Motion to Recommit that prohibits ACORN from receiving any federal funds, including federal grants or contracts.

“Today, House Republicans acted in unison to force Congress to stop taxpayer dollars from being used to support ACORN’s illicit activities.

With new revelations coming out about this corrupt organization every day, it is clear that the federal government should sever any remaining ties with ACORN. The Department of Justice should be called in to investigate the group and the Internal Revenue Service should move forward with a comprehensive audit of the organization.”

Republican Committee Members Urge Democrat Leaders to Drop Roadblock to Energy Bill, Support Republican “All-of-the-Above” Energy Plan

Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04) and other Republican committee members issued the following statements after the second hearing on the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009 (H.R. 3534). This bill would establish more roadblocks on the road to American energy production and job creation.

“Before we know it, the American people will be forced to pay more at the pump again. And when they reach for their wallets, they’ll ask ‘why didn’t the Administration and Congress take action to actually increase all types of domestic energy?’ Americans won’t like the answer. Because unless the Administration and Democrat Leaders in Congress pass the Republican all-of-the-above energy plan, they’ll have to explain that they were focused on trying to pass a National Energy Tax bill and a Roadblock to Energy bill that will actually make it harder and more expensive to produce American energy,” said Full Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA)

“This legislation does nothing to create new jobs, except those jobs created within the new government offices. We need to be putting the 14.9 million unemployed Americans back to work. Instead, this administration is intent on creating more bureaucratic red tape that will lead to more systemic job loss. In Utah, the greatest bouts of recent unemployment aren’t coming from economic factors, but are instead the direct result of decisions made by this administration to delete thousands of needed jobs,” said Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Subcommittee Ranking Member on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

“In combination with the Waxman-Markey cap and tax bill, this legislation will hinder economic development, kill jobs, and increase our reliance on foreign oil. We don’t need another no-energy bill; we need an energy policy that will actually provide for American families. The Republican plan, the American Energy Act, features an all-of-the-above energy approach that will create jobs and increase domestic energy production,” said Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA)

As millions of Americans struggle to find a job or keep jobs, the last thing they need is a Congress bent on choking off our domestic energy supply and making it more expensive to fill their gas tanks and heat their homes. Yet that is exactly what the Democrat bill will do. H.R. 3534, the CLEAR Act, will expand the size of government, increase regulations, and stifle energy exploration. It’s exactly what the American people are speaking out against – another big government takeover. We must find ways to lower energy costs and become independent of foreign producers. We need to open up access to our domestic energy, not choke it off. I support an all-of-the-above energy plan.” said Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Subcommittee Ranking Member on Energy and Mineral Resources

“Rahall’s bill would also prevent the development of offshore aquaculture, an industry that would facilitate safe seafood sources, reduce our increasing dependence on imported seafood while creating desperately needed jobs for unemployed fishermen in South Carolina and providing an economic boost to our coastal communities,” said Congressman Henry Brown (R-SC), Subcommittee Ranking Member on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife

“The Democrat’s no-energy bill is a sham and a smack in the face to the American people. It is yet another piece of legislation that adds additional layers of bureaucracy to energy development, rather than an actual solution. This bill just expands the government, costs us American jobs and sends more of our dollars overseas through intensifying production barriers. American energy production keeps jobs at home, and keeps our dollars at home and I fail to understand how a Member of Congress could be against such an ideal,” said Congressman Don Young (R-AK)

“What Americans need right now are jobs. Instead, my friends in the majority party are destroying them. H.R. 3534 is just the latest bill to strangle industries and destroy jobs through over-regulation and over-reaching. Unemployment skyrocketed after the ‘stimulus’ bill became law. The cap-and-trade bill is expected to kill 620,000 jobs a year. The health care reform measures could kill 5.5 million jobs over the next 10 years. H.R. 3534 will also destroy jobs. What we need is a commonsense, job-creating, energy-producing bill. This is not it,” said Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-CA)

"At a time when our economy is hurting, we should be looking for ways to create jobs, lower the cost of energy, and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. Unfortunately, all this bill does is raise taxes, create more big government and expensive bureaucracy, and make it more difficult to develop new sources of American energy like nuclear and oil, and even wind and solar energy!” said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

“I strongly support programs to enhance alternative and renewable energy, and I am very encouraged by the investments in innovation and technology by the domestic producers of oil and gas for responsible development. Unfortunately, the CLEAR Act falls short of addressing the need to facilitate public access to domestic sources of energy. This bill creates new levels of bureaucracy which inevitably will slow new energy development. Now is not the time to further delay the advancement of America’s energy portfolio,” said Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE)

“Instead of promoting roadblocks, I hope the Speaker instead considers our all-of-the-above energy approach that promotes alternative fuels to reduce carbon emissions, encourages increased efficiencies, advances cutting edge energy technologies, and ultimately produces American energy with American workers in an environmentally safe way,” said Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA)

“I represent Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, where the largest natural gas shale in America, the Haynesville Shale, was recently discovered. We know that energy equals jobs. This bill does nothing to encourage American energy independence, puts up serious roadblocks to production, increases dependence on foreign sources of oil and reduces the number of U.S. jobs. With unemployment numbers rising, we need an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy solution that brings about energy independence and creates jobs for hard working Americans,” said Congressman John Fleming (R-LA)

“This bill is just another example of the Democrats’ ‘more-bureaucracy-more-taxes’ agenda that is simply out of touch with the needs of American people. At a time when Congress should be doing everything possible to encourage job creation and domestic energy production, Democrats put forth a bill that will make it harder to produce American energy and harder for the almost 15 million unemployed Americans to find jobs and afford to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks,” said Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO)

“The Department of the Interior needs to focus its attention on becoming efficient and responsive to the needs of the American people, not the growth of government that the CLEAR Act calls for. For example, Diamond K. Gypsum, Inc (DKG) is a small business in Utah whose future depends on the approval of a 5-year, 12 acre mining permit. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management has been unresponsive and seemingly unwilling to assist DKG in obtaining this permit. In the meantime production has ceased, and the future of DKG is uncertain. For situations such as this, the federal government should either get out of the way of small companies like DKG or offer a fair and decent explanation as to why the BLM is choosing to shut them down. I am anxious for Secretary Salazar’s written response to my questions concerning the state of Diamond K. Gypsum, Inc,” said Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

“Not only will this bill put a giant stop sign on the road to domestic energy development, it will directly lead to the loss of more good paying American jobs. Today, almost 1 in 10 Americans are out of work. In Wyoming, the unemployment rate has nearly doubled. Instead of creating jobs by opening additional areas for exploration, Democrats want to add to an ever burgeoning government bureaucracy and delay more wind, solar, nuclear, oil and natural gas production,” said Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

“This bill adds insult to Cap & Trade’s injury. It demonstrates a thorough misunderstanding of the role of domestic energy production in America’s economy and national security. Energy production grows the economy, creates jobs, and strengthens energy security. Instead of building barriers to responsible energy production, Congress should incentivize it,” said Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

Shuster Objects to Obama’s Decision to Deny Missile Shield to our East European Allies

Congressman Bill Shuster, a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Co-chair of the House Azerbaijan Caucus, released the following statement in response to reports that the Obama Administration will shelve the deployment of a missile shield in Poland that would have protected key allies from attack from Iran and checked the expansion of Russian dominance in Eastern Europe:

“The decision by the Obama Administration to cancel the deployment of missile defenses to Poland stands as a historic and unwelcomed turn-around in America’s strategic posture and our commitment to support the fledgling democracies of post-Soviet Eastern Europe. At the same time, the decision hands Russia a propaganda victory, emboldens hardliners in the Kremlin and sends a message to Iran that we are not serious in stopping their ballistic missile program.

The President’s decision comes hand in hand with a downgrading of the ballistic missile threat from Iran. I cannot understand how the President sees it acceptable to downgrade the Iranian threat the same week as French President Szarkosy publicly stated that French intelligence knows with ‘certainty’ that Iran is working on completing a nuclear weapon.

The Obama Administration is taking a very risky gamble with missile defense. By appeasing Moscow, we have increased the danger of Russian imperialism for millions of innocent Poles, Czechs, Georgians, Ukrainians and Azerbaijanis and we have shown our hand to the Iranians, who continue to defy international pressure on their nuclear program.

The agreements we make with our allies should be worth more than the paper they are written on. I urge the President to reconsider this faulty policy.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New GOP Whip Video: "Requires"

How many requirements in the Democrats' healthcare bill?

New estimate about Cap and Trade's cost should alarm working Americans

CBS' "Taking Liberties" blog has an interesting post on a recently disclosed document from the Treasury Department highlighting the expected costs of Cap and Trade legislation on the U.S. economy. The report showed that cap and trade legislation supported by President Obama and congressional Democrats could cost the average American family $1,716 a year and represent the same as a 15 percent increase in the marginal tax rate.

From the blog:

"The FOIA'd document written by Judson Jaffe, who joined the Treasury Department's Office of Environment and Energy in January 2009, says: "Given the administration's proposal to auction all emission allowances, a cap-and-trade program could generate federal receipts on the order of $100 to $200 billion annually." (Obviously, any final cap-and-trade system may be different from what Obama had proposed, and could yield higher or lower taxes.)

Because personal income tax revenues bring in around $1.37 trillion a year, a $200 billion additional tax would be the equivalent of a 15 percent increase a year. A $100 billion additional tax would represent a 7 or 8 percent increase a year.

One odd point: The document written by Jaffee includes this line: "It will raise energy prices and impose annual costs on the order of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX." The Treasury Department redacted the rest of the sentence with a thick black line."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

House Republicans Call on Congress to Defund ACORN

Shuster Calls on Congress to Cut Funding for ACORN

Today, Congressman Bill Shuster signed on as a cosponsor to the “Defund ACORN Act;” legislation to terminate all federal funding directed at ACORN and its affiliated groups.

“ACORN has been at the center of a growing controversy over charges that the group has orchestrated voter registration fraud and has engaged in other illicit behavior,” Shuster said. “The evidence continues to mount against ACORN and American taxpayers should be worried.”

Recent media reports including video of ACORN employees in New York and Washington, DC giving illegal advice to two filmmakers posing as a prostitute and a pimp prompted the U.S. Census Bureau to end its partnership with ACORN last Friday. Yesterday, the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off Housing and Urban Development funding slated for ACORN.

A recent analysis of federal data by House Minority Leader John Boehner found that ACORN has received over $53 million in direct funding from the federal government since 1994 and may have received millions more in indirect funding through state and local grant programs.

“ACORN and its affiliates have demonstrated time and again that they are completely incapable of using taxpayer money in a responsible and legal manner. They should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department and their funding should be cut off immediately.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shuster's post on The Hill's "Congress Blog'

By Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) - 09/11/09 11:55 AM ET

Eight years ago today, America witnessed an atrocity of immense proportions. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were murdered by terrorists who espouse a corrupt ideology of hate and intolerance. The September 11th attacks shook America and the world to its core, but we persevered. We regrouped, mourned our losses and took action to right the wrongs that were perpetrated against us.

Today is a day of remembrance. Eight years on, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the sacrifices borne by police, firefighters and regular citizens that September morning and the immeasurable acts of heroism to rescue those in need at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Nor can we forget the forty brave Americans who sacrificed their own lives to prevent another catastrophic attack against what we believe today to have been Flight 93’s target; the U.S. Capitol. I was in the Capitol that morning, along with hundreds of my colleagues and tourists. We would have been in mortal danger if not for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

The actions of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 hit home for me and many of my constituents. The flight crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania which is part of my home district. For eight years, I along with my fellow members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and the families of Flight 93 have been working hard to complete the permanent memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 in Shanksville. I am pleased to say that the memorial is moving forward with a completion date targeted for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

We have not had an attack on U.S. soil since our troops took the fight to al-Qaeda. This is due to the efforts of our military, intelligence services and first responders to safeguard our nation. They have succeeded in making America safer, but we cannot take this safety for granted. We have come a long way since the pre-9/11 security mindset but our enemy is not static. The threats we face are ever-changing and the terrorists will adapt to our methods and strategies.

Our enemy continues to plan and wait for an opening to strike. Congress must continue to understand that the threat of terrorism remains real and we must be prepared to fund and support those agencies integral to our security.

Never Forget

Shuster Statement on the Eighth Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks

“Eight years ago today, America witnessed an atrocity of immense proportions. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were murdered by terrorists who espouse a corrupt ideology of hate and intolerance. The September 11th attacks shook America and the world to its core, but we persevered. We regrouped, mourned our losses and took action to right the wrongs that were perpetrated against us.

Today is a day of remembrance. Eight years on, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the sacrifices borne by police, firefighters and regular citizens that September morning and the immeasurable acts of heroism to rescue those in need at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Nor can we forget the forty brave Americans who sacrificed their own lives to prevent another catastrophic attack against what we believe today to have been Flight 93’s target; the U.S. Capitol. I was in the Capitol that morning, along with hundreds of my colleagues and tourists. We would have been in mortal danger if not for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

It was my honor Wednesday to join the families of Flight 93 to dedicate the official memorial in the Capitol to this group of regular citizens who did an extraordinary thing in the face of extraordinary circumstances. The memorial plaque bearing the names of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 now hangs footsteps away from the rotunda and will forever be part of our nation’s Capitol.”

Video of Congressman Shuster’s speech at the Flight 93 memorial plaque dedication can be seen on the congressman’s YouTube channel at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shuster on the healthcare debate

Broadcast yesterday on WHAG 25 Hagerstown: Local Lawmakers Weigh in on Healthcare Reform Debate

Video of the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial Plaque on the Capitol Building

Shuster Responds to President’s Healthcare Address

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech last night to a joint session of Congress on the issue of healthcare reform:

“Last night, the President delivered a speech to a skeptical audience of millions of Americans who have deep reservations about the Democrats’ healthcare reform proposals. In his attempt to press the ‘reset button’ on healthcare reform, the President gave a highly partisan speech short on detail and long on rhetoric.

The President sounded combative, calling opponents of his healthcare plan ‘cynical and irresponsible.’ This wasn’t a speech to carve out common ground; it was a speech to rally the liberal base, encouraging them to run roughshod over Republican opposition and the majority of Americans who oppose a government take-over of healthcare.

President Obama’s olive branch to Republicans – his promise to place limits on medical malpractice lawsuit abuse may be more rhetoric then reality. Despite his recognition of Republican efforts last night, he hasn’t met with Republicans on healthcare since April and he has continually swatted Republican reform ideas away.

The President has given close to 100 speeches on healthcare and last night’s speech didn’t add much to the debate. President Obama wants to get his bill passed because the legacy of his administration hangs in the balance. The American people understand their health hangs in the balance and they want reform done right.

I heard the American people over the month of August and I agree with them that it is time to start over on healthcare reform in a real bipartisan manner. Mere rhetoric isn’t enough.”