The Democrats’ Plan for a National Energy Tax:
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
From GOP Conference: (Twitter: @gopconference)
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- 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.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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)
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
"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
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 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 www.youtube.com/repshuster.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
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: