District Connection - 4/11/16
As we begin “Tax Week,” the topic of tax reform is likely on your mind as it is mine. We are long overdue for the kind of fundamental tax reform America needs, but the good news is this very topic recently took center stage on Capitol Hill. As a champion for tax reform and a tireless supporter of the FairTax (H.R. 25), I was one of three Members invited to testify before the Ways and Means Committee, the committee with sole jurisdiction over all taxes.
Whether tax reform, healthcare, or any other challenge facing our country, the Seventh District is a community of leaders – and it’s our partnership that makes our voice in Washington effective. For those of us supporting the FairTax, that desire to lead pushes us to act boldly on tax reform rather than nibble around the edges of a broken system. As I shared with the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, our goal isn’t for America to be in the middle of the global pack on any metric: not tax rates, not individual liberty, and certainly not economic growth. We want to be the world leader on all fronts, and the FairTax offers that opportunity.
At this time, there’s a great deal of consensus in Washington and across the country that America desperately needs fundamental tax reform – and for the first time, we have also found consensus that America must move to a consumption tax. It’s that consensus that leads Congress to hold Committee hearings, take up legislation, and ultimately implement the lasting solutions we need.
The FairTax not only fits the consumption-based criterion for which so many are looking, but it is already the most widely supported fundamental tax reform bill in Washington. It is also the only proposal that completely rips out the old, punitive tax code by its roots. As the sponsor of H.R. 25, I know it to be the lasting solution that provides not only a tax code that works for the American people, but also ensures the economic growth and taxpayer anonymity beneficial to us all. If we continue to nibble around the edges of our existing structure, we may see bits of improvement, but we’ll absolutely see so many of the same flaws – and we can do better than that. Here at home we’re used to demanding a higher standard for success, and together you and I have taken that expectation to Washington.
Our tax policy should reflect our economic ambitions; not be a millstone around the neck of the American economy. Our tax code can and should leverage our entrepreneurial spirit and reward our hard work. Getting Washington out of the everyday decisions of American families and their businesses is the first step to unleashing America’s economic engine. There’s unquestionably a receptive climate to bold tax reform solutions right now, and the recent activity on Capitol Hill is proof.
The big things take a long time – and the FairTax is a big idea – but each year I see this proposal grow and gain strength across the nation. Fundamental tax reform is a crucial part of moving America forward, and what excites me so much about the FairTax is the way in which it would transfer power from Washington back to the American people unlike anything we’ve seen in decades. As we approach Tax Day, millions of Americans are again sorting through the myriad complexities and consequences of IRS regulations, but thankfully, the FairTax offers a light at the end of that tunnel, and we’re getting closer to making April 15th just another beautiful spring day.
The Obama Administration is no stranger to acting without Congress or the support of the American people, and sadly last week we saw more of the same from the Department of Labor (DOL) with the issuance of the final version of its “fiduciary” rule. Over the last year, many of you from across the Seventh District have reached out to me to express concerns about the fiduciary rule - including folks who provide financial advice at companies like Primerica and State Farm as well as the folks who trust them to handle their investments - and I’ve joined my colleagues on several occasions to explain those concerns to the Department of Labor and push the Department to do better. Despite hearing those concerns from a huge bipartisan majority in the House—both Congressional Republicans and nearly 100 Congressional Democrats—President Obama, through the DOL, acted unilaterally last week to insert the federal government between Americans saving for retirement and their chosen financial advisors. What’s more, this week’s rule was pushed through despite the fact that Congress is working on several legislative proposals to ensure Americans have access to quality retirement advice from financial advisors who are acting in their best interest. In fact, two of those bills were recently reported out of House committees with strong support, and I expect to see them debated and passed with bipartisan support on the House floor very soon.
- GDP: Isakson blasts labor department’s fiduciary rule
- The Hill: White House locks in new rules for financial advisers
- WSJ: Obama Readies Flurry of Regulations
Obviously, there are many things in Washington that divide us, but common sense and the fight to protect middle class taxpayers are issues that bring us together. Given the united front that we have in the House, the President’s decision to move in the opposite direction is particularly disappointing. There is no doubt that he will threaten to veto any correction legislation that the House passes, but given the huge bipartisan opposition to this new rule, we just might have the votes to override President Obama’s veto and stop the DOL’s destructive power grab.
As you know, my colleagues and I on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed our FAA reauthorization and reform legislation out of committee early this year. The Senate has continued working on their own version of the bill, and has begun debating the measure on the floor. This debate is expected to continue and Senators will have an opportunity to suggest changes before a final vote occurs. I am encouraged to see the Senate working again, and my hope is that they produce a bill that contains many of the important reforms we included in our own bill to improve service for customers and ensure that America continues to benefit from the safest airspace in the world.
- The Hill: Senate adopts airport security amendments in FAA bill
- The Hill: McConnell sets up FAA reauthorization
Nothing makes me prouder of our community than to see the ways in which we come together and help our neighbors. From government agencies, non-profit organizations, churches, or individually, we don’t hesitate to partner with each other and solve problems. Yet another great example will take place at 12Stone Church next Tuesday, April 19, when the Georgia Department of Labor, Norcross Co-Op, and 12Stone host a job expo. With over 60 employers planning to be in attendance that range from the military to banking, representatives will be on hand from 10AM – 2PM, but military veterans are encouraged to come as early as 9:30AM. If you’ve found yourself looking for the next career step, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
The House is hitting the ground running this week, and along with the bills that we expect to pass on the House floor (H.R. 3791, H.R. 3340, and H.R. 2666), we’re going to be investigating a number of important issues in House Committees.
On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on draft legislation to assist Puerto Rico in meeting its debt obligations and restructuring its financial system to one that is sustainable and works for the Puerto Rican people, its businesses, and its creditors. Puerto Rico is on the verge of a major economic collapse, and we have to work together to ensure that America’s interests and our fellow American citizens are protected.
Also on Wednesday, the Small Business Committee is holding a hearing examining ways to reform the tax code so that it is simpler and works better for our nation’s small businesses. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy; they employ the vast majority of American workers, they support our local communities, and they enrich our economic standing around the world. That’s why it’s so critical to ensure that our government is using the tax code responsibly and taking the needs of those businesses into consideration when reforming the tax code.
On Thursday, the Rules Committee’s Subcommittee on Rules and Legislative Process is holding a hearing examining ways that we can revise the House’s standing rules to ensure that they are keeping pace with the modern authorization and appropriations process. The House has always been a forum where Members can express the voice of the American electorate, and looking for ways to ensure that our rules comport with that ideal is an integral part in ensure that the House is functioning for, by, and of the people.
Member of Congress