Washington Watch - 11/21/16
Last week the House approved two pieces of legislation that will be critical in holding Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, in check. H.R. 5711 will help prevent American financial institutions from aiding in the Iranian acquisition of commercial aircraft, and H.R. 6297 extends our authority to levy painful economic sanctions on Iran for another decade. We know Iran is committed to developing weapons that could imperil the survival of America and our allies, and these are two small steps we can take now to mitigate the threat. I look forward to working with President-elect Trump next year to go even further to protect America, Israel, and all nations committed to freedom and peace.
- Reuters. U.S. Senate leader says Iran sanctions renewal will pass
- New York Times. House votes to extend Iran sanctions in bid to ensure nuclear compliance
On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 5732, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act,” to address the ongoing atrocities being committed by the Assad regime and his supporters – namely Russia and Iran. Both individuals and organizations that provide the Syrian government with financial, material, or technological support will be subject to sanctions by the U.S. government. The bill also includes a provision to hold Syrian human rights abusers accountable for their crimes, and encourages a negotiated political settlement to bring this humanitarian crisis, which is now more than five years old, to a close. I am optimistic that this bill, paired with sanctions passed by our partners in Europe, will bring the parties back to the negotiating table to provide the Syrian people peace that they deserve.
- Reuters. House reauthorizes Iran sanctions bill, sets Syria sanctions
- Washington Post. House passes two sanctions bills, sending foreign policy message on Iran and Syria
- Wall Street Journal. EU Hits Syrian Officials With Sanctions
You probably don’t realize it, but every few years, when a presidential administration is getting ready to move on and turn over the keys to the White House to another occupant – especially one of an opposing political party – the executive branch bureaucracy shifts into overdrive. Proposed regulations that have been too controversial to finalize, some that have been sitting around for years just waiting for their day in the sun, or even brand new rules that haven’t been properly vetted tend to get fast-tracked through the regulatory process and become new rules that Americans have to live by. And those rules have become voluminous. Tens of thousands of pages of regulations have already been adopted by this administration, and I know that they want to go further in the next month with more. American small businesses already have enough to deal with, our economy is already fighting to break out of its doldrums, and too many Americans are still looking for work for us to continue allowing the government’s regulatory structure to strangle innovation and economic growth. I’m so pleased that the House passed legislation, H.R. 5982, the “Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016,” but even if the Senate can’t pass it and this President won’t sign it, I look forward to working with our new president and his administration next year to make our government work better for the American people.
- Forbes. Obama’s midnight regulations to get increased scrutiny from Congress and Trump
- The Hill. House passes bill targeting midnight Obama regs
Last week, the House took further action to crack down on telephone scams, which is an issue I hear about frequently from many of you as “spoof calls” are increasingly being used by bad actors to defraud Americans out of millions of dollars. The bill, H.R. 2669, the “Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015,” expands the Federal Communication Commission’s authority to enforce criminal fines and penalties against individuals outside the U.S. who alter caller identification information for the purpose of defrauding Americans. Since technological advancements now allow criminals to make “spoof calls” from sources other than traditional land lines, H.R. 2669 applies to text messages and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, which allow criminals to make fake calls from computers and tablets. With the 114th Congress quickly winding down, I hope you all will join me in pressing the Senate to act on this important piece of legislation before the end of this year.
- Washington Examiner. House votes to prevent scammers from hiding caller IDs
It’s that time of year again, and Thanksgiving has arrived in full swing along with cool air and crisp leaves. This week, we welcome the season of gratitude and joy, which calls for the gathering of loved ones to reflect on our blessings and to give thanks. Americans from all over the world will make the trek home to be with family and friends, just as the pilgrims made the long journey to the New World.
History reveals that the pilgrims’ voyage was not easy, and we know that the harsh winter conditions had a devastating effect on them. However, as so many of us learned in school, and our kids still learn today, the Native Americans taught the pilgrims valuable skills to survive, and together, they reaped the benefits of a plentiful harvest and shared in its wealth. I am confident that as a nation - as Americans - we can do anything when we come together to uphold our American values and principles so that we can all share in the wealth our country has to offer.
I want to take this opportunity to join you in giving thanks for the blessing that it is to be an American. May God bless you, your family and our great nation, and may He especially bless the men and women serving our country overseas who cannot make it home to give thanks with their loved ones. As Americans, we are eternally grateful for them and their sacrifices.
Member of Congress