Greetings to our Constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is time again for my weekly update report to you all.
This past Friday, President Barack Obama said during his press conference that “The private sector is doing just fine.” I have no idea what statistics he is looking at or if it is just wishful thinking. Sitting on the House Committee on Small Business, I have a clear picture that our small businesses, the economic engine of this country, are not doing well.
The horrific tax and regulatory policies emanating from this administration, coupled with a Dodd-Frank law that is strangling access to capital for our small businesses from small community banks, are counter-productive to American economic growth.
Perhaps President Obama did not read the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report released earlier this week. I recommend this very informative and eye opening analysis. Here are a few excerts from the CBO report:
• The Federal Government’s unsustainable government spending increases the likelihood of a devastating crisis: The CBO report states that “Growing debt also would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates.”
• The massive health care overhaul fails to address the explosion in health care costs. Mandatory federal spending on health care will increase by 93 percent, from 5.4 percent of GDP today to 10.4 percent of GDP over the next 25 years.
• Government spending as a share of the economy will increase by nearly 53 percent between now and 2037, up from its historical average of roughly 20 percent. Taxes are projected to rise to the historical average in the years ahead, yet the unprecedented growth in government spending is projected to rise much faster, driving an unsustainable explosion in debt.
• While total debt already eclipses the size of the entire US economy, debt held by the public is on pace to eclipse the economy shortly after 2022.
• Government spending on health care entitlements, Social Security, and interest on the national debt will consume 100 percent of total revenues by 2025.
• The Federal Government’s interest payments alone are projected to consume 9.5 percent of our entire economy by 2037, up from about 1.4 percent today.
We are no doubt facing a looming economic crisis.... which can be avoided. Even several leading Democrats have advised on the extension of the Bush-Obama tax rates to stregthen the economy. Former President Bill Clinton, former Obama economic advisor Larry Summers, and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) all say these cuts will provide economic stability and certainty.
One can not deny that true economic freedom comes when Americans have a government that respects their individual sovereignty, not servitude. The President of the United States must seek to restrict government involvement in the services that the individual or private sector organizations can provide.
For those who seem to think the House of Representatives does nothing, let me remind you that the House has passed a budget resolution. We have completed six of the 12 appropriations bills and are on track to complete all 12 bills by the end of summer. The House has and continues to pass countless pieces of legislation to create the favorable tax and regulatory conditions for economic growth. Unfortunately, the United States Senate, under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), trails far behind in every area.
Before I close, I want to call attention to the 68th anniversary of the greatest military invasion known to man -- Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, which we memorably call D-Day. Unfortunately, the anniversary went by last week with no recognition from our Commander-in-Chief who was busy traveling the country giving speeches. I will certainly never forget the brave American, British, Canadian, French Soldiers, and Sailors who were a part of the phenomenal mission that liberated a continent from oppression. I pray Americans never forget the countless lives that have been sacrificed in the name of freedom.
God bless them all!
Steadfast and Loyal,
- Energy and Water Appropriations — On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 5325, the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 2013, by a vote of 255-165, I VOTED YES. The bill would provide a total of $32.09 billion in non-emergency, discretionary budget authority for the agencies and programs funded through the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. Budget authority in the bill would be a reduction of $965 million or 3 percent below the spending level requested by the President for Fiscal Year 2013 and $87 million or 0.3 percent above the Fiscal Year 2012 funding level.
- Preventing Obamacare tax increases — On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 436, the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012, by a vote of 270-146, I VOTED YES. The legislation combines four bipartisan bills that would remove harmful limitations put in place by the President’s government takeover of health care law. This will result in saving up to 47,000 jobs, supporting medical innovation, reducing health care costs, and providing American families more choice and flexibility. The bill would repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices scheduled to take place in 2013; would repeal the limitation on reimbursement of the over-the-counter medications from health savings account (HSA), flexible spending arrangement (FSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), or medical savings account (MSA) that took effect in 2011; and would allow 33 million consumers of health FSAs to “cash out” unused funds (capped at $500) at the end of the year. Finally, the bill would eliminate Exchange subsidy overpayments (the subsidies—refundable tax credits—are determined based on the most recent tax return, thus an overpayment could occur when actual incomes exceed subsidy eligibility thresholds). The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 436 would reduce the deficit by $6.7 billion over the 2013-2022 period.
- Homeland Security Appropriations — Also on Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5855, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2013, by a vote of 234-182, I VOTED YES. The bill would provide $39.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for programs funded through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Fiscal Year 2013. Unlike previous years, funding for the Coast Guard’s support of the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations are not included in the bill and are instead provided via transfer of $254 million from Department of Defense, Navy, Operations & Maintenance.
- Legislative Branch Appropriations — On Friday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5882, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2013, by a vote of 307-102, I VOTED YES. The bill would provide a total of $3.33 billion in discretionary budget authority for all non-Senate Legislative Branch activities, which is $34 million, or 1 percent, below last year’s levels and $189 million, or 5.4 percent, below the President’s requested level. The House of Representatives and the United States Senate traditionally determine their own funding separately and concur with each other’s bill in a conference committee. According to House Report 112-511, which accompanies the legislation, the U.S. Senate appropriations estimate is $956.1 million. When House and Senate appropriations are combined, total Legislative Branch funding would be $4.28 billion. According to the Committee on Appropriations, since Fiscal Year 2010, the spending overseen by the Legislative Branch Subcommittee has been cut by 10.5 percent. H.R. 5882 would contribute to an overall level of discretionary budget authority of $1.028 trillion for Fiscal Year 2013 as contained in H.Con.Res. 112, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013.