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Posted by Randy | April 10, 2014

12 hours. That’s how long it takes the average American taxpayer to comply with the tax code, reading the rules, gathering receipts, and filling out all the forms required by the IRS.

Not only does this go against common sense, but the complexity of the current tax code also places a heavy burden on American families and small businesses, impacting their effectiveness and productivity. Read about my recent work to push for a simpler, fairer tax code – including supporting an optional flat tax and pushing to reform the entire code,here.
 

Posted by Randy Forbes | April 09, 2014

Throwing more taxpayer dollars into transportation projects that are being choked by bureaucratic red tape doesn’t make sense and doesn’t fix the problem. The 414 Plan is simple. Here’s what it does:

  • Suspends for five years all federal regulations that do not pertain to the safety or durability of highway facilities, or of public and workplace safety;
  • Dispenses with costly, federal requirements while continuing to afford states and localities flexibility in utilizing federal funding for road and bridge projects; and
  • Expresses the sense of Congress on the need for greater interagency cooperation among project stakeholders to further expedite the deployment of surface transportation projects.                 
The 414 Plan, which I introduced, has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The text for this legislation can be found here and you can learn more about it, here.

       

http://forbes.house.gov/UploadedPhotos/HighResolution/8a68d172-f930-45ce-a593-485e86e4ebc5.jpg

 
Posted by Randy | April 07, 2014

Flip on the news or scroll through national headlines, and you will be confronted with new reports of waste, abuse, and lack of accountability in Washington. Every day, I hear your concerns about the arrogance of big government, and I join you in those concerns. With that in mind, I wanted to follow up with you and provide you with a brief summary of the legislation I have recently supported, worked on, and voted for, to stop governmental abuse.

  • Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act (holding the VA accountable). This gives the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs the authority to remove employees of the Senior Executive Service, based on their performance, from government service completely. 
  • The FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (Increasing transparency at government agencies). This bill increases the ability of citizens to access records and documents from government agencies, and passed by a vote of 410-0.
  • The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act (Increasing transparency in federal spending). This requires federal agencies to provide annual information to the public on the programs they administer, including cost and any duplication or overlap between programs. That way we can consolidate duplicative programs, cut down on inefficiency, and get rid of unnecessary, outdated or low-priority programs. This passed by voice vote.
  • The Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act (Holding the IRS accountable). This bill requires the IRS to disclose to a taxpayer when it has shared the individual's tax information with another agency.  It also requires the IRS to explain to the taxpayer in writing why an audit has taken more than a year. Additionally, I supported the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, which prohibits the IRS from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political or social beliefs. Both these bills passed by voice vote.
  
 Read more about my recent work to cut waste, reduce spending, and provide increased accountability here.  
Posted by Randy | April 07, 2014
I wanted to share a resource with you that I thought might be helpful. For all the most recent updates, hearings, and reports on the investigation into the IRS’ inappropriate targeting of conservative organizations, you can visit: http://www.gop.gov/irs/.

The IRS has broken the American people’s trust and betrayed their own pledge to “enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.” I remain committed to fighting for the answers the American people deserve, and for the consequences that must ensue to ensure that this does not happen again.

Recently, I sent aletter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting a nonpartisan official be appointed to lead the IRS investigation. I also supported the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, H.R. 2531, which prohibits the IRS from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs.
Posted by Randy | April 03, 2014
Since 1998, the Department of Commerce has exercised control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, non-profit organization that manages basic functions of the Internet. 

Earlier this month, however, the administration announced its intent to relinquish control of ICANN to the global Internet community. 

In 2012, the House and Senate unanimously passed resolutions expressing the sense of Congress that the administration should maintain the United States’ support of a global Internet free from government control, and work to preserve and advance the multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.

Question of the week:   Do you support transitioning authority of the Internet to a global community?

( ) Yes. 
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | April 03, 2014
In November of last year, I asked if you believe the ban should be lifted on Libyans seeking to work in the U.S. in aviation and nuclear fields. Since 93% of you answered ‘no,’ I wanted to share the latest information with you.

In November of 2013, the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees raised concerns about the administration’s plan to lift a longstanding prohibition on Libyans coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, to work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science. Since that time, the Department of Homeland Security has failed to respond and has instead moved forward with this proposed policy without disclosing information about it to Congress.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security will convene a joint hearing in order to obtain critical information regarding this policy change.

You can watch the hearing, entitled “Overturning 30 Years of Precedent: Is the Administration Ignoring the Dangers of Training Libyan Pilots and Nuclear Scientists?” here.

I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that the national security of the United States is protected.
Posted by Randy | March 18, 2014
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, rescue workers found two intersecting beams in the shape of a cross in the wreckage at Ground Zero.

In 2011, the cross was moved to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and following a lawsuit in 2013, a federal judge ruled that the cross’s presence in the 9/11 Museum did not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

Today, debate has continued as to whether the cross should be included in the museum.

 Question of the week: Do you believe the Ground Zero cross should be part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy Forbes | March 18, 2014
Last week, the House considered a bill that I cosponsored, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, H.R.3979, to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees and are not forced to comply with the employer mandate provisions of the healthcare law.

Under the employer mandate, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or face penalties.  Thus, volunteer fire companies could be forced to provide health insurance to their volunteers or pay a fine, imposing additional financial burdens on them and ultimately threatening public safety.

Due to concerns raised by Members of Congress and the public, last month the Treasury Department issued final rules on the mandate, clarifying that hours spent performing services as a volunteer will not be treated as hours of service performed by employees for purposes of the employer shared-responsibility requirement.

The bill will reinforce these rules, protecting our nation’s first responders, and the public safety of our communities.
Posted by Randy Forbes | March 18, 2014

According to The Center for Regulatory Solutions, a project of the Small Business & Enterprise Council, the regulatory cost per U.S. household is $14,678.  In 2012, the median household income was $51,017.  That means the regulatory cost per household is nearly 29% of the average family income.  

 

 At the end of February, the House passed a package of bills, with my support, to address this over regulation, and instead focus on spurring job and economic growth.

The Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency Act,H.R.2804, requires the head of each federal agency to submit a monthly report for each rule they expect to propose or finalize during the upcoming year; requires agencies to choose the lowest cost rulemaking alternative that meets statutory objectives (while permitting costlier rules when needed to protect public health, safety, or welfare); requires advance notice of proposed major rulemakings to increase public input; and ensures that agencies fully analyze the effects of regulations on small businesses and consider ways to reduce unnecessarily burdensome rules.

It’s time to cut the red tape and foster an environment that allows businesses to thrive and grow. I will continue to work to reduce burdensome regulations on American families and small businesses.

Posted by Randy | March 13, 2014
Last month, I wrote to you about premium hikes and changes in flood zone mapping affecting homeowners and communities in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, as well as across the nation.  I wanted to let you know that last week, the House passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, H.R.3370, with my support, and it now awaits action in the Senate.

This bill reinstates grandfathered rates by decoupling rate increases from FEMA remapping. Removal of this provision ensures that policyholders who built to code and standards of existing Flood Insurance Rate Maps are not penalized.  The bill also repeals the home sale and new policy rate increase triggers, ensuring that both property owners and prospective buyers are treated equally.

I will continue working to protect homeowners in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, and I hope that the Senate will act quickly to pass this legislation.