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Posted by Randy | August 16, 2013
I wanted to share a recent article with you indicating that the President is looking to bypass Congress by working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to raise fees on consumers and use that money for a new initiative – ConnectEd – to expand Internet access in schools.   The cost for the initiative is estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion and will be paid for by employing higher cell phone fees on consumers.
I will continue to push back against yet another overreach by the administration, not only to ensure oversight of the executive branch, but also to protect American consumers from these increased costs. 
Posted by Randy | August 07, 2013

Last month, the administration announced that implementation of the employer mandate in the health care law would be delayed until 2015, due to “concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.”  When I asked you whether the individual mandate should be delayed as well, 76.1% said yes. 

Following administrative delay of a major piece of the law, and a vote in the House to also postpone the individual mandate, debate in Congress has now turned from delaying implementation to defunding the health care law as part of any measure to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year.  

Funding for Fiscal Year 2013 runs out on September 30th.  Before that date, Congress must agree on funding for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins October 1st and runs through September 30th of next year. 

Question of the week:
 Do you believe that trying to defund the health care law is worth risking a government shutdown? 

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other (leave your comments below).

Take the Poll here.
Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.

Posted by Randy | June 20, 2013
A recent Associated Press article revealed that the IRS is planning to hand out approximately $70 million in employee bonuses. In the wake of scandals over targeting groups for their political beliefs as well as overspending on lavish conferences, the agency’s decision to hand out millions of dollars in bonuses to employees is egregious.  

Overspending and a lack of accountability cannot remain the status quo.  We must put forward policies that are in the best interest of the American people because we owe it to the people of this country to be wise stewards of their money.
I introduced a bill to prohibit the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing  the health care law, cosponsored a bill to crack down on wasteful practices by increasing accountability for federal spending on conferences, and questioned the Attorney General regarding holding those responsible at the IRS who targeted conservative organizations. 

I will continue to work to restrain wasteful government spending and hold the IRS accountable for its actions. 
Posted by Randy | May 31, 2013

I wanted to share with you a recent article from The Heritage Foundation’s blog, showing that since February, the federal debt has increased by $300 billion, bringing the total to $16.7 trillion.  The article notes this trend in Washington:

  1. Spend;
  2. Spend some more;
  3. Run up against the debt ceiling;
  4. Resort to “extraordinary measures” to ward off a possible default for a while; and finally,
  5. Settle for inadequate measures that fail to curb soaring debt in the future.

We cannot sustain this path.  Congress must make it a priority to reign in federal spending and restore America to fiscal prosperity. Read more about what I’m doing to reduce spending here.

Posted by Randy | May 09, 2013

At the end of April, the Treasury Department announced that it would pay down $35 billion of the nation’s debt for the first time since 2007.  In February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal government would run a deficit of $845 billion this year, 24 times the amount the Treasury is paying down. 

Earlier this year, Congress passed the No Budget, No Pay Act, which required the House and Senate to pass a budget, but also suspended the debt limit until May 18th.  Last week, the Treasury Department said, “If Congress fails to increase the debt limit by May 19, Treasury can use extraordinary measures to create additional borrowing room."

Today, the House will consider the Full Faith and Credit Act, H.R.807, to direct the United States Treasury, in the event the debt ceiling is reached, to pay the principal and interest due on debt held by the public before making any other payments. 

As the Heritage Foundation said, “to see significant reductions in the national debt, lawmakers need to show greater fiscal discipline…” 

Paying off some of the debt is a good first step, but we cannot continue on the same path of reckless spending and repeated debates over further increasing the debt ceiling. I introduced the Congressional Accountability Pay (CAP) Act, H.R.284, to address situations like this.  The more Washington spends, the less Members of Congress should receive in their paychecks.  Read more here.

Posted by Randy | May 08, 2013
I wanted to bring your attention to a recent Washington Post article regarding fees the federal government pays on empty accounts, further highlighting the need to address Washington’s spending problem. 

Examples such as this are just one reason I believe strongly in the role of Congress to provide continued oversight of the Executive Branch.  In this fiscal environment where each American’s share of the deficit is more than $53,000, many remain unemployed and taxes have been increased (and some are threatening more tax increases for the middle class), all government spending must be looked at with the highest degree of scrutiny and transparency. My goal is always to ensure the taxpayer gets the absolute most for each tax dollar.

We must put forward policies that are in the best interest of the American people. I will continue to work to curtail this alarming spending trend and will advocate restraint and fiscal control when addressing our nation’s budgetary needs.  We owe it to the people of this country to be wise stewards of their money.

I introduced the Congressional Accountability Pay (CAP) Act, H.R.284, to address situations like this.  The more Washington spends, the less Members of Congress should receive in their paychecks.  Read more here.
Posted by Randy | January 31, 2013

I want to share with you a recent CNBC article  showing that GDP in the United States fell for the first time since 2009.  Both the article and the chart below, indicate that the 0.1 percent decline is due in large part to the largest cuts to defense spending our nation has seen in 40 years. 

Since 2011, when sequestration was introduced as a means to reduce spending, I have been warming against drastic and dangerous cuts to our military.  I opposed the Budget Control Act, which will implement sequestration and slash defense spending on March 1, 2013, and have consistently supported alternative plans to address the debt and reign in spending in Washington.  Given this latest economic report, do you agree that a strong defense is necessary to maintain a strong America?

GDP Shows Surprise Drop for US in Fourth Quarter
Published: Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 | 8:11 AM ET

The U.S. economy posted a stunning drop of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, defying expectations for slow growth and possibly providing incentive for more Federal Reserve stimulus.

The economy shrank from October through December for the first time since the recession ended, hurt by the biggest cut in defense spending in 40 years, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. That's a sharp slowdown from the 3.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter.

The surprise contraction could raise fears about the economy's ability to handle tax increases that took effect in January and looming spending cuts.

Still, the weakness may be because of one-time factors. Government spending cuts and slower inventory growth subtracted a total of 2.6 percentage points from growth.

And those volatile categories offset faster growth in consumer spending, business investment and housing -- the economy's core drivers of growth.

Another positive aspect of the report: For all of 2012, the economy expanded 2.2 percent, better than 2011's growth of 1.8 percent.

The economy may stay weak at the start of the year because Americans are coming to grips with an increase in Social Security taxes that has left them with less take-home pay.

Subpar growth has held back hiring. The economy has created about 150,000 jobs a month, on average, for the past two years. That's barely enough to reduce the unemployment rate, which has been 7.8 percent for the past two months.

Economists forecast that unemployment stayed at the still-high rate again this month. The government releases the January jobs report Friday.

The slower growth in stockpiles comes after a big jump in the third quarter. Companies frequently cut back on inventories if they anticipate a slowdown in sales. Slower inventory growth means factories likely produced less.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, Inc. said this week that it reduced its inventories by $2 billion in the fourth quarter as global sales declined from a year earlier.

The biggest question going forward is how consumers react to the expiration of a Social Security tax cut. Congress and the White House allowed the temporary tax cut to expire in January, but reached a deal to keep income taxes from rising on most Americans.

The tax increase will lower take home pay this year by about 2 percent. That means a household earning $50,000 a year will have about $1,000 less to spend. A household with two high-paid workers will have up to $4,500 less.

Already, a key measure of consumer confidence plummeted this month after Americans noticed the reduction in their paychecks, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

Economists expected the first reading on gross domestic product to show growth of 1 percent, down from the third quarter's reading of 3.1 percent.

Posted by Randy | January 29, 2013

In my recent online survey, I asked people which issues they believe are most critical for Congress to address.  Most (2660 out of 5174) said “taking serious action to reduce government spending.” I agree.

Today, the national debt is over $16.4 trillion.  That is more than $52,000 for every American, more than $135,000 for every U.S. household, and is greater than the size of our economy. We need to address the deficit and federal spending, but we also need to reform the way in which Congress acts in addressing the fiscal state of our nation. One way to do this is by introducing accountability of Members of Congress into the budget and spending process. Consistent with these goals, I introduced a bill that addresses the root of the problem – unprecedented spending in Washington.

Earlier this month, I reintroduced the Congressional Accountability Pay Act (H.R.284) to tie Members' salaries to the growth in federal spending - the more we spend, the less we make. For instance, if federal spending increases by 7%, congressional salaries are cut by 7%. This legislation ensures that Members of Congress are held personally accountable via their own paychecks. Just like families and businesses across America, Members of Congress need to be accountable for their fiscal decisions. Giving Members a personal stake in spending the tax dollars of the American people will reduce federal spending and rein in the growth of the national debt.

We must make it a priority to put our nation back on a path of fiscal prosperity. Members of Congress should not be afforded special treatment and be made immune from the economic challenges facing our nation. As public servants, we have much work to do to bring down our national debt and reduce deficit spending.  I believe that this bill is an important first step to show that Members of Congress are committed to returning America to a firm fiscal footing.

Posted by Randy | November 09, 2012
As the end of the year approaches, so does the “fiscal cliff”: expiration of the Bush tax cuts and automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion known as sequestration are scheduled to take place.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report today: Economic Effects of Policies Contributing to Fiscal Tightening in 2013, estimating that significant tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January will sharply reduce the federal budget deficit, but also cause “a decline in the nation’s economic output and an increase in unemployment. “   Essentially, the fiscal cliff could drive the U.S. economy back into recession next year and result in a jump in the jobless rate to 9.1% by the end of 2013.

Question of the week: Which “Fiscal Cliff” issues are you most concerned about? (multi-answer)

(  ) Rising income tax rates to 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6% from 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35%
(  ) Capital Gains rate rises from 15 to 20% for most people
(  ) Automatic spending cuts to defense budget of $55 billion in 2013
(   ) Reduction in the child tax credit from $1,000 per child under 17, to $500 per child under 17
(  ) Automatic spending cuts of $55 billion to non-defense discretionary spending in 2013
(  ) I am not concerned. These are all appropriate tax increases and spending cuts.
(  ) Other (share your thoughts on my blog here.)

Take the poll here.

Posted by Randy | June 14, 2012
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned last week that U.S. debt is scheduled to reach 70% of the Gross Domestic Product by the end of the year and grow to nearly twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2037.

The CBO report says, “Over the past few years, the federal government has been recording budget deficits that are the largest as a share of the economy since 1945. Consequently, the amount of federal debt held by the public has surged. By the end of this year, CBO projects that the federal debt will reach roughly 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest percentage since shortly after World War II. Whether that debt will continue to grow in coming decades will be affected by long-term demographic trends (particularly the aging of the population), economic developments, and policymakers’ decisions about taxes and spending.”

To read the full report, click here.

Read the Wall Street Journal’s article here: Dire CBO Report Urges Fiscal Fixes.

Question of the Week
To avoid a European-like fiscal crisis, which of these measures do you support to stop our exploding debt?   

(  ) Reforming Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs
(  ) Allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire
(  ) Enact other tax increases?
(  ) Government spending cuts (Share your recommended spending cuts below)
(  ) Other (share your thoughts below)

Take the poll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.