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Posted by Randy | October 27, 2014
The Administration announced the My E-Verify program to allow individuals to lock their Social Security numbers to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use. The program is available in five states - Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia - as well as the District of Columbia, and will soon be used throughout the rest of the country.

While this program is an important improvement, there is much left to be done -- not only protect the personal information of American citizens and prevent theft and fraud, but also to verify the eligibility of those working in this country.

That’s why I supported the Legal Workforce Act, H.R.1772, to improve the E-verify system and make it mandatory for all U.S. employers to quickly, accurately, and easily ensure they are hiring workers legally.

For me, no amnesty means no amnesty. Our immigration policy must reflect our core belief that entry into the United States is not a right, but a privilege. The government must ensure the safety and security of our nation’s borders. This cannot be done if we do not identify and monitor the constant flow of illegal immigrants into our country.
Posted by Randy | September 29, 2014

Recently, the House of Representatives considered The Jobs for America Act, which is a package of bills supporting job creation through streamlining regulations, encouraging the hiring of American veterans, and providing relief for small businesses from Obamacare.

Some of the bills included are The REINS Act, (H.R. 367), which ensures that Congress votes on all new major regulations before they are enforced on citizens and businesses; The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, (H.R. 3086), which protects internet access for all Americans and fosters growth in the digital economy; and the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act, (H.R. 4457), which ensures small businesses have the certainty they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.

Government should be an enabler of economic growth, not a barrier.

Posted by Randy | September 19, 2014
This week, the House passed the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act, (H.R. 5405) which reduces the regulatory burden on small businesses and spurs growth. It also includes several provisions to help emerging companies raise capital and grow.

By reducing the regulations crushing small businesses, we take a step towards freeing them up to light up our economy. It makes sense: real growth isn’t created by pulling a lever in Washington – real growth happens when our small businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs have the ability and opportunity to create jobs, expand their companies, and push us forward.

I also cosponsored the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, (H.R. 367), which requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on every new major rule issued by a Federal agency before it could be enforced on businesses and the American people.  This ensures that the Executive Branch is being held accountable for the barrage of burdensome regulations being imposed on job creators. It’s common sense.
Posted by Randy | September 19, 2014
This week, the House voted on the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act (H.R.2) – a package of 13 bills – to increase domestic energy production, promote new technologies, and improve our energy security.

I believe it’s critical that our nation pursue its own energy resources, develop energy infrastructure projects to create jobs, and reduce the burden to American consumers.  The American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act is a step towards achieving those goals, and securing our nation’s future energy supplies.

I will continue working to expand American-made energy, encourage conservation, and decrease our dependency on foreign oil. 
Posted by Randy | September 18, 2014

The more we learn, the more starkly apparent it is that the IRS has abused its power, broken the American people’s trust, and needs to be held directly accountable. This week, the House of Representatives is considering several bills to do just that.

Holding the IRS accountable:

  • H.R. 5418 – Prohibits IRS employees from using personal e-mails and other electronic communications to conduct any official business of the government as a means of intentionally bypassing recordkeeping laws.
  • H.R. 5419 - Requires the IRS to allow organizations denied tax-exempt status to directly appeal to the IRS’s Appeals Office -- thus bypassing the initial appeals process through the Exempt Organizations Division, which denied the tax-exempt request. In addition to requesting the direct administrative appeal, an organization may also request a conference with the IRS related to the appeal.
  • H.R. 5170 – Creates a process for firing federal employees—after thorough investigation— who willfully and unlawfully destroy federal records and restricts top White House employees in using non-official electronic messaging accounts. Additionally, this bill requires agencies to publicly disclose on their websites when official records have been lost.
  • H.R. 5420 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations.

I have been relentless in calling for accountability at the IRS – through appointing an independent special counsel to the investigation into IRS abuse, and by prohibiting the massive expansion of the IRS required to implement the President’s healthcare law. Additionally, I supported a bill, H.R. 2531, to prohibit the IRS from asking taxpayers questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs.

Posted by Randy | August 28, 2014
Currently, the corporate tax rate in the United States is 35% (over 39% with local and state taxes) and is the highest of any country in the industrialized world.  Additionally, unlike other countries, U.S. corporations are not just taxed on their activity inside our borders, they are taxed on the income they earn all over the world.

In order to reduce their tax burden, some U.S. companies use an inversion, which is when they acquire or merge with a company overseas, and reorganize in a country with a lower tax rate.  Inversions allow companies to transfer money earned abroad to the new parent company without being subject to U.S. taxes.

Some argue that inversions allow American companies to overcome these tax disadvantages in order to compete in a global market, while others believe it is unpatriotic to move companies overseas and this is simply a tax loophole that should be closed.

This week, Burger King announced it was entering into a deal to buy Tim Horton’s, a Canadian coffee and doughnut shop.  In doing so, Burger King would create a new corporate parent of both companies, with its headquarters in Canada.

Recently, Walgreens announced a similar move to buy a Swiss company, Alliance Boots, and relocate its headquarters overseas; however, after facing criticism, the company is now pursuing the merger without an inversion, keeping its headquarters in the U.S.

Question of the week
Do you believe that we should reform the corporate income tax structure in America?

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

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | August 27, 2014

Last week, I spent some time touring several of the different manufacturing plants we are fortunate to have in the Fourth District. One of the things that struck me, as I met with employees and toured the different facilities, was the stark difference between the way Washington operates and the way these manufacturing plants operate. In Washington, it’s all about talk. The air is stagnant with clunky bureaucracy and inefficiency. Here at the manufacturing plants in the Fourth District, the air crackles with energy and efficiency. There’s less talk and more action, more building, more creating value.

Below is a roundup of photos, so you can see what I saw during my tour:











Posted by Randy | August 26, 2014

The Port of Virginia is one of our most unique and valuable assets in the Fourth District of Virginia. As the Panama Canal expands to allow the passage of the large cargo vessels known as Post-Panamax ships, it is important to note that the Port of Virginia is one of the few deep-water ports already able to accommodate such vessels. However, the maintenance and improvement of crane, rail, and trucking infrastructure remains critical for the Port to handle the increased volume of cargo the Post-Panamax ships carry. Ships will only come to the Port if the channel is deep enough and the Port can receive and process their cargo in a timely and efficient way.

Ensuring that these transportation links are not only working, but growing, will give us tremendous economic opportunities. That’s why I spearheaded the creation of the bipartisan Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus to assess the impact the expansion will have on U.S. ports and inland infrastructure. The Caucus will highlight steps that Congress needs to take to make sure our nation's ports are prepared for a new era of commerce, and to ensure the United States remains a global leader in commerce and transportation.

Posted by Randy | August 21, 2014

Reinvigorating American manufacturing is crucial to the economic future of our country. We need to create a national manufacturing strategy that strengthens U.S. companies by reducing burdensome taxes and regulations, and preserves the rich manufacturing heritage of this country.                    

This week, I visited manufacturing plants in the Fourth District and met with employees and business leaders, who serve as the engine behind this key industry.  We discussed creating an economic environment that encourages growth and competitiveness for U.S. companies. To learn more, visit my website here.

I cosponsored the Bring Jobs Back to America Act, which seeks to bring outsourced overseas jobs back to the United States in order to encourage job creation, by taking a few common sense steps. Learn more, here.  
Posted by Randy | May 15, 2014

As we celebrate Small Business Week and recognize the value and importance of small businesses not just to our communities, but to the economic stability and prosperity of our nation, I wanted to share this article with you written by Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Small Business Committee.  

Small Business Week
By Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) - 05/14/14 09:00 AM EDT 

Every small business throughout the country is a story of someone’s hard work, a good idea, or a plan to make life better for their family. Many succeed, some don’t. We should respect the courage, risk and sacrifice required to build a business. One of the purposes of National Small Business Week is recognition of that effort, but there’s more to it. We should examine policies that are helping and hurting small business and make the appropriate changes to encourage their growth because our economy hinges on their success.

Small businesses are responsible for about half the nation’s economic output, and when it comes to jobs, small firms have an outsized impact. Small companies comprise about half of all private sector jobs in total, and lead the way in job creation with 60-to-80 percent of all new jobs, depending on the year. All told, small firms can take credit for 65 percent of jobs created over a recent 17-year span, according to the Small Business Administration.

It’s fair to say that if small businesses are thriving, then the economy is likely to be healthy. If small businesses are struggling, then the economy is not strong. 

Over the past month, the latest economic information has been a mix of good news and bad. The unemployment rate has fallen, but a closer look shows far too many Americans leaving the workforce. Moreover, the economy slowed to a mere 0.1 percent growth last quarter. Throughout the very slow recovery of the past several years, the economy has never really roared back or created jobs at the pace the country needs.

Small businesses are a major part of the solution for jobs and growth. When small firms grow, the benefits spread throughout the economy. The irony is that these businesses are often treated by Washington as though they are part of the problem. During the last five years, small businesses have faced numerous roadblocks to growth, including mounting federal regulations, higher taxes, economic uncertainty, and burdensome requirements from the health care law.

As one Connecticut small business owner, Dan De Clercq, commented to the Small Business Committee through our interactive website Small Biz Open Mic, “Since ObamaCare became a discussion in 2008, our yearly premium has doubled from 113k to 220k presently. Plus our deductibles and co-pays have increased to obscene levels. Eliminate or halve my corporate income taxes, help bring my company-sponsored health care back to normal levels and I'd hire four more people.”

Dan’s not alone in his experience. A recent NFIB study shows that ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Tax will cost the economy up to 286,000 jobs, and 57 percent of those jobs would be from small businesses. Over the past five years, the cost of new regulations on the American economy has spiked by $73 billion annually. The Administration has issued a burdensome 157 new major rules, each with economic costs of $100 million or more. This government power grab is predictably not leading to robust economic growth.

Despite the state of the economy, the U.S. Senate continues to ignore nearly 40 growth and jobs bills passed by the House. These bills range from reducing red tape to ensuring access to affordable energy.

Small businesses are widely supported by Americans, but they could use some more common-sense from Washington. The nation’s 28 million small businesses don’t need new bureaucracies or more government control; they need the administration to get out of the way so they can grow.

National Small Business Week is a great time to say “thank-you” to a small business in your neighborhood and “shop small.” I also believe this week is a great reminder that if Washington is going to talk-the-talk then Washington needs to get serious about a small business growth agenda that is going to back up that rhetoric. 

Graves has represented Missouri's 6th Congressional District since 2001. He is chairman of the Small Business Committee and also sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.