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Posted by Randy | July 26, 2013
This week, the President delivered a speech about the need to refocus the attention of Washington on the economy, as bailouts, stimulus, sequestration, and an overhaul of the healthcare system have not worked to achieve economic prosperity. 

While the unemployment rate remains over 7 percent, federal employees have been furloughed, and each American’s share of the national debt is over $53,000, I have worked on and supported alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs.

Question of the week:  What do you believe the federal government should do to spur economic growth? (multiple answer)

( ) Reduce burdensome regulations
( ) Lower health care costs
( ) Reduce individual taxes
( ) Make the corporate tax rate more competitive
( ) Provide greater access to capital
( ) Raise the minimum wage
( ) Bring outsourced jobs back to the United States
( ) Support free trade
( ) 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 | May 20, 2013
I thought you might be interested in a recent article I read in The Washington Post, which detailed a disturbing trend: The GSA has failed to fully pay 1,334 federal contractors, shorting small businesses by over $3 million. Today’s economic environment is uncertain enough, but when you add in federal agencies that cannot be trusted to fulfill their half of the bargain, small businesses become discouraged from competing and hesitant to invest, stunting our entire country’s economic growth.

As the backbone of the American economy, entrepreneurs and small businesses are crucial contributors to our nation’s economic success. I will continue to work to promote policies that create a healthy economic environment which encourages small businesses to do what they do best: grow, innovate, creat jobs, and lead our country forward.
Posted by Randy | May 17, 2013
Last Friday, Lois Lerner, Director of the Exempt Organizations Division at the IRS, apologized for the Agency requiring certain conservative groups to submit excessive paperwork regarding their 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. 

Her apology was issued just days before the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was scheduled to release its oversight report of IRS activities.  This report not only confirmed that the IRS was in fact targeting conservative organizations, but that this has been going on since 2010. 

Groups with the word “patriot” in their names, and those with the mission of “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” have been subjected to enhanced scrutiny in their applications for tax exempt status.  The TIGTA report indicated that 160 applications were open from 206 to 1,138 days, some more than three years and crossing two election cycles.               

The Department of Justice launched an investigation in conjunction with the FBI, and the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing today to further investigate this matter and bring to light why these groups were targeted. 

While these investigations are pending, and Americans are calling into question the integrity of what should be a non-partisan, non-political government agency, I have introduced the Prevent IRS Overreach Act, H.R.1993, to prohibit the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing the healthcare law.  Read more about this bill here.

Question of the week:  Do you believe the Prevent IRS Overreach Act is a necessary step in ensuring protection for the American people?

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

Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 09, 2013
This week, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, S.743, to enable states to require online sellers with more than $1 million in annual revenue to collect sales tax on transactions outside their borders.  Under current law, sellers must have a physical presence in a state before the state can require retailers to collect sales taxes.    

Supporters of this bill believe that small businesses and brick-and-mortar stores are at a competitive disadvantage with online retailers, many of which do not have to collect sales taxes.  As such, proponents say that this bill is needed to level the playing field by enabling the collection of a sales tax that is already due.   

On the other hand, opponents of this bill argue that it would burden small businesses, forcing them to comply with state and local tax laws from around the nation. Additionally, they argue that the measure would violate state sovereignty, force businesses to be tax collectors for other states without benefitting them, and dissuade entrepreneurial and start-up businesses. 

Question of the week:  Do you believe that states should have the authority to require online sellers to collect sales tax from individuals living outside their borders?   

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

Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here
Posted by Randy | March 06, 2013
Last month, I asked whether you supported sequestration or an alternative plan to reduce spending.  After nearly 80% responded that they preferred alternative spending cuts, I asked which alternatives to sequestration you support.  Finally, I asked which legislative proposals voted on in the House or Senate you supported to avert sequestration.

This week we take a look at a far narrower bill designed to reign in government spending by increasing accountability for federal spending on conferences.  Recently introduced, the Agency Conferences and Conventions Operating Under Necessary Transparency (ACCOUNT) Act, or H.R.283, seeks to control spending by requiring that conferences costing more than $25,000 must be approved by the head of the particular federal agency, and must have details posted on the agency website within 30 days of the conference, including the purpose, total cost and cost per employee attending. Each agency would be required to submit a report on their conferences to the relevant Congressional committee for the fiscal year. Under the ACCOUNT Act, conference spending would be public and federal agencies would use taxpayer money more wisely with the American people watching. This bill aims to crack down on wasteful practices and bring conference spending – such as the $823,000 spent by the U.S. General Services Administration in Las Vegas last year – into the light of day.

Question of the week: Do you support the ACCOUNT Act as a means of reining in federal spending?

( ) Yes.
( ) No. 
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other (share your thoughts below).

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here
Posted by Randy | February 27, 2013
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on two alternatives to address sequestration.  The vote will come one day before sequestration takes effect.

Senate Democrats have proposed replacing $110 billion in cuts - $85 billion through September 30th (the end of fiscal year 2013) and another $25 billion through the end of December.  One half would come from tax increases, while the other half would come from spending cuts equally divided between eliminating direct payments to farmers and cuts to national defense.

Senate Republicans are expected to offer a plan to grant the Defense Department and other agencies flexibility to prioritize their own funding, rather than implementing the arbitrary cuts to each program called for under sequestration.   For the $85 billion in cuts under sequestration for 2013, agencies would be able to reprogram spending cuts at their discretion; however, a balance must remain between defense and non-defense spending cuts. 

In May (H.R.5652) and December (H.R.6684) of 2012, the House voted to replace sequestration with recommendations from six committees – Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means - to cancel $98 billion in cuts to discretionary funding. Both of these bills passed with Congressman Forbes’ support.

Question of the week: Which of these three legislative proposals do you support to avert sequestration?

( ) I support the bills passed in the House that provide alternative spending cuts.
( ) I support the plan offered by Senate Democrats to raise taxes.
( ) I support the plan offered by Senate Republicans to allow agencies to prioritize spending.
( ) I support sequestration.
( ) I support another solution (share your thoughts below).
( ) I don’t know.

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 21, 2013
Earlier this month, I asked whether you support sequestration or an alternative plan to reduce federal spending. Over 77% of constituents responded that they support an alternative plan.

It has been 568 days since the Budget Control Act, which set up the process of sequestration, was signed into law. I voted against this legislation because I believed that it would make dangerous cuts to our military. Since then, I have launched two initiatives: Strong Defense, Strong America and Defending our Defenders, to warn about the dangers of slashing defense spending. Now that we are just days away from sequestration taking effect, several legislative proposals have been introduced to delay or replace the arbitrary, across-the-board sequestration cuts.

Please note: These solutions are not mutually exclusive – implementing one would not necessarily exclude another.

Solution 1: Alternative spending cuts:
In May (H.R.5652) and December (H.R.6684) of 2012, the House voted to replace sequestration with recommendations from six committees – Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means - to cancel $98 billion in cuts to discretionary funding. Both of these bills passed with my support.

Solution 2: Protect defense from sequestration:
Last week, I introduced a bill (H.R.773) to remove the Department of Defense from sequestration. Under sequestration, defense spending will be disproportionately cut, absorbing 50% of the cuts. Spending cuts of this magnitude will not only cripple the economy, but will decimate the military. This bill would reduce the amount of the sequester to $600 billion.

Solution 3: Federal employee attrition:
Representative McKeon (R-CA) and Senator Ayotte (R-NH) introduced a bill (H.R.593 and S.263) that would pay for one year of cuts by requiring a reduction in the federal workforce through attrition and a pay freeze for Members of Congress.

Solution 4: Delay implementation of the healthcare law to avert sequestration:
Representative Thornberry (R-TX) introduced a bill (H.R.607) to delay all provisions of the health care law that are set to take effect in 2014 and 2015 until January 1, 2016. I am a cosponsor of this bill.

Solution 5: Tax increases:
Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced two alternative plans to delay sequestration for one-year (S.278) or in the alternative, replace it for the full 9 years (S.277). Both plans are completely achieved through tax increases.

Solution 6: Increase taxes and cuts to national defense:
Representative Ellison (D-MN) introduced a bill (H.R.505) to replace sequestration with $960 billion in tax increases, and cutting $278 billion from defense spending.

Question of the week:
Which alternatives to sequestration do you support? (Multi-answer)

( ) Solution 1: Alternative spending cuts
( ) Solution 2: Protect defense from sequestration
( ) Solution 3: Federal employee attrition
( ) Solution 4: Delay implementation of the healthcare law to avert sequestration
( ) Solution 5: Tax increases
( ) Solution 6: Increase taxes and cuts to national defense
( ) I support sequestration.
( ) I support another solution. (Leave your comments below)
( ) I don’t know.

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 08, 2013

In 2011, the Budget Control Act (BCA) was introduced, calling for arbitrary and sharp spending reductions as a means of reducing the deficit. The BCA, which Congressman Forbes voted against but was passed and signed into law, calls for $984 billion in automatic, largely across-the-board spending reductions composed of $492 billion from national security and $492 billion from programs such as education, law enforcement, Medicare, housing, and medical research. These cuts, through the process of sequestration, are scheduled to take place on March 1, 2013, unless Congress and the President act.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted twice to replace the sequestration; however, the Senate has failed to act.  It has now been eighteen months since the Budget Control Act was signed into law and our nation has just weeks until sequestration takes effect. This week, the President delivered a speech, calling on Congress to avert sequestration.  According to The Washington Post, “Obama did not outline a specific proposal,” but indicated his support for tax increases and some spending cuts as a means of postponing or replacing sequestration.

Today, our national debt stands at over $16 trillion, and we have annually run a deficit of $1 trillion for the past four years.  Congressman Forbes has taken steps to champion real, effective solutions to address overspending, such as consistently supporting a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, voting against $800 billion instimulus spending, and introducing the Congressional Accountability Pay (CAP) Act to tie the salaries of Members of Congress directly to federal spending. 

Further, since 2011, Congressman Forbes has continuously warned against dangerous cuts under sequestration, and has taken steps to prevent it:

July 2011 --- Launched an initiative called Strong Defense, Strong America to warn about the dangers of slashing defense to pay for stimulus spending
August 2011 ---- Voted against the Budget Control Act, which set up the process of sequestration
October 2011­­ ­­­­­­---- Introduced Strong Defense, Strong America Resolution
May 2012 ---- Supported legislation to replace sequestration
May 2012 ---- Launched ‘Defending our Defenders,’ a series of 7 listening sessions around the country
December 2012 -----Again supported legislation to replace sequestration

Question of the week:
Do you support sequestration or an alternative spending reduction plan?

( ) I support sequestration called for under the Budget Control Act.
( ) I support an alternative plan to reduce the deficit and control spending. 
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll 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 18, 2013
In January of 1995, a constitutional amendment that mandated a balanced budget passed the U.S House of Representatives.  Two months later, the balanced budget amendment was brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate where it failed by one vote. Since then, federal debt has more than tripled in size from $5.1 trillion to $16.4 trillion today.  Additionally, since 2007, the debt ceiling has been increased nine times - three of which were a result of the Budget Control Act - without Congressman Forbes’ support.

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the sole power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States.”  The United States reached its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling or borrowing limit at the end of 2012.  As a result, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner began a “debt issuance period”, in which the U.S. suspended investments in a pair of government retirement funds through February 28, 2013 to tap into approximately $200 billion of emergency borrowing authority.

The Heritage Foundation has argued that the government should use this opportunity to engage in “real-time budgeting” and prioritize federal spending to allocate incoming funds to the government’s highest priorities - interest on the debt, national security, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – and then applying the rest to remaining mandatory and discretionary accounts. 

The Center for New American Progress made the case that Congress has an obligation to raise the debt ceiling as, voting to increase the debt limit is “not a vote on how much we will spend or whether we will raise the money to pay for it but rather a vote on whether we will pay our bills.”

Congressman Forbes believes that we must make it a priority to put our nation back on a path of fiscal prosperity.  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.  

Question of the week: Which viewpoint best represents your views on the debt ceiling?

( ) I would support a proposal to raise the debt ceiling if it included significant spending cuts.

( ) Congress should oppose an increase in the debt ceiling and allocate incoming funds to the government’s highest priorities allowing for default on lower priority obligations.

( ) The U.S. must pay their bills and the debt ceiling should be raised without any negotiations.

( ) I don’t know.

( ) Other.

Take the poll here.

Find out the results of last week’s instaPoll here.