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Posted by Randy | February 06, 2014

I am pleased to let you know that on Friday, January 31, 2014, the State Department released its final environmental impact study regarding construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It is my hope that the administration acts without delay on this project to spur economic growth and energy independence.

I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Posted by Randy | January 31, 2014
On January 28, 2014, President Obama delivered his fifth official State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress.  As part of the speech, the President announced that he will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees $10.10 an hour, and urged Congress to increase the overall federal minimum wage to the same rate.

Supporters believe that raising the minimum wage is necessary to reduce income inequality in our nation and grow the economy because workers will have more money to put back into their local communities.   Those who oppose the increase believe that more regulation from Washington will further burden small businesses - forcing employers to slow hiring and reduce hours - thereby stifling economic growth.

Question of the week:   Do you support an increase in the federal minimum wage

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

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | November 15, 2013

Putting aside political posturing and partisan talking points, what is the healthcare law's real life impact on small businesses across America? A survey of companies representing 42 million jobs, released this month by the International Franchise Association and Chamber of Commerce, reveals that the law is forcing our nation’s job creators to cut employee hours and halt job creation. Here are some highlights:

  • 64% of franchise and 53% of non-franchise businesses believe the health care law will have a negative impact on their businesses.
  • 29% of franchise and 41% of non-franchise businesses are already seeing health care costs increase due to the law.  
  • Over 50% of franchise and non-franchise businesses are planning to make decisions, such as reducing employee hours, to comply with the law’s employer mandate and definition of full-time employment as those working 30-hours a week, rather than the traditional 40 hours.

To place this burden on the backs of our nation’s number one job creators is both unacceptable and short sighted. That is why I championed solutions to:

  • Fully defund the law (H.R. 2682).
  • Protect businesses from the penalties of the healthcare law (H.R. 2667).
  • Relieve small businesses from burdensome tax reporting requirements (H.R. 4).
  • Amend the definition of full-time employment to restore the traditional 40-hour week (H.R.2575).
 I want to hear from small business owners in the 4th District: how is the Affordable Care Act impacting you? Weigh in below.
Posted by Randy | August 06, 2013
I want to share an article with you, following the President’s latest speech about the need to grow the economy and create new jobs. His proposal would increase taxes and invest that additional revenue in infrastructure and manufacturing. 

I agree that we should lower the corporate tax rate to make it more competitive and strive to make our tax code simpler; however, a proposal that also increases taxes is not the way to spur economic growth and job creation. Read about my work on alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs here.
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.