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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 | September 17, 2014

This week, the House Select Committee on Benghazi held its first hearing to examine implementation of the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board.

The Accountability Review Board issued a report in December of 2012, which found that “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department resulted in security that was “grossly inadequate” to address the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that took the lives of four Americans.

The Review Board made over twenty recommendations, including designing courses that integrate high threat training to better prepare diplomatic security personnel assigned to high-risk posts, and revising regulations to include disciplinary action when poor performance by senior officials is related to a security incident.

In September of 2013, the State Department's Office of the Inspector General issued a report noting that while the Department has taken action to implement the recommendations, it may not be doing so in a manner that reflects the intent of the Review Board.


Question of the weekIn moving forward towards correcting and improving security at our American embassies, how important do you think it is that Congress continue examining the attack on Benghazi that took the lives of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans?

( ) Very important
( ) Important
( ) Somewhat important
( ) Not important
( ) Undecided
( ) Other


Take the Poll here.


Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.

 

Posted by Randy | September 17, 2014

This week, I joined Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox Business to share my thoughts on ISIL, arming the Syrian rebels, and the President’s speech.

Watch below if you missed it, or click here.


Where do you stand? Share your thoughts with me, here



Posted by Randy | September 15, 2014
 

This week, IRS Commissioner Koskinen testified before Congress about the IRS' plans to oversee billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies under the President’s healthcare law. When asked by the House Ways and Means, Health Subcommittee Chairman Brady if the IRS will follow the law in the cases of ineligible individuals receiving Obamacare subsidies, who will eventually have to pay subsidies back to the IRS under the law, Koskinen said: “Wherever we can, we follow the law.” Watch below, or click here.

That is not how the law works. Following the law is not optional – not for you, not for me, and not for the IRS. That’s why 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.

I also supported the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, H.R.4805, to prohibit the federal government from providing any insurance subsidies until a program that can fully verify an applicant’s eligibility is put in place. 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 | September 12, 2014
This week, President Obama addressed the nation to present a strategy to the American people regarding the role the United States will play to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Since last month, the United States has conducted more than 150 airstrikes and has provided humanitarian assistance to those targeted and persecuted by the terrorist organization.

The President announced that the United States will lead an international coalition in continuing the airstrikes and humanitarian aid, and send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq to support and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces.


Question of the week
: Do you support the President’s strategy for combatting ISIL?


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


Take the Poll here.


Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | September 12, 2014
I wanted to be sure you saw that the Navy decided to allow Bibles back in Navy lodge rooms while leaders continue to review the policy. Last month, I led 25 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, urging that donated religious materials remain in the guest rooms at Navy Lodge facilities -- after the Navy announced that it would be removing Bibles from the guest rooms.

The Constitution prohibits the government from coercing its citizens in their religious beliefs; it does not require that all vestiges of faith be scrubbed from view. I continue to urge the Navy to keep Bibles in lodging facilities, and will keep you updated on this situation.

As the Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, I lead a bipartisan group of over 100 Members of Congress committed to defending America’s heritage of religious freedom. More information on our work protecting the religious liberties of our servicemembers is available, here.
Posted by Randy | September 05, 2014
This week, reports indicate that Home Depot may be the latest target of a data breach, following attacks on companies like Target and Supervalu.

In August, the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service issued an advisory encouraging all companies to check their systems for malware infections, and noted that over 1,000 businesses have been infected.

In line with that warning, a recent survey found that 62% of online users are worried about financial fraud.

In addition to retailers, it was reported that large financial institutions, like JPMorgan Chase & Co., have also been targets of hackers seeking access to consumer data.
                   

Question of the weekWhat steps do you support in order to protect personal consumer information?  (multi-answer)

( ) Enact a federal data breach notification law, because there is no comprehensive federal law governing the protection of data held by private companies.
( ) Increase penalties on businesses that fail to adequately protect consumers' personally identifiable information.
( ) Move to a Chip and PIN system, which authenticates an individual’s identity through a computer chip embedded in a credit card and includes a personal identification number.
( ) Ensure that financial institutions and retailers are held to the same standards.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | September 01, 2014
Our law enforcement officers and first responders put duty before self, working on the front lines to protect our homes, our communities, our children and our lives.

For that, I am grateful.  I have supported the National Blue Alert Act, H.R.180, to establish a Blue Alert system throughout the United States to help speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure law enforcement officers.  I have also supported the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act, H.R.4607, to authorize the Bureau of Prisons to issue pepper spray to any officer employed in a prison that is not minimum or low security to respond to emergency situations.

As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, I will continue working to increase public safety and ensure proper protection for our law enforcement officers and first responders.

I have also been vigilant in working to combat the serious threat that gangs, human traffickers, and those seeking to exploit children over the internet pose to our local communities and to the nation. Read more about my work here
Posted by Randy | August 29, 2014
I wanted to share a Washington Post article with you, which highlights that safeguards are not currently in place to stop people who are ineligible for taxpayer-subsidized healthcare from getting tax credits to help pay for premiums.

We cannot tolerate this lack of accountability. That’s why I’m supporting the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, H.R.4805, to prohibit the federal government from providing any insurance subsidies until a program that can fully verify an applicant’s eligibility is put in place.

It’s essential that an income verification system is put in place before any additional taxpayer subsidies are given out. We must protect taxpayer funds from potential fraud.  
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.