(Washington) - Today a coalition of 22 organizations sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives urging passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.
Joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) at a press conference, the organizations expressed the urgency of passing TPA.
“The United States desperately needs TPA legislation in order to finalize trade agreements while Congress maintains oversight and control,” said David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance President. “It’s important to remember that this legislation would not only help Congress keep the current Administration in check, but this is a six-year agreement that will be critical for the passage of trade deals through the first term of the next president.”
Several of the organizations that signed on today’s letter previously sent a similar to the Senate, before TPA legislation passed in that chamber by a vote of 62-37. “In strong, bipartisan fashion, the Senate voted for the passage of TPA legislation. The House needs to follow suit so that America’s businesses, small and large, can compete on a level playing field in the world’s largest markets. We need to lead international trade negotiations, and TPA is essential for doing so.”
The House is expected to vote on the legislation before the July recess.
The Senate voted 62-37 last Friday to approve S. 995, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, aka Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Final passage came after a great deal of dramatics from alleged “free trade” Democrats who had acted earlier in the week to block a final vote on the legislation. TPA is a necessary tool to not only give the Executive Branch the authority it needs to negotiate and finalize trade agreements, but also to ensure that the legislative branch has the power of oversight that comes with any trade deal struck between the US and other nations. TPA now it will make its way over to the House for what promises to be as crucial a fight and vote as it was in the Senate last week.The battle over approving what is known as “fast track” authority managed to pit the President against some of the highest profile members of his own party.
Trade is an extremely important issue right now as the U.S. economy continues to struggle as millions of Americans still find themselves jobless and our deficit and debt continue to grow. This is one area where the White House and President Obama have a unique opportunity to come together to approve and ratify trade agreements that benefit working Americans and taxpayers, while at the same time preserving the interest of the country both here and abroad. Last week, bipartisan and bicameral deal was reached on legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The bill was hammered out by Senators Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), along with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). TPA would ensure that the executive could finalize negotiations on trade agreements, while making sure Congress retained control including oversight on any deal reached. Today, more than twenty organizations joined in a coalition effort supporting the legislation and sent a letter to Congress urging approval of TPA.
President Obama’s energy policies have been a debacle since his first day in office. Now, with Americans dubious of his schemes after being burned by his war on coal, stifling environmental regulations, and refusal to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is pulling a new tactic from his bag of tricks in hopes of winning back public support: The old switcheroo. Last month, when the president announced his draconian new policies that would block the production of as much as 30 billion barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska and ban future generations from recovering an estimated 10 billion more sitting beneath Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he included a trade-off meant to help American energy production efforts elsewhere. Or so it seemed. In his compromise, Obama promised to open up areas of the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Georgia to new opportunities for offshore oil and natural gas leasing … sometime between 2017 and 2022 … maybe. That same area had previously been approved for energy exploration before, but the president killed that plan in 2010. There’s little reason to believe that any drilling will occur in the region this time around, either.
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS TO FCC: SCRAP THE PRESIDENT’S NET NEUTRALITY PLAN
Taxpayers Protection Alliance President slams upcoming vote by the Federal Communications Commission on President Obama’s net neutrality rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, criticized plans by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to vote on new rule making regarding net neutrality and reclassification of the Internet under Title II. The new rules reflect proposed plans from the Obama Administration that would undercut the very essence of an open Internet and stifle innovation and commerce, while harming taxpayers and consumers. TPA President David Williams slammed the proposal in a statement released today: “The proposal coming from the White House and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is completely antithetical to the innovative nature that has been a hallmark of the Internet for nearly two decades. There is absolutely no rationale for moving forward with an aggressive regulatory approach to keep the Internet open.” Williams also talked about the harm to taxpayers and the economy, noting that, “Reclassification of the Internet could lead to new taxes, which would be a disaster for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses at time when there are already massive taxes on telecommunications.”
Billions Blown on Solar Offer Little Bang for the Bucks
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) today published the first in a series of "Solar Spotlight" issue briefs, as part of a national campaign to educate Americans about the fiscal, economic and even environmental impacts of government support for the heavily-subsidized solar energy industry. In a new report, Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang,TPA concludes that solar subsidies, tax breaks and other preferences have cost taxpayers more than $39 billion annually — exposingAmericans to substantial financial risk while distorting our nation’s energy markets. “American taxpayers spent an average of $39 billion a year over the past 5 years financing grants, subsidizing tax credits, guaranteeing loans, bailing out failed solar energy boondoggles and otherwise underwriting every idea under the sun to make solar energy cheaper and more popular,” concludes the TPA report—the first in a multi-part expose on the solar industry. “But none of it has worked. Solar energy remains prohibitively expensive—often three times more than electricity produced from natural gas and other sources. As a result, less than 1 percent of the electricity consumers by Americans comes from solar energy sources.” Furthermore, over the past five years, the federal government spent an estimated $150 billion on solar energy and other renewable energy projects.
In Washington, there are rare occasions when competing political parties and opposite branches of the federal government share a similar goal and work together to achieve it. Unfortunately, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Pentagon budget, which breaks the spending caps set by sequestration, might be a time for bi-partisan agreement. The Defense spending caps is set at $499 billion; but President Obama appears to be preparing to send to Congress a Pentagon budget request of $534 billion, which will be coupled with a request of $51 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to fund conflicts in the Middle East. That additional $35 billion could present a problem because that increase could mean an automatic trigger in mandatory cuts. The $534 billion request for Pentagon spending is the highest base budget ever submitted. The $534 billion is a 7.9 percent increase over the $495 billion FY15 base budget. When adding in OCO funds, this budget is the largest since 2012.
This article originally appeared in Roll Call January 20, 2014
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give his sixth State of the Union Address and there is no doubt that the speech will contain familiar themes on policy initiatives his administration has long championed. Perhaps chief among them though is telecommunications policy, an area that Congress and the president must address if the country is to remain competitive around the world. For starters, it has been almost 20 years since the Communications Act has been updated. Coincidentally, the last time the Act was updated, there was a Democrat in the White House and a GOP-controlled Congress. Much has changed technologically in the last two decades, and with the massive change in virtually every facet of telecommunications, it is crucial to make sure that innovation can still be a key ingredient.
On Tuesday night, the President will be giving his sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the country. After you get past all the pomp and circumstance of his arrival on Capitol Hill and shaking the hands of members of Congress, President Obama will launch into his policy agenda for the next year. The speech will not only be a preview for next year, but also be a peek into what his priorities will be and how he intends to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate and increased Republican majority in the House. There will be opportunities for the President to reach out to the Congress to pass much-needed reform, but there will also be differences. Besides listening for buzzwords like “investment” which really means more spending, TPA will be listening very intently to the whole speech, but there will be a few issues that taxpayers should especially be listening for when President Obama speaks to the nation tomorrow night.
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS: MUNICIPAL BROADBAND IS AFFORDABLE LIKE OBAMACARE IS AFFORDABLE Taxpayers Protection Alliance leader discusses the cost of Internet access ahead of President Obama’s trip to Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in advance of President Obama’s Iowa speech addressing the need to increase access to high-speed Internet across the country: “Municipal broadband is affordable like ObamaCare is affordable – in other words, it is not. Cedar Falls boasts that it offers its citizens the ‘gold standard’ in broadband connections. This gold standard comes at a steep price of nearly $140 per month for rural residents. In contrast, the costs soar to almost $1,000 a month for businesses, subsequently causing a significant impact on the amount of money small businesses will have to reinvest in their own growth. Access to high-speed Internet is hailed by big-government spenders as a pseudo human right, but what they gloss over are the enormous costs to taxpayers that are not recouped when broadband networks fail or are sold.
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement from TPA