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Category: Congress



  • TPA Leads Coalition Urging Senate Commerce to Allow Innovation to Thrive in Broadband Expansion

    Michi Iljazi on March 3, 2017

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to believe that the private sector has the tools to expand wireless deployment while also protecting taxpayers from potential risk. Innovation thrives when the government moves out of the way and that is a point that TPA made clear to the Senate Commerce Committee as they held a hearing on the challenges ahead for a potential infrastructure bill and how that legislation may encompass expansion of broadband. The coalition letter TPA sent (click here to read) reinforces the point that the private sector is best equipped to lead the way on expanding broadband infrastructure and that lawmakers in Congress should avoid the mistakes of the past that have contributed to the creation of many failing government owned networks (GONs) across the country.

    Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter

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  • Taxpayers Protection Alliance Reacts to President Trump’s Speech

    David Williams on February 28, 2017

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has a mixed evaluation of President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress and the American people. With a national debt nearing $20 trillion, spending is out of control. TPA is disappointed that President Trump has called for more Defense spending. TPA is also disheartened that he did not address Washington’s runaway spending. Taxpayers should be encouraged that the President is committed to comprehensive tax and regulatory reform.

    Click "Read Blog" to see TPA's full reaction to the Trump Address. 

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  • President Trump Must Address Taxes, Spending, and Regulatory Reform in Address to Congress

    Ross Marchand on February 28, 2017

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    Tonight, President Trump will ascend to the lectern and articulate his policy vision to a joint session of Congress. Presidents have used past joint sessions to focus on a myriad of issues, from voting rights to foreign foes to economic policy. But as the new President makes his first address on Capitol Hill, the plight of the taxpayer could and should take the forefront.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congress and President Trump to Protect Intellectual Property

    Michi Iljazi on February 24, 2017

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    Intellectual Property (IP) remains critical to boosting economic growth, and with more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, policymakers must take this issue seriously. Protecting IP rights is not only important here at home but also it is important all over the globe. The United States must continue to lead the way on strengthening IP rights and that is the Taxpayers Protection Alliance joined with the Digital Liberty and more than 60 other organizations signing this coalition letter addressed to the 115th Congress and President Trump. The letter lays out the case for protecting intellectual property rights and not just here in the United States, but around the entire world.

    Click "Read Blog" to see the full letter

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  • Beneficiaries of the Export-Import Bank Also Love the Border Adjustment Tax

    Michi Iljazi on February 21, 2017

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    This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on Feb 15, 2017

    Comprehensive tax reform is one of the most important components to growing the economy. The tax code is outdated, too long, and harming small businesses and working families. Even though there is universal agreement about passing tax reform, and the president last week said to expect a “phenomenal” tax package to be unveiled in the coming weeks, a provision in the Republicans’ plan, the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), could throw cold water on the timing of tax reform. Supporters of the BAT claim they need this provision to pay for the tax cut, but the reality is that the BAT will result in a tax increase for consumers and benefit many firms who are already receiving corporate welfare through the Export-Import Bank.

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  • Time to Repeal Dick Durbin’s Corporate Giveaway

    David Williams on February 16, 2017

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    This article originally appeared in The Hill on February 13, 2017

    President Trump has made his disdain for the Dodd-Frank Act clear as day. In his first weeks in office, he even signed an executive order that said his administration will roll back the most punitive parts of the law. This week, a coalition of conservative organizations ranging from the R Street Institute to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance dispatched a letter to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, urging repeal of the Durbin Amendment, a provision of the law that sets price controls on interchange fees for debit card purchases. If Congress wants to help “drain the swamp,” ending this corporate giveaway would be a great place to start.

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  • Reading in Between the Lines of the Solar Jobs Report

    Ross Marchand on February 13, 2017

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    For pundits, lawmakers, and has-been presidential candidates, the phrase “green jobs” has long served as a magical mantra. Claims about the economic benefits of renewable subsidies are a dime-a-dozen, but do they hold up to scrutiny? The Solar Foundation’s 2016 Solar Jobs Census Report can shine some light on this question and help taxpayers see where all of their money is going. After combing through data collected by 91,000 energy establishments, the Foundation concludes that the number of solar jobs grew by 24.52 percent between 2015 and 2016. Absolute employment figures are low, however, meaning that some 50,000 new job positions will register as large percentage increases. Additionally, the concentration of job growth over the past year has more to do with congressional brinkmanship than actual market demand. Solar and wind companies feared throughout 2015 that the production and investment tax credit would expire at the end of the year, prompting a taxpayer-subsidized hiring and investment frenzy. As the result of a bipartisan agreement reached early last year, however, renewable tax subsidies will be phased out through the next decade. This extension will put a simmer on things for a while, but guarantees renewed market instability in a few years’ time. Even if private investment can partially fill the gap left by the phase-out, skills mismatches are bound to hold back the solar industry.

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  • President Trump Working With Congress to Ease the Burden of Massive Regulations

    Ross Marchand on February 10, 2017

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    Over the past few decades, our nation’s gears of productivity have been clogged by an avalanche of rules and regulations created by meddling bureaucrats in Washington. This gusher of new, complex regulations has wreaked havoc on the economy by relegating companies across sectors to bureaucracy processing centers. Implementation of Dodd-Frank rules, for instance, has prompted large financial institutions to turn to cognitive systems like IBM’s Watson for help. With sufficient expertise and resources required to ride out the regulatory storm, larger corporations took advantage of low borrowing costs under the new government framework. So, it should come as no surprise that three of the “Big Four” banks - Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase - have gotten bigger since the end of the financial crisis. While large banks and investment firms celebrate government favors, community banks have largely been left to the wolves. There’s been a dearth of bank formation, as prospective institutions realize that healthy earnings will result in hefty mandates from the federal government. Mercatus Senior Fellow Hester Pierce surveyed small banks in 2014 and found that more than eighty percent of these institutions faced increased compliance costs. Additionally, a quarter of small operations were contemplating mergers as the result of regulatory overload.

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  • Border Tax Would Punish Consumers, Kill Jobs

    David Williams on February 9, 2017

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    This article appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel February 6, 2017

    While there is broad consensus on the need to rein in the regulatory reach of the federal government, there is growing disagreement over tax reform.

    Since the election of President Donald Trump, the stock market has rallied to historic highs as investors have expressed their bullish confidence that the new Republican governing majority in Washington will usher in policies that create strong and sustained economic growth. This optimism is being fueled by the prospects for sweeping tax and regulatory reform. While there is broad consensus on the need to rein in the regulatory reach of the federal government, there is growing disagreement over tax reform. The stakes of this debate couldn’t be higher for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives. It has been more than 30 years since Ronald Reagan last reformed our tax code. In the three decades since, Washington special interests and lobbyists have littered the tax code with complicated deductions and loopholes that reward the biggest corporations at the expense of middle America. The existing tax code picks winners and losers, discourages growth and has punished working families who have seen their wages stagnate over the last decade, fueling the discontent in the electorate that resulted in Donald Trump’s victory.

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  • TPA Submits Comments on Copyright Office Reform to House Judiciary Committee

    Michi Iljazi on February 6, 2017

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of taxpayers nationwide, is encouraged by the initial work being done by the Chairman and the rest of the members of the Judiciary Committee regarding Copyright Office modernization. TPA is also grateful that Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers are asking for input from the public and all stakeholders about the future of the U.S. Copyright Office. Currently there is broad agreement that the Copyright Office, which administers the U.S. copyright system and serves the over $1.1 trillion market for copyrighted works, needs to modernize. In March of 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports concluding that the Library of Congress has been woefully mismanaged, and that the Copyright Office, which resides in the Library, needs better IT systems.  Taxpayers, and all citizens, should expect the government to utilize technology and common sense when modernizing all operations.

    Click 'Read Blog' below to see the full comment

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  • Super Bowl Highlights Need for PASPA Repeal

    Ross Marchand on February 3, 2017

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    At approximately 6:30 PM this Sunday, millions of people from around the world will tune into watch the Super Bowl.  Some will be watching for the game and others will be watching for the commercials.  But, no matter who may be winning, a significant number of people will be glued to the television holding out hope that their wager on the end score is correct. These fans in search of a buck are also criminals, thanks to a twenty-year arcane law created by the federal government called The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). With the exception of Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, PAPSA prohibited states from allowing sports gambling. And despite decades of unintended consequences associated with prohibition, attempts by states to fight the outdated statue have resulted in failure.

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  • Protecting Email Privacy

    David Williams on January 30, 2017

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Times on Jabuary 24, 2017

    Last week, Reps. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican, and Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, reintroduced the Email Privacy Act, a bill that will protect Americans’ privacy rights from bureaucratic overreach by updating the grossly outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Last April, the Email Privacy Act passed the House with a stunning 419-0 vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, the Senate version of the bill was compromised with controversial amendments, causing it to never make it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, however, all signs point to the clean version passing both houses of Congress this session. The ECPA allows law enforcement to gain possession of any emails or messages that are more than 180 days old. This is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, making us less safe because it overwhelms our bureaucrats with excessive information.

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  • TPA Agrees With Steve Forbes: Congress Should Look at Spending Cuts Instead of Border Adjustment for Tax Reform

    Michi Iljazi on January 26, 2017

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) today published an open letter to congressional Republicans authored by visionary conservative and publishing icon Steve Forbes. The letter, which appeared in today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, warns Republicans in Congress that their majority could be at stake if they continue to pursue a border adjustment tax to pay for corporate tax reform. Mr. Forbes argues that border adjustment is “a costly new national sales tax on imports, one that will dramatically raise prices of everyday goods and services,” and continues by saying “Congress would be wise to focus their attention on spending cuts.”

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  • TPA Releases Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity for 115th Congress

    Michi Iljazi on January 25, 2017

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    This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 115th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity.  The publication puts forward an aggressive reform agenda for Congress. The publication focuses on 14 different policy areas where reform is needed to help reduce the size of government, cut spending, enact tax reform, and help get the economy back on track.  Issues covered in the publication include Defense Spending, Earmarks, Energy, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Mergers, Regulatory Reform, Solar Subsidies, Tax Reform, Telecommunications Policy, Trade Policy, United Nations/World Health Organization and United States Postal Service Reform. TPA President David Williams said of the release, “The newly elected Congress has No More Excuses for not acting on real and meaningful reform when it comes to reducing spending and getting the debt under control. TPA’s Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity provides a path forward.”

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  • Time for the Email Privacy Act to be Signed Into Law

    Ross Marchand on January 18, 2017

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    On January 9, 2017, Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) reintroduced The Email Privacy Act.  This legislation would upgrade America’s digital privacy laws by establishing protections against warrantless searches of private emails.  This legislation is needed because the Fourth Amendment’s protection of property against “unlawful searches and seizures” is constantly under siege from home intrusions to warrantless wiretapping. Lawmakers feared that similar abuses would arise in the digital domain, and passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in 1986 to safeguard emails from wonton searches. The law, however, was written at a time when “clouds” referred only to liquid droplets and not storage for information. 

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  • To Protect Taxpayers, Block Unnecessary Rail Regulation

    David Williams on January 16, 2017

    This article orginally appeared in The Daily Caller on January 11, 2017

    Taxpayers are accustomed to paying for the country’s critical transportation infrastructure.  What many taxpayers may not know is that the commercial rail infrastructure is privately funded and it is working quite well.  In fact, the U.S. freight rail industry serves a critical role in the U.S. economy and benefits all American taxpayers and consumers. Yet a proposed rule by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that would mark a significant change in direction from the industry-saving partial deregulation in 1980 could threaten this success by driving cargo from private railroads to taxpayer-funded roads. 

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  • Thirteen Proposals from the CBO for Deficit Reduction

    Ross Marchand on January 13, 2017

    Friday the 13th is a holiday of morbid unintended consequences. Like indoor umbrella openers or mirror breakers, most members of Congress are oblivious of the negative effects stemming from their actions. But, unlike superstitions that rarely have a cause and effect, the action (or inaction) by Congress has dire fiscal consequences.  Spending initiatives such as health-care subsidies and loan guarantees are well-meaning, but balloon the deficit and harm intended beneficiaries. But this grim reality comes with a silver lining. By eliminating many programs in the federal budget, Congress can simultaneously restore solvency and increase prosperity. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report produced last month provides a long list of possible program cutbacks with estimated savings over a five-year and ten-year timeframe.   In total, the CBO examined 54 spending proposals.  In honor of this Friday the 13th, we chose 13 fiscal actions that would result in ten-year budgetary savings of nearly $300 billion over five years and  $1.1 trillion over ten years if taken together. Our selections are far from exhaustive, and our non-triskaidekaphobic readers should feel free to send us their own lists.

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  • The Cure for Healthcare Reform Begins with Repealing Obamacare

    Ross Marchand on January 11, 2017

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    After a long bout of failed expectations with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, Congress is finally set to repeal the law as they have promised. A complete list of the legislation’s flaws could span thousands of pages, but the incoming Congress can prioritize and target the most egregious parts when looking at repeal and replace. As a result of the unpopular insurance mandate, more than eight million taxpayers were penalized hundreds of dollars for not purchasing health insurance in 2016. This increased burden was supposed to “nudge” enrollment markets toward a healthy subset of the population, but enrollees “turned out to be sicker and more costly than expected.”

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  • The Dangerous Side Effects of Drug Reimportation

    David Williams on January 10, 2017

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    Waste. Public health risks. Fatal complications. These are only some of the consequences that can result from a consumer or patient taking medicines that are imported from other countries.  As the new Congress and administration begin to set the tone and stage for 2017, our nation’s health care system and the importation of medicines will surely be a topic of contention among policymakers. Over the past several years, importing medicines from countries such as Canada or Western European nations has been brought up by members of Congress as a way to address the nation’s health care issues. However, importing medicines from outside the U.S. would be a dangerous solution that would hurt consumers far more than it would help them. While imported medicines are often advertised as cheap and easy to obtain, many are counterfeit and were originally manufactured in countries millions of miles away from Canada and made with untested, unsafe ingredients. The country would be unwise to allow them in. Nevertheless, counterfeit medications have become a growing problem in the U.S., potentially compromising our country’s drug supply chain, risking jobs and wasting taxpayer dollars.

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  • Time for Congress to Defund the United Nations

    David Williams on January 9, 2017

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    This op-ed appeared in Inside Sources on January 4, 2017

    Since its inception the United Nations has spent billions of dollars in global taxpayer money pushing questionable resolutions and misguided initiatives. A recent resolution condemning Israeli settlements has prompted considerable backlash and calls to defund the organization. In light of these recent developments, the incoming Trump administration and Congress have a rare opportunity to reduce the annual $8 billion subsidy to the United Nations and push for more oversight. Attaching more strings to U.N. funding can effectively reign in an organization hostile to individual rights and sound public policy. The latest controversy at the United Nations isn’t the only problem at this international organization. The U.N. has an abysmal record on preserving press freedom, regularly blocking access to their meetings and instigating vendettas against journalists. In the first two days of the U.N.-funded World Health Organization’s 2014 Conference of the Parties Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a tobacco control treaty, the public was ejected and the press had their event credentials revoked.

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