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Category: Congress



  • 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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  • Trump Must Slay the Sacred Cow of the Budget: Defense Spending

    Andrew Langer on January 5, 2017

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    Andrew Langer is the President of th Institute for Liberty. This op-ed appeared in The Washington Examiner on January 3, 2017.

    President-elect Trump is going to have plenty of messes to clean up when he sweeps into the Oval Office, but the first might have to be at the Defense Department. Far removed from the forces in the field, the bloated bureaucracy at the Pentagon has become its own special miasma of waste and excess, as proven by a study by the Defense Business Board that detailed $125 billion in administrative waste in the Pentagon's business operations. The report essentially detailed how the Pentagon could save $125 billion over five years by streamlining its bureaucracy.

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  • Taxpayer New Years Resolutions for 2017

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on January 2, 2017

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    The New Year has begun, and after saying goodbye to 2016, taxpayers are ready to welcome 2017.  While many people resolve to shed a few pounds and break some bad habits, this year’s list of resolutions highlights all of the major issues that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will focus on throughout the year.


    Congress


    The resolution for Congress in 2017 is clear: No More Excuses. Washington (including the incoming Trump administration) have no more excuses for not getting things done for taxpayers. On a wide range of issues, including tax reform and regulatory reform, members of the House and Senate can longer make excuses for not doing the necessary work to fix some of the major problems impacting taxpayers. It is time for Congress to get to work. For more on Congress, click here

    Click "Read Blog" below to see all of TPA's 2017 Resolutions!

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  • Coalition Doubles Down on RAWA Opposition

    Michi Iljazi on December 28, 2016

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is headed into 2017 with a campaign called No More Excuses. As previously discussed, the No More Excuses campaign is about making sure that the new Congress and new White House administration know that the time for action is now. Issues that have been getting lip service for many years must now be tackled head on and the fact is there are simply No More Excuses for inaction. However, there are many issues that Washington should stay away from, and a ban on Internet gambling is one of those issues. TPA recently joined with a number of groups on a coalition letter sent by Institute for Liberty making the case once again for why legislation known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which is a federal ban of online gaming, would be a disaster. The Lame Duck session was a looming threat where a ban may have been slipped into last minute legislation, thankfully that did not happen. TPA and others will still be working to make sure it doesn't happen in 2017 either. 

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  • TPA Celebrates Festivus 2016!

    David Williams on December 23, 2016

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    This article appaeared in Inside Sources on December 21, 2016

    As people celebrate the holidays in different ways across the country, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance is celebrating Festivus. The holiday created by the television show “Seinfeld” challenges all the normal rules of gift giving and decorations and is essentially a day of telling people why you’re upset with them about the choices they’ve made over the last year.

    Airing of Grievances

    The first tradition of Festivus is “the airing of grievances.” This part of Festivus expresses the ways that taxpayers have been disappointed over the last year. While there could have been an entire book written on taxpayer grievances, here are just a few grievances that taxpayers have with bureaucrats and lawmakers.

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  • New Report Highlights Economic Impacts of IP and Copyright

    Michi Iljazi on December 22, 2016

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    The importance of protecting Intellectual Property (IP) is undeniable.  Now, a December 6 report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) titled, Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2016 Report, confirms the economic impact.  According to the report, copyright industries are responsible for adding $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy as well as employing 5.5 million workers in America.  These numbers (and others from the report) show indisputable proof that Congress must act to modernize the Copyright Office to foster even more growth in the copyright industry. It should come as no surprise that copyright has such a strong economic impact.  The Department of Commerce released a report in October that detailed the importance of all IP to the economy. That report, titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update,” showed that 45 million jobs are directly or indirectly tied to IP, and that IP-intensive industries accounted for $6.6 trillion in GDP value. 

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  • TPA to Washington in 2017: No More Excuses!

    David Williams on December 17, 2016

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is closing out 2016 with a message for Congress and the incoming Trump administration: No More Excuses!

    Over the past several years, Congress has dropped the ball in coming together on solutions to very real and solvable problems that are impacting taxpayers and businesses. Now, with the likely prospect of a Congress and White House that are seemingly aligned on some of the major issues facing the country, there is no reason that many of those problems can’t be solved over the course of 2017. Hence, no more excuses.

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  • Bipartisan Tax Reform Is Possible in the First 100 Days

    David Williams on December 12, 2016

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    This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on December 1, 2016

    All signs from Capitol Hill and President-elect Donald Trump indicate that tax reform will be one of the top priorities of the incoming administration. For those who have long advocated for a tax code that fosters — rather than suppresses — economic growth and investment, this is welcoming news. However, as the debate begins over the details and whether to address corporate reform or individual, or both, it’s imperative that Democrats and Republicans put aside their differences and come together to take on this monumental task. When asked about the necessity of tax reform (see video here), citizens from across the country from all political leanings said that tax reform is a priority.

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  • TPA Statement on House Passage of Continuing Resolution

    Michi Iljazi on December 9, 2016

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    WASHINGTON, D.C.
    – Yestrday, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a statement after the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through late April of 2017. The bill, which maintains the fiscal year 2017 spending cap of $1.07 trillion, now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass. Lawmakers are slated to leave town this weekend for the remainder of the year ensuring no more action in what was, thankfully, a brief Lame Duck session.
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  • TPA Signs Coalition Letter Criticizing Congress for Budget Gimmicks in NDAA

    Michi Iljazi on December 6, 2016

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    Pentagon spending continues to be a focus for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and many other taxpayer advocates who care about fiscal responsibility. Recently, TPA President David Williams laid out the case for how President-elect Trump can make good on his promises to change Washington by tackling problems with the defense budget. Yesterday, a report came out detailing how the Pentagon has been wasting over $120 billion on bloated bureaucracy in recent years. Keeping all of that in mind, TPA signed this letter criticizing Congress for their continued gaming of the budget as it relates to Pentagon spending and specifically the authorization of an additional $3.2 billion as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that just passed Congress last week.  TPA firmly believes that the best way to secure our nation and our people is to ensure that the financial resources we have are being used in the best way possible to protect against threats both foreign and domestic. Using budget gimmicks to plus-up Pentagon spending on wasteful programs doesn't make the country any safer.

    Click "read more" below to see the full letter

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  • Republicans May Finally Be Able To Slay ObamaCare With Tom Price Leading HHS

    David Williams on December 5, 2016

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    This article originally appeared in Independent Journal Review on November 30, 2016

    Obamacare has been the Republican’s White Whale since it was passed and signed into law in 2010. Republicans have mounted valiant efforts to kill Obamacare, but failed each time. Now as President-elect Donald Trump picks Rep. Dr. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), taxpayers and all citizens see a sign of regulatory and tax relief from Obamacare. But, unlike the book Moby Dick, this giant whale (Obamacare) may be finally slain next year and Captain Ahab (Dr. Price) may be victorious. » Read More
  • Lame Duck session is the Wrong Response to the Election

    David Williams on November 29, 2016

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    This article appeared in The Hill on November 22, 2016

    The 2016 Presidential election is officially over which means that it’s time for Congress and the President elect to get to work. When lawmakers return from their five-week election hiatus they will decide on passing a short-term or long-term spending bill and whether or not to have a lengthy lame-duck session of Congress. As the end of the fiscal year approached in late September, Congressional leaders had to decide on how to keep funding the government before October; otherwise a shutdown would have occurred. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance and many other groups and individuals urged Congress to avoid a lame duck and fund the government past Christmas and into 2017. Lawmakers instead chose to pass a short-term spending bill to fund the government until Dec. 9, guaranteeing that Congress would have to return after the election in order to pass another bill to fund the government.

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  • The Lame Duck Is No Time to Cripple Internet Commerce

    Steve DelBianco on November 28, 2016

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    Today is Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving.  People are encouraged to purchase holiday gifts online with retailers offering internet-only deals.  The first Cyber Monday was in 2005 and recorded $389 million in sales while last year's total eclipsed $2.2 billion.  This year, analysts expect $3.36 billion in sales.  Cyber Monday is also a good time to remind Congress about the dangers of passing the Marketplace Fairness Act, aka an online sales tax.  The following op-ed by Steve DelBianco of NetChoice (originally posted on November 16, 2016 in Morning Consult) is a good reminder why MFA should not be passed in a lame duck session of Congress or ever.

    Click "read more" below to see the op-ed

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  • TPA's 2016 Taxpayer Turkeys

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on November 23, 2016

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    Thanksgiving
    in upon us, and that means it’s time for families to get together for good times, great food, and a few football games. It also means that it’s time for Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Taxpayer Turkeys! This year TPA has been paying close attention to what elected officials are doing and how they are hurting taxpayers. Here’s our list of turkeys for this year and you can also hear about them on the latest TPA podcast (click here to listen).

    Click "read more" below to see the 2016 Taxpayer Turkeys!

    » Read More
  • TPA's 2016 Taxpayer Turkeys

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on November 21, 2016

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    Thanksgiving
    in upon us, and that means it’s time for families to get together for good times, great food, and a few football games. It also means that it’s time for Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Taxpayer Turkeys! This year TPA has been paying close attention to what elected officials are doing and how they are hurting taxpayers. Here’s our list of turkeys for this year and you can also hear about them on the latest TPA podcast (click here to listen).

    Click "read more" below to see the 2016 Taxpayer Turkeys

    » Read More
  • TPA Warns Congress Not to Lift the Ban on Earmarks

    Michi Iljazi on November 18, 2016

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    It’s only been ten days since the election, and already some in Congress are showing signs that they didn’t get the message from voters. This week, some Republicans in Congress were set to push a vote (in secret) to lift the ban on earmarks. The 2011 ban has been helpful in getting rid of most earmarks; unfortunately TPA still uncovers many of them in spending bills, but a proposal from Representatives John Culberson (R-Texas), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) would have brought them back for good. Fortunately Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) delayed the vote until after the new year, but TPA sent this statement to members before the announced postponement letting Congress know that lifting the ban was unacceptable and that it displayed a total disconnect from the signal that voters sent Washington in the Presidential election.

    Click "read more" below to see the full statement

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  • Postal Service Begins the Holiday Season by Delivering More Debt

    David Williams on November 15, 2016

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    This article appeared in The Hill on November 14, 2016

    Weeks before the U.S. Postal Service begins to brag about all of the packages they will deliver during the upcoming holiday season, they will close the books on their 2016 fiscal year. And, based on a recent release, the Postmaster General and Chief Financial Officer will unveil their financial results on Nov. 15. If history is any guide, this will not be a very proud moment for the leadership of the United States Postal Service (USPS) with billion-dollar losses expected.

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