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Category: Congress



  • TPA Urges Congress to Act on Reforming Video Marketplace Laws

    Michi Iljazi on October 13, 2015

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    Congress has been slowly moving toward reforming many of the country’s outdated communications laws to better serve taxpayers and consumers. TPA has been agressive in calling for faster action on Capitol Hill, but unfortunately that has yet to materialize. However, recently the FCC took action on their own to make important changes to some of the rules that govern the video marketplace, but that doesn't mean Congress should abdicate their responsibilites to the federal agency. Keeping that in mind, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance sent the following letter to members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well as the Senate Commerce Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It's imporant for Congress to maintain their proper role without letting the FCC take too much action. 

    Click 'read more' below to see the letter

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  • Speaker Chaffetz Could Be Boon to Internet Sales Taxes and Online Gambling Ban

    Michi Iljazi on October 10, 2015

    chaffetz

    Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) set off a firestorm when he abruptly announced he would resign from Congress at the end of October. While the news is still sending shockwaves throughout Washington, the competition to replace Mr. Boehner has been a full court press for the limited candidates aiming for the job. Now that current Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dropped out of the race, there are other members considering a run for Speaker. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fl.) is running (in what appears to be nothing more than a long-shot bid), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has also thrown his hat into the ring for Speaker. Adding to the drama of this leadership election is the move by Speaker Boehner this week to postpone the vote (originally scheduled for October 7) to October 29, the same day Boehner officially retires from Congress. The race for Speaker is critical and while the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) doesn’t endorse in these leadership elections, it is important to point out the potential legislative consequences that could follow with a new Speaker. In particular, what a Speaker Chaffetz would mean for certain pieces of legislation that TPA has been adamantly opposed to over the last few legislative sessions.

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  • STATEMENT: TPA Urges Passage of Bill to Repeal Crude Oil Export Ban

    David Williams on October 9, 2015

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges the House of Representatives to pass H.R.702, a bill to adapt to changing crude oil market conditions. The bipartisan legislation is being sponsored in the House by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). This historic vote to repeal the ban on U.S. crude oil exports will be good for consumers and taxpayers. Banning exports of U.S. crude oil is bad policy that has been in place for 40 years.  Lifting the ban will allow the nation to move towards a more secure energy and economic future. The ban prohibiting America from exporting its crude oil is often referred to as “outdated” and “impractical.” Simply put, this is an understatement.  Changing this policy will foster free trade, a principle that is beneficial for both taxpayers and the whole economy. An analysis conducted earlier this year found American crude oil exports could add 300,000 new jobs and increase America’s GDP by $20 billion as soon as 2020. In addition, the Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office recently stated that allowing exports of American crude oil would result in diminished pressure on crude oil and gasoline prices, serving a big win for consumers. It’s clear that everyday Americans will see the benefits of ending the ban on crude oil exports. This ban is restricting the expansion of the U.S. energy economy, which is thriving and delivering lower-cost energy to consumers. We applaud the U.S. House for holding today’s vote and TPA urges the Senate to remember that a vote to repeal the ban is a vote to build a stronger and more internationally competitive America, for current and future generations.

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  • Speaker Chaffetz Could Be Boon to Internet Sales Taxes and Online Gambling Ban

    Michi Iljazi on October 8, 2015

    chaffetz

    Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) set off a firestorm when he abruptly announced he would resign from Congress at the end of October. While the news is still sending shockwaves throughout Washington, the competition to replace Mr. Boehner has been a full court press for the limited candidates aiming for the job. Now that current Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dropped out of the race, there are other members considering a run for Speaker. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fl.) is running (in what appears to be nothing more than a long-shot bid), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has also thrown his hat into the ring for Speaker. Adding to the drama of this leadership election is the move by Speaker Boehner this week to postpone the vote (originally scheduled for October 7) to October 29, the same day Boehner officially retires from Congress. The race for Speaker is critical and while the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) doesn’t endorse in these leadership elections, it is important to point out the potential legislative consequences that could follow with a new Speaker. In particular, what a Speaker Chaffetz would mean for certain pieces of legislation that TPA has been adamantly opposed to over the last few legislative sessions.

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  • TPA Statement on the TPP Agreement

    David Williams on October 7, 2015

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    Earlier this week, the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations reached an historic trade agreement with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). This trade agreement has been a work in progress that has taken years to reach this critical point. Free trade is good for the economy and taxpayers and agreeing to TPP is a step in the right direction for all countries involved.  This agreement was made possible by the passage of Trade Promotion Authority.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is proud to have helped secure passage of Trade Promotion Authority, which advances free trade while also providing oversight of all trade deals. As the U.S. trade deficit in the Pacific region continues to be a problem for our economy, TPP can be a positive step forward in helping to eliminate the deficit. There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done in order to thoroughly analyze the full impact that the agreement will have on the United States and partner nations.

    click 'read more' below to read the full statement

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  • TPA Joins Bipartisan Coalition Urging 'NO' Vote on NDAA, Citing Bad Process and Continued Taxpayer Waste

    Michi Iljazi on October 5, 2015

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    Last week, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2016 passed the House of Representatives in a 270-156 vote. The future of the bill is still in doubt for a couple of reasons. First, the Senate must still pass the legislation. The vote could come as early as Tuesday but even if the bill passes there is still another hurdle to getting the NDAA (as reported out of conference) through, the White House. Last week the President issued a veto threat in response to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Account to bypass the spending caps put in place through the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 and sequestration. TPA has always said the OCO is a slush fund used to bypass the base budget and avoid the spending caps but the solution is not to break the caps (as the President wants), the best way forward on Pentagon spending is to slash the waste, develop an overall national security strategy, and then fund based on that strategy and the priorities that come with it. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed this coalition letter, along with twenty other groups, urging Congress to reject the bloated NDAA and the process that brought it this far.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • TPA to Congress: Return to Regular Order, Keep the Caps, and Pass a Responsible Budget

    David Williams on October 2, 2015

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    This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) applauded the House and Senate for passing a short-term spending bill that funds the government at levels that will remain within the budget caps that were part of the 2011 Budget Control Act.   The BCA caps are spending levels that Congress and the White House agreed upon and put into law, there is no reason to spend above those levels.  TPA is calling on Congress to use the next few months to pass a spending bill that retains the budget caps, cuts spending, and ends the governing by crisis that has become too familiar in Washington.  Congress ultimately needs to decide if they will get their act together and pass a full year CR or an Omnibus spending bill.  Passing a year long CR will make it difficult (but not impossible) to add earmarks.  An Omnibus spending bill is more problematic.  Anytime a multi-thousand page bill is passed, there is always the temptation to add earmarks or provide funding for wasteful and unnecessary projects or resurrect dead programs like the Export-Import Bank. Of course, waiting to pass an Omnibus spending bill or multiple CR’s two moths after the beginning of the fiscal year is still a symptom of a larger problem of legislating by crisis versus not long term planning.  Congress needs to return to passing individual appropriations bills so groups like TPA can evaluate each one based on its merits.  Passing individual spending bills in a non-chaotic way also provides opportunities for members of Congress to offer amendments to cut wasteful and unnecessary spending.  Getting back to “regular order” allows for more time to look at long term issues like comprehensive tax reform.

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  • TPA Signs Coalition Letter Urging Continued Opposition to Crony Online Gambling Ban

    Michi Iljazi on September 29, 2015

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    Congress is headed towards the final weeks of the legislative calendar and as fights over funding the government and leadership elections consume much of the conversation in Washington, there are other issues that taxpayers need to be concerned about. One issue that continues to be floating in the halls of Congress is a federal ban of online gambling. Taxpayers Protection Alliance remains adamantly opposed to any such legislation and will fight it for as long as it takes. TPA President David has stressed that, “the federal government should not be dictating how states decide this issue nor should they be using this as a backdoor route for Internet regulations." Keeping that in mind TPA signed onto this coalition letter sent to House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) thanking him for his leadership in opposing the crony H.R. 707, Restoration of America’s Wire Act  (RAWA) legislation as nothing more than corporate welfare to some in Las Vegas who want to shutdown competition.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Repeal Crude Oil Export Ban

    Michi Iljazi on September 24, 2015

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    There are times when policy simply becomes outdated, and there’s no better example of that than the ban on crude oil exports that has been in place since the 1970’s. Spurred by an energy crisis that occurred four decades ago, the United States instituted the ban on crude oil exports but now the time has come to end the ban. Doing so would help spur job growth in the energy sector and expand the energy economy for the entire country. TPA has been an ardent supporter of lifting the ban, and part of the effort includes this Americans for Prosperity-led coalition letter urging Congress to repeal the antiquated ban.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • Time for the GOP Presidential Candidates to Get Serious on Pentagon Reform

    David Williams on September 22, 2015

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    This article appeared in Rare on September 17, 2015

    As the dust settles from last night’s Republican presidential debate, much of the media attention is still focused on winners, losers, and who offered the best zingers. But it’s important to point out that while many candidates talked about foreign policy and which countries they wanted to bomb, one important issue received scant attention: our bloated Pentagon budget. For years now, efforts to rein in out-of-control federal government spending have brought conservatives of all stripes together. The rise of the tea party and the ever-increasing influence of the libertarian strain of the GOP is evidence of that. But for some reason, the Pentagon’s seemingly limitless credit card has been barely mentioned by the Republican presidential hopefuls. What’s even more worrying is that some of the candidates think the Pentagon should have more money, despite the fact that we currently have no idea how effectively it spends what it is allotted now, and amid ample evidence of rampant waste, fraud, and abuse.

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  • Washington's Focus on Breaking Spending Caps A Major Problem

    Michi Iljazi on September 21, 2015

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    The 2014 Senate takeover by the Republican party presented an opportunity for Congress to return to regular order and pass appropriations bills to fund the government.  You know, the way it’s supposed to happen. That opportunity has been squandered and the country is now just days away, once again, from running out of money and a potential government shutdown. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and others have been calling on Congress to pass appropriations bills instead of waiting for deadlines to nearly hit and passing short-term stop-gap spending measures. Unfortunately, those calls have been ignored and now a more important fight is creeping up: the debate over raising the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending level caps and undoing sequestration.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Letter on Tariffs and Trade Legislation

    Michi Iljazi on September 17, 2015

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    Trade
    continues to be a key issue in Washington long after the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Taxpayers Protection Alliance worked aggressively to get TPA over the finish line but that was just one core component of ensuring that trade can move forward in a positive for taxpayers and the economy. Currently, in H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 is working its way through Congress and how lawmakers deal with Miscellaneous Trade Bills (MTBs) will be important. MTBs provide relief from tariffs on highly-sought finished goods and raw materials brought into the United States and that is why Taxpayers Protection Alliance joined an effort led by National Taxpayers Union signing this letter urging Congress to find a way forward on MTBSs.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • Boeing Threatens Layoffs to Keep Taxpayer Spigot Open

    David Williams on September 16, 2015

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    This article appeared in The Washington Examiner on September 4, 2015

    Boeing is expected to report record sales numbers this year, has a seven-year backlog of 5,800 commercial aircraft orders and is expected to receive $5.6 trillion in revenue from its commercial aircraft over the next two decades. Yet, the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft has decided to blame the closure of the U.S. Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank for its decision to lay off "several hundred" employees at its satellite division in El Segundo, Calif. According to the Los Angeles Times, Boeing said the cuts were needed after the Bermuda-based global satellite operator ABS couldn't get financing from Ex-Im. This decision stands in stark contrast to multiple public commitments from senior Boeing officials that it would be able to "cover" or self-finance its own transactions once the bank expired — but it would just rather not have to do that. As recently as this summer, Boeing's new CEO Dennis Muilenberg assuredinvestors during a conference call on Boeing's second-quarter earnings that, should Ex-Im expire, "There are multiple commercial credit sources available today." In 2013, when the bank was originally scheduled to expire, the managing director of Boeing's financing arm, Kostya Zolotusky, also said he was confident the company could find alternative funding sources for customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. And earlier this summer, Boeing spokesman Tim Neale told The Wall Street Journal, "We do provide some customer financing, and if there's a short-term shutdown of Ex-Im, we will work with customers who are scheduled for deliveries to ensure they get the financing they need, even if we have to provide it ourselves."

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  • Summer Reading: Budget and Spending

    Michi Iljazi on September 4, 2015

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    It was a productive August for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), providing Congress with reading material during their August vacation with the 2015 Summer Reading series (click here for more). The final installment for this summer focuses on what’s ahead for lawmakers in September with the looming budget deadline of September 30. The House and Senate have major work to do in order to pass a spending bill that will keep the government funded to avoid a shutdown.  And, as usual, there won’t be much time for them to get it done.  In fact, Congress will only be in session for 12 days in September, making the budget deadline more ominous. Let’s start with how Congress ended up in this familiar situation. The last several years have been marked by multiple stop-gap spending measures that seem to get passed at the last minute. This has been a trend because the annual appropriations bills never made it out of both chambers. Though the House has been working to pass all the needed appropriations bills, the Senate has failed to pass spending bills. The government will run out of money at the end of September, so there will have to be some kind of funding bill passed in order to avoid a shut down. There are some key issues driving the debate over what any short-term funding package will look like, but TPA is calling on Congress to avoid using this must-pass legislation as a vehicle for irresponsible spending. The most preferred way to resolving the budget impasse is for both chambers to pass appropriations bills; but that option is no longer on the table. Another option would be a major budget deal; that is also off the table due to the lack of time before government funding expires. In lieu of those two preferred pathways, House and Senate leaders will likely move another short-term spending measure that will fund the government from anywhere from one day to a year.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Prevention of Another Taxpayer Bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

    Michi Iljazi on September 2, 2015

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    In July 2008, as the Financial Crisis was reaching a peak point, the United States Government began to consider a federal takeover of Fannie Mae should the housing market further deteriorate. In September of 2008, that’s exactly what happened and in "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades," the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae (and Freddie Mac) would be placed into conservatorship. Shortly after, the mortgage giant received a taxpayer-funded bailout to the tune of $116 billion. With that in mind, TPA joined National Taxpayers Union, Competitive Enterprise Institute, 60 Plus Association, Campaign for Liberty, Campaign to Free America, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, ConservativeHQ.com, Council for Citizens against Government Waste, Less Government, R Street Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Tea Party Nation, and Able Americans signing this coalition letter urging the passage of H.R. 1673, the Enterprise Secondary Reserve Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn). This legislation would would prevent another taxpayer bailout of Fannie/Freddie.

    Click 'read more' below to read the full letter

    » Read More
  • Obamacare Gives Big Windfall To Insurance Companies As Quality of Healthcare Declines

    David Williams on August 31, 2015

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    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on August 24, 2015

    When President Obama was selling the government health care takeover to Congress and the American people, he repeatedly promised that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, would keep health insurance companies “honest” and held “accountable” for providing affordable, quality health care to Americans. Over the past five and a half years the country has experienced the unraveling of this unworkable law as millions of Americans continue to struggle with higher health care premiums, increased out-of-pocket costs, less choice and greater health uncertainty. Americans are paying more for out-of-pocket for health care now than they did in the past decade. Most still remember the president’s famous words, “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.” But for many, that’s turned out to be another unfulfilled Obamacare promise. Now, insurance companies are preparing to gouge consumers with massive premium increases. Estimates for 2016 show that insurance companies around the country are seeking premium rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under Obamacare turned out to be sicker than expected.

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  • Summer Reading: Intellectual Property; The Innovation Act and Music Licensing

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on August 28, 2015

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    This week’s edition of Summer Reading highlights intellectual property (IP) and legislation that Congress can move to reform the patent system and music licensing.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been calling on Washington lawmakers to make the necessary reforms in both of these areas so that innovators and creators can continue to fuel the economy, while holding bad actors responsible for abuses in the system.

    » Read More
  • The Export-Import Bank is Dead and Should Stay That Way

    David Williams on August 24, 2015

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    This article appeared in The Hill on August 17, 2015

    Some members of the U.S. Senate are attempting to resurrect the United States Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, whose charter expired on June 30.  A few have even gone as far as to threaten a government shutdown over the issue when Congress returns in the fall.  Those efforts would be severely misguided and a waste of time and taxpayer money, as the bank has proven to be immune from Congressional reform and has strayed far from its original charter. The Ex-Im bank provides taxpayer-backed funding to overseas businesses and foreign governments to buy U.S. products.  Ex-Im was originally intended to specifically benefit American small businesses that might not otherwise receive private loans in order to assist their exporting ability abroad.  A noble cause indeed, and in its infancy, the bank did just that, assisting with U.S. exporting efforts in the 1930 to the Soviet Union and Cuba.  In recent decades, however, it has ventured far outside of its stated mission, instead distorting the free market, picking the politically connected corporations it chooses to do business with, and leaving many U.S. businesses at a comparative disadvantage. The three largest beneficiaries of Ex-Im financing are Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar, not small businesses by any definition of the word.  In fact, those three are multinational conglomerates that can most certainly find private financing elsewhere.  That goes directly against the bank’s own charter, which states that the bank should provide export financing only for “export transactions that are unlikely to proceed without Ex-Im support.”  In 2012, Boeing alone received 83 percent of all loan guarantees, and in 2013, just five corporations received 93 percent of all Ex-Im loan guarantees.

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  • Summer Reading: Taxes

    Michi Iljazi on August 21, 2015

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues its Summer Reading series focusing on tax reform and specific tax issues that Congress should address. The most immediate needs for reform are the tax code, unresolved issues with how the IRS treats non-profit organizations, and the constant ambiguity on Internet taxes.

    » Read More
  • FDA Could Vaporize E-Cigarette Industry In Just One Regulation

    Michi Iljazi on August 20, 2015

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    Food & Drug Administration Building in Silver Spring, MD 

    Taxes are often the biggest barrier to business and innovation, but regulations have also been a major problem for the private sector. Burgeoning industries are faced with so many hurdles when it comes to growing and becoming profitable that onerous regulations can become too damaging for any venture to succeed. One industry that has been on the upswing over the last few years is the alternative to traditional nicotine products called “vaping.”   The term was even made the word of the year in 2014 by Oxford Dictionaries.  As many consumers have been turning to vaping products, the numbers show just how popular vaping has become.

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