U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant

Proudly Serving the 24th District of Texas
Articles
Posted by on October 22, 2014



U.S. needs to ramp up response to stop Ebola

By Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)
October 22, 2014, 8:00 am

America is behind the curve in tackling Ebola. When Liberian-national Thomas Duncan arrived in Dallas, he was later diagnosed with Ebola and died within several days. Two of the healthcare workers who nobly cared for Duncan have since contracted Ebola, while others are being monitored for the disease. It could get worse before it gets better.

Ebola is a critical test of America’s preparedness to stop an epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 8,000, almost all of them from three West African countries. Only one individual in America has died this year from Ebola so far, but we need a much faster and highly coordinated response to contain the virus from spreading.

North Texas, the home of my congressional district, has become a proving ground to tackle the virus. Much attention has understandably been devoted to how the first patient arrived in Texas and when he was diagnosed with the disease. Too little is paid to how the virus can be managed and overcome.

Three things are urgently needed. The first is an immediate flight travel ban to the United States from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. A temporary travel moratorium on non-U.S. citizens from the three major affected countries of Ebola would significantly reduce the possible spread of the disease in America. Medical workers should be allowed to freely travel to the region, but appropriate quarantine measures must be in place on their return. Visas from those in the affected countries should also be temporarily put on hold. The Stop Ebola Act, which Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) and I will introduce, would do just that.

The second is enhanced screenings at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport for passengers from the affected areas and those who require appropriate medical assessments. The Obama administration recently selected five U.S. airports for enhanced screening for passengers arriving from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The DFW Airport, while it does not receive any direct flights from the three countries, should also receive enhanced screening for passengers from those countries. DFW is the world’s third busiest airport and passengers from West Africa can clearly make a simple connecting flight to reach North Texas. It only makes sense to screen passengers from the affected Ebola countries at DFW.

The third is to have an operational Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Quarantine Station with staff at DFW Airport. There are currently 20 CDC Quarantine Stations at airports across the country. DFW, which serves more than 60 million passengers a year, should have qualified CDC workers on hand in case an individual needs to be quickly quarantined.

At a recent Homeland Security Committee field hearing in my district, it became even clearer to me that this threat should be countered more aggressively. The number of cases is roughly doubling every three weeks in the affected African countries, and we are now experiencing how easily, and tragically, the virus can be transmitted at home.

While Ebola is a terrible disease, it can be controlled. Just look at Nigeria, a country that had confirmed cases as recent as July and now has no known cases. Through decisive leadership, the right resources, and a coordinated response, the country was able to safely and effectively prevent an outbreak. The WHO declared on Monday that the outbreak in Nigeria is officially over.

As America tackles this deadly virus, we must all work together to help protect our families and community. Our local officials, healthcare workers, hospital staff, and emergency providers are doing an outstanding job to keep us safe. But to defeat Ebola at home, Washington needs to urgently ramp up its efforts.

Marchant has represented Texas’s 24th Congressional District since 2005. He sits on the Ways and Means and the Education and the Workforce committees.


Originally published on The Hill's Congress Blog on October 22, 2014.

Posted by on October 03, 2014




Pressure mounts for travel ban from West African nations

By TODD J. GILLMAN
Washington Bureau
tgillman@dallasnews.com
Published: 03 October 2014 11:46 PM
Updated: 04 October 2014 12:06 AM

WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted Friday for a ban on travel from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa — a step the White House and top health officials resist as counterproductive and an overreaction to the virus’ arrival in the U.S.

The potential for the virus to spread farther, in Dallas and to other U.S. cities, has amplified calls for a ban.

On Friday, a hospital in Washington put a Nigerian traveler in isolation with suspicion that he, too, is infected. Public health experts say more cases will inevitably crop up, and the White House deployed top administration officials to offer assurances to an increasingly jittery public.

“Swift action must be taken to ensure that this deadly virus does not spread inside our nation,” said Rep. Kenny Marchant, whose district includes Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan arrived Sept. 19.

Marchant, R-Coppell, called for an immediate ban on all non-Americans coming from Liberia, citing “inadequate screening” of departing passengers and the serious risk to the American public. Sen. Ted Cruz also wants to limit or halt travel from West Africa.

“It is imperative that the FAA take every available precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States,” Cruz wrote FAA administrator Michael Huerta.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has insisted that a travel ban isn’t a good idea.

“I wish we could get to zero risk by sealing off the border, but we can't. The only way we're going to get to zero risk in this country is by controlling it in Africa,” he told Fox News on Friday.

Lisa Monaco, the top White House adviser on homeland security, added: “Right now we believe those type steps actually impede the response.”

A number of African countries and a handful of airlines have curbed or banned air travel to countries wrestling with Ebola — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

From Monrovia, the Liberian capital, Duncan flew to Brussels and Washington on his way to D/FW to visit relatives. Liberian officials say he lied before departure by denying exposure to Ebola. But he had no fever, and didn’t become sick — and contagious — until a few days after his arrival in Texas.

“You may be able to slow it down a bit” and prevent contagious patients from infecting others in transit, Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told reporters. “The idea that you can stop a virus at the airport or before it gets on an airplane is as much an antique as the notion that Ellis Island will screen out all disease among the immigrants.”

Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, among others, has called for a travel ban.

“Politics trumps security, safety, health security,” Ingraham told her listeners Wednesday. “Obama — familial connection with Africa. … It doesn’t make any sense not to have stopped these flights from coming in.”

U.S. and international public health authorities concede that more Ebola cases are likely to surface in the United States and other developed countries. But with the medical infrastructure to prevent a wide spread of the disease, the tradeoff is worth it, they contend.

At the World Health Organization, spokesman Daniel Epstein said that what Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone need most, he said, is outside help.

“It makes everything much more difficult if the airlines have to stop flying into and out of these countries,” he said, adding that cutting off air connections wouldn’t stop Ebola from spreading anyway. “People could go by land. You could block trains and they’ll go by a boat.”

Marchant has asked House Speaker John Boehner to pursue a travel ban legislatively. He also has asked House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, to hold hearings on implementing such a ban.

Congress isn’t scheduled to return to work until Nov. 12, after a seven-week recess. Boehner’s office declined to weigh in on the matter.

McCaul stopped short of calling for a travel ban but called the Dallas case “a wake-up call.”

He said he’s been in contact with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and the CDC director “to urge them to reassess our screening efforts at U.S. ports of entry to ensure we are doing all we can to prevent the importation of additional cases into the United States.”

On Friday, Sen. John Cornyn asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske for more information on the agency’s screening process.

“Under current protocols, what specific events or indicators would justify an enhanced screening process by CBP? Is CBP currently considering additional plans to increase enhanced screenings of incoming passengers?” Cornyn wrote.

The customs agency declined to comment Friday but said it would respond to the Texas Republican.

For epidemics, travel bans have been tried before with mixed and often disappointing results.

Garrett, from the Council on Foreign Relations, recalled that at the height of the swine flu epidemic, Asian countries “quarantined entire jet-loads of Americans and Mexicans.” Many spent weeks in hotels.

Yet “every country, no matter what measures they took, ended up getting flu within their borders,” she said.

Staff writer Kimberly Railey contributed to this report.

Follow Todd J. Gillman on Twitter at @toddgillman.

To view this story on the dallasnews website, please click here.
Posted by on August 22, 2014



TSA Admits Lying About Illegal Aliens
Flying Without Proper ID


By Kristin Tate
August 22, 2014

HOUSTON, Texas -- A new letter from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) admits that illegal aliens were being allowed to board planes using Notice to Appear forms received after entering the U.S. illegally. The revelation directly contradicts a TSA statement last month denying such allegations to various media outlets, including Breitbart News. In July Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby broke the news that the TSA was letting illegal aliens board planes using Notice to Appear forms; subsequently, a TSA spokesperson publicly attacked Darby on Twitter, insisting that his report was "completely wrong."


The newly-surfaced TSA letter was penned on August 7, according to the Gateway Pundit. It was reportedly sent from the TSA to Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX), a member of the Border Security Caucus. The letter confirms that illegal aliens are being allowed to board planes using a Notice to Appear form (also known as I-862), as Darby revealed in July.

Hector Garza, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Darby that Notice to Appear forms can "easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth."

According to the Gateway Pundit, the August 7 letter from the TSA admitted, "If a passenger does not have an acceptable form of identification, then the passenger is allowed to present two other forms of identification. One of the two forms of identification must bear the individual’s name and other identifying information such as photo, address, phone number, social security number, or date of birth. TSA may assess a variety of government issued documents to establish passenger identity. The I-862 form may be used along with another form of identification in this instance."

It continued, "If a passenger can only present a Form I-862, TSA will attempt to establish the passenger’s identity through DHS partner Components, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)."

Despite the letter's admissions, the TSA had previously insisted that Darby's report--which detailed the acceptance of Notice to Appear forms at airports--was untrue.

TSA Press Secretary Ross Feinstein took to Twitter to attack Darby and the NPBC. After claiming that Darby's report was "completely wrong," Feinstein falsely stated that no one had “contacted us for a statement and/or info before publishing story."

Darby responded to Feinstein, showing a screenshot which proved that he had, indeed, attempt to reach out to the agency via email prior to the publishing of his article. 

The TSA continued to deny Darby's allegations. The agency said in a statement to multiple news outlets, "These reports are false. A Notice to Appear, issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), is not an acceptable form of ID at the TSA checkpoint."

Reacting to the TSA's letter, Border Patrol agent Garza told Breitbart Texas, "Ross Feinstein and the TSA higher ups should apologize to the NBPC and to Brandon Darby for reporting the truth. ... The men and women of the Border Patrol reported this very serious situation directly to the TSA managers at the Laredo International Airport, but their concerns were ignored by the TSA. Soon after that, the NBPC was notified by Border Patrol agents of what was taking place at the Laredo International Airport and how the TSA was allowing illegal aliens to board planes with only a Notice to Appear and without verifiable identification."

He continued, "The NBPC informed the American public of this very serious situation through a news article with Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby. If anyone is saying the truth, it is the men and women of the Border Patrol, the NBPC and reporter Brandon Darby for reporting the truth."

"If the TSA and Ross Feinstein were allowed to continue lying to the American Public, it could have resulted in the next terrorist attack on American soil. We hope that terrorists did not enter our country while TSA was violating these security protocols and while Ross Feinstein continued to deny their actions," Garza said. "Shame on Ross Feisnten and the TSA for lying to the American Public and for saying that border patrol agents, the NBPC and Brandon Darby were liars."

The most recent incident is not the first time that the Department of Homeland Security has publicly attacked Darby and the NBPC. On June 4th Breitbart Texas' Managing Director Brandon Darby broke the news that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be relocating illegal immigrants from Texas to California. Within moments of that story being published, the official Twitter account of the San Diego CBP tweeted at Darby, insisting the report was “erroneous” and asking for it to be removed from the internet.

Days later the San Diego CBP deleted the tweet from their official account. Subsequent reports, outlining plans to fly immigrants to Southern California, proved CBP had indeed planned the relocation all along. 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.



To view the original version of this article on the Breitbart website, please click here.

Posted by on August 19, 2014



Congressman Marchant honors 72 Eagle Scouts

Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BY MARTY SABOTA
msabota@star-telegram.com

IRVING — Congressman Kenny Marchant, who represents the 24th Congressional District — which includes Colleyville, Grapevine and Southlake among other districts — recently hosted the 10th annual Eagle Scout Ceremony where a record was set.

The Aug. 7 event gathered a record 72 Boy Scouts from the district who attained the rank of Eagle Scout over the past year.

The ceremony, which was held at the National Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, was structured to highlight each Scout by providing them the opportunity to describe their Eagle Scout project to their peers, Scout leaders and family members.

Nearly 300 people attended.

Projects included renovating public buildings, assisting the homeless, public landscaping and retiring thousands of American flags through the proper ceremonial procedure.

Marchant, who represents cities in Northeast Tarrant County and Northwest Dallas County, congratulated each Scout on his achievement following each Eagle Scout project presentation.

“I was honored to recognize over 70 new Eagle Scouts at our largest event to date,” the congressman said. “Each Eagle Scout made a special presentation about their contributions to the community and then was recognized of their achievement. I am very proud of them.”

Bill Steele, director of the National Eagle Scout Association, joined the ceremony as keynote speaker. He congratulated the Eagle Scouts on their distinction and spoke about the value of their achievement.

The Eagle Scout rank is the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America program. To achieve this honor, the Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, develop and oversee a community service project and fulfill a pledge to live according to the Scout oath.

According to the National Eagle Scout Association, less than five percent of Scouts earn Eagle Scout rank each year.

The honored Eagle Scouts included 16 from Grapevine, eight from Southlake and four from Colleyville.

They were:

Colleyville: Joseph Campbell II, Troop 4; Brian Lang, Troop 98; Alec Reuter, Troop 905; and Luke Sheppard, Troop 28.

Grapevine: Adam Alexander, Troop 1905; Nik Bacon, Troop 700; George Carson, Troop 700; Tom Cassady, Troop 4; Alvin Christensen, Troop 240; Joshua Copeland, Troop 7; Connor Croak, Troop 740; Cole Deters, Troop 700; John Failor, Troop 7; Alex Luce, Troop 700; Michael Obenhaus, Troop 28; Dillon Rathman, Troop 905; Ryan Roop, Troop 845; Mark Swope, Troop 928; Nick Walker, Troop 28; and Sawyer, Troop 28.

Southlake: Austin Brannon, Troop 937; Michael Dachniwsky, Troop 928; Austin Hintze, Troop 700; Connor McTaggart, Troop 928; Brooks Ragsdale, Troop 928; Paxton Riney, Troop 7; Nolin Wheeler, Troop 928; and Colton Williams, Troop 928.

Of those, three were from Grapevine’s historic Troop 7: Riney, Failor and Copeland.

Those Scouts were among nine teenage Scouts and three adult leaders from Troop 7 who recently completed a twelve day, 100-plus mile hiking adventure through the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range at the world’s largest youth camp — Philmont Scout Ranch.

Bill Norton, Scoutmaster of Troop 7, said it was a fun trip that added to the troop’s decades of memories.

“Last year, we celebrated 100 years of Scouting for possibly one of the first chartered Scout troops west of the Mississippi,” Norton said.

On the recent excursion to New Mexico, the crew climbed thousands of feet high up steep mountains, slipped down mud-caked valleys in torrential rain and braved bears, mountain lions and other hazardous wildlife.

They carried more than 40 pounds of gear on their backs.

Life Scout Lane Tschirhart of Troop 7 wrote about their adventure.

“After making the two-day drive to the camp’s location in Cimarron, N.M., the troop began packing all the supplies, including tents, pots, clothes, sleeping bags and several gallons worth of water into large hiking backpacks for the journey,” Tschirhart said.

The Scouts would wake around 5:30 a.m. every day, break down camp and begin a hike that usually ranged between six and 12 miles.

The troop often stopped for rock climbing, fly-fishing, tomahawk throwing, shooting and other educational activities, he said.

They mostly ate beef jerky, energy bars, crackers and other dehydrated food and would boil water to cook rice, beans and spaghetti.

After hiking into one campsite staffed by Philmont personnel, they were surprised with a chuck wagon chili dinner with peach cobbler.

“At night the troop would stuff their food, toiletries, Gatorade-carrying water bottles and other smellables into bags and hang them from trees so that bears did not raid the camp and steal their food,” Tschirhart said.

Troop 7 also participated in a conservation project that helped preserve Philmont’s trails from falling into disrepair.

Among the peaks the troop climbed were the Tooth of Time — Philmont’s iconic rock formation — and Mount Phillips, which was the tallest mountain the crew climbed at 11,742 feet above sea level.

“While climbing up the steep switchbacks to Lookout Peak, a sudden rainstorm broke out and soaked everyone,” Tschirhart said. “At one point, lighting struck dangerously close to the open meadow the boys were crossing. “

On the way back to base camp, they had to cross two flash floods that were running over the trail.

“There was no way around, so a few boys crossed and held onto a rope to keep the other boys from being swept away by the water,” Tschirhart said. “By using teamwork, the boys made sure that not only their own group, but other Troops from Dallas, Seattle and other cities crossed safely.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

To read this story on the Southlake Journal website, please click here.
Posted by on December 02, 2013



GOP demands Treasury secretary testify before debt-ceiling hike


By Pete Kasperowicz
Published on November 22, 2013


More than two dozen House Republicans have put forward legislation that would condition an increase to the debt ceiling on a detailed report from the Treasury Department on what's driving the debt higher, and ways to reduce it.

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) proposed the Debt Management Act (DMA) on Thursday. Marchant's bill would also require the Treasury secretary to discuss the debt ceiling in testimony to Congress before any increase is allowed.

"We can no longer yield to the temptation of remorseless borrowing," he said. "America might appear to prosper by consuming beyond our means, but if we continue down this path, the country will eventually face a painful economic reckoning.

"DMA requires the administration to complement debt limit increase requests with reports on the national debt and progress on deficit reduction," he added. "By bringing greater transparency to the national debt and structural deficit, DMA establishes a more credible and consistent process to address debt limit increase requests."

Specifically, Marchant's bill would require Treasury to submit debt reports and progress reports on the debt that describe the steps the administration is taking to address the structural deficit. Marchant says these steps would prevent the administration from simply seeking a debt-ceiling hike without "associated long-term fiscal planning."

The power to spend and the power to raise the debt ceiling lies with Congress. But over the last few years, Congress has shifted some of the responsibility on the debt ceiling to the president.

In 2011, for example, Congress approved the Budget Control Act, which allowed President Obama to request a debt-ceiling increase of $1.2 trillion. That request could only be stopped by House and Senate passage of a resolution of disapproval.

The House passed the resolution of disapproval, but the Senate did not.

Late last month, the House approved a similar resolution disapproving of Obama's congressionally authorized decision to suspend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, just after the Senate rejected similar language.

Members of the House and Senate Budget committees are in talks to reach a budget agreement, which could also lay the groundwork for another debt-ceiling hike early next year.

Posted by on November 11, 2013

Gov. Perry’s father gets long-delayed medals with help from Rep. Kenny Marchant


By Nick Swartsell
Published on November 11, 2013

WASHINGTON — 68 years after serving in World War II, Joseph Ray Perry finally has all his medals.

Perry, the father of Gov. Rick Perry, enlisted in the Air Force in 1943 and flew more than 30 missions in the European Theater as a tail gunner for a B17 bomber called Heavy Date.

At 88 years old, he’s the last surviving member of the plane’s crew. After leaving the Air Force in 1945, Perry knew he had earned a number of awards for his service, including the Air Medal, the World War II Victory badge, and the Aerial Gunnery badge. But he was unsure how to navigate the complicated bureaucracy involved in claiming them.

“That’s the big issue,” said Matt Jack, a spokesman for Rep. Kenny Marchant. “Most of these veterans don’t know how to get their awards.”

Marchant’s district office in Irving helps vets find and claim their military decorations through its Medal Retrieval Project. The office, which partners with the National Personnel Records Center, has aided 156 veterans in obtaining their medals.

The program is unusual for a congressional office. It’s part of a larger effort by the Coppell Republican to aid and honor veterans. Marchant also partners with the Library of Congress on the Veterans History Project, which records and archives video interviews with veterans.

 
B17 Heavy Date's crew. Ray Perry is third from the left.
Perry’s daughter Milla first brought him to Marchant’s office to take part in the video project in June, when he recorded an hour-long interview about his service. She said that while she and the governor know their father’s story, they wanted it preserved for future generations.

“Rick and I grew up knowing these men of the greatest generation and their families,” Ms. Perry said. “Now our children will have this documentary to learn about their grandad’s service to America.”

After recording the interview, Marchant’s office continued to work for Perry to help him get his awards. He finally received them last week in Marchant’s Irving office. Among them was an award he did not even know he had won– the Sharpshooters badge, a decoration for marksmanship.

“I am always humbled to witness a veteran receive his medals for the first time or to listen to their stories of valor and sacrifice,” Marchant said. “They are truly heroes, and recognizing their service is the least I can do.”


Joseph Ray Perry from Kenny Marchant on Vimeo

Click here to view the orignal article on dallasnews.com.

Posted by on May 14, 2013

Worst parts of Obama’s unpopular healthcare law coming soon

Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24)

The Hill

May 14, 2013

When President Obama and Congressional Democrats drafted their healthcare reform law, ObamaCare, they front-loaded what they considered “popular” provisions in order to make it more palatable to the American public before the rest of the law would take effect in 2014. These provisions included allowing “children” up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance plan and creating an underfunded insurance pool for people with preexisting conditions.

How did this front-loaded plan fare? Well, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, ObamaCare today remains deeply unpopular among Americans, with only 35 percent holding a favorable view of the law. This should be very concerning to Democrats, and reports of Senate Democrats voicing their frustration and concerns with the law have been streaming into the news. One of the bill’s chief architects, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), even went as far as to predict a coming “train wreck” for implementation of the law, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) echoed that sentiment days later.

It seems like each day a new study or report is released that finds serious consequences coming from the law’s implementation. The law is significantly raising insurance premiums, will add to our federal deficits, reduce the quality of healthcare Americans receive, and it is already having dramatic consequences on our economy as businesses wrestle with the law’s onerous penalties and regulations. This was evidenced in the latest jobs report, which showed an increase in the number of part-time workers and a decrease in the average number of hours worked each week.

Recently, it was even reported that members of Congress were looking for ways to carve out an exemption from the law for themselves and their staffs. I will oppose any such efforts, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made it clear that he will not sneak any legislation into bills to solve the Democrats’ healthcare problems. Democrats in Congress are now realizing what Americans and businesses across the country already knew — this law is going to severely affect their own healthcare options. Rather than carve out an exemption for themselves, why not exempt all Americans from this coming train wreck?

House Republicans are preparing to once again vote on a full repeal of this disastrous healthcare law. Some will chastise this as a futile exercise, but it is not. A recent Fox News poll found that even 56 percent of Democrats nationwide now find the 15,000-plus pages of ObamaCare regulations “way over the top.” Congress has now had the chance to see first-hand how flawed this bill is, and this will give members in the House an opportunity to change their position. Furthermore, this will give freshman Republicans and Democrats an opportunity to show where they stand on the issue.

That Kaiser poll also found that 49 percent of Americans say they don’t have enough information yet to understand how ObamaCare will affect their own families. This should terrify proponents of the bill. Since the popular provisions were front-loaded, what is left to come are penalties, premium hikes, less jobs, reduced hours and a decline in the quality of our healthcare. This makes it difficult to see how the law becomes more popular over time.

So, with everything we know now about the law, do Democrats still support ObamaCare? Let’s find out.

 

Marchant is a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

 To read on The Hill’s website, click here.

Posted by on April 15, 2013

Each year during tax season, American citizens and businesses are often surprised to learn the amount of their annual tax bill. This uncertainty is a direct result of a staggering 4 million-word tax code filled with confusing deductions and loopholes that make it difficult to understand and file tax returns.

In fact, the IRS’ own taxpayer advocate estimates that only 10 percent of individual filers will complete their own returns this year, with the rest choosing to pay someone else or purchase commercial software to help them.

What’s the cost? Each year American businesses and individuals spend over 6 billion cumulative hours complying with tax filing requirements at a cost to the economy of as much as $400 billion. Making this untenable situation worse is Obamacare. Not only does it increase current taxes and invent new taxes, but it requires every taxpayer to prove adequate levels of health insurance coverage to the IRS.

The basic fact is that the tax code is overly complex and out of date. It places an enormous burden on families and businesses and needs to be reformed and simplified. That’s the goal of Congress’ chief tax writing body, the House Ways and Means Committee, on which I have the privilege to serve. This year we are moving forward to achieve comprehensive, revenue-neutral tax reform.

Indeed, Speaker John Boehner has given our tax reform bill the coveted legislative designation of HR 1, signaling that this is the top priority of House Republicans this year.

Recently, I was fortunate to be selected by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to chair the Tax Reform Working Group on Debt, Equity and Capital. It’s one of 11 bipartisan working groups created by Camp to study policies that can help achieve revenue-neutral tax reform. My group is collecting information from constituents, stakeholders and policy experts, then will relay our findings to the full committee. They will use our findings on issues ranging from business debt and equity to capital gains and carried interest to help write a comprehensive simplification of the entire federal tax code.

Our tax code has not had a major rewrite in over 25 years, when in 1986 President Ronald Reagan worked with congressional Democrats to achieve a historic reform that simplified the tax code, lowered rates and broadened the tax base without imposing a higher tax burden on the U.S. economy.

Today our corporate tax rate is the highest of any nation in the world, and many small businesses are burdened by federal tax rates of almost 40 percent. This is not a recipe for economic growth and is why the issue must be addressed now.

Accomplishing tax reform will not be easy. Competing interest groups that have long enjoyed certain loopholes will seek to protect deductions. But with an economy growing at just 0.4 percent, with 12 million Americans out of work, with a national debt approaching $17 trillion and with 48 million Americans on food stamps, we must simplify the tax code to help strengthen the economy. Families and businesses paying taxes throughout the year should not be burdened by an additional round of time-consuming and expensive tax filing headaches. Americans deserve better.

Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Tax Reform Working Group on Debt, Equity and Capital. He can be contacted through marchant.house.gov.

To read on the Dallas Morning News’ website, click here.

Posted by on April 08, 2013

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) says the new ObamaCare insurance brokers known as “navigators” are likely to cost more than they’re worth because of "inflated" salaries. 

Marchant's questions stem from a recently released Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposal outlining the specifics of the navigators, a fleet of individuals that will help Americans without employer-provided insurance figure out how to use the new healthcare exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

In an April 4 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Marchant expressed concerns with the estimated hourly wages for the positions. 

“In an attempt to reduce health care costs, the greatest possible portion of taxpayer funds should go to treating patients rather than being absorbed by administration and public relations,” wrote Marchant, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Federal Register document says assistance workers will be paid $20 per hour, project leaders will be paid $29 per hour and executives will make about $48 per hour. 

“These seem to be inflated hourly wages compared to corresponding positions in the private sector,” he said. “I am very concerned that tens of thousands of navigators will be hired at a time when thousands of current federal employees are being placed on furloughs to reduce our budget deficit.”

There are an estimated 337,000 private-sector insurance sales agents currently working in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average hourly wage is $30.50, or $63,400 per year. 

The administration did not specify how many of these navigators would be hired in the proposed rule. But the federal government would only be offering grants for the ones working in states that opted to use the federal healthcare exchanges. States using their own marketplaces would have to supply their own navigators. 

The new workers would not be able to enroll individuals into health coverage, but rather serve to guide them through the process. Whether working for the federal or state exchanges, the navigators are prohibited from being paid by insurance companies. 

“I have great concerns over the lack of need and the significant resources that the navigator program and its support staff will consume,” Marchant continued. “Hiring tens of thousands of new workers that cannot treat patients, nor even by definition actually enroll citizens in a qualified health plan, appears to be a significant misuse of taxpayer funds.”

Read here on the Hill's website.

Posted by on February 01, 2013
The following petition was written by Retired Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Jeff Hinton on January 29, 2013 and was signed by 1,100 Special Forces Operators. The petition thoroughly analyzes the current debate over gun control. Please take the time to read the petition and see why over a thousand of our most talented former and active members of our military want to defend our Second Amendment.
29 Jan 2013
Protecting the Second Amendment – Why all Americans Should Be Concerned

We are current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers (Green Berets). We have all taken an oath to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.…” The Constitution of the United States is without a doubt the single greatest document in the history of mankind, codifying the fundamental principle of governmental power and authority being derived from and granted through the consent of the governed. Our Constitution established a system of governance that preserves, protects, and holds sacrosanct the individual rights and primacy of the governed as well as providing for the explicit protection of the governed from governmental tyranny and/or oppression. We have witnessed the insidious and iniquitous effects of tyranny and oppression on people all over the world. We and our forebears have embodied and personified our organizational motto, De Oppresso Liber [To Free the Oppressed], for more than a half century as we have fought, shed blood, and died in the pursuit of freedom for the oppressed.

Like you, we are also loving and caring fathers and grandfathers. Like you, we have been stunned, horrified, and angered by the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, and Sandy Hook; and like you, we are searching for solutions to the problem of gun-related crimes in our society. Many of us are educators in our second careers and have a special interest to find a solution to this problem. However, unlike much of the current vox populi reactions to this tragedy, we offer a different perspective.

First, we need to set the record straight on a few things. The current debate is over so-called “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. The terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” are often confused. According to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term [underline added for emphasis], developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of assault rifles.”

The M4A1 carbine is a U.S. military service rifle – it is an assault rifle. The AR-15 is not an assault rifle. The “AR” in its name does not stand for “Assault Rifle” – it is the designation from the first two letters of the manufacturer’s name – ArmaLite Corporation. The AR-15 is designed so that it cosmetically looks like the M4A1 carbine assault rifle, but it is impossible to configure the AR-15 to be a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a single shot semi-automatic rifle that can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. The M4A1 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute. In 1986, the federal government banned the import or manufacture of new fully automatic firearms for sale to civilians. Therefore, the sale of assault rifles are already banned or heavily restricted!

The second part of the current debate is over “high capacity magazines” capable of holding more than 10 rounds in the magazine. As experts in military weapons of all types, it is our considered opinion that reducing magazine capacity from 30 rounds to 10 rounds will only require an additional 6 -8 seconds to change two empty 10 round magazines with full magazines. Would an increase of 6 –8 seconds make any real difference to the outcome in a mass shooting incident? In our opinion it would not. Outlawing such “high capacity magazines” would, however, outlaw a class of firearms that are “in common use”. As such this would be in contravention to the opinion expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court recent decisions.

Moreover, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban became law in 1994, manufacturers began retooling to produce firearms and magazines that were compliant. One of those ban-compliant firearms was the Hi-Point 995, which was sold with ten-round magazines. In 1999, five years into the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. One of the perpetrators, Eric Harris, was armed with a Hi-Point 995. Undeterred by the ten-round capacity of his magazines, Harris simply brought more of them: thirteen magazines would be found in the massacre’s aftermath. Harris fired 96 rounds before killing himself.

Now that we have those facts straight, in our opinion, it is too easy to conclude that the problem is guns and that the solution to the problem is more and stricter gun control laws. For politicians, it is politically expedient to take that position and pass more gun control laws and then claim to constituents that they have done the right thing in the interest of protecting our children. Who can argue with that? Of course we all want to find a solution. But, is the problem really guns? Would increasing gun regulation solve the problem? Did we outlaw cars to combat drunk driving?

What can we learn from experiences with this issue elsewhere? We cite the experience in Great Britain. Despite the absence of a “gun culture”, Great Britain, with one-fifth the population of the U.S., has experienced mass shootings that are eerily similar to those we have experienced in recent years. In 1987 a lone gunman killed 18 people in Hungerford. What followed was the Firearms Act of 1988 making registration mandatory and banning semi-automatic guns and pump-action shotguns. Despite this ban, on March 13, 1996 a disturbed 43-year old former scout leader, Thomas Hamilton, murdered 16 school children aged five and six and a teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland. Within a year and a half the Firearms Act was amended to ban all private ownership of hand guns. After both shootings there were amnesty periods resulting in the surrender of thousands of firearms and ammunition. Despite having the toughest gun control laws in the world, gun related crimes increased in 2003 by 35% over the previous year with firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the preceding 12 months. Gun related homicides were up 32% over the same period. Overall, gun related crime had increased 65% since the Dunblane massacre and implementation of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world. In contrast, in 2009 (5 years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired) total firearm related homicides in the U.S. declined by 9% from the 2005 high (Source: “FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Master File, Table 310, Murder Victims – Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death: 2000-2009”).

Are there unintended consequences to stricter gun control laws and the politically expedient path that we have started down?

In a recent op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Brett Joshpe stated that “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.” We agree with Kevin D. Williamson (National Review Online, December 28, 2012): “The problem with this argument is that there is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment right that excludes military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear.”

“The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story”: ‘The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.’

The Second Amendment has been ruled to specifically extend to firearms “in common use” by the military by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v Miller (1939). In Printz v U.S. (1997) Justice Thomas wrote: “In Miller we determined that the Second Amendment did not guarantee a citizen’s right to possess a sawed-off shot gun because that weapon had not been shown to be “ordinary military equipment” that could “could contribute to the common defense”.

A citizen’s right to keep and bear arms for personal defense unconnected with service in a militia has been reaffirmed in the U.S. Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia, et al. v Heller, 2008). The Court Justice Scalia wrote in the majority opinion: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.“. Justice Scalia went on to define a militia as “… comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense ….”

“The Anti-Federalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.” he explained.

On September 13, 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban went into effect. A Washington Post editorial published two days later was candid about the ban’s real purpose:“[N]o one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by the ban]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”

In a challenge to the authority of the Federal government to require State and Local Law Enforcement to enforce Federal Law (Printz v United States) the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in 1997. For the majority opinion Justice Scalia wrote: “…. this Court never has sanctioned explicitly a federal command to the States to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations When we were at last confronted squarely with a federal statute that unambiguously required the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program, our decision should have come as no surprise….. It is an essential attribute of the States’ retained sovereignty that they remain independent and autonomous within their proper sphere of authority.”

So why should non-gun owners, a majority of Americans, care about maintaining the 2nd Amendment right for citizens to bear arms of any kind?

The answer is “The Battle of Athens, TN”. The Cantrell family had controlled the economy and politics of McMinn County, Tennessee since the 1930s. Paul Cantrell had been Sheriff from 1936 -1940 and in 1942 was elected to the State Senate. His chief deputy, Paul Mansfield, was subsequently elected to two terms as Sheriff. In 1946 returning WWII veterans put up a popular candidate for Sheriff. On August 1 Sheriff Mansfield and 200 “deputies” stormed the post office polling place to take control of the ballot boxes wounding an objecting observer in the process. The veterans bearing military style weapons, laid siege to the Sheriff’s office demanding return of the ballot boxes for public counting of the votes as prescribed in Tennessee law. After exchange of gun fire and blowing open the locked doors, the veterans secured the ballot boxes thereby protecting the integrity of the election. And this is precisely why all Americans should be concerned about protecting all of our right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment!

Throughout history, disarming the populace has always preceded tyrants’ accession of power. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all disarmed their citizens prior to installing their murderous regimes. At the beginning of our own nation’s revolution, one of the first moves made by the British government was an attempt to disarm our citizens. When our Founding Fathers ensured that the 2nd Amendment was made a part of our Constitution, they were not just wasting ink. They were acting to ensure our present security was never forcibly endangered by tyrants, foreign or domestic.

If there is a staggering legal precedent to protect our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms and if stricter gun control laws are not likely to reduce gun related crime, why are we having this debate? Other than making us and our elected representatives feel better because we think that we are doing something to protect our children, these actions will have no effect and will only provide us with a false sense of security.

So, what do we believe will be effective? First, it is important that we recognize that this is not a gun control problem; it is a complex sociological problem. No single course of action will solve the problem. Therefore, it is our recommendation that a series of diverse steps be undertaken, the implementation of which will require patience and diligence to realize an effect. These are as follows:

1.
First and foremost we support our Second Amendment right in that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

2.
We support State and Local School Boards in their efforts to establish security protocols in whatever manner and form that they deem necessary and adequate. One of the great strengths of our Republic is that State and Local governments can be creative in solving problems. Things that work can be shared. Our point is that no one knows what will work and there is no one single solution, so let’s allow the State and Local governments with the input of the citizens to make the decisions. Most recently the Cleburne Independent School District will become the first district in North Texas to consider allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns. We do not opine as to the appropriateness of this decision, but we do support their right to make this decision for themselves.

3.
We recommend that Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws be passed in every State. AOT is formerly known as Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) and allows the courts to order certain individuals with mental disorders to comply with treatment while living in the community. In each of the mass shooting incidents the perpetrator was mentally unstable. We also believe that people who have been adjudicated as incompetent should be simultaneously examined to determine whether they should be allowed the right to retain/purchase firearms.

4.
We support the return of firearm safety programs to schools along the lines of the successful “Eddie the Eagle” program, which can be taught in schools by Peace Officers or other trained professionals.

5.
Recent social psychology research clearly indicates that there is a direct relationship between gratuitously violent movies/video games and desensitization to real violence and increased aggressive behavior particularly in children and young adults (See Nicholas L. Carnagey, et al. 2007. “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence” and the references therein. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:489-496). Therefore, we strongly recommend that gratuitous violence in movies and video games be discouraged. War and war-like behavior should not be glorified. Hollywood and video game producers are exploiting something they know nothing about. General Sherman famously said “War is Hell!” Leave war to the Professionals. War is not a game and should not be “sold” as entertainment to our children.

6.
We support repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it obviously isn’t working. It is our opinion that “Gun-Free Zones” anywhere are too tempting of an environment for the mentally disturbed individual to inflict their brand of horror with little fear of interference. While governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and individuals should be free to implement a Gun-Free Zone if they so choose, they should also assume Tort liability for that decision.

7.
We believe that border states should take responsibility for implementation of border control laws to prevent illegal shipments of firearms and drugs. Drugs have been illegal in this country for a long, long time yet the Federal Government manages to seize only an estimated 10% of this contraband at our borders. Given this dismal performance record that is misguided and inept (“Fast and Furious”), we believe that border States will be far more competent at this mission.

8.
This is our country, these are our rights. We believe that it is time that we take personal responsibility for our choices and actions rather than abdicate that responsibility to someone else under the illusion that we have done something that will make us all safer. We have a responsibility to stand by our principles and act in accordance with them. Our children are watching and they will follow the example we set.

The undersigned Quiet Professionals hereby humbly stand ever present, ever ready, and ever vigilant.

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Signed by 1100 Special Forces Operators