Posted by on January 26, 2016
Posted by on December 30, 2015
Congress to send Obamacare repeal, Planned Parenthood defunding to the president’s desk
Next week, for the first time, Congress will send the president a bill repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood. That bill is called the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, and you can read it here. Here are three reasons why this bill is so important:
Repeals Obamacare. With each passing day, it becomes more apparent that Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster for hardworking families and our economy. Millions of Americans have already been kicked off plans the president repeatedly promised they could keep, while countless others face the sticker shock of double-digit premium increases. This bill effectively repeals the mandates and taxes at the heart of the law. This will be the first Obamacare repeal bill that Congress sends to President Obama since the law’s enactment in 2010. This, of course, is a critical step in replacing this law with a patient-centered plan as a part of a bold, pro-growth agenda.
Defunds Planned Parenthood. The horrific videos released earlier this year depicting Planned Parenthood affiliates harvesting and selling fetal body parts should offend everyone regardless of political persuasion. The House has already responded by establishing a panel focused on investigating this practice. In the meantime, Americans should not be forced to fund this organization. That’s why Congress will act to defund Planned Parenthood, and shift those resources to community health centers.
Forces President Obama’s Hand. We’ve worked tirelessly to dismantle Obamacare and protect Americans from this law. All told, we’ve forced President Obama to sign at least 10 bills that chip away at parts of Obamacare. The recent year-end funding legislation included no new money for Obamacare and prohibited a taxpayer bailout of Obamacare’s risk corridor program. We also delayed taxes at the heart of the law, “forcing the president to make his biggest concession” since Obamacare went into effect. Still, that’s not enough. So we’re using reconciliation, a budget mechanism that can only be used once every year. It’s an opportunity to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats and put conservative priorities directly on the president’s desk.
This is our best shot to stand up for our principles on behalf of the American people. “You can use this bill once a year, and we’re using it for this,” Speaker Ryan said recently on Bill Bennett’s show. In doing so, we’re forcing the president to confront the failures of this law once and for all.
We owe it to the country to take our best shot at repealing Obamacare, and that’s what we will do next week.
Posted by on December 09, 2015
Unnecessary government subsidies promote inefficiency, limit competition, and cost taxpayers more than they get in return.
A prime example is the wind energy Production Tax Credit, or PTC. While this wasteful tax credit is currently expired, President Barack Obama wants to revive the PTC and make it a central component of his harmful “Clean Power Plan.” The American people will pay the price for years to come.
Congress first enacted the PTC in 1992 to encourage growth in nascent forms of energy. Wind energy capacity and production have both increased well over 5,000 percent and the Department of Energy now classifies wind as a “mature” technology.
Today the wind industry regularly produces more wind energy than the market demands but continues to receive billions of dollars in taxpayer support. In fact, wind producers are generating more profits from the PTC subsidies they take in than from the energy they put out.
Sempra Energy, for example, stated in its 2014 annual shareholder report that, “For each of the years ended Dec. 31, 2014, 2013, and 2012, PTCs represented a large portion of our wind farm earnings, often exceeding earnings from operations.”
It's no surprise the wind industry's bottom line has ballooned considering that federal subsidies for wind have grown from $476 million to more than $4.98 billion per year under Obama. That’s an increase of more than 900 percent.
The PTC no longer serves an infant industry learning to compete. It’s now corporate welfare that is distorting the free market and leading to higher energy costs for American families. Instead of bringing the PTC to a long-overdue end, the president has made it a critical feature of his economically disastrous Clean Power Plan.
On top of harmful regulations that will destroy jobs and shutter many existing power plants, the president’s Clean Power Plan significantly increases targets for new renewable energy. The plan requires the addition of more wind energy capacity from 2022-2030 than the wind industry was able to add over the past 18 years combined. In addition to being completely unrealistic, these targets will make the Clean Power Plan far more expensive and greatly increase dependence on PTC wind subsidies.
Bringing the PTC to an end is an important step toward blocking implementation of the president’s Clean Power Plan and protecting Americans from its harmful impacts. And by taking on wasteful tax handouts like the PTC, Congress can also demonstrate that it is serious about accomplishing pro-growth tax simplification that supports hardworking Americans instead of Washington special interests.
Earlier this year, I introduced the “PTC Elimination Act” to phase out the credit in a sensible fashion and set a clear end date for PTC subsidies. Now with over 50 cosponsors, this legislation will level the economic playing field and save taxpayers nearly $10 billion over the next decade. Most importantly, the bill puts taxpayers first and bolsters our nation’s economic potential. Neither of which can be said of the president’s Clean Power Plan.
The question Congress needs to ask itself is simple: Should American families continue to shoulder the tax burden for the fully-mature, multibillion-dollar wind industry? After more than two decades and billions of dollars in PTC subsidies, Americans have paid the price long enough.
Coppell Gazette – Medals of honor: Coppell resident receives father's WWII medals 70 years after servicePosted by on December 03, 2015
Elmor Enlow served his country more than 70 years ago in WWII.
He served in Japan from 1945-46 in the counterintelligence department - a precursor to the CIA.
Enlow, however, was allowed to be honorably discharged from service following the passing of his father.
What never made it back with him where his medals recognizing his service.
That all changed when Al Enlow, the son of Elmor, received a notification from Military and Veteran's Liaison John Hayes of Congressman Kenny Marchant’s office that his father’s medals were recovered.
“I couldn’t get those medals myself. I tried,” Al Enlow said. “The important point is all’s well that ends well. Without John Hayes and Congressman Marchant’s office .. there would be no happy ending.”
Al Enlow said his attempt to get his father’s medals began several years ago when his father passed away. He visited his home in Kansas and found no records of his medals or his military past.
So in 2008 he submitted a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. The response from the NPRC stated that his father’s records were destroyed in a fire.
“So, I just basically gave up,” he said.
Al Enlow, however, restarted his goal to get his father’s medals after seeing a news story where a Fort Worth congressman helped retrieve medals for a 94-year-old man.
Enlow contacted Marchant's office on Oct. 19 and spoke to Hayes, asking if there was any way to get the medals back.
Hayes said on Tuesday that he has helped retrieve 181 medals over the past 10 years.
“It’s one of the most enjoyable things that I do,” Hayes said.
He said the process usually takes a few weeks to a few months. Hayes also said that he was surprised by the letter sent to Elmor by the NPRC.
Al Enlow said Hayes called him the Monday before Thanksgiving to say that he found his father’s medals.
“John was in there. He had the medals out on the coffee table in the receptionist area on a purple presentation pad … he went through every single one of them,” Al Enlow said. “To be honest with you, I almost cried.”
Elmor Enlow received the following awards: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory medal, Army of Occupation medal, the honorable service lapel button and a marksman badge.
“At my age … you rarely get surprises that are pleasant,” Al Enlow said. “This was a pleasant surprise that I was able to get his medals.”
Al Enlow said his father didn’t speak much of his service and felt he would be very direct if he were alive today.
“My father was a distinct individual. He probably would say, ‘That’s what they were supposed to give me,’” Al Enlow said.
Fox News – Rep. Marchant: A plan for a more transparent, accountable, and timely debt limit frameworkPosted by on October 29, 2015
By Rep. Kenny Marchant
As Congress raises the debt limit this week – this time until March 2017 – wider attention should be focused on replacing the current debt limit system that is prone to excess and crises.
There is good reason to worry about the national debt. U.S. debt stands in excess of $18 trillion. Federal debt held by the public is about 74 percent of the economy’s annual output.
That’s a higher percentage than at any point in American history since just after World War II. If current law remains unchanged, in 25 years the federal debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
This cannot be sustained.
The struggle to rein in the debt is fought partly around the debt limit. Conflicts over the debt limit routinely lead to destabilizing uncertainty, lower growth, and increasingly high and unresolved debt levels. Washington’s chronic crisis management with the debt limit is not just a poor advertisement for America’s full faith and credit; it also hurts our nation’s leadership abroad.
So what should be done with the debt limit?
Some in both parties prefer all-or-nothing. Democrats recently accused Republicans of playing a cynical game with huge economic stakes while, ironically, President Obama refused to even discuss the debt limit unless it was an unconditional debt hike. As a result, no debt limit reforms were agreed upon and our nation’s debt trap has become even more difficult to surmount.
In light of this, I introduced the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which would establish a more transparent, accountable, and timely debt limit framework. Here’s how:
Transparent. Prior to reaching the statutory debt limit, the administration would submit to Congress comprehensive reports on the state of the national debt, composition of the debt, and future debt projections. The administration would also submit proposals to reduce the debt in the short-, medium-, and long-term. This would expand the focus from mere debt limit increase requests to analyzing the comprehensive nature of the debt and finding debt reduction solutions. These reports would be made readily available to the public.
Accountable. As part of requesting a debt limit increase, the Treasury Secretary would be required to testify before Congress about the national debt and the administration’s debt reduction proposals. The Secretary’s testimony and reports on the national debt would instill rigor into the debt limit process and facilitate straightforward discussions about debt management that are tough but fair.
Currently, the Treasury Secretary simply sends a letter to Congress requesting a clean debt limit hike. Unsustainable debt, however, poses too great a challenge to continue on autopilot. The proposed framework would require serious and regular examination of U.S. debt and debt reduction.
Timely. Recent debt limit crises have rattled financial markets and diminished America’s economic standing in the world. Early and strategic assessments of the debt – well before the statutory debt limit – would reduce disruptive uncertainty and allow constructive debate to get a better hold on the debt. Moreover, the framework would require regular progress updates from the administration on debt reduction.
The advantages of this system are self-reinforcing. A transparent, accountable, and timely framework would instill discipline in the debt limit process and give traction to sound economic policies.
Let’s be clear: No American wants to default on the debt. But the desire to avoid default shouldn’t lull anyone into a false sense of security. Nor should it justify kicking the fiscal can further down the road.
We should use all the tools at our disposal to manage the debt responsibly and promote economic stability. The national debt is a shared responsibility, and it will take a shared executive-legislative approach to get it under control.
Passing the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act would be a good start.
Republican Kenny Marchant represents Texas’ 24th District in the U.S. House of
Posted by on September 30, 2015
By Bernie Becker
A House Republican has introduced legislation to combat what he called the marriage penalty for married couples with student loan debt.
Rep. Kenny Marchant's bill would double the amount of student loan debt interest that married couples filing jointly can deduct from their taxes, from $2,500 to $5,000.
Currently, married couples have to choose the "married filing separately" status to both get the $2,500 deduction.
"Raising the cap to $5,000 for married couples with student loan debt makes equitable sense and it provides stronger incentives toward higher education, marriage, and financial independence," Marchant said.
"With student loan debt putting increasing pressure on our economy, let's stop penalizing married households and start helping young American families build a stronger future."
Posted by on July 13, 2015
By Michelle Pitcher
Great news for everyone out there trying to make a living — which is, you know, everyone. Texas is the best place in the country to do just that.
Forbes reported the “The 10 Best and Worst Places to Make a Living in 2015” and Texas topped the list (on the good side). Last year, Texas ranked second, behind Washington.
Taking into account average wages, taxes, cost of living, unemployment, and workplace safety, MoneyRates.com ranked the 50 states by livability. For Texas, the very low cost of living amplified the effects of slightly higher wages, and the fact that we have no income tax didn’t hurt.
Workers in Texas can also take heart in knowing that — except for the occasional stubbed toe — they’re pretty unlikely to get injured on the job. Only Louisiana had fewer instances of workplace injury.
Washington took the No. 2 spot this year, followed by Wyoming, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Delaware, Ohio, and Utah.
Posted by on June 17, 2015
NOTE: Included in the legislation is a measure similar to one by U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24) that would ban IRS employees from using personal email accounts for official business. Marchant’s bill, the IRS Email Transparency Act, passed the House unanimously on April 15, 2015.
By Bernie Becker
Two senior Senate Republicans introduced legislation Tuesday that would give taxpayers a slew of new protections, and codify some already in place.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and John Thune (S.D.) said their more robust taxpayer bill of rights was especially necessary given all the controversy that has swirled around the IRS in recent years.
"Unfortunately, the IRS here of late has forgotten that the 'S' in IRS stands for service," Thune said at a news conference announcing the bill.
Both Grassley and Thune are members of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS. Grassley is a former chairman of the committee.
The IRS rolled out a taxpayer bill of rights on its own a year ago, which included the right to only pay what you owe and to better challenge an agency decision.
But both Thune and Grassley said that Congress needed to put those protections – and even more – into law and not rely solely on executive action. Lawmakers last approved a taxpayer bill of rights more than 15 years ago.
"Administrations come, administrations go," Thune said.
The measure from Thune and Grassley bars IRS officials from using personal email to conduct agency business, increases the penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information and requires better records collection from the agency.
The two senators said they hoped the measure would get bipartisan support, but acknowledged the two parties remain divided over the IRS. House Republicans recently proposed slashing another $838 million from the agency's budget, which IRS officials already say is woefully inadequate.
Still, Grassley said Tuesday that he hoped his legislation would start a conversation on the need for broader reforms at the IRS.
The agency has been under fire for more than two years, ever since former official Lois Lerner acknowledged the IRS improperly scrutinized Tea Party groups.
The IRS's watchdog is expected to give the Finance Committee a report on a string of missing Lerner emails by the end of the month, and committee leaders hope to release a report on the Tea Party controversy.
Both parties, Grassley said, should be interested to talk about expanding taxpayer rights when discussing that report.
"That culture must change," Grassley said.
Posted by on June 10, 2015
By Rep. Kenny Marchant
Having led the world in free and open markets for generations, America now faces a choice as simple as it is consequential: lead on trade, or get left behind.
The decision should be clear.
Congress is considering whether to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA is a process between Congress and the administration for negotiating trade deals that has existed in some form for over 80 years. With TPA, Congress has greater influence over trade agreements, and U.S. negotiators hold a stronger position to secure a good deal for American producers, consumers and workers.
Absent TPA, the President has the constitutional power to negotiate trade agreements without Congressional input, transparency requirements or a mechanism to make agreements available for public review. But other countries will not engage in serious negotiations – or offer real concessions – until they know the U.S. is negotiating in good faith.
That is why TPA is essential. It puts Congress – not the administration – in charge of trade negotiation objectives. It sets clear transparency requirements and makes agreements available for public review. And it shows our trading partners that America can be trusted.
If the administration meets the TPA requirements, Congress gets the final say on any trade agreement through a yea-or-nay vote. If the administration fails, Congress has the power to cancel the vote and halt the agreement altogether. TPA ensures transparency and accountability.
But most Democrats are lined-up to oppose TPA and kill America’s golden opportunity to expand free market policies to Asian countries under the growing influence of China. Liberals want to saddle Americans with higher taxes and more trade regulations. It’s no surprise the anti-trade movement is led by organized labor and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Even a few Republicans are considering joining the left-wing crusade against TPA and free trade. My message to them is simple: don’t take the bait. Every objection is based on misinformation or economic fallacy.
Concerned about secrecy? TPA requires any agreement to be made public at least 60 days before a vote. Concerned about transparency? TPA allows every Members of Congress to read negotiating text and receive briefings at any time. Concerned about Congress ceding authority? “TPA grants no new authority to the President,” confirms the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Apart from these reasons, it’s important to recognize the profound economic and strategic consequences at stake. Trade already is happening. The question is whether Congress will embrace measures to give the U.S. a competitive edge in the world, or allow our country to backslide into disastrous protectionist policies of bygone eras.
Since World War II, no nation has actively promoted an open and stable system for global commerce more than America. Free trade lies at the heart of our country’s post-1945 economic prosperity and global influence.
But nothing was pre-programmed. Time and again, America chose to boldly step up and advance free markets.
Ronald Reagan understood this. He tapped into the “can-do” spirit of America, and called on trade negotiating authority to pursue free trade. “Our commitment to free trade is undiminished,” Reagan said. “We will vigorously pursue our policy of promoting free and open markets in this country and around the world.”
That same challenge exists today – and so should our commitment. If America fails to seize this opportunity, other nations will step in to claim the mantle of economic leadership. Or as Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, both TPA supporters, put it: Who do you want to write the rules for the global economy in the 21st century – America or China?
It must be America. That’s why Congress should renew TPA and strengthen our nation’s hand in sealing two major trade agreements under discussion. One is a deal with eleven Pacific economies, including allies such as Japan, Australia and Singapore, and the other is with the European Union. Together, these deals would account for 65 percent of global economic output.
The potential gains are immense. Estimates have the deals boosting America’s economy by at least $200 billion. The agreements would cut taxes on trade, dismantle unfair trade practices, and protect intellectual property rights for American workers and firms. Consumers would benefit from greater product choice and lower prices. Leading on trade also pressures other nations to establish their rules toward U.S. standards – not the other way around.
Striking more open markets would be a massive win for our state and local economies. My home state, Texas, has led the country in international trade for 13 years. More than 60 percent of Texas’ exports go to U.S. free trade partners. Exports would only increase with better access to Asian and European markets. That would be a boon for Texan exporters, 93 percent of which are small- and medium-sized businesses.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, the area I represent in Congress, global trade reached a record $72 billion in 2013. That same year DFW’s trade growth was the second-fastest in the nation. And make no mistake: trade brings innovation, growth and well-paying jobs for all of America. One in five American jobs are supported by international trade, jobs that earn on average 13 to 18 percent more than non-trade jobs.
For our nation to grow in the future as it has in the past, America must lead on trade. Plain and simple, TPA is a proven and effective process to advance U.S. national interests. The U.S. has led the free and open international economic system for 70 years. There is no reason to surrender that lead now.Republican Kenny Marchant represents Texas’ 24th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Posted by on June 02, 2015
By Sean Lester
It seems like a daily occurrence that the Dallas-area adds a new company moving its headquarters to North Texas. Toyota, State Farm and Liberty Mutual are just a few of the big names that will join the D-FW scene in the coming years.
Though the timetable isn’t exactly that quick, the growth in business relocating to D-FW has been noted. According to MarketWatch, Dallas is the most “business-friendly city” in the country.
Dallas landed ahead of San Francisco, Seattle, Des Moines and Raleigh which rounded out the top 5.
MarketWatch ranked the cities on a combination score that factors in business climate, company performance and economic outcome. To read the complete analysis on how MarketWatch got the results, click here.
As Russ Britt of MarketWatch writes, Dallas has the geographical location that companies seek.
“Some companies seek a geographic advantage by locating facilities in the middle of the country, whether a distribution hub or an entire headquarters,” Britt said. “It may be that executives are hankering to save money on taxes or real estate or other business costs. Or perhaps they’re just weary of regulatory trappings elsewhere and long for a meaningful relationship with a business-friendly local government.”
One thing Britt mentions that many Dallas-area folks will disagree on is his take on the local highways and a lack of traffic, which he says shows room for growth.
“Drive the region’s elaborate web of new and relatively uncrowded highways — seemingly ready to accommodate an onslaught of humanity — and you’ll see the occasional 10- or 20-story office building or hotel dotting the landscape, quickly followed by acres and acres of vacant land. Locals are upbeat when they say the area’s 6.8 million residents could double over the next 20 years.”