U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant

Proudly Serving the 24th District of Texas
Posted by on March 09, 2015

GOP congressman wants to ban IRS employees from using personal e-mails for work

By Colby Itkowitz

Several days before the world found out former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private e-mail account exclusively for all communication, including work-related conversations, a Republican congressman sought to bar Internal Revenue Service employees from using their non-official e-mail for government business.

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.) introduced a bill on Feb. 27 directed at the IRS and intended to address allegations that former IRS official Lois Lerner used her personal account to discuss IRS matters. A House Republican-conducted report released in March 2014 said: “Her willingness to handle this information on a non-official e-mail account highlights her disregard for confidential taxpayer information.”

Marchant’s somewhat prescient legislation highlights a loophole in the Federal Records Act. While federal government employees are discouraged from using personal e-mail, it’s not barred. The law was updated in late 2014 to say that if personal e-mail is used for work, it must be turned over to be officially archived within 20 days.

In September 2014, during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Lerner e-mails, the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said it’s policy not to use personal e-mails.

“…one of the things we’re doing is making sure everybody understands that you cannot use your e-mail for IRS business,” he said. “That’s been a policy; we need to reinforce that.”

But the official IRS employee manual only says that “sensitive but unclassified” data can’t be e-mailed outside the IRS network, but nothing about an outright prohibition.

In the case of Lerner, House GOP wanted her e-mails during its investigation into whether the IRS had targeted nonprofits for their political leanings when considering tax exempt status.

Though the Clinton story shined a light on the federal government’s e-mail policy, Marchant’s office said he doesn’t have any plans to expand the bill to prohibit official business on all feds’ personal e-mail accounts.

Posted by on March 07, 2015

‘This is an ammunition grab’

By Anna M. Tinsley - atinsley@star-telegram.com

DeWayne Irwin is finding it nearly impossible to keep a popular bullet used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles on his store shelves.

He even brought about 10 cases of the ammunition from his personal stockpile to sell at Fort Worth Gun.

But as long as the ammo remains under fire from the federal government, which is proposing a ban on the 5.56 mm M855 green-tip ball ammunition, he expects it to keep flying off the shelves.

“Normally, we would have 100 to 120 cases on any given day,” said Irwin, president of Fort Worth Gun, previously known as Cheaper Than Dirt Outdoor Adventures. “But people are in a panic. They are buying it, scared to death it’s going away.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced last month that it is considering banning the bullet, traditionally used for hunting and target practice.

Even as local gun enthusiasts and congressional leaders fire back, ATF officials say there’s a real problem now that some handguns can use the bullet, which is capable of “penetrating body armor … for military and law enforcement.”

The proposed ban is reigniting worries that President Barack Obama will add gun restrictions, and it’s prompting gun supporters to buy as many of the bullets as they can, creating a shortage nationwide.

It’s making Irwin believe something he didn’t think was possible before.

“I firmly believe the Obama administration is after the gun business,” he said. “He couldn’t get the guns, so he will get the ammunition.

“He’s going to burn us, and this is how he’s going to do it,” Irwin said. “He’s got 18 months … and he’s going to executive-order the crap out of us.”

‘Not a gun grab’

Under the ATF proposal, gun owners could use all the M855 green-tip bullets they have, but no more could be made.

“With few exceptions, manufacturers will be unable to produce such armor-piercing ammunition, importers will be unable to import such ammunition and manufacturers and importers will be prohibited from selling or distributing the ammunition,” the ATF proposal says.

Officials with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence say the green-tip bullets are a threat to law officers, especially now that they can be used in certain handguns.

“This is not a gun grab,” said Brian Malte, national policy director for the Brady campaign. “It’s a proposed rule change to protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers.”

While the proposal focuses on the green-tip bullets, the non-green-tip version can pierce armor, too. And some fear that eliminating the green-tip bullets is just the first of many steps.

“Once they end up taking the ammunition, what goes next is the gun,” said Brian Jones of Fort Worth, who was shopping for ammunition recently at Fort Worth Gun. “Those of us who value the Second Amendment don’t like any of it.”

Marsha McCartney is tired of hearing that argument.

“Every single time somebody wants to do something good — keep officers safe, keep communities safe — they scream it’s a slippery slope and ask, ‘What’s next?’” said McCartney, president of the Texas chapter of the Brady campaign. “We have more guns in this country than any other modern country has, and we have more murders, more accidental shootings, more suicides.”

Even so, “the president has yet to fulfill their fears of banning guns and sending people door to door to pick up guns.”

Congressional reaction

As some allege that this is the president’s backdoor way of restricting guns, local Republican congressional leaders are coming out in force against the ATF proposal.

“Day in and day out, law-abiding gun owners in Texas face a White House hostile to their fundamental rights, and I will work with my colleagues to help fight the administration’s latest infringement before it can be implemented,” said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas’ senior senator.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and nearly 240 other congressional members sent a bipartisan letter to the ATF expressing “serious concern” about the proposal and noting that Americans own more than 5 million AR-15s.

The letter says the ban would “interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law-abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”

Among the local House members who signed were Joe Barton, R-Ennis; Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville; Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth; Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell; and Roger Williams, R-Austin.

Marchant echoed some of those thoughts in another letter.

“I am concerned that the framework is broad and open-ended in a way that risks sweeping up many popular forms of ammunition used by law-abiding citizens for legitimate purposes,” he wrote.

Williams said, “Whether it’s immigration, the environment or Second Amendment rights, there is nothing this administration holds sacred enough to allow it to be amended through the proper legislative process.”

This story continues. To read the full version on the Star-Telegram's website, please click here.

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

Washington Bureau
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


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.