HALL SUPPORTS SCHIP, AMT FIX, WAR FUNDING AS HOUSE RECESSES FOR THE YEAR
After weeks of negotiations and several Presidential vetoes, Congress reached agreement this week on must-pass legislation before recessing for the year. Key votes included an extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), war funding for Iraq without strings attached, a temporary patch for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and a Federal spending package that was acceptable.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX/4) voted with large majorities in the House of Representatives in support of the compromise bills. "These reflect negotiations between the President and Congress, between the House and Senate, and between Republicans and Democrats," Hall said. "I am pleased that the President held firm against excessive wasteful spending, higher taxes, and efforts to tie war funding in Iraq to artificial timetables. House and Senate Republicans supported his efforts, and as a result, we were able to negotiate better legislation for all Americans. These bills are by no means perfect - but they are far better than the proposals originally proposed by leadership."
Hall voted with a nearly unanimous House in approving a 15-month extension of SCHIP. Previous proposals would have added illegal immigrants and adults to the program and imposed a regressive tax. "Everyone supports SCHIP - and our goal is to make sure that all those eligible are served first," Hall said.
"I am very pleased that we were able to fund the government at the levels requested by the President, approve funding for the war in Iraq without any qualifications, and provide a temporary fix for the AMT without raising taxes on other Americans," Hall stated. "We saved taxpayers some $22 billion in non-emergency funds by holding to the President's budget."
Hall did not support the energy package passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President. "I support conservation and research and development, but I believe this package will ultimately result in higher energy costs for consumers," Hall said.
"This bill contains no provisions to increase energy production. Texas is an energy-producing state, and I will continue to promote policies that will increase domestic production of oil and gas, clean coal, and nuclear energy - along with alternative sources of energy - to help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil."
"I look forward to working on sound fiscal and energy policies in the new year," Hall added. "I also anticipate a mark-up in Committee of my border security bill that focuses on the development of technologies to improve border agents' ability to detect and prevent drug traffickers, terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the U.S."