While most of the news out of Washington has focused on the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction or the "Super Committee", the House has continued working on legislation to improve the economy and boost jobs. Like many of you, I am very disappointed with the outcome and I had hoped that the Super Committee could find common ground on a deficit reduction strategy without raising taxes however, I will not let the Super Committee's failure stand in my way as I work on behalf of Georgians to improve the economy, cut spending and keep taxes low.
Last week, the House was back in session and voted on a critical measure to reign in our national debt: a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which I supported. Unfortunately, House Democrats once again chose party politics over the will of the American people. I am disheartened that the Balanced Budget Amendment failed to pass the House by a vote of 261-165, but I will continue my efforts to curb Washington's spending and to focus on job creation for the American people. To view a list of House passed jobs bills that are currently awaiting Senate action, click here.
On Wednesday, the House voted on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 674, which would repeal the three percent withholding tax, which I was pleased to support. Just yesterday, the President finally signed H.R. 674, as well as a veteran's job bill, into law. H.R. 574 eliminated a "pre-tax" that previously kept money out of the pockets of job creators by forcing federal, state, and local governments to withhold three percent of payments due to service providers. Repealing this burdensome pre-tax will help provide more certainty and stability for our nation's job creators during this tough economy. To learn more, read my blog post on the issue here.
In a victory for Second Amendment rights, the House passed H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, by a vote of 272-154 last Wednesday. This legislation allows any person with a valid state-issued concealed weapons permit to carry their concealed firearm into another state that also allows concealed firearms. The bill makes no changes to any state's laws and would not create a federal licensing system.
On Thursday, I joined my fellow members of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at a hearing to question the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, on Solyndra's failure. As you may know, Sec. Chu's testimony is a critical component of the Solyndra investigation and the Committee will continue our efforts to ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for future failed loans that could be avoided.
I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday and I look forward to providing more updates on the Super Committee negotiations next week from Washington.
Phil Gingrey, M.D.