Over the past couple of days, you might have heard about some of the ins and outs of the payroll bill Congress passed a week ago Friday. It was the culmination of months of discussions, debates, and political theater in Washington.
However, there were specifically three key aspects to this bill that prove we are making progress in changing the conversation in our Nation's Capital.
The first was preventing a $1,000 tax hike on every hardworking Arizonan family. Had this bill not passed the House, we all would have seen our taxes increase even more-and by a substantial amount. This is Economics 101: You simply don't raise taxes in the worst economy since the Great Depression and expect growth. I am glad this passed with bipartisan support.
Further, this bill included what we call a "doc-fix" which permits seniors on Medicare to continue seeing their doctor. If this bill had not passed, seniors would have been denied access to their physicians because of cuts to Medicare already written in Obama's healthcare law.
Thirdly, in addition to voting for a cost-saving reduction of unemployment insurance, the House also passed several key reforms to the program. One of these is a requirement that beneficiaries of unemployment insurance submit to drug testing. Under this bill, if someone collecting unemployment benefits fails a drug test, hardworking Arizonans will no longer be on the hook to pay for it.
Another reform we made this week was putting a prohibition on using welfare benefits at strip clubs and liquor stores. It does seem shocking that these loopholes were not closed earlier, but I am grateful I was a part of the House that voted to put them in place to prevent fraud on the backs of the taxpayers.
If there was a disappointing note to come out of this last week, it was that Washington, once again, has not addressed full and long-term solutions for the tax code. Short term band aids are ultimately not the solution, we need to overhaul the tax code and make it easier to understand, eliminate loopholes, and make the tax base broader, wider, and flatter.
However, the reality of our political state now is that we control only one of three branches of our federal government and have nearly 30 jobs bills stuck in Harry Reid's Senate. We cannot be naïve enough to think that change will come to Washington in one fell swoop, nor can we cannot let good be the enemy of perfect in our step-by-step process of reducing government. But we can be encouraged that every debate we have been having in Washington is laced with words like "debt" and "deficit" and "fiscal responsibility." This is encouraging!
This week was a great one for the Grand Canyon State. The rest of the country saw that beautiful Arizona can throw one heck of an event as Mesa welcomed the GOP Presidential hopefuls for what could be the last primary debate. Joyce and I were blessed to attend the debate and it was great to see so many of you, friends, and leaders in the community in attendance as well.
As we face another week in Washington, I remain dedicated to pushing forward more bills that create job growth. Please stay tuned for an important effort I am participating in this week to move forward even more jobs legislation. More information can be found here.
Member of Congress