To all grandmothers and mothers around Arizona and the entire country, I hope you are having a wonderful Mothers Day!
This was a big week in Washington. We've moved into appropriations season where money is allocated to provide for the function of various government departments. This week we considered an appropriations bill for the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. The appropriations process provides a great way for Members of Congress to provide a check on the Executive Branch and agencies under its control. Using the amendment process, I sought to do just that.
First, I worked to cut funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortium (AmTech). This was a new program created last year which I don't believe has fulfilled its stated purpose, and I don't believe it was necessary in the first place. The purported reason for AmTech's existence is to promote American manufacturing overseas. I don't think a government program is the best way of doing that. The best thing we can do to make American manufacturing more competitive is to cut corporate tax rates and regulatory red tape. Our corporate taxes are the highest in the industrialized world. The uncompetitive tax rates are like a ball and chain for American manufacturers. My efforts to end this program earned the praise of the small government think tank, the CATO Institute.
Many times in this newsletter, and through every other medium I can find, I've talked about the ways the Obama administration seeks to sidestep Congress by imposing new regulations and legislating through the creation of new rules. The Obama Administration attempted to do that again recently, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created a new hiring "guidance" which made it much more difficult for employers to use criminal background checks in their hiring process. I think considering a person's character is an extremely important part of the hiring process. Many times, a person's criminal record can show a potential employee is unfit for the job when the offense has something to do with the line of work they seek to do.
This EEOC guidance was misguided, and it was outside the EEOC's legal mandate to create these rules. I offered an amendment to the appropriations bill which prohibits enforcement of this rule. My amendment passed the House unanimously. It seems that disgust with the President's efforts to create legislation without Congress is becoming bipartisan!
Later in the week, a bill I authored -- the FACT Act -- was given a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. This legislation seeks to instill transparency in the Asbestos Trust Fund payout system. Millions of people suffer the ill-effects of asbestos exposure, and they deserve just compensation for their suffering. However, abuse of the trust system puts the continued existence of those trusts in jeopardy. My bill will restore transparency and protect asbestos trusts for those who are truly in need of them.
Thanks as always for reading. We'll be considering new appropriations bills in the House next week, and I look forward to updating you then!