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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. POSEY. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, today in Washington, bureaucrats are able to craft and enforce rules that cost our economy billions of dollars while remaining aloof to the consequences of their actions. There remains a disconnect between those who write these rules in the comfort of the Beltway, generating reams of red tape, and the actions taken by the courts or Congress to delay or roll back those same rules.

When a regulator has overreached, they have wrongfully robbed American citizens of their benefits, of their labor, and their means of productivity. Today there is really no penalty for those who overreach. I believe regulators should be more prudent and measured when drafting and issuing rules and regulations.

My amendment simply calls agency bureaucrats to account when they exceed their delegated authority.

Section 104 of the underlying bill permits a court to award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to a small business when they prevail in a suit against an agency that has exceeded their statutory regulatory authority.

My amendment takes this as a step further by requiring any attorney's fees and costs be paid out of the administrative budget of the particular office that is found to have exceeded that authority. I believe this will give regulators greater pause before they issue regulations and will cause them to double-check to make sure that they are on solid ground. When an agency overreaches, what they are fundamentally doing is denying an American citizen their right to pursue opportunity, create jobs, or enjoy the benefits of their labor.

In a sense, they are basically robbing someone of their opportunity. Outside of the regulatory environment, when someone takes property that belongs to someone else, there are criminal sanctions if we catch them doing it. In the regulatory environment, however, the best that an American citizen can expect from the Federal Government is ``I'm sorry,'' and that's at best.

We change that in this bill. With the adoption of my amendment, we change that for the particular regulators that exceed their authority. If adopted, this amendment will give more certainty to the regulatory process, and it ensure regulators are more prudent when drafting regulations. We make sure that any damages are not paid out of the agency slush fund but, rather, out of the administrative budget of the offending office. That brings personal and government accountability to the regulatory process, something that's desperately needed. Now they will have some skin in the game, so to speak.

I urge my colleagues to support this good amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. Let me tell anyone who may not have ever seen a war with an agency over agency rules before, they dig in and they fight to the death anyway, whether it's coming out of their budget or not. I've seen them lose at three levels with a private citizen and go after them yet a fourth time because their pockets are bottomless and they hope they can break the back of a citizen like that.

You know, what make this country unique is we believe we get our rights from God. We believe in inalienable human rights here, and we give rights to government. Government doesn't give us rights. We give rights to our government. And we're charged with administering the rights that were given to our government here in Congress. And we give the administration, we give the agencies the right to write rules, specific rules. We don't allow them, without our authority and beyond the scope of their authority, to abuse citizens, to steal their productivity, their labor, and the benefits that they've worked hard for. And that's what the agencies have done. We have asked them not to do it. They've reformed the Administrative Procedures Act a number of times. The agencies just don't get the message. They see it as their goal and their destiny to be the boss.

Congress is supposed to have dominion over the bureaucrats, and this is one of the ways that we're going to enforce that dominion. We don't let the fox run the henhouse.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, my amendment stops the Securities and Exchange Commission from pursuing an agenda on climate change and keeps its focus, instead, on its core mission of protecting investors.

In recent years, we've seen the Madoff and Stanford Ponzi schemes bilk people out of over $70 billion. Many of these victims live in our districts. They are shocked and outraged that such a travesty could happen.

One would think that after such embarrassments, the SEC would do whatever it could to focus its finite resources on stopping the next Ponzi scheme. At the very minimum, it would make sense for the SEC to appear to get serious in safeguarding the public from fraud and corruption.

However, early in 2010, the SEC issued an interpretative guidance for companies to disclose the impact global climate change might have on their businesses. The SEC published this controversial guidance over the objections of dissenting commissioners. This was done without direction from Congress and outside the traditional rulemaking process.

There are no laws in the United States explicitly addressing climate change. The guidance is inappropriate considering the SEC has bigger priorities.

I don't have to tell my colleagues that climate change is a controversial and an unresolved issue. From a securities perspective especially, climate change information on a disclosure is highly speculative, and dubious at best. If allowed to proceed, it invites all kinds of compliance costs and confusion down the road. And guess who will ultimately pay all those costs? Our constituents, the American public.

Importantly, my amendment does not stop companies from mentioning bona fide weather and environmental risks in disclosures. And if a company really wants to weigh in climate change for some reason, they're free to volunteer that information. It just keeps the SEC focused on what they're supposed to be doing, and that is protecting people and not forcing unrelated agendas down their throats.

I urge my colleagues to support the amendment and reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. The gentleman's points about disclosure are on point. They simply don't apply to what this amendment does. It does not deny required disclosure of risks. Let me be clear, thousands and thousands of American families were devastated by Madoff, by Stanford, MF Global and the like. People lost their homes, people lost their cars, people lost their children's education funds, and people lost their lifelong retirement savings. I could go on and on forever, but we have a limited amount of time.

The job of the SEC is to protect those people. The job of the SEC is to protect honest people from dishonest corporations and persons. It's not to impose other agendas on the American public. It's not to talk about the environmental stewardship of corporations. If a corporation dealing with securities does not disclose a significant environmental risk, then they're going to be liable for that failure to disclose. But it's not the SEC's job to talk about their stewardship.

The SEC knew for a decade--a decade--a full 10 years--over 10 years--that Madoff was stealing from people; and they refused to take any action for over a decade, and over $70 billion evaporated. People's lives were devastated. People died. People died. There are dead people because of what Madoff did. And the SEC didn't lift a finger. They were too busy doing other things.

Now, here we intend to put SEC back on the job and focus on what they're supposed to do: protect honest people from dishonest people.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. Very poetic, but it's off point.

The amendment wants SEC to focus on protecting honest people from dishonest corporations and people, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The Florida International Bankers Association has reported to me that, over the past several months, they have seen as much as $300 million leaving United States banks for overseas banks.

Why is this money leaving the United States, and what can we do to stop the hemorrhaging?

The adoption of this amendment will stop the hemorrhaging of hundreds of millions of dollars--soon to be billions of dollars if this amendment is not adopted. This is according to the studies on earlier, scaled-back proposals by the Internal Revenue Service.

For nearly 100 years, the United States has had in place a policy that encourages foreigners to put their money in our banks in the United States. We have told them that the United States is a welcoming and safe place for their deposits. Earlier this year, apparently clueless about the financial conditions we were in as a Nation, the IRS finalized a new rule to take effect in January 2013 that basically sends the message to law-abiding foreign depositors that U.S. banks don't want their money. Under this rule, the United States would no longer provide these law-abiding depositors with the confidentiality that they've had and that they need.

The new IRS rules would impose cumbersome new reporting requirements for law-abiding foreign depositors and for foreign depositors who live in nations where corruption is rampant. They will simply withdraw their money from the United States institutions and put their money to work in other nations around the world. This is bad for the United States economy.

There has been strong bipartisan opposition to the IRS proposal. The entire Florida delegation--all 25 members, every Republican and every Democrat--wrote the Treasury last year, asking them to withdraw the regulation. Bipartisan letters have gone to the Internal Revenue Service urging them to withdraw the regulation, and bipartisan legislation has been filed in the House and in the Senate to stop the regulation.

Each day Congress refuses to act, deposits are leaving the United States for Singapore, Panama, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and elsewhere. This money will not return to the United States once it leaves. Most importantly for our communities, this capital will not be available to our small businesses and families when they need it to build in America. The new regulation will harm the U.S. economy, and we must stop its implementation.

Ironically, this same regulation from the IRS was rejected about 8 years ago when the bureaucrats at the IRS thought it was a good idea then. A strong bipartisan effort in Congress led to the IRS withdrawal of the rule, and we must do that again today.

If you share my commitment to economic recovery and believe that the United States should be a welcoming place for foreign depositors who want to put their money to work in the United States, then I urge you to join in support of this amendment. Please vote ``yes.''

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. This is not just about banks. This is about jobs, this is about mortgages, this is about the economy, and this is about our communities prospering. Information can be shared today on a case-by-case basis. If the IRS suggests to you otherwise, it's just not true.

There's a common misperception. Let's not forget how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America. Too often, too many people forget this, it seems. We live under a stable government and a relatively stable economy compared to some of the other countries we receive deposits from. Many nonresident deposits come from countries where the governments themselves are very unstable, where their personal security or their property are major concerns. It's very probable that the depositor's personal bank account information could be leaked to unauthorized persons in their home country--to governments, criminals, or terrorist groups--which could make the depositors and their families targets of extortion, kidnappings, and other potentially fatal criminal activities. Imagine living with that over your shoulder every day.

Assurance from the IRS bureaucrats that your information is safe won't calm those fears. Our Pentagon has been hacked. I asked the Secretary of the Treasury if we would stand personally liable for any breaches that would cause a loss of life or harm to people whose information was betrayed. They said they would not be willing to do that.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. POSEY. I don't know how many deadbeat taxpayers are in Venezuela or Cuba or Iran, but I think it's ludicrous to think that we would want to put American investments in other countries. We're looking at, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason, a possible capital flight of $88 billion, and this is opposed to maybe, at the high side estimating, we'll recover $800 million from tax cheats, hopefully. That's just not a good percentage. That's not a good investment. That's bad business in any sense of the word.

I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of a good commonsense bill that will help our economy recover and help America stay strong.

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