Note: I hope you'll join me in sending thoughts and prayers to the runners, spectators, and residents who have been affected by the tragedy in Boston today.
It's April 15th, which means our taxes are due today. We have an incredibly complex tax code, with over 4 million words that specify exactly how much money we need to turn over to the government each year. That complexity makes paying taxes--already an unpleasant task--even more difficult. This year, Americans spent 6 billion hours and $168 billion to prepare and file their taxes. What a waste. A recent Gallup poll which indicated that half of Americans think their current taxes are too high, and that 64 percent expect their taxes to be increased this year. That's no wonder, given that President Obama raised taxes by $1 trillion under Obamacare, raised them by another $600 billion in the fiscal cliff deal, and is now requesting another $1.1 trillion in increased tax revenue. Enough is enough.
That is why I introduced a constitutional amendment today that would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate in order to raise taxes on the American people. Right now, raising taxes is the "easy' way out for politicians--it allows them to avoid making tough choices about how to cut spending. But asking Americans to pay more in taxes should be our last resort. This amendment makes it much harder for Washington to take any more of your hard-earned money.
Homeland Security Ammunition Purchases
I've been getting quite a lot of calls and emails lately asking about ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and other federal agencies. I've been answering these individual questions, and I wanted to share that answer with all my Roundup readers, since it's clear that this is an important subject in West Texas.
There have been reports about DHS and SSA purchasing quantities of ammunition recently, which has caused concern for some people--why are they buying so many rounds? I've looked into this issue, and I want to assure you that the ammunition is only being purchased so these agencies can do their jobs. For instance, DHS oversees Customs and Border Protection, and those officers need ammunition to help keep our border safe and secure. At first glance, it seems odd that the Social Security Administration requires ammunition, but it's actually used for special agents and criminal investigators that work to prevent Social Security fraud. There are 295 SSA officers that issue warrants and make arrests to prevent people from defrauding our Social Security funds. There's also a report that the National Weather Service was purchasing ammunition. That ammo was actually meant for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement. These officers work to protect fish populations, marine mammals, and commercial fisheries. Like any other law enforcement officers, they are armed for encounters with criminals.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) also investigated these claims and wrote a great explanation, which I encourage you to read. When you take into account training, qualification tests, and on-duty use by each agent, it's clear that the ammunition purchases are reasonable. Please keep sharing your concerns so I can make sure I'm looking out for your interests in Washington.
Media Silence on Abortion Atrocities
You might not know it from watching the news, but right now, a Pennsylvania abortion provider is on trial for killing seven babies and one adult. The charges against Kermit Gosnell are gruesome and appalling: when newborns survived his abortions, he allegedly "snipped" their spines to cause death. I can't begin to express how angry and distraught I am over this. Gosnell's trial began back in March, but there has been little coverage of it in the media. Now, mainstream outlets like CBS, the Washington Post, Politico, and USA Today are not only covering this tragedy, but asking why that coverage didn't begin earlier. Some reporters are suggesting that the media did not cover it for fear of creating anti-abortion coverage.
The charges against Gosnell are horrifying for any number of reasons--there appears to have been a blatant disregard for medical standards, there was no oversight or regulation, there are allegations of racism, and there was a clear intent to murder newborns. I hope that people are outraged by this, and I hope that it gives us all pause to consider why it is a crime for a doctor to kill babies if they are born alive, but it is not a crime to deny them the chance to be born. I feel very strongly that we must protect these innocent lives, and I've spent my political career working to reduce atrocities like this. Most recently, I introduced the PRO-LIFE Act, to keep abortion providers out of public schools. You can learn more about what I'm doing on the Family Values section of my website.
The House Agriculture Committee will take up the Farm Bill sometime in the next month or two. I'm getting ready for that by re-introducing legislation that strengthens crop insurance by providing coverage for shallow losses. Look for an announcement on Thursday.