Boehner Answers Community's Questions
November 25, 2005
Each month, in this column, I invite residents of the Eighth District to submit questions to me via e-mail at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov. Here are a few of the more prominent questions I've received recently:
"What is Congress doing to stem the tide of illegal immigration?"
It's no secret that our immigration agencies rank among Washington's most inept bureaucracies -- and that says a lot. We must work to stem the tide of illegal immigration. To do so we should begin with the obvious: enforcement. America already has a host of immigration laws on the books. They exist for a reason. We shouldn't apologize for holding accountable those who break them.
But if we truly want to get a handle on the problem, we'll need to do more than enforce the status quo. Our borders are long, porous, and serve as an open invitation to anyone who would flout our laws or, worse, do us harm. I believe that a complete restructuring of America's immigration system is long overdue.
My committee has begun the process by holding hearings to determine the impact of immigration on the American workforce and the nation's economy. Congress is working on crafting a comprehensive immigration bill that would tackle the problem of America's porous border, better regulate who comes across, and keep the door open for those who want to immigrate here legally.
In my view, those who immigrate to the U.S. legally should be readily welcomed. Those who do not should be held to account.
I expect Congress to act on immigration legislation in the months to come; the sooner the better.
"Some groups are claiming your pension bill will freeze my pension benefits. Is this true?"
My office has been receiving a number of calls prompted by a misleading letter that misstates the facts about the Pension Protection Act.
The letter makes the false claim that the Pension Protection Act would prohibit pension benefit increases. In reality, the bill simply says employers must keep their pension plans properly funded. If a pension plan is less than 60 percent funded, there are reasonable restrictions on the ability of employers and union leaders to promise ever-higher benefits to employees. Responsible public policy demands that employers pay for the pension benefits they've promised. If they can't, they shouldn't be promising additional benefits because it's the American taxpayer who will be left holding the bag.
In short, if a pension plan is in a hole, it must stop digging.
Let's be honest. There is significant and widespread underfunding in pension plans across the country. Why? Because today's outdated pension rules actually encourage pension underfunding. Reforms made by the Pension Protection Act will ultimately strengthen pension plans, and will help protect workers, retirees, and American taxpayers as well.
"I received an email from the FBI telling me I've visited illegal websites. It also asks that I respond with personal information. Is this legitimate?"
No. These e-mails do not come from the FBI or any other federal agency. They are another in a long line of Internet and e-mail hoaxes. Recipients of this or similar e-mails should know that federal agencies do not send unsolicited e-mails to the public in this manner.
You should never give your personal information to or open attachments from an unknown sender. Such attachments often contain viruses that will infect your computer. If you receive an e-mail like this you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.
I look forward to answering more questions next month. E-mail those you'd like to see answered in this column to me at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov.