Five weeks ago, Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) brought a very unique and democratic idea to the House floor called "YouCut," which allows Americans across the country the opportunity to propose and vote for their favorite way to cut Federal spending. This week's winner, "Prohibit Hiring New IRS Agents to Enforce the Health Care Law," would save up to $10 billion in taxpayer money. What the nearly 1 million YouCut voters want to know is: How will hiring 16,500 new IRS agents somehow increase our quality of health care? They also want to know why, despite all of the Democrats' talk about protecting the middle class, nearly half of these new individual mandate taxes are going to be paid by Americans earning less than $66,150 for a family of four. It has now been three months since the passage of the Democrats' health care bill, and this week's YouCut voters want Congress to do something to get the IRS out of their lives and out of their wallets! I had the opportunity to vote in favor of the YouCut proposal during consideration of the DISCLOSE Act on Thursday, June 24. Now every member of the House will have the opportunity to show the 1 million YouCut voters that they are listening and that they actually care. To vote for your favorite YouCut proposal in the coming weeks, visit the Republican Whip's website by clicking here.
Over 4 million Georgians get their power from one of forty-two Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs). In the Seventh District, that includes Jackson EMC, Sawnee EMC, Walton EMC, and Snapping Shoals EMC. Thirty-eight of those EMCs are part owners in one of Georgia's largest power suppliers and the country's largest power supply cooperative, Oglethorpe Power Company. Together, Oglethorpe Power and the EMCs keep much of Georgia running and growing.
Though President Obama has often stated his support for clean energy development, his Administration has called for some startling changes in the way the Federal government provides financial assistance to power companies like Oglethorpe Power, which use clean burning natural gas to produce electricity. The Obama Administration supports a blanket prohibition on allowing electricity producers who use clean natural gas to receive loans from the Federal government's Rural Utilities Service. For many electricity producers, these low cost loans help defray the costs of building new power plants. For Oglethorpe Power, the President's proposal could increase plant construction costs by as much as $75 million -- costs that would be passed on to EMC consumers. As such, the Republican members of the Georgia House Delegation send the following letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture asking that it reverse the President's plan.
To view a copy of the letter, please click here.
On June 1, 2010, the Sustainable Defense Task Force released a report entitled "Debt, Deficits, and Defense." Among other things, this report suggests significant spending cuts to the nation's defense program. The authors of this report insist that "cutting the defense budget is a national security imperative." I could not disagree more strongly.
Although many share a desire for peace and prosperity throughout the international community, unfortunately, there are still those who do not share those views. Osama bin Laden, for example, will never be complacent with a peaceful world. Individuals like him are always searching for reasons to bring violence or destruction to others. The world is still a dangerous place, as illustrated by the increasing turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Countries such as Iran and North Korea also represent serious threats to our national security.
While it is imperative that we gain control of our country's $13 trillion debt, we simply cannot cut funding for something as important as our national security. Our Constitution explicitly states that the primary job of the government is to "ensure for the common defense." Cutting expenses for our military operations would force our military personnel to operate on less than necessary means. For additional information on defense spending and why we must maintain adequate and sufficient funding levels, please take a look at the Heritage Foundation's recent article on defense spending in the twenty-first century.
On Thursday, June 24th, I was proud to join over 400 of my House colleagues in supporting H.R. 2194; a bill that if implemented fully by President Barack Obama would institute crippling economic sanctions on Iran. This bill is aimed solely at forcing Iran to change its totalitarian behavior, especially concerning its burgeoning nuclear weapons program. Specifically, the bill requires that in most cases, U.S. banks must cease doing business with foreign financial institutions that do business with Iranian banks. The bill also imposes large fines on companies that sell refined petroleum products or any goods and services that assist in the development of the Iranian energy sector. You can read more about the bill by clicking here.
Iran actively supports international terrorism and is continuing its efforts to develop and acquire nuclear weapons. Its leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel, which is not only our closest ally in the Middle East, but the only functioning democracy in that area of the world. Iran cannot be allowed to continue along its current path, and along with recently imposed sanctions from the United Nations, I hope that H.R. 2194 will send a clear message to the Iranian regime that its behavior on the international stage will no longer be tolerated.
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In homes and businesses around the Seventh District and across America, people are being forced to adjust their budgets, cut spending, and work a lot harder to make ends meet. Here in Washington, the Democratic Leadership has decided that it is exempt from the current recession. In fact, this year, Congress will not meet its most basic responsibility: passing a budget. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer announced this Monday that there would be no budget in the House; a first in modern history. While Americans have been rising to the challenges presented by the economy, Congress and President Obama have been ignoring their responsibilities and engaging in reckless, out of control spending, all in pursuit of a far-left agenda most Americans do not support. Failing to even consider a budget this year is just one more example of the misplaced priorities that have been characteristic of the leadership on Capitol Hill.
I urge Congress to conduct itself in the same manner it expects from the public, by learning to live within its means and putting the nation's financial house in order. We owe it to the American people to create and pass a budget that reflects the struggle of families and small businesses. Congress needs to cut spending and taxes so that people have more money for their families and businesses can grow and hire new workers. Most importantly, we need leadership in Washington that is willing to make hard decisions, just like millions of ordinary Americans do every day when they balance their check books.