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Turner Calls for Leftover Congressional Office Funds to Go Directly Towards Deficit Reduction

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3) has joined House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp in calling for unspent Congressional office funds to be returned to the Treasury Department and allocated towards debt reduction. If action is not taken, these funds could instead be "reprogrammed" for other budget purposes. In a letter, Turner and Camp requested that the language of H.R. 297 be included in the FY 2013 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. H.R. 297 would require that any unspent funds in Members' Representational Allowances (MRA) be used for deficit reduction or to reduce the federal debt. Turner is a co-sponsor of H.R. 297.

"Just because there are unspent government funds doesn't mean we should spend that money on something else. When this nation is $15.4 trillion in debt, we should be using every unspent dollar to close the deficit and pay down the debt," said Turner.

Turner this past month announced that his office saved roughly $165,000 of his 2011 MRA and that he will be returning these funds to the U.S. Treasury. Turner's office MRA as designated by the U.S. House of Representatives for 2011 was just over $1.4 Million. This means that Turner did not spend all of the funds allotted to his office and has returned 11.6% of his MRA.
Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Madam Speaker, the December 2011 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit bars the Department of Commerce from applying countervailing duties (CVDs) on goods produced by heavily subsidized foreign companies from non-market economy countries like China and Vietnam.

This ruling is a significant blow to U.S. manufacturers and workers. If action is not taken to remedy the situation, the Department of Commerce could likely be forced to terminate 24 existing CVD orders against unfairly subsidized products from China and Vietnam, including a CVD order to help companies and families in southwest Ohio.

In my community, paper manufacturers New Page, SMART Papers and Appleton Papers, petitioned the International Trade Commission to levy CVDs on subsidized imports of coated fresh-sheet paper from China and Indonesia. In 2008, NewPage was forced to close its sheeting facility for coated paper due to these unfair trade practices, resulting in a loss of 175 Ohio jobs. Just recently, Appleton Papers announced it would cut 330 jobs from the West Carrolton plant in my Dayton community as it struggles against unfair competition.

I strongly backed the application of CVDs against this unfair trade practice and testified before the ITC in support of the petition, which was unanimously approved in 2010. However, the court's recent ruling could negate the ITC's unanimous action and threaten more jobs in my community.

Madam Speaker, we must move swiftly to ensure U.S. manufacturers and workers can compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace. That is why I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4105, bipartisan legislation that confirms the Department of Commerce may continue to apply CVDs against unfairly subsidized imports from nonmarket economies like China.

At the same time, with 95 percent of consumers overseas, it is essential that U.S. companies have the opportunity to export their products. U.S. exporters face many non-tariff barriers that violate existing trade agreements, hampering the ability of U.S. companies to access foreign markets and create jobs. My bill, H.R. 3112, the Trade Law Enforcement Act, provides an affordable way for U.S. companies to have their market access complaints investigated and resolved in a manner consistent with U.S. international obligations.

Madam Speaker, I strongly support H.R. 4105 and urge my colleagues to vote yes on this important legislation. I also urge my colleagues to support and co-sponsor my bill, H.R. 3112, to help U.S. manufacturers reach new consumers abroad and spur job creation right here at home.
"We believe that this legislation provides an incentive for Members to use taxpayer funds responsibly and lead by example in our efforts to reduce the national debt….It is vital that we truly reduce spending and show the American people we are committed to paying down the nation's debt," wrote Turner and Camp.

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