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Newsletter - Tech Commencement, Keystone XL, Obamacare, and the IRS


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Texas Tech University Commencement: Failures can be God's Way of Steering Us to Greater Success

This weekend, I had the tremendous privilege of giving the commencement address at my alma mater, Texas Tech University. It was truly one of the greatest honors of my life. There were thousands of graduates who are preparing to set out into the world and make their mark. I thought a great deal about what I would have wanted to hear when I was in their place. When I graduated, I thought I had my life all figured out. I had already married my wife, and I was looking forward to a long career in real estate management. But 40 years later, I'm a Member of Congress--which was never something I had planned. Looking back, I realized that I got to where I am today in part because there were times when my plans simply didn't work out, despite my hardest work. Instead of seeing those setbacks as failures, however, I chose to treat them as direction changes. By embracing the hard times, I was able to learn from them and move on to bigger and better things. So that was my advice to all the Red Raiders who graduated this weekend: Don't be discouraged by failure. Instead, look for the opportunities it creates.

Voting for American Energy and Job Creation

This week, the House will vote to clear the way for the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline will stretch from oil sands in Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, which could bring greater energy security to America by supplying us with 830,000 barrels of oil a day. It is a private-sector project would create 140,000 new jobs. So what's the hold up? Because the pipeline will cross the border between the U.S. and Canada, the company building it was required to apply to the State Department for approval. The President is unwilling to grant that approval because of pressure from environmental activists. However, the State Department has issued multiple scientific assessments that have concluded that Keystone XL will have "minimal environmental impact" and a "degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline."

At a recent Science Committee hearing, I questioned the President's science advisor about the delay in approving Keystone XL. You know what he told me? "I have not in fact had any conversations with the President at this point about the Keystone pipeline." If the President is truly concerned about scientific environmental hazards, why hasn't he talked to his science advisor about it? It's because his delay on the Keystone Pipeline project is not based on science, but rather on partisan politics.

Nevertheless, Keystone XL has broad bipartisan support. That's why I'm looking forward to getting this project moving by passing the Northern Route Approval Act this week. This bill will remove the requirement for a Presidential permit and help us get moving to increase our energy supply and create 140,000 new jobs.

Administration's Failed Sales Pitch for Obamacare

Three years after the President pushed through his takeover of our healthcare system, the Obama Administration is still trying to convince Americans that it's a good idea. Most recently, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is asking health industry officials to "make large financial donations" to help implement Obamacare. I'm troubled by this, so I signed a letter last week asking Secretary Sebelius to provide details about who she contacted and whether she used Department resources. My colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee are also requesting that the Government Accountability Office investigate her activities. Beyond the ethical and Constitutional issues involved, it seems to me that there is no better indication that Obamacare is bad policy. It costs jobs, increases premiums, and will burden our economy. It's time for the Obama Administration to stop campaigning, and start looking for better solutions.

Action Item: The Latest on the IRS Targeting

Congress has begun investigating the Internal Revenue Service's unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee questioned Steven Miller, acting IRS Commissioner. Here's what we know so far: The White House learned of the targeting back in April. The IRS is trying to downplay its actions, calling them "horrible customer service," but defending their legality. Miller has been asked to resign, but he was scheduled to leave in June regardless, so the resignation is really just a token political gesture. Next week, the House Oversight Committee will question more officials, including Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin. I'll keep you posted on what we learn, and what the next steps will be. Also, if your organization was targeted for extra scrutiny, I want to know about it. Please call my office at 1-866-763-1611 or email me here.

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