This week, the House passed a number of bills aimed at reining in the IRS, funding highway and road programs, keeping access to the Internet tax-free, improving our economy, and creating American jobs.
The Financial Services Appropriations Bill passed and is important because it prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system, and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs -- such as the Internal Revenue Service -- for reductions. This bill keeps the IRS in check when it comes to spending your tax dollars and fulfilling its key duties by cutting funding by $341 million, prohibiting funds for the targeting of individuals based on their political beliefs -- including a proposed tax-exempt status regulation that could infringe on Americans' First Amendment rights, prohibiting funds for inappropriate conferences or videos, and prohibiting funds for employee bonuses when no consideration of their performance has been given. This bill also helps small businesses create jobs and prosper by funding business loans, Small Business Centers, and Women's Business Centers. Lastly, it prohibits funding for the Executive Office of the President to create Executive Orders that contradict existing law. By limiting the reach of federal agencies, we are increasing the transparency and accountability while reducing spending and streamlining the federal government.
Before this week, it was projected that the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) would go broke within the next 30 days unless Congress did something to address the problem. If the HTF were to become insolvent, the Department of Transportation will slow the reimbursement of money to states for transportation projects -- and that would hurt Missourians, possibly leading to safety being compromised and construction jobs being placed in jeopardy as road and bridge construction projects are abandoned. Anyone who has ever had a flat tire due to a shoddy road or pothole understands the importance of these projects. While this bill will keep the HTF funded in the short term, it does not provide a long-term solution for our roads or the people who use them. Congress needs to use the time afforded to it by this bill to develop a feasible and sustainable solution to maintain the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
We also passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act which makes permanent the ban on taxation on Internet access. This legislation will help increase access to the Internet, growth of our digital economy, and opportunity for Americans of all walks. The last thing that Americans need is another bill on their doorsteps. A tax on Internet access would burden the millions of Americans who rely on the Internet to conduct business, communicate, educate, and live.
I also spoke on the floor of the House this week about the tensions between Israel and Hamas. Hamas continues launching rockets into Israel, putting millions of Israelis at risk, including innocent civilians. We must show that we stand with Israel against unprovoked rocket attacks. Hamas must immediately end the unprovoked attacks and agree to a ceasefire. Additionally, Israel finds itself under siege by the persistent threat of a nuclear Iran. While stringent economic sanctions are the only peaceful option we have left, we must also put forth a credible military threat in order to deter Iran from pursuing its program further. We are running out of time to provide stability in the Middle East by preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state. We must stand with Israel.
On another matter, I had the pleasure of meeting this week with Brigadier General Glen VanHerck, Commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, and a cast of stellar airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing. General VanHerck and I discussed issues surrounding Whiteman Air Force Base and the 509th. We spoke about the B-2 and the critical assurance and deterrence missions it performs, Air Force readiness issues, and the outstanding work of the airmen who accompanied him.
Lastly, I also met with the Missouri Corn Growers Association to discuss current issues facing corn farmers in Missouri. I appreciate all they do to feed a hungry world.
Have a great week!