Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is Sunday, April 1st. I’d like to give a shout out to Kansas University and the University of Kentucky for being the last two standing teams as we head towards the NCAA College basketball championship. March Madness truly reminds me of what is great about America. Sixty-five teams enter with equal opportunity to be the champion. It is not about anyone making the victory decision based upon equality of achievement. Remember when Norfolk State upset Missouri or Lehigh defeated Duke? In America, just the same as in the tournament, we all have the same opportunity to win, and that is the exceptionalism of America.
However, today represents a different type of first place for America, because as of April 1st, we now have the highest corporate/business tax rate in the world. Yes, 39.2 percent is the world’s highest business tax rate since Japan lowered its rate. Unfortunately, this is not where it ends. We must also consider the state corporate rates, now averaging anywhere between 4-7 percent depending on the state, all of which demonstrates the United States creating an anti-business environment in America. The good news is the House-passed GOP budget lowers those rates to 25 percent, making America competitive again. In addition to lowering the corporate and business tax rates, I believe the trillions of dollars of capital sitting on the sidelines and outside America should be allowed a onetime repatriation in order to spur on America pro-growth economic ventures, production, and manufacturing.
President Barack Obama’s policies would lead to a completely different America. The President’s policies keep taxes high, tax the capital offshore, raise capital gains (15 percent to 35 percent), raise dividends (15 percent to 44.1 percent), and raise death (estate) taxes. The president has set policies that will raise personal income tax rates on the upper bracket, including small business owners who operate as sub-chapter S-Corporations and LLCs who utilize personal income tax rates.
The president wishes to do all this to taxation while increasing the growth of the Federal Government by 53 percent and growing our debt from the current $15.6 trillion to $26 trillion over the next ten years. The President’s vision put forth in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget is unsustainable. I’m obviously not the only one who believes this, as this past week the President’s budget was rejected by the House of Representatives by a vote of 0-414. This comes a year after his Fiscal Year 2012 budget was rejected by the United States Senate by a vote of 0-97.
As always, the president falls back on his greatest asset, the ability to read a speech, which is what he did last week in the Rose Garden. Again, President Obama’s response to any crisis or issue is to blame someone else and not find a solution — and giving hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to more “green energy” endeavors is not a solution, a la Solyndra. It seems the president believes the American people are giving taxpayer dollars to the oil and gas industry as subsidies. This is quite far from the truth.
The oil and gas industry receives several cost recovery mechanisms which are known in policy circles as “tax expenditures,” not direct government spending. These expenditures include: intangible drilling costs (research and development); foreign tax credit; domestic manufacturer’s deduction; percentage depletion; LIFO accounting (Last In First Out – relating to inventory management); geological and geophysical costs; and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and marginal well credits. Only the last two are unique to the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas industry supports 9.2 million American jobs and makes up 7.5 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. The industry pays $86 million daily in rents, royalties, bonuses, and income tax payments to the federal government. President Obama wants to increase their taxes? Insidious, especially considering that the same day the president was demonizing our oil and gas industry, the Chinese government-owned Petroleum Company surpassed ExxonMobil in production.
The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week on what is the seminal decision which will decide the path for this Republic. If the Supreme Court rules it is constitutional and in keeping with the Commerce Clause that the Federal Government can determine and mandate commerce in which the individual American citizen must participate or else face punitive charges, then our Republic and its fundamental premise of unalienable rights emanating from the Creator of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a misnomer in its title. It does not protect the patient; it exposes him or her to 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies, to include a 15-member panel of unelected bureaucrats that will make the price control decisions on Medicare. It is not affordable because the Congressional Budget Office has now clarified the actual cost is $1.76 trillion and not the $940 billion lie told to the American people.
No doubt about it, the policies of President Obama, if they are allowed to continue, will amount to a diminished stature for the United States in the world.
Steadfast and Loyal,
FCC Reform — Last Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012, by a vote of 247-174, I VOTED YES. According to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the bill would improve the way the FCC operates by increasing transparency, predictability, and consistency as part of House Republicans’ ongoing effort to ensure the commission’s work encourages job creation, investment, and innovation.
Fiscal Year 2013 Budget — On Thursday, the House approved H.Con.Res. 112, a concurrent resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, by a vote of 228-191, I VOTED YES. The House Republican budget projects spending, revenues, and deficits over a ten-year budget window. The budget would provide for $3.53 trillion in spending outlays in Fiscal Year 2013 and assume revenues of $2.734 trillion, resulting in a deficit of $797 billion. The resolution would provide $1.028 trillion in discretionary budget authority in Fiscal Year 2013, the same amount as called for in the last House-approved budget (H.Con.Res. 34). The discretionary budget authority level for Fiscal Year 2013 is $19 billion below the spending ceiling established by the BCA. Fiscal Year 2013 spending under H.Con.Res. 112 would be $187 billion lower than under the president’s budget and $55 billion below CBO’s current law baseline. Over ten years, spending under H.Con.Res. 112 would total $40.13 trillion. Over ten years, H.Con.Res. 112 would reduce spending by $5.3 trillion compared to the president’s budget and by $4.15 trillion compared to CBO’s current law baseline. Through a number of policy provisions the House Republican budget would also reform our broken tax code to make it simple, fair, and competitive, put the federal budget on path to balance, prevent deep and indiscriminate cuts to defense, and protect and strengthen Medicare for current retirees and future generations. Since the president and Democrats in the Senate have refused to take responsibility for avoiding the debt-fueled crisis our nation faces, House Republicans are advancing a plan of action that will help lift our crushing burden of debt and spur job creation and economic opportunity while strengthening health and retirement security. The budget also includes reconciliation instructions for six committees to replace the first year of the automatic sequester triggered under the Budget Control Act (BCA). For additional information and supplementary materials on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution, including a detailed report on the budget, please see the House Budget Committee website.
Highway Funding — Also on Thursday, the House approved H.R. 4281, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, by a vote of 266-158, I VOTED YES. The bill would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for 90 days, through June 30, 2012 (three-fourths of Fiscal Year 2012). Under current law, surface transportation spending authority is set to expire on March 31, 2012. The current highway program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of short-term extensions. The most recent extension (H.R. 2887) was approved in the House by voice vote in September 2011 and is set to expire on March 31, 2012. The Senate passed Highway Funding Bill is only for a two year period which will not provide the certainty necessary for our construction industry. The House is trying to do the responsible approach by providing businesses a five-year extension of this important funding bill.
Highlights of the Week:
Tuesday, March 27 – Met with the President of Florida Atlantic University, Dr. M.J. Saunders regarding the FAU federal initiatives and projects, attended a HASC Full Committee briefing regarding mechanisms of sequestration and its effect on defense operations, spoke at the Americans for Prosperity “Hands off my Healthcare” Rally, attended a HASC Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Hearing regarding understanding future irregular warfare challenges, met with Florida Beer Wholesalers Association members to discuss tax issues and state-based regulation of alcohol.
Wednesday, March 28 – Met with Admiral James Loy, USCG (Retired) and several others, with the US Global Leadership Coalition’s National Advisory Council to discuss the International Affairs budget; met with Dr. Kirk Schulz, President of Kansas State University and Dr. Sue Peterson, Director of Government Relations for Kansas State University; Attended a HASC Full Committee Hearing on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula; met with Ivy Greaner from Palm Beach, on behalf of the International Council of Shopping Centers to discuss the Marketplace Fairness Act; attended a Small Business Full Committee Hearing regarding how partnerships can promote job growth; met with Ambassador Westmacott, British Ambassador; met with Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE, and the St. Lucie County Board of Commissioners to discuss Fort Pierce Inlet dredging, water resources, and transportation issues.
Thursday, March 29 – Spoke at the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition and Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus Breakfast, received the United States Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award for my support of pro-business issues during my first session of Congress, pictures here, press release here. Met with students from Hobe Sound Christian Academy, met with the Executive Director of AMVETS, Stewart Hickey, to discuss the AMVETS Affirmative Action Initiative.
Friday, March 30th – Joined with Florida Governor Rick Scott in observance of March 31, 2012 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, which also coincides with Friday’s 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War: More here.
Saturday, March 31st – attended the 7th Annual Police Memorial Ride in Palm Beach Gardens. What a wonderful time! pictures here.
Sunday, April 1st – Church and family.