Below are two editions of Representative Graves weekly recap of the legislation that is moving through the House in WADC. Freedom beware, the Congress is in session.

First up is the October 8th edition. Every American should be furious about the use of a Defense Authorization Bill to pass the Hate Crimes Legislation. More of the majority and their reaching out to the other side… and grabbing our arm twisting it behind our back shoving it as far up as they can and saying “see isn’t bi-partisanship great?” For those that don’t get why the Hate Crimes bill is such a waste is because all crimes are hate crimes and we should not treat crimes differently. There is also some concern that this bill may limit free speech.

This Week in Washington- Thursday, October 8, 2009.

The Congressional Budget Office scored the Baucus bill at $829 Billion dollars today. On Capitol Hill that news was greeted as though we had $829 billion dollars sitting around.

We expect the full Senate will begin debating their health care reform bill the week of October 19th. If you haven’t called your Senators yet, now would be a good time.

Legislation

Conference Report on H.R. 2997 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 –This bill appropriates $23.3 billion in discretionary spending, which is 14 percent above last year. $3.2 billion for the FDA (the FDA will have received a 54% increase compared to just four years ago under this bill), $1.69 billion for the Food for Peace Program (a $462 million increase on top of the $700 million of emergency-designated spending in the FY 2009 supplemental). I opposed the bill, but it passed 263-162.

2. Conference Report on H.R. 2647 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 –These funds will go towards funding our troops, along with military construction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, in addition to the funding, the majority has attached the Hate Crimes bill to this legislation. This bill is so broad and poorly written it could ensnare a religious leader giving a sermon. All Americans should be protected and viewed equally under the law. All crimes are hateful and these crimes should be treated no differently. The bill passed 281-146 without my vote.

Small Business Committee

I wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Hill this week. You can read it here.

We will be back in session next week.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

Next up is the October 15th edition. In it President Obama proves yet again how he lies, the Baucus bill includes a tax increase for those under $250,000. The majority party proves that it does not care how much harm it causes in HR 2442. On a positive note 414 congressman voted to sanction Iran. Proof that every squirrel can find a nut once in a while.

This Week in Washington- October 15, 2009

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved its amended health “reform” bill.  The Congressional Budget Office had previously indicated that the bill would reduce the deficit by $81 billion over its first ten years, due solely to an increase in payroll tax revenues paid by middle-class Americans.  Despite protests from President Obama that mandates to purchase “government-approved” health coverage are not tax increases, non-partisan experts from the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office have confirmed that the Baucus bill would raise taxes on those with incomes under $250,000, while cutting seniors’ Medicare Advantage benefits in half.

Legislation:

Bay Area Water Bill:  On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 2442, the Bay Area Regional Water Recycling Program Expansion Act, by a vote of 241-173.  I opposed the bill. It authorizes $38 million for the Department of the Interior to participate in the planning, design, and construction of six local water use facilities in California’s San Francisco Bay area.  The legislation would also expand the authorized spending level for two other water districts in California.  The legislation provides federal funding for local water development in the Bay area, while the administration refuses to turn on the water pumps for distressed families, farmers and businesses in the San Joaquin Delta.

Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Report:  Also on Thursday, the House passed H.R. 2892, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010, by a vote of 307-114.  The bill contains a total of $42.77 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2010, an increase of $726 million. I voted against the bill because the legislation would not prohibit the transfer of GITMO detainees to the U.S.  In fact, it provides a mechanism whereby Guantanamo Detainees could be transferred 45 days after the President submits a plan and risk determination. I believe these dangerous detainees are fine right where they are at.

Iran Sanctions bill: The House passed H.R. 1327, a bill that would make it easier for State and local governments to divest from companies that do significant business in Iran’s energy sector.  I voted for the bill which passed 414-6.

Small Business Committee

We heard testimony from small business owners about the difficulty of accessing capital. Small business owners who cannot obtain capital in a difficult economy are unable to grow their businesses, reinvest in their company, or hire new workers.

Reforming SBA programs to help increase the available capital is one solution. Bu it is only one component of a broader strategy needed to revitalize the small business economy.  Cap and trade legislation and higher taxes to reform health care threaten the ability of entrepreneurs to take economic risks and grow their enterprises.

You cannot give small businesses help with one hand and then take it away with the other.

Congress is in session again next week. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

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