Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Committee’

Several newsletters included here from over the last month.

This Week in Washington- Thursday, February 4, 2010

The President unveiled his $3.8 trillion budget earlier this week. It runs a deficit of over $1.6 trillion. Last year’s budget deficit was $1.4 trillion. Despite the recent talk about fiscal discipline, the numbers do not lie. We will now have the two largest budget deficits in American history, back to back. We cannot sustain this uncontrolled Washington spending.

Legislation:

Debt Limit/PAYGO: The House passed H.J.Res 45 by a vote of 233-187. The bill increases the statutory debt limit by $1.9 trillion, from $12.394 trillion to $14,294,000,000,000. The 15.3 percent increase is the third increase since February 2009, and the largest one-time debt limit increase in history. The national debt subject to the statutory limit is currently at $12.36 trillion or 85 percent of Gross Domestic Product. The current share of the debt is $40,053 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. I voted against allowing Washington to continue the cycle of borrow and spend.

In addition, the legislation included a Senate amendment that would institute new, permanent statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting requirements for both the House and Senate, with a number of exceptions. In general, the PAYGO rule would require that bills providing tax relief or new direct spending must be offset by tax increases or mandatory spending reductions.

The legislation exempted certain direct spending increases and tax relief from PAYGO rules, including the “doc fix,” the AMT patch, extensions of 2001 and 2003 tax relief for individuals making less than $200,000 or $250,000 for joint filers, and an extension of the death tax at 2009 levels. The bill exempted discretionary spending and any spending designated as “emergency.” These exemptions undermine the whole point of having PAYGO legislation.

Small Business Expo: I held a Small Business Expo in Kansas City on Monday. Thank you to the over 150 small business owners, presenters and exhibiters who made this a wonderful event.

Next year, I want to invite all of the other 434 members of Congress so that they can hear from real small businesses about how Washington continues to stifle job creation with over-taxation, regulation and litigation.

The House will be is session again next week. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

This Week in Washington- Friday, February 26, 2010

Washington was consumed by the healthcare summit this week. The President, along with Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders sat down at the Blair House to talk healthcare.

There was not much agreement or a new breakthrough. What was on display though was a fundamental difference on the role of government. The President and Nancy Pelosi believe that creating more government programs, boards and commissions and spending hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars is the answer. My colleagues including Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin and Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma made a very good argument that there are better solutions.

It is very likely that the Senate will now try to use a parliamentary trick called reconciliation to move this healthcare bill. It changes the rules required to pass legislation in the Senate. However, exactly what that bill will look like or when it will happen, we still do not know.

Legislation:

Health Anti-Trust Bill, H.R. 4626: The House passed legislation to remove the health insurance industry’s current federal anti-trust exemption by a vote of 406 – 19. Health insurers that were previously exempt from anti-trust laws will now bear legal responsibility for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves and sabotaging their competitors in order to gain a monopoly in the marketplace. Such practices have been outlawed in other industries for decades. I voted for the bill.

PATRIOT Act Reauthorization: After running out of time on a long-term reauthorization bill, the House and Senate passed a one-year reauthorization of several expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act. I voted for it, because I believe it is important to give our law enforcement officials all the tools in the toolbox to protect us. It is clear that everyday, there are people out there planning to do harm to this country.

Intelligence Authorization, H.R. 2701: The House passed the Intelligence Authorization bill by a vote of 235 – 168. The bill authorizes the intelligence activities of the United States government. There was no outright prohibition on using intelligence funds to bring Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. and so I voted against the bill.

Native Hawaiian Bill, H.R. 2314: The House passed a bill to recognize and authorize the creation of a sovereign Native Hawaiian governing entity. The bill would establish a process for organizing the Native Hawaiian people into an entity that possesses authority over its members and adopts governing documents. The bill would immediately grant the native governing entity “inherent powers” preempting State regulation, taxation, and civil and possibly criminal jurisdiction for undefined “government activities” conducted by the entity.

If each Native Hawaiian eligible under this legislation were to apply to become a member of the new governing entity, it would be one of the nation’s largest Indian tribes. This bill would confer upon them exclusive benefits, discriminating against Hawaiian residents of other races. The bill passed 245-164 and I voted no.

Extensions, H.R. 4691: The House passed H.R. 4691, the Temporary Extension Act of 2010, by a voice vote. The bill extends a number of programs including federally funded unemployment benefits, COBRA insurance premium subsidies for unemployed workers, the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment adjustment, spending authority through the Highway Trust Fund, SBA loan fee waivers, and the Satellite Home Viewer Act. Under current law, these programs were set to expire on February 28, 2010.

The House will be is session again next week. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

This Week in Washington- Friday, March 5, 2010

The latest unemployment numbers were released this morning. The unemployment rate is still 9.7 percent and we lost 36,000 jobs in February. Washington needs to understand that ramming through more regulations and big government programs is not the answer. We need to set the table for economic growth by cutting taxes, regulations, and litigation.

Legislation

·“Jobs” Bill: On Thursday, the House passed an amended version of H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act by a vote of 217-201. The bill contains a suspension of payroll taxes for employers that hire new workers that had been unemployed for the previous 60 days, a $1,000 tax credit for retaining employees, increased expensing of new equipment purchased by small businesses in 2010, and expanded tax credit bonds sold by local government and private entities and subsidized by the government. In addition, the legislation includes an extension of surface transportation programs through December 31, 2010, and includes a $19.5 billion transfer from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to compensate for the projected FY 2010 shortfall. This bill demonstrates how much Washington does not understand what is needed to create jobs. Giving a business a tax credit for hiring an employee will not create a single job. It is a gimmick that politicians can point to and say they are creating jobs. I voted against the bill.

·Keeping All Students Safe Act: This week, the House passed H.R. 4247, to require the Secretary of Education to issue regulations regarding “seclusion and restraint” practices for students in both public and private schools that receive federal funding. Numerous states already have their own regulations and standards in place. As a former state legislator, I know that education is the chief responsibility of the state and I believe Congress should defer to them on this issue. The House passed H.R. 4247 by a vote of 262-153 and I voted against it.

Small Business Committee

The Small Business Committee held a mark up of the Small Business Administration’s budget for FY 2011 this week.

I also wrote an op-ed on jump starting economic growth. You can view it here.

The House will be is session again next week. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

This is a copy of the 10/23 edition of Congressman Sam Graves e-newsletter about the goings-on in WADC. In it Mr. Graves once again hits on health care, Coast Guard authorization, Solar Technology Grant program, and the Small Business Committee.

This Week in Washington- October 23, 2009

This week, the House and Senate leadership continued their backroom negotiations on the health care reform bill. No one outside that room has any idea what will be in the bill or when to expect it to come to the floor. There was a report this week that the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, did not have enough votes to pass a “public option” through the House. However, Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks he has the votes.

What we do know is that this bill will include a mix of tax increases, cuts to Medicare and new mandates from Washington. I believe that this bill will have a negative impact on your families’ medical care. Congress is going about reform the wrong way. Instead of increasing government’s role in your health care; I believe we ought to allow small businesses to band together, pass medical malpractice reform and allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. That is not the direction this bill is headed.

Legislation

Coast Guard Authorization: The House passed H.R. 1619, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2009 by a vote of 285-11.  The bill authorizes approximately $10 billion for U.S Coast Guard operations, including $8.6 billion in discretionary funding for ongoing USCG operations and $1.4 billion for mandatory retired pay.  The legislation also modifies USCG acquisition practices, places new regulations on certain commercial vessels, alters U.S. port security regulations, and protects operators of U.S.-flagged ships from liability for using force against acts of piracy. I voted for the bill because our men and women in the United States Coast Guard are responsible for our maritime security and safety.

New Solar Technology Grant Program:  On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act by a vote of 310-106.  The bill creates a new program at the Department of Energy to make grants for the research, development, and demonstration of solar technology.  The bill authorizes $2.25 billion in new spending over the next five years. I voted against the bill because it is more new spending and because I believe it duplicates existing programs like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Small Business Committee

I held a press conference with small business owners regarding health care legislation.  It also included my colleagues Steve King (IA), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Rep. Mary Fallin (OK), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Rep. Aaron Schock (IL), and Rep. Mike Coffman (CO). You can watch it here.

The House will be in session again on Monday.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

 

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