Let’s hope the so-called “Cromnibus” Bill, which passed in the House on our final day of the 113th Congress, is the last “sausage” we’ll be seeing from Washington. We had only two days to review that over 1600 page bill – hardly adequate time for our team to thoroughly study it.
Unfortunately, as we reviewed the bill, it became clear to us that many of its provisions do not reflect the values we stand for in Southwest Florida. That’s why I voted NO on the bill.
We would have preferred a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) approach – because with Republicans now controlling both the House and Senate in the 114th Congress, this would have given us increased leverage on federal spending through the “power of the purse.” We and other like-minded conservatives felt that a short-term CR would have allowed us to better control spending throughout 2015, while preserving funds for the Everglades, maintaining support for Israel, and appropriating funds in other critical areas. With a CR, we would also have had more budget leverage to deter and defund any existing or new unilateral Executive Orders from the White House.
Additionally we strongly objected to the last-minute inclusion in the Cromnibus Bill of a ten-fold increase in allowable donations to national political parties, from $32,400 to $324,000. We feel there is already far too much “money for influence” in politics.
And we objected to other areas where the Cromnibus bill adds new funds for progressive big-government priorities – such as $456 million extra for federal weather forecasting and $636 million more for the Department of Energy.
Finally, we objected to the part of the Cromnibus Bill which continues to fund arming and training untested rebel forces in Syria, without Congress debating the wisdom of our involvement in Syria, and without allowing Representatives to vote YES or NO on an Authorization to Use Military Force regarding Syria. We still have not seen an overall military strategy, no clear plan or position about Assad, and there is little hope that the results a year or two from now will find the region and our ally Israel any safer – even if ISIS is eliminated.
The bottom line is that we should have stayed in Washington last December and gotten the job done right. Instead, we once again kicked the can down the road on the tough decisions we’ve been elected to make.
Fortunately, the Homeland Security portion of the Cromnibus bill continues funding only until February of 2015. The new 114th Congress must work to defund President Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Order which grants legal status to, and ends deportation of, some four million migrants here in our country illegally. Not only was this action unconstitutional – it’s unfair to the millions waiting in line around the world going through the process legally – and unfair to those here on work visas and those already here waiting years for citizenship. It’s also unfair to approximately eight million Americans having trouble finding entry-level jobs.
In the new Congress, we must all unite behind one core idea on immigration policy. We must secure our nation’s southern border and enforce existing immigration laws – once and for all. Only after that can we deal fairly with those already here illegally.
In the 114th Congress, we must also present solutions that bring long overdue fiscal reforms to our nation. My team and I will work hard on the ideas I presented in my Economic Growth Plan – pro-business legislation to spur economic growth.
I’m committed to help lead the new Congress toward policies that can enable the private sector to grow our economy by five percent annually. A good first step would be to reform our corporate tax code. At 35 percent the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, which puts American businesses at a competitive disadvantage and encourages them to invest in countries that have lower corporate tax rates. My plan calls for eliminating corporate loopholes to simplify the corporate tax code, cutting the corporate tax rate in half (to 17.5 percent) lowering taxes on economic investment (including reducing capital gains taxes to 15 percent) and ending the unfair and punitive inflation tax imposed on investment gains. For individuals, we like reducing the top individual income tax rate to 30 percent and creating an alternative flat tax system that lets taxpayers opt-in to that approach.
Along with pro-growth initiatives, we must also address outof-control government spending. We must find creative legislative vehicles, like Connie Mack’s Penny Plan, as pathways toward deficit and debt reduction. We will support laws that can reduce the size and reach of the federal government. We need to reduce or eliminate unnecessarily burdensome regulations, return certain spending authorities to the states, and restore state and local controls over education curricula and spending. We also need to find the courage to address entitlement reform. And by Congressional action or by amendment to the US Constitution – we need to require a balanced federal budget. With the new Republican Senate, we have a shot of getting these done in the next Congress.
Finally we must lift the burden of ObamaCare from our economy. With healthcare costs rising nationwide, the so-called Affordable Care Act has been anything but affordable for most folks. True, there were improvements needed in healthcare before this legislation. But ObamaCare, passed without a single Republican vote, was the wrong approach. We should have focused on those in need without destroying options and raising costs for all Americans. We, in partnership with the states, must find sound alternatives to address the problems we faced before the enactment of the ACA. The hour is now upon us to start the debate anew in Washington.
In these and all matters, we take our duty to serve you very seriously. We will always vote in the manner that we feel best serves you and our nation. We ask for your prayers and welcome your feedback at any time. Please contact any of my offices in Naples, Cape Coral or Washington, DC– and stay informed with the latest news, legislation, and other useful info by visiting my website at http://clawson.house.gov/.