As a Member of Congress I frequently hear from constituents who are frustrated that Congress has not made progress on some of our most pressing national challenges. I share that frustration, and believe it is time to challenge the excuses offered by the media, academia and other elected officials for our failure to address many of the problems our country faces. All too often when we look behind a problem we discover that it is Congress or some other branch of the federal government that has actually caused the problem.
From energy supply and price, to failures in immigration enforcement, to taxes and spending everyone seems to have an excuse, but no one seems willing to make the hard choices necessary to address the problems.
That is why I have begun to develop what I call "The No Excuses Agenda." The No Excuses Agenda is a series of bills to address some of our most pressing national challenges without hiding behind the excuses of the Washington conventional wisdom that some problems, such as increasing our energy supplies or simplifying the tax code, are too big or too complicated to solve.
Please check out the bills and other information below and let me know what you think.
Energy Supply and Price
It is fashionable these days to see who can come up with the plan that reduces energy consumption the most. I think most Americans want a different kind of competition - one that tries to see how we can increase domestic energy production the fastest. Everyone understands supply and demand. That is why I introduced H.R. 1023 the, "No More Excuses Act of 2011," to encourage domestic production of energy as the first bill in The No Excuses Agenda.
In an opinion piece in the March 23, 2008 edition of The Washington Times Heritage Foundation energy analyst Ben Lieberman made a similar point: "The bad news is that gasoline prices are at record levels. The worse news is that the pain at the pump will likely increase in the months ahead, thanks in part to our own government." Click here to read Ben Lieberman's analysis of why failed federal government policies are a big part of our current energy problem.
Tax Relief and Reform
In 2005 individuals, businesses and nonprofits spent an estimated 6 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, with an estimated compliance cost of over $265.1 billion. This amounts to imposing a 22-cent tax compliance surcharge for every dollar the income tax system collects. Projections show that by 2015 the compliance cost will grow to $482.7 billion. In Texas the IRS compliance cost is estimated to be $797 per capita*
H.R. 510, the Tax Code Termination Act - Sunsets the entire federal tax code; forcing Congress to debate and act upon a new tax code that is fairer and more equitable;
H.R. 411, Permanently extends successful 2001 and 2003 tax relief measures like the teacher tax credit, child tax credit, state sales tax credit, and marriage penalty relief;
H.R.25, The FAIR Tax promotes freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States;
H.R. 1586, a bill to permanently repeal the death tax;
H.R.1366, Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the alternative minimum tax on individuals;
H.R.2158, Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 1993 income tax increase on Social Security benefits;
H.R.3818, Amends amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the alternative minimum tax on individuals and replace it with an alternative tax individuals may choose;
H.R.5109, Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for permanent tax incentives for economic growth.
*Source: Tax Foundation, "The Rising Cost of Complying with the Federal Income Tax," December 2005, http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sr138.pdf