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Bill Flores : Congressional Update – CD17

Congressman Bill Flores - Representing the 17th District of Texas

Howdy Texans!

Last week, the House passed legislation to protect America’s security and American jobs. Also, I was able to honor a fallen hero and to personally congratulate the Baylor Lady Bears on their Basketball National Championship. I am also working hard with other House conservatives to address the massive economic uncertainty that is coming out of Washington.

Economic Concerns
Our economy continues to face significant potential headwinds, most of which are caused by uncertainty coming from Washington. The three biggest of these include Obamacare, the pending Defense Sequester, and the tax increases proposed by President Obama to take effect in January 2013. According to various non-partisan studies, the total projected loss of American jobs from these items is 3.6 million jobs, calculated as follows:

Obamacare – 800,000 jobs (source: Congressional Budget Office)
Defense Sequester – 2,100,000 jobs (source: George Mason University Study)
Tax rate increases(1) – 710,000 jobs (source: Ernst & Young study) (discussed below)
Total – 3,610,000 jobs

(1) Based upon President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on higher income job creators.

The new House Majority has and will continue to remain focused on common-sense, “Main Street” solutions to fix these issues. Please see my website to track these efforts Flores.house.gov.

Honoring a Hero
On Tuesday, I delivered a speech on the floor of the House to honor Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale. I invite you to click on the image below to view my speech honoring a local hero who will forever be remembered as an outstanding soldier, husband and father. I also discussed the “Maroon Wall” of students and local citizens that helped insure the reverence of the ceremony for Lt. Col. Tisdale.

Sequestration Transparency Act
On Wednesday, the House passed the Sequestration Transparency Act. This bill would require the president to submit to Congress a detailed plan of the across-the-board defense and discretionary spending cuts and how the required cuts are to be implemented. In January 2013, America will be subject to approximately $50 billion in cuts to defense funding. Defense manufacturers and suppliers are beginning to make plans to compensate for the looming cuts. These adjustments will result in layoffs and closures. Some economists have estimated that between 1.5 million to 2.1 million Americans will likely lose their jobs as a result of the Defense Sequester. Given these looming cuts, we need to know what impact they will have on specific programs and activities that keep our country safe.

Earlier this year, the House passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would responsibly replace the Sequester cuts to defense with common sense reforms that result in net a deficit reduction of $242.8 billion. These reforms would stop the abuse of public-assistance programs, restrain the growth of our federal bureaucracy, and eliminate wasteful and duplicative spending. The Senate and the president have yet to act on the House-passed Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act. If the president really intends to continue proceeding down the Sequester path, we believe that the Administration should provide a clear picture of what these cuts will mean for our military and our economy.

Department of Defense Appropriations
On Thursday, the House passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2013. This appropriations bill provides funding for critical national security programs, military operations, and the health and safety of our troops. The bill will provide our military personal with a 1.7% pay raise and $35.8 billion for military health and family programs, including funding for traumatic brain injury research and suicide prevention outreach programs. This bill provides total FY 2013 spending of $606.3 billion for the Defense Department and for the War on Terror, down from $633.2 billion for these purposes in 2012.

I was successful in adding an amendment to the bill, which prevents funds from being used to enforce Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Section 526 prevents federal agencies from securing fuel from non-conventional sources such as coal-to-liquids, oil shale, and oil sands. This amendment ensures that the military and federal agencies have access to more stable, domestic and cheaper fuel resources. This same amendment was successfully added to five additional appropriations bills that have been passed by the House this year.

Impact of the President’s Proposed Tax Increases on Job Creators
This week, the Ernst & Young accounting firm released a study showing the impact of not extending the current tax rates. The study found that President Obama’s plan to increase taxes would threaten over 700,000 jobs across the U.S. and 58,000 in the State of Texas. This report showed that raising taxes on job creators will have a negative impact on our economy. Given our current economic climate, it is the wrong time to raise taxes on millions of business owners. It is time for the president to stop these tax hikes and focus on comprehensive tax reform. To read the study CLICK HERE.

Honoring the Baylor Lady Bears
On Wednesday, we helped lead Congressional ceremonies to honor the Baylor Women’s Basketball Team. As National Champions for the 2011-2012 season, the team was in Washington to visit the White House and meet with President Obama. My office was able to give the team a tour of the Capitol and, along with Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, we hosted a Congressional reception to recognize their great success.

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