Congressman Marsha Blackburn – This Week in Washington – I voted NO on the omnibus.
|This Week in Washington|
|Fellow Americans –
As the end of the year approaches, we’ve been busy in Washington working to send legislation to the President’s desk. The House had two major and much discussed bills this week. Many of you contacted us regarding this legislation. Here are summaries of how I voted on each.
The first major bill we took action on was a tax-extenders package, formally known as the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015. Conservatives have achieved a number of long fought gains in this bill and we have made several annual extenders permanent. No longer will we have to wait until the end of the year to find out if we are able to make deductions that we normally make. This package will add more certainty to our tax code and allow hardworking American families to plan ahead and grow their businesses. I was able to realize a long time goal of mine in this bill. I came to Congress with the goal of restoring the ability to deduct state and local sales taxes Tennesseans pay each year from our federal income tax filing. This was an important victory towards leveling the playing field for those of us living in states without an income tax. Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) originally assisted me in getting the sales tax deductibility restored in 2005. This deduction puts over $1 billion a year into the pockets of Tennessee families. Now, we are making that deductibility permanent, which means we no longer have to fight for it every year. There are other important provisions that have been made permanent as well. They include: a $250 deduction for teachers buying school supplies for their students, the Research and Development tax credit for growing businesses, and the Section 179 deduction for qualifying asset acquisitions. Here’s a great summary of the other ways this legislation helps your family. The goal of this tax extenders package was to increase certainty in our yearly tax code, lessen the tax burden on hardworking Americans and stimulate economic growth. I am pleased with the package that Chairman Brady and I have worked so hard to achieve. This package will make certain that Americans have more money in their pockets in the years to come.
Today the House passed the second major piece of legislation and that is the omnibus spending bill. So many of you contacted me to ask about the omnibus spending bill. Here is a link for you to view the bill yourself. Also, I want to provide you a brief summary and explain why I voted NO on the omnibus. We did achieve some conservative wins in the bill. We were able to block the IRS from harassing individuals who give to political organizations. We were able to roll back the EPA spending to 2008 levels and their employee rolls to 1989 levels. We were also able to include full funding for our men and women in uniform. Those are big conservative wins and the Speaker deserves both credit and our thanks. Unfortunately, it is disappointing that we have no language which freezes the Syrian refugee program, the President’s lawless amnesty, Planned Parenthood funding, Net Neutrality or contributions to the Green Climate Fund. The omnibus also breaks the budget caps from the 2011 Budget Control Act. I am very concerned about the security of this country and the American people. Recently, DHS Secretary Johnson admitted that ISIS could “exploit” our refugee program to conduct attacks here at home, something I and my colleagues have been saying for weeks. We must do everything in our power to eliminate terrorist threats – which is why I will not give President Obama a blank check for his resettlement agenda. Due to these issues, I could not support the bill, but I do thank Speaker Ryan for the manner in which he addressed the issues and worked to include the conservative policy riders.
As I mentioned, protecting the security of our nation is my top priority. I had the opportunity to discuss this with Charles Payne this week on Fox Business. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the threats facing our nation with the attacks here at home in Chattanooga and most recently in San Bernardino. As we remain ever vigilant, it’s important to remember the brave servicemen and women who continue to protect us from these threats.The servicemen killed and one injured during the Chattanooga attack — Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. “Skip” Wells, Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, and Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley — just this week were awarded Purple Hearts. The sacrifices made by these servicemen during the terror attacks in Chattanooga will never be forgotten. It is only appropriate that we honor them for their heroic actions on that horrific day by awarding them the Purple Heart. Though their loved ones hearts ache with the loss, these heroes will always be remembered for their bravery and service to our nation. Please remember to thank all of our servicemen and women this holiday season.
Have a great weekend,