Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Risky Report

Gary L. Bauer
Campaign for Working Families

Senate Democrats today released a highly controversial report on the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The Associated Press reports that U.S. embassies and military installations worldwide are bolstering security, bracing for possible jihadist attacks using the report's conclusions as an excuse.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest conceded yesterday that "release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world." So why do it now? (Perhaps to distract everyone from Dr. Jonathan Gruber's testimony.)

We have had this debate already. President Obama banned the use of such interrogation methods hours after his 2009 inauguration. Meanwhile, as we engage in this exercise of self-flagellation over our alleged excesses, we are still fighting jihadists who cut the throats of babies.

Congressional Republicans and former CIA officials are blasting the administration and Senate Democrats for failing to "interview a single CIA official," downplaying the usefulness of intelligence that was gathered, ignoring pleas from our allies for discretion and putting more lives at risk.

Reform the Tax Code to Stimulate Growth, Create Jobs, and Raise Wages

Congressman Robert Hurt

Weekly Column 12.08.14


As I travel across Virginia's Fifth District, I often hear from my constituents about how unnecessary bureaucratic red tape is hindering job growth and making life more difficult for working Virginians.  Our nation’s outdated and complicated tax code is a perfect example of the federal government standing in the way of strengthening our economy for our nation’s families and small businesses.


A report released last week found that the economy of China has now surpassed the economy of the United States and now stands as the world's largest economy.  This is the first time since President Ulysses Grant was in office that the United States has not led the world in the size of its economy.  Our anti-competitive tax policy is one major factor holding us back from more growth and output.


The complex and unfair U.S. tax code creates tremendous economic uncertainty for our farmers, our small businesses, and our working families.  Laden with special interest loopholes and characterized by high rates, our broken tax code limits investment, hinders economic growth, and grows the federal government.


The current tax code is especially harmful to small businesses - the backbone of our economy.  These businesses are essential to providing the jobs and growth the Fifth District needs.  In recent years, small businesses have generated almost two-thirds of new jobs. Small businesses now account for nearly half of all private sector employment, but Washington’s complex and outdated tax code continues to stifle small businesses’ ability to grow and create much-needed jobs. We must do better.


Since I have been elected, the House of Representatives has voted in favor of reforming elements of our tax code several times, but Washington has yet to embrace a comprehensive overhaul.  Last week, the House voted to temporarily extend for one year a number of expiring tax relief provisions that encourage small businesses to grow.  By voting for temporary tax extensions, instead of permanent tax reform, we are only delaying solutions that the American people deserve.


Last week, President Obama said he believed overhauling the tax code in the next Congress was possible.  It is my hope that he is sincere about working with Congress and that we will be able to work together to overhaul our broken tax code and implement a simpler, fairer, and flatter tax code that will ensure that individuals and businesses have the certainty they need and that all Americans are keeping more of their hard-earned tax dollars.  I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to encourage success for our farmers, our small businesses, and working Virginia families so that they can realize the American dream for themselves and future generations.


If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.