Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rep. Robert Hurt Statement at Financial Services Hearing on Dodd-Frank’s Impact on Asset-Backed Securities

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) gave the following statement at a Financial Services hearing entitled, "The Dodd-Frank Act's Impact on Asset-Backed Securities" held today by the Capital Markets Subcommittee, on which Hurt serves as Vice-Chair. You may view the video of his opening statement by clicking the image below or clicking here.  

 

 

"In the wake of Dodd Frank, we have continued to see costly, unintended consequences arise from regulations that were poorly devised and implemented.  These regulatory impacts represent real costs to consumers – both families and small businesses– on Main Streets in every congressional district. 

 

"With the recently finalized Volcker Rule, we began to see these consequences almost immediately after it was released as community banks were faced with taking large write downs.  While the joint regulators eventually corrected this error, there are still several other Volcker-related issues yet to be resolved, most notably with respect to CLOs and asset-backed securities. 

 

"In Virginia's Fifth District, our district, many companies rely on the CLO market to finance their operations, including a financial information firm headquartered in Charlottesville with over 2,600 employees and an auto parts manufacturer in Southside.  These companies, however, like so many others across the country, face increased costs as the CLO market reacts to the Volcker Rule's treatment of CLOs as 'covered funds.'

 

"I think most would be hard-pressed to characterize financing the operations of these Virginia companies as 'hedge fund-style high-risk trading.'  Yet, according to one of the Volcker Rule's Senate sponsors, the purpose of the provision was to put a firewall between banks and exactly these activities.  While that may have been the original intention, we now see how a flawed rule written in a flawed process can extend well beyond its original confines and impact our communities.  

 

"I appreciate the bipartisan group of members to correct this misapplication of the Volcker Rule and look forward to its resolution.  

 

"I look forward to your testimony.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I yield back the balance of my time." 

 

"Son Of God"


Gary L. Bauer
Campaign for Working Families


Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the couple who brought hit mini-series "The Bible" to the History Channel last year, are back. This time, they are bringing the life of Jesus to the big screen. Their film "Son Of God" will open in 3,000 theaters across the country this Friday.

Downey, who plays Mary, mother of Jesus, in the film, said, "This really is a love story -- the greatest love story ever told." Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles have endorsed the movie.

Rev. Rick Warren has produced a Bible study based on the movie, which Saddleback Church will be using during the weeks leading up to Easter. Due to scenes depicting the crucifixion, the movie received a PG-13 rating and may not be suitable for young children.

In fact, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman also supports the film. Burnett and Downey reached out to Foxman during filming in order to avoid the inclusion of theological errors that blame Jews, rather than the sin of mankind, for the crucifixion.

"…'Son of God' is the most sensitive, caring depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen," Foxman said. "The producers have done everything possible to put the events into historical, political and psychological context."

Film industry projections initially expected "Son of God" to bring in about $13 million during its opening weekend. Those projections are now suggesting it could net more than $20 million. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the Hollywood critics have to say. More importantly, will attendance figures tell us anything about our culture today?

Rep. Robert Hurt Votes to Protect Organizations from Being Targeted by the IRS for Political Beliefs


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, which would prohibit the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from finalizing regulations that seek to curb the speech of groups in a politically-motivated fashion. 

 

"I am pleased the House passed this important measure today as a part of Stop Government Abuse Week," said Hurt.  "The regulations proposed by the IRS appear to single out organizations critical of the Administration in a way similar to the targeting activities in which the IRS engaged in May 2013.  The attempts by the IRS to intentionally silence law-abiding groups for political reasons is appalling, and it is a blatant abuse of power. 

 

"The IRS has proven its incapability of carrying out its most straightforward duties in recent months by admitting that it targeted political opponents and limited free speech.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that this most basic right of the American people, no matter their political beliefs, is protected."


 

The IRS has proposed a new rule that will restrict the First Amendment rights of 501(c)(4) organizations.  Under current regulations, organizations are eligible for tax exemptions under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code if they are primarily engaged in promoting social welfare.  Non-partisan voter registration efforts and candidate forums close to an election are not considered political intervention; however, they would be redefined as such under the proposed rules in an effort to strip these groups of their tax-exempt status and stifle their free speech largely because they are critical of the Obama Administration, as investigations by the House Ways and Means Committee have uncovered. 

 

Texas Ruling Striking Marriage Amendment is Attack on Rule of Law


February 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Federal Judge Orlando Garcia, a President Clinton appointee, struck down the Texas constitutional marriage amendment which had been approved by 76 percent of the state's voters.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"The state of Texas is the latest victim of a judicial free-for-all in making a lawless mockery of the ideals that our Founding Fathers stood for.

"A court-imposed redefinition of marriage strips away the fundamental right to self-governance. This is not just an attack on marriage, but an attack on the rule of law. It is not the role of judges to redefine our most fundamental societal institution which has such far-reaching implications for society at every level.

"While these activist judges appear to be rolling out a rainbow colored aisle runner leading the way for a nation-wide redefinition of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide on the redefinition of marriage. Hopefully, the Court will refrain from repeating the disaster of Roe v. Wade by imposing a radical minority view on the nation. Instead, we would expect the Supreme Court to restore order by returning to the people and their elected representatives the right to decide the future of marriage," concluded Perkins.


Obenshain's Property Rights Bill Passes Both Chambers


February 26, 2014

RICHMOND—Today, the House passed Senator Obenshain's SB 578, legislation establishing a more even playing field for property owners challenging unconstitutional land use determinations. The bill, which previously passed the Senate unanimously, entitles landowners to the award of compensatory damages, and permits the award of reasonable attorney fees, upon successfully challenging a local land use decision as being based on an "unconstitutional condition" pursuant to the state or federal constitution.

"When property owners run up against City Hall, it doesn't always seem like a fair fight," said Obenshain. "No matter what the merits of a property rights challenge, any property owner at odds with local government feels like David taking on Goliath."

 

"Two years ago, Virginians overwhelmingly affirmed their commitment to private property rights with the ratification of the Virginia Property Rights Amendment. But sometimes, property rights cases don't involve outright takings, but instead deal with overreaching—in the form of demands for payments or unreasonable conditions—by local governments in response to efforts by a property owner to use his or her land," Obenshain added.

 

Senator Obenshain's bill, SB 578, seeks to level the playing field and discourage localities from abusing their authority by imposing unconstitutional restrictions —for instance, by conditioning the issuance of a permit on the property owner making concessions entirely unrelated to the impacts or burdens imposed by the underlying application.

In Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when government engages in land-use regulation, including by denying a permit or demanding payment as a condition for a permit, the government must show that there is a nexus and rough proportionality between its demand on the landowner and the effects on the proposed land use. The Court also found that petitioners have a right, when afforded by state law, to recover money damages in the event of an unconstitutional taking as defined in the Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard cases, establishing what has come to be known as the Nollan / Dolan Test.

Senate Bill 578 simply establishes that when a petitioner in a land use case proves in court that a decision to grant or deny a permit turned on an "unconstitutional condition," then the land owner is entitled to compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees, as permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This bill represents a significant additional step in protecting homeowners from either actual takings or arbitrary decisions that deny them the right to use their property," said Obenshain.

"I was pleased to see this bill pass on a bipartisan basis," Obenshain added. "It shouldn't matter whether you're a Republican, Democrat, or independent: we should all be able to agree that if you can prove in court that the government abridged your rights, you shouldn't have to be the one footing the bill."

The bill passed the Senate 40-0 last month, and passed the House 98-1 earlier today. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.


Mark Obenshain represents the 26th District in the Senate of Virginia. He was the Republican Party's nominee for Attorney General in 2013.

FRC Expresses Disappointment in Veto of Arizona Religious Freedom Bill


February 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have strengthened Arizona's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Family Research Council (FRC) has long supported state RFRAs, which have been enacted in 18 states since 1997 based on the federal law introduced by now U.S. Senator (then U.S. Representative) Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), passed 97-3 in the Senate, unanimously by voice vote in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"This measure should have been a political no-brainer and only went down because people either chose to ignore the plain language of the bill or refused to read it altogether. Apparently, they're graduates of the Pelosi School of Policy, where they dispose of bills before they find out what's in them.

"This bill like the federal RFRA, bars government discrimination against religious exercise, so by vetoing this bill Gov. Brewer is saying she supports government discrimination against people's religious freedoms.

"Under the amended Religious Freedom Restoration Act, what was legislative intent (but ignored by certain courts) would have been clear: individuals do not have to trade their religious freedom for entrance into public commerce. In other words, whether it's a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex 'marriage,' or a business like Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood, whose faith bars them from providing drugs that have the potential to end a pregnancy, the provisions of RFRA would apply.

"Unfortunately, at a moment of testing, Governor Jan Brewer yielded to the cultural bullies and their frenzy-driven opposition instead of consulting the facts," concluded Perkins.

Email of the Day

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStrong/photos/a.253208337729.135663.227764782729/10152022209417730/?type=1

Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Henry County

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Henry County on Friday, February 28 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map.

 

Friday, February 28, 2014

 

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Blue Ridge Regional Library

Ridgeway Branch Meeting Room

900 Vista View Lane

Ridgeway, VA

 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Email of the Day

 


 

 

 

 



 

 

 

And this Administration's Imagination is unlimited.

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Fluvanna and Appomattox Counties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Fluvanna and Appomattox Counties on Friday, February 21 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map.

 

Friday, February 21, 2014

 

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Fluvanna Public Library-Conference Room

214 Commons Blvd.

Palmyra, VA

 

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Appomattox Administration Building- Board Conference Room

153-A Morton Lane

Appomattox, VA 

 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

FRC Praises Senate Introduction of State Marriage Defense Act


February 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) today praised U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) for introducing the Senate companion of the "State Marriage Defense Act of 2014" and urged members of the U.S. Senate to support it.

The State Marriage Defense Act is a response to the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor. Windsor struck down the federal definition of marriage in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act because the Court ruled that DOMA conflicted with the tradition of the federal government deferring to the authority of individual states to define and regulate marriage.

The State Marriage Defense Act is necessary because current Obama administration policy goes beyond the legal boundaries of Windsor with some federal agencies adopting rules recognizing the same sex relationships of couples, even if they reside in a state that does not recognize their relationship thereby doing what the court reserved for the states defining and regulating marriage. The State Marriage Defense Act was originally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January by Congressman Randy Weber (R-Texas) and currently has 57 co-sponsors.

FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"After a series of federal agency actions undermining state laws on marriage, we are pleased that Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are stepping in to make sure the federal government respects state marriage laws. We appreciate their leadership in introducing a bill that would resolve much of the legal chaos that has been unleashed by the Obama administration since the Supreme Court's marriage ruling last summer.

"The Department of Justice (DOJ) is the latest agency to announce a policy of recognizing same sex couples as 'married' - even if they live in a state that does not.

"These announcements not only contradict other agency guidance, but also undermine state laws on marriage, a result directly condemned by the Windsor Court's ruling. The president is using the power of his federal agencies as a backdoor to expand marriage redefinition to every state in America. This lawlessness must stop.

"The State Marriage Defense Act simply tells the federal government to respect state determinations of the marital status of their residents when applying federal law.

"We urge senators who respect the rule of law, including state laws on marriage, to co-sponsor this bill," concluded Perkins.


Global Warming, Anyone?


Gary L. Bauer
VISIT AMERICAN VALUES

Several southern states are getting pummeled by a "catastrophic" winter storm. It is also paralyzing airports along the east coast and much of the nation's capital with some predictions calling for close to a foot of snow overnight. I'm sure folks in Atlanta would welcome a little global warming right now.

Further north, experts are predicting that Lake Superior might completely freeze over. Ice already covers more than 80% of the all the Great Lakes. Yet left-wing politicians continue to clamor on about how we need to empower big government to impose more regulations and new taxes in order to combat global warning.

Here's something to keep in mind every time you hear talk about global warming: According to Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist, 95% of the computer models upon which the left is basing its global warming claims and public policy are wrong.

What kind of policies are we talking about? Well, the EPA is proposing new regulations that could increase electricity prices 70% to 80%. I wonder how many people using electricity to heat their homes this winter would like to see their bills increase 80%.


Rep. Robert Hurt Questions Federal Reserve Chair Yellen at Hearing on Monetary Policy

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after the Committee on Financial Services held a hearing this morning entitled, "Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy."  Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, who was sworn in on February 3, 2014, testified at today's hearing for the first time in her new capacity.

 

"I appreciate Chair Yellen coming to testify before Congress on the Federal Reserve's conduct of monetary policy and the state of our economy.  However, my concerns with much of the Federal Reserve's approach to their policies remain. 

 

"The bottom line is that the Federal Reserve's monetary and regulatory policies are harming those Americans living on fixed incomes and are disproportionately impacting Main Street banks and community financial institutions.  These policies harm those saving for retirement and restrict access to credit and impose higher costs on those attempting to grow their businesses or increase production on their farms. 

 

"Furthermore, like President Obama's $1 trillion failed stimulus package, the Federal Reserve's $4 trillion monetary stimulus has failed to grow our economy.  Hardworking taxpayers are instead experiencing the slowest economic recovery in since World War II.  10.4 million Americans are unemployed and a record number of families are living in poverty.  Instead of indiscriminate monetary policy, we need to focus on enacting pro-growth policies that promote economic opportunities for all Americans. 

 

"I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to encourage policies that will get our fiscal house in order and spur economic growth."

 

Below is a link to video of Congressman Hurt's questions to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen:

 

 

To watch the video click HERE

 

Family Research Council Issues Fourth Annual 'Index of Family Belonging and Rejection'


February 12, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council's (FRC) Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) has released its fourth annual "Index of Family Belonging and Rejection." The Index is the most robust measure of the health of the U.S. family available.

Additionally, this year's index breaks down family intactness based on race.

Findings include:

  • Only 46 percent of American 15- to 17-year-olds were raised with both their biological parents married to one another (belonging to each other) since before or around the time of their birth.
  • The parents of 54 percent of American 15- to 17-year-olds have rejected one another.
  • Regionally, the Northeast (50 percent) has the highest Family Belonging Index and the South (42 percent) has the lowest.
  • Utah (57 percent), Minnesota (56 percent), and Nebraska (55 percent) have the highest Family Belonging Indices of all the states.
  • The District of Columbia (17 percent), Mississippi (32 percent), and Louisiana (36 percent) have the lowest Family Belonging Indices of all the states.
  • Family belonging is strongest among Asians (65 percent) and weakest among Blacks (17 percent).

MARRI Director Dr. Pat Fagan made the following comments:

"The good news is that marriage held its own in the last year. The bad news is that more than half the children of the nation have parents who turned out to be false Valentines: they did not love each other through thick and thin. But the good news is there are many real Valentines out there. And interestingly the most Valentine-like group is Asian Americans. If you want commitment you will find more of it there than anywhere else.

"Belonging to each other is very important because family structure has profound effects on an area's economic wellbeing as well as in all major areas of concern: health, happiness, peace and law-abidingness. Our recent study that used the Index to measure its relevance to the well-being of the nation clearly demonstrated that marriage is the key to success in all public policy goals.

"There is no more important factor in determining outcomes in a host of government focused policies such as TANF, food stamps, SSI and housing, and even college education. Family intactness is as important in determining an area's employment rate among men as is the fraction of its adults that have completed high school. Marriage is society's foundational relationship. The biggest challenge we face is how to make miracles: How do we raise children who will marry even though they grew up within broken families. This is our central challenge: how to belong to another even if our parents didn't. There is a lot of work for Valentine to do in the U.S. today," Fagan concluded.

To read the "Index of Family Belonging and Rejection," click here: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF14B32.pdf


Kentucky Marriage Ruling Shows Disregard for Rule of Law


February 12, 2014

WASHINGTON,D.C.- A federal judge today ordered the state to disregard its constitution and recognize out of state same-sex "marriages." In 2004, 75 percent of Kentucky voters adopted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement regarding the decision:

"This ruling is another example of the deep betrayal of a judicial system infected with activist judges who are legislating from the bench. If these judges want to change duly enacted laws passed by the people and their representatives, they should resign their life-time appointments to the bench and run for the state legislature or Congress. Judge Heyburn is elevating his own ideology over that of three-quarters of Kentucky voters who voted to preserve marriage in their constitution as it has always been defined

"This ruling comes at a time when the consequences of marriage redefinition are mounting. Increasingly, Americans are being forced to finance and celebrate unions that not only step on free speech and religious liberty but also deny children a mom and a dad. Rather than live-and-let-live, this court by redefining marriage will create a level of inequality that has never been seen in our country as people are forced to suppress or violate the basic teachings of their faith," concluded Perkins.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arthur Ordel and Robert Sales of Virginia Awarded French Legion of Honor


Tuesday, February 11, 2014
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, Arthur Ordel of Albemarle County, Virginia and Robert L. Sales of Amherst County, Virginia each received a medal from French President Francois Hollande as a token of gratitude for helping liberate France from Nazi German occupation.  Sales and Ordel are among six World War II veterans chosen to be awarded the French Legion of Honor by French President Francois Hollande at a historic Arlington ceremony.

 

Robert Sales fought through the first wave of the D-Day offensive with the Virginia National Guard, leaving him partially blind.  Arthur Ordel fought with the U.S. Army Air Corps and sixteen of his bombing missions were in France.  For his 35 total missions, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.

 

Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) attended this afternoon's ceremony, and said, "It was an honor to be able to witness this historic event today.  I extend my congratulations to Mr. Ordel and Mr. Sales upon receiving this recognition for their bravery and service to our nation and the world.  We are forever grateful for the sacrifices these veterans have made for our country."

 



Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Mecklenburg County


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Mecklenburg County on Friday, February 14 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map.

 

Friday, February 14, 2014

 

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Mecklenburg Administration Building

Conference Room

350 Washington Street

Boydton, VA

 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rep. Robert Hurt Statement on Latest Delay of the President's Healthcare Law


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after the Obama administration announced a delay of the employer mandate of the President's healthcare law for a second year:

 

"This afternoon's announcement that small and mid-sized businesses will be exempt from the employer mandate until 2016 is further proof that the president's healthcare law is not ready for primetime.  It is yet another unsettling example of the president putting politics ahead of the well-being of the American people.  And at the same time, the president has continued to disregard our Constitution by unilaterally enacting changes in law without the express authority of the U.S. Congress – where the power to make the law resides.

 

"While this delay provides relief for small and mid-sized businesses, unfortunately, individuals and families that do not receive healthcare through their employer remain on the hook for the law's mandates.  Hardworking Americans should be given the same reprieve from the president's healthcare law that businesses will receive.

 

"This news comes shortly after the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the president's healthcare law will result in the equivalent of 2.5 million Americans leaving the full-time workforce.  How many more devastating effects of this law must be uncovered before this White House realizes how harmful it is to the American people?

 

"Ultimately, a full repeal of the damaging healthcare law is in the best interest of the nation; however, until we are able to achieve this long-term goal, I remain committed to minimizing the harmful impacts of this misguided law on Fifth District Virginians and all Americans."

 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Robert's Round-Up: Expanding American Opportunity in 2014



Congressman Robert Hurt

Last week, America watched as President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. I entered the House chamber Tuesday night with a strong sense of hope that our President would provide a blueprint for getting our fiscal house in order and growing our economy; instead, it was much of the same empty rhetoric we have heard in the past. While I welcome the President's emphasis on economic growth, job creation, and greater opportunity for all Americans, I respectfully disagree with much of his approach for achieving these important goals.

This Administration has pursued the same "government-knows-best" type of policies for five years, and the results speak for themselves. Far too many Fifth District Virginians and Americans are unemployed, millions more are only working part-time when they wish to work full-time, and the percentage of able-bodied Americans that have given up looking for work is at its highest level in more than 30 years. We as a nation are facing a debt of over $17 trillion with trillions of dollars more in unfunded liabilities. The health insurance plans of over five million Americans have been canceled due to the President's health care law.

Now the President is calling for a "year of action" where he will circumvent Congress and act unilaterally to implement more of these types of policies and regulations. I agree that action is needed; that is why we in the House of Representatives continue to pass legislation that focuses on job creation, economic growth, and reforming government programs to eliminate wasteful spending. Over the past year, my colleagues in the House and I have put forth dozens of bills aimed at jumpstarting our economy and putting people back to work. The President could have begun this "year of action" by supporting any of the dozens of House job-creation bills awaiting action in the Senate.

The President missed an opportunity to find common ground where the House, Senate, and Executive can work together to pursue these goals. It is my hope that the President will work with the Congress to generate greater opportunities for all Americans to succeed.

If you need any additional information, 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.