Senator Murray Announces Housing Funding for Foster Youth, Low-Income Seniors

Source: United States Senator for Washington State Patty Murray

Senator Murray: “Every person, regardless of age, deserves a safe place to call home—it’s great to see this life-changing funding go to critical housing programs that will help foster youth and seniors in Washington state keep a roof over their heads”  

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced more than $6 million in multiple competitive grant awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for public housing authorities (PHAs) and organizations in Seattle, Tacoma, and King County.

“Every person, regardless of age, deserves a safe place to call home—it’s great to see this life-changing funding go to critical housing programs that will help foster youth and seniors in Washington state keep a roof over their heads,” said Senator Murray. “While this is an important step in the right direction, there are still so many others in our state who continue to face housing insecurity and homelessness. I’m going to keep fighting for historic investments in affordable housing to keep people safe, secure, and housed as part of our Build Back Better budget.”

The Housing Authorities of Seattle, Tacoma, and King County will receive funds through Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) for the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative. FYI makes HCV assistance available to public housing authorities in partnership with public child welfare agencies (PCWAs). Under FYI, these PHAs will receive funding to help house homeless youth. Tacoma Housing Authority will receive $859,464, Seattle Housing Authority will receive $1,191,375, and King County Housing Authority will receive $1,189,624.

“The Seattle Housing Authority appreciates the leadership of Senator Murray in securing nearly $1.2 million to increase SHA’s ability to house young people exiting the foster care system,” said Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Rod Brandon. “We’re excited that with this support we can provide stable housing for hundreds more young people working to recover from significant trauma in their lives, and can connect them to opportunities to pursue further education, employment and services. We are very fortunate to have an effective champion in Senator Murray, who understands that housing is core to achieving success in life.”

“We’d like to thank Senator Murray and her team for advocating for these much-needed resources for Tacoma youth exiting foster care. We are excited to work with our partners at Comprehensive Life Resources and the Washington State Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) to quickly use these 75 new vouchers in our community,” said Julie LaRocque, Tacoma Housing Authority’s Interim Deputy Executive Director.

The Supportive Housing for the Elderly program provides funding awards to private, nonprofit housing sponsors to finance the development of housing for very low-income elderly residents. The Korean Women’s Association in Tacoma is receiving a $3,260,294 award to support the production of 20 units of affordable housing for very low-income elderly households in Tacoma. Senator Murray wrote a letter of support in favor of the award to the Korean Women’s Association.

“We are grateful to the office of Senator Murray for their support and collaboration in receiving Section 202 Supportive Housing funds, which will be critical in bringing 20 units of affordable housing to downtown Tacoma. Their letter of support in our newest housing project application demonstrated their belief in our projects ability to bring much-needed affordable housing to low-income elderly residents in the area,” said Yoni Yi, Korean Women’s Association Board Chair.

“The receipt of this award was made in large part because of the Senators belief in our project and ability to provide very low-income elderly households with affordable housing. Senator Murray fought on our behalf for this highly competitive funding request and we are grateful for her hard work and trust in our mission,” said Chongsun Abbott, Korean Women’s Association Board Treasurer.

After a year of Senator Murray advocating for increased housing assistance to combat the effects of the pandemic on renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness, the American Rescue Plan passed in March of 2021 and included more than $400 million in rental assistance, $170 million in homeowner assistance, and nearly $100 million for housing and services to support people experiencing homelessness in Washington state specifically. Senator Murray is now advocating for a major investment in affordable housing as part of Democrats’ Build Back Better budget, in order to address the housing crisis that existed in Washington state before the pandemic, and which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.

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Cotton Statement on Democrats’ Plan to Block Iron Dome Funding

Source: United States Senator for Arkansas Tom Cotton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: James Arnold or Mary Collins Atkinson (202) 224-2353

September 21, 2021 

Cotton Statement on Democrats’ Plan to Block Iron Dome Funding

Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after Democrats announced a plan to remove funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a government funding package:

“On the same day that President Biden pledged to stand with our allies at the United Nations, members of his own party want to deny Israel the equipment to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles. Despite their best efforts, the United States will support Israel’s right to defend itself and fund the Iron Dome.”

 

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Crapo: Job-Killing Tax Hikes will Hurt Middle Class, Help China

Source: United States Senator for Idaho Mike Crapo

September 21, 2021

Washington, D.C.–U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate Floor today on the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spending bill.  In his speech, Crapo says the efforts to reimagine America by imposing crippling tax hikes will stunt our economic recovery, further impede labor markets, and punish low- and middle-income workers with higher prices for everyday goods and services.

To watch Senator Crapo’s speech, click the image above or here.

To read his remarks, click here.

On business tax hikes:

A higher corporate tax rate would result in lower wages and reduced benefits; hit the nest eggs of everyone saving for retirement; and force consumers to pay more for everyday necessities.

Hiking the rate indisputably hits the middle class.  Estimates suggest workers shoulder up to 70 percent of the corporate tax burden. 

And a recent analysis performed by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation says the burden on over 98 percent of Americans who make less than $500,000 a year increases over time.  Let me make that clear: 98 percent of the increase that is felt by labor, falls on those making less than $500,000 per year, and the vast majority of that on those making less than $400,000 per year. 

On plans to impose hundreds of billions of tax hikes on businesses operating across the globe: 

These pro-China tax hikes would raise the relative cost of doing business in America and punish American businesses selling products or services overseas, reigniting inversions and foreign acquisitions.

On individual tax hikes:

Democrats also want to increase the top individual tax rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, a rate that kicks in at $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples.  This includes a supercharged marriage penalty, as unmarried couples can earn almost a million dollars a year without being subject to increased taxes.

Democrats have also proposed increasing the number of Americans subject to the original death tax–including farmers and small business owners.  Others are pushing for a double death tax by eliminating the step-up in tax basis entirely. 

On IRS bank reporting requirements and Americans’ privacy:

Less noticed are some of the plans to drastically expand the powers of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and turn banks and credit unions into private investigators for monitoring law-abiding Americans. 

The threats to privacy and invasion of compliant taxpayers’ personal financial affairs are staggering.

On proposals to stifle innovation in health care:

Democrats are also proposing sweeping government price controls on the very innovators in our health care system who helped battle the pandemic by developing life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. 

Their proposals could prevent scores of game-changing prescription drugs from coming to market in the years to come . . . in addition to driving up launch prices for new products.  

Senator Crapo’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

The United States is experiencing unprecedented economic pressures, including significant inflation and record price increases, significant friction in labor markets, and intense international competition–all while the pandemic continues to threaten Americans’ health and our economic recovery. 

Yet, Democrats want to move forward with their partisan $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spending spree that will likely stunt our economic recovery, further impede labor markets, and punish low- and middle-income workers with higher prices for everyday goods and services.

Democrats are currently debating just how high they want to increase taxes on American businesses and workers. 

House Democrats have proposed to hike the corporate tax rate to 26.5 percent from 21 percent.  This would return our combined corporate tax rate – at 31 percent – to one of the highest among developed countries. 

Hiking the rate indisputably hits the middle class.  Estimates suggest workers shoulder up to 70 percent of the burden. 

And a recent analysis performed by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation says the burden on over 98 percent of Americans who make less than $500,000 a year increases over time. 

Let me make that clear–98 percent of the increase that is felt by labor, falls on those making less than $500,000 per year, and the vast majority of that on those making less than $400,000 per year. 

Our Democratic colleagues argue these increases do not violate President Biden’s pledge, since they are not specific higher individual tax rates. 

But hardworking Americans do not care about the distinction between a direct or indirect tax; they care about how taxes hit their pocketbooks.

A higher corporate tax rate would result in lower wages and reduced benefits; hit the nest eggs of everyone saving for retirement; and force consumers to pay more for everyday necessities.

This plan would also impose hundreds of billions in tax hikes on U.S. businesses operating across the globe, overwhelmingly rewarding our foreign competitors and making the United States, again, one of the highest taxing countries in the developed world.

These pro-China tax hikes would raise the relative cost of doing business in America and punish businesses selling products or services overseas, reigniting inversions and foreign acquisitions.

Democrats also want to increase the top individual tax rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, a rate that kicks in at $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples.  This includes a supercharged marriage penalty, as unmarried couples can earn almost a million dollars a year without being subject to increased taxes.

Democrats have also proposed increasing the number of Americans subject to the original death tax–including farmers and small business owners.  Others are pushing for a double death tax by eliminating the step-up in tax basis entirely.

Rather than be given time to grieve their loss, families could be forced to sell farms, businesses and homes just to pay Uncle Sam.

Less noticed are the plans to drastically expand the powers of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and turn banks and credit unions into private investigators for monitoring law-abiding Americans.

This financial dragnet will force financial institutions into reporting deposit and withdrawal flows–on as little as $600–on their customers’ accounts, exposing sensitive data to future breaches.

Whether the cutoff for monitoring transactions $600 or $10,000, Americans of all income levels would have their private financial activities reported to the leaky IRS.

The threats to privacy and invasion of compliant taxpayers’ personal financial affairs are staggering.

Democrats are also proposing sweeping government price controls on the very innovators in our health care system who helped battle the pandemic by developing life-saving vaccines and therapeutics.

Under the guise of negotiation, government bureaucrats would have the power to set prices for medications, devaluing the lives of the most vulnerable among us, including older Americans and those with disabilities.

Their proposals could prevent scores of game-changing prescription drugs from coming to market in the years to come – with one recent study projecting as many as 342 fewer new medication approvals in the next two decades – in addition to driving up launch prices for new products. 

This even went too far for some House Democrats, with three members voting against the legislation in committee.

As I’ve indicated, this reckless tax-and-spending plan comes just over a year after we were experiencing one of the most prosperous economies in decades.

Before the pandemic, a combination of reduced regulatory burden and pro-growth policies helped to create one of the strongest economies in our lifetimes.

We should be focused on policies that will get us past this pandemic and back to the strong and inclusive economic growth we were experiencing, rather than taking advantage of a prolonged pandemic to reimagine America as a welfare

Press Releases 09/21/2021 Tillis and Hassan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Health for New Mothers and Address High Rate of Maternal Suicide U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including working to address postpartum depression and anxiety, and maternal suicide – which is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States.

Source: United States Senator for North Carolina Thom Tillis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including working to address postpartum depression and anxiety, and maternal suicide – which is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States.

“We need to remove the stigma attached to mental health, especially for new moms who are battling with postpartum depression,” said Senator Tillis. “We must support mothers and streamline suicide prevention and mental health treatment services, and this legislation does just that. I am proud to work with Senator Hassan on this important bipartisan legislation to provide resources to mothers across North Carolina and the rest of the country.”

“Mothers too often face immense mental health challenges before and after giving birth, and new moms need more support to help them manage and overcome these health concerns,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan bill would take long overdue steps to coordinate a federal response to address postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as the devastating rate of maternal suicides. I will continue to work with Senator Tillis and my colleagues across the aisle to get pregnant and postpartum mothers the resources that they need take care of themselves and their babies.”

Shalini Wickramatilake, Director of Public Policy for 2020 Mom, said, “The TRIUMPH Act will not only improve efficiency at the federal level, but also at the individual level, ensuring that moms receive mental health services that are effective and efficient.” Wickramatilake added, “2020 Mom is proud to be partnering with lawmakers on this important piece of legislation. We applaud Senators Hassan and Tillis for their leadership and commitment to ensuring that moms receive the care that they need.”

The Taskforce Recommending Improvements for Unaddressed Mental Perinatal & Postpartum Health (TRIUMPH) for New Moms Act of 2021 would create a federal taskforce and national strategy to improve maternal mental health outcomes and expand mental health resources for new mothers by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with states to increase mental health prevention and treatment services for new and expectant moms, as well as identify and report on best practices to better support new mothers with mental health challenges.

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Press Releases 09/21/2021 Tillis and Leahy Introduce Bipartisan Bills To Boost American Innovation The Unleashing American Innovators Act requires the Patent Office’s satellite offices to conduct outreach to increase participation in the patent system by women, people of color, military veterans, individual inventors, and other groups that are underrepresented in the system.

Source: United States Senator for North Carolina Thom Tillis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, introduced a pair of bipartisan bills aimed at improving the participation of military veterans and Americans from all backgrounds in the patent system and ensuring that the public knows the true owners of patents.

The Unleashing American Innovators Act requires the Patent Office’s satellite offices to conduct outreach to increase participation in the patent system by women, people of color, military veterans, individual inventors, and other groups that are underrepresented in the system. It further requires the Patent Office to study whether additional satellite offices are needed to increase those groups’ participation in the patent system. Their bill also creates a network of smaller community outreach offices, which will partner with local community organizations to create community-based programs to educate Americans about the patent system and the benefits of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I’m proud to introduce this measure with my good friend Senator Leahy,” said Senator Tillis. “This bill will promote the continued and increased participation of independent inventors, military veterans, women, and people of color in the patent system. If the United States is going to continue to be the world’s leading innovation economy in the twenty-first century, then we have to make sure that our best and brightest have access to the patent system. This bill builds on all the work I’ve done with Senator Leahy and Senator Hirono to increase diversity and inclusion in the patent system, and I look forward to seeing it enacted into law.”

“By building on the structures we put in place in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act ten years ago, we can ensure that the next generation of innovators in America reflects the full potential of our greatest natural resource – the genius of the American people,” Senator Leahy said. “Expanding access to the patent system is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of maintaining American competitiveness and extending opportunity to all Americans, no matter their background, economic status, or location.”

The senators also introduced the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, legislation that will ensure that the public has access to information about the true owner of a patent. Currently, simply to uncover the identity of a patent’s owner, parties have to engage in costly, time-consuming litigation. This disadvantages small businesses that may simply want to contact a patent owner about getting a license but have no way to know who to contact. Furthermore, while it is known that more than half of U.S. patents are issued to foreign inventors, there is no way to know how many patents are later sold to foreign entities, preventing Americans from even knowing how we are competing globally in innovation. This bill requires patent owners to disclose their identity with the Patent Office when a patent issues and whenever it changes hands so that the public can easily look up a patent’s owner and the owner’s ultimate parent entity.

Senator Tillis said: “The public has a right to know who is a patent’s true owner. Patents provide a limited term monopoly against the public, and it’s in the public’s interest and benefit to know who owns that monopoly. I’m a strong supporter of patent rights, but those rights have to be balanced against the public’s interest. This commonsense bill will achieve that goal and I look forward to working towards its passage this Congress.”

Senator Leahy said: “One of the fundamental underpinnings of the patent system is transparency. In exchange for the exclusive rights over an invention granted by a patent, the public has a right to know who owns the rights to particular inventions. We are working to ensure a fair innovation system for small businesses, non-profits, and independent entrepreneurs who have a right to know, without expensive litigation, who has the exclusive patent rights over a particular invention.”

The full text of the Unleashing American Innovators Act can be found here.  The full text of the Pride in Patent Ownership Act can be found here.

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Cassidy Calls for Risk Rating 2.0 Delay, Hurricane Disaster Relief on Senate Floor

Source: United States Senator for Louisiana Bill Cassidy

09.21.21

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today delivered a speech on the Senate Floor renewing his calls for disaster supplemental relief in the wake of Hurricane Ida. He also spoke about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire while it’s in the midst of rolling out new policy—Risk Rating 2.0—that will raise premiums for hardworking Louisiana families.

“Pass the bill for the people of Lake Charles. Pass the bill for the people of Terrebonne, Lafourche parishes and southeast Louisiana. Pass the bill for the people impacted by Ida in the northeast. Pass the bill for the people impacted by wildfires in the west. It’s really simple: don’t let politics hold up the supplemental disaster assistance bill,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“In light of these storms, I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to roll out Risk Rating 2.0 on October 1 while many policy holders are recovering from hurricane damage,” continued Cassidy. “Congress never passed any law requiring that FEMA implement Risk Rating 2.0. President Biden alone is responsible. As President, he should direct FEMA to delay implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 if not reconsider it altogether. At the end of the day, flood insurance should be affordable and accessible.”

Last week, Cassidy called for hurricane disaster relief and infrastructure investment on the Senate Floor.

In the weeks since Hurricane Ida made landfall, Cassidy has toured damage left by the storm in St. Tammany, Livingston, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, and surveyed damage in a flyover with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:

Madam President,

As I did last week, I once again come to the Senate floor to explain the urgent need to support a supplemental disaster assistance bill. This time it was not just for Hurricane Laura which devastated southwest Louisiana over a year ago. Since then, we’ve had additional storms, including the fifth most powerful storm to hit the United States made landfall in southeast Louisiana last month.

Now is not the time to play games. All of south Louisiana needs supplemental disaster aid.

We cannot afford to allow the impact of an entire years’ – now nearly two years’ – worth of natural disasters go unaddressed.

It’s been over a year since Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc on Lake Charles. We’re only a couple of weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Delta, a category 2 storm that similarly brought tremendous rains and flooding to southwest Louisiana.

Louisiana was not spared last year, nor this year. We had unprecedented winter storms which unleashed catastrophic damage to livestock, crops and structures for Louisiana farmers. And then Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas.

In light of these storms, I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to roll out Risk Rating 2.0 on October 1 while many policy holders are recovering from hurricane damage.

FEMA said policy holders were supposed to be able to get information on their premiums by August 1, and they missed their deadline. They only just recently made the information available. That’s less than one month’s advance notice.

Despite the lack of transparency, we know Risk Rating 2.0 will increase costs.

In Louisiana, 80% of policyholders will see increases in the first year. For some, premiums may become unaffordable and could collapse the value of their homes.

These costs will be borne by middle class families. This clearly violates the President’s pledge not to increase costs on people making less than $400,000 a year.

Congress never passed any law requiring that FEMA implement Risk Rating 2.0. President Biden alone is responsible. As President, he should direct FEMA to delay implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 if not reconsider it altogether. At the end of the day, flood insurance should be affordable and accessible.

We need time for Congress to conduct thorough oversight.

The people of Louisiana deserve better. South Louisiana has been pounded. My job is to do what I can to help this region get fully back on its feet.

Louisianans are strong. Louisianans are resilient. We are rebuilding, but you see blue tarps on top of roofs across south Louisiana. You see downed power lines.

I urge my colleagues to pass a clean, separate supplemental disaster assistance bill.

The formal request from the White House includes $2.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program, $275 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, $9 billion for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program, $100 million for Reclamation Projects to Address Western Drought, and $2.6 billion for Federal Highway Emergency Relief. This request includes initial, though informal, estimates of what may also be needed from damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida. Specifically, they expect the costs and needs stemming from Hurricane Ida to likely exceeding an additional $10 billion in the form of CDBG-DR, Federal Highway Emergency Relief, Federal Transit Emergency Relief, Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the Disaster Relief Fund among other programs.

Pass the bill for the people of Lake Charles. Pass the bill for the people of Terrebonne, Lafourche parishes and southeast Louisiana. Pass the bill for the people impacted by Ida in the northeast. Pass the bill for the people impacted by wildfires in the west.

It’s really simple: don’t let politics hold up the supplemental disaster assistance bill.

With that, I yield the floor.

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Senators Reintroduce Bill to Ensure Fair Medicare Payments, Make Cost-Of-Living Adjustment For Alaska, Hawai‘i Nursing Homes

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski

09.21.21

U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today reintroduced legislation that will provide for fair Medicare payments for nursing facilities in Hawai‘i and Alaska. The bipartisan Equitable Payments for Nursing Facilities Act will authorize a cost-of-living adjustment at skilled nursing facilities in those states to take into account the higher costs of delivering care.

“Nursing homes are on the front lines of this pandemic and need all the support they can get to care for our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill fixes the Medicare reimbursement rates so that Hawai‘i nursing homes get their fair share of federal dollars and have the resources to continue to provide high quality care.”

“Long term care facilities fill a critical need in our communities, especially in caring for Alaska’s aging population,” said Senator Murkowski. “This bill makes a simple, but necessary change to ensure cost of living adjustments are considered for skilled nursing facility payments in Alaska and Hawai‘i, bringing parity with how hospitals are treated. I’m proud to join my colleagues in addressing this discrepancy to help give greater support to these important health care facilities.”

“Skilled nursing facilities provide essential health services in Hawai‘i—but their work is hamstrung by reimbursement rates that do not take into account the high cost of doing business in the state. Our bill will make sure that these facilities have the resources they need to care for our communities,” said Senator Hirono.

“As the largest state in the country and with some of the most rugged geography, Alaska’s health care ranks among the most expensive and challenging to provide, a disparity that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Senator Sullivan. “Through these challenges, our skilled nursing facilities have taken on an enormous share of the burden, doing excellent work taking care of our seniors in spite of being short staffed. Our legislation will authorize an appropriate and timely increase in Medicare payments that reflect the disproportionate costs of living in Alaska and Hawaii—making sure these nursing facilities stay open, our health care workers are paid, and our seniors are in good care.”

While hospitals and certain other health care facilities in Hawai‘i and Alaska receive a cost-of-living adjustment under Medicare to account for higher non-wage costs, such as rent and utilities, than in other states, nursing facilities do not, making it more difficult for these critical nursing homes to operate.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Kai Kahele (D-Hawai‘i), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Ed Case (D-Hawai‘i).

Sasse: China-Friendly Tax Hikes Hurt Americans

Source: United States Senator for Nebraska Ben Sasse

“Beijing looks at our endless debt, our entitlement crisis, and our tax hikes and sees strategic advantage.”

Video of the Senator’s speech is available here or by clicking the image above.

Today, Senator Sasse spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s massive, reckless tax and spending spree. 

Full transcript is available below. 

I want to talk about some of these taxing and spending issues. But I want to make it clear that I’m not here to talk about this because I’m obsessed about the marginal tax rates for the top 1% of Americans – I’m not. It’s not why I ran for office, but I am here today to talk about this because as a China hawk, I am obsessed with the fact that the American people, the American government, American technology companies and lots of companies that aren’t today thought of as technology companies but will increasingly be technology companies operating in different vertices. I am obsessed with the fact that our firms and our people are going to need to be able to compete with the Chinese Communist Party. 

The future of everything from technology, to trade, to global security and defense issues is going to go one of two ways. It’s either going to be led by the Chinese Communist Party or it’s going to be led by the United States and our allies and western values. The future of not just global economics but global security policy over the next three, and five, and seven, and ten years is going to be radically shaped by which direction we go. Failure isn’t an option. This next century is going to be defined either by oppression, censorship, and brutality – the sort of things that we’re seeing in Xinjiang right now as the Uyghurs are brutally oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party – or we’re going to see a world that’s led by western values and beliefs in trade, and human rights, and open navigation of the seaways, and transparent contracts, and the rule of law. 

That’s the proper context in which we should be considering this taxing and spending debate and it would be helpful for the American people if we would discuss President Biden’s tax and spending spree in the context of that global technology and diplomatic competition with the CCP. Because these dangerous policies in this $3.5 trillion – or whatever price tag it’s going to end up at – this piece of omnibus legislation, it’s going to hurt our ability to compete against Beijing.

Spending is out of control. The American people last November – just ten months ago – elected an evenly divided Senate and yet somehow progressives believe they have a mandate to radically remake America. You actually hear a lot of them use language about radically transforming American as if an American public that voted for a 50-50 Senate was voting for some sort of radical re-making of American policy as a newer, new, bigger, big New Deal. 

They’ve spent trillions of dollars that we don’t have already this year and now they’re looking at add another $3.5 trillion to expand cradle-to-grave government propositions about how government should interfere and interact with the average American’s life. 

But, what is government? What a government is supposed to be is a compact for the common defense. The first and most fundamental principle the government exists to do is make sure that everyone is free from violence and chaos and tyranny so that they can organize their lives in local communities. That’s the first thing government is supposed to be and yet we also believe that government has some social safety net responsibilities. Stated in a summary fashion, you might say the government is supposed to be the army and we also have some social safety net insurance programs attached to them. 

It seems like, when you listen to Senator Sanders speak, he thinks of it exactly the opposite. The government is a giant insurance company that just happens to own a navy. And sometimes it sounds like he doesn’t even really care if we own a navy, he just conceives of the government as a giant insurance program where everything is compulsory and government decides what programs people need to have and what services they want. The vast majority of the American people don’t want that and they didn’t vote for that and a 50-50 Senate shouldn’t be trying to deliver that. 

This year the President and my Democratic colleagues have increased spending in every area: social, environmental, and economic policy related. If there’s an opportunity to spend over the course of the last eight and a half months, they’ve taken it. A couple trillion here, a couple trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Now it’s the time to pay the piper and my colleagues are talking about raising taxes. But this is not just any tax hike we’re talking about  – when you look at the corporate rate that we’re looking at, we would be talking about the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world – these are just the new taxes – and yet even that doesn’t pay for all of the new spending. So, we’re talking about new legislation that would radically raise taxes to the highest corporate tax rates in the industrial earth and yet still not pay for all of the new spending they’re talking about. So, while deficits grow forever, opportunities shrink. 

We have a member of the House of Representatives who in her super telegenic way figured out how to get attention last week by wearing a dress that said “tax the rich” on the back of it. What the dress should really read is “tax the young” because history tells us very clearly when you deficit spend at the level that they’re talking about doing here, this is a tax of current, older, and wealthier people against younger people. That’s how inflation works, that’s how debt and deficit work. The dress should have read “tax the young.”

These are tax hikes that make Communist China a much better business environment than the United States. Under the President’s plan, Americans would have a 32% combined rate compared to a much smaller Chinese tax rate. At their baseline, nominal level but it’s important to recognize that the Chinese tax code currently incentivizes high-tech businesses with an even lower 15% rate, so we’re talking about north of a 30% rate against the Chinese Communist party trying to make sure they attract investment by taxing their investment and digital companies at a 15% rate. This is the definition of shooting yourself in the foot. 

My friends on the other side of the aisle are a lot of smart folks, and they know that tax rates actually matter for international investment and for competitiveness. And one of the ways you know they know is because for months, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been out seeking a global minimum tax arrangement, she is admitting the obvious truth that a new tax increase will saddle American companies with a burden that other companies across the globe don’t have. The CCP is not going to bail us out as we would potentially raise taxes to the highest rates in the world by also raising their tax rates to bail out President Biden’s domestic agenda. Beijing looks at our endless debt, our entitlement crisis, and our tax hikes, at our disunity, and they see a strategic advantage. 

These China-friendly tax hikes would raise the cost of doing business in America. These China-friendly tax hikes would drive innovation overseas. These China-friendly tax hikes would lead to more corporate inversions. These China-friendly tax hikes would hurt American R&D. If you want the 21st Century to be defined by global Chinese Communist Party leadership, you would tax and spend just like this legislation seeks to do. 

Reckless spending doesn’t steward a great nation. Super tax hikes do not promote innovation. Competition with the Chinese Communist Party is the defining national-security issue of our time – whether my colleagues in this body want to admit it on a regular basis or not. 

While the Chinese Communist Party plunders American intellectual property, steals American ingenuity, and pours investments into their state-run technologies, Washington is debating whether or not we should punish innovative firms and innovative Americans. 

This isn’t strong. This isn’t smart. The American people know better.  

 

Sullivan, Schatz, Murkowski, Hirono Introduce Bill to Make Cost-Of-Living Adjustment For Alaska, Hawaii Nursing Facilities

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan

09.21.21

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) today reintroduced legislation that will provide for fair Medicare payments for nursing facilities in Hawai‘i and Alaska. The bipartisan Equitable Payments for Nursing Facilities Act will authorize a cost-of-living adjustment at skilled nursing facilities in those states to take into account the higher costs of delivering care. 

“As the largest state in the country and with some of the most rugged geography, Alaska’s health care ranks among the most expensive and challenging to provide, a disparity that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Senator Sullivan. “Through these challenges, our skilled nursing facilities have taken on an enormous share of the burden, doing excellent work taking care of our seniors in spite of being short staffed. Our legislation will authorize an appropriate and timely increase in Medicare payments that reflect the disproportionate costs of living in Alaska and Hawaii—making sure these nursing facilities stay open, our health care workers are paid, and our seniors are in good care.”

“Nursing homes are on the front lines of this pandemic and need all the support they can get to care for our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill fixes the Medicare reimbursement rates so that Hawai‘i nursing homes get their fair share of federal dollars and have the resources to continue to provide high quality care.” 

“Long term care facilities fill a critical need in our communities, especially in caring for Alaska’s aging population,” said Senator Murkowski. “This bill makes a simple, but necessary change to ensure cost of living adjustments are considered for skilled nursing facility payments in Alaska and Hawai‘i, bringing parity with how hospitals are treated. I’m proud to join my colleagues in addressing this discrepancy to help give greater support to these important health care facilities.” 

“Skilled nursing facilities provide essential health services in Hawai‘i—but their work is hamstrung by reimbursement rates that do not take into account the high cost of doing business in the state. Our bill will make sure that these facilities have the resources they need to care for our communities,” said Senator Hirono. 

While hospitals and certain other health care facilities in Hawai‘i and Alaska receive a cost-of-living adjustment under Medicare to account for higher non-wage costs, such as rent and utilities, than in other states, nursing facilities do not, making it more difficult for these critical nursing homes to operate.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Kai Kahele (D-Hawai‘i), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Ed Case (D-Hawai‘i).

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Lankford Protects Children from Federally Funded Gender Reassignment Research

Source: United States Senator for Oklahoma James Lankford

09.21.21

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to introduce  the Protecting Our Kids from Harmful Research Act, a bill prohibiting federal funding of gender reassignment research on minors. These medical interventions are experimental, irreversible, and often fail to produce the intended effects. This bill would prohibit federal funding from being used in research or publications that seek to establish or affirm gender identities that are incongruent with a minor’s biological sex. Lankford and Lee are joined by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) as cosponsors.

“Federal funding for healthcare research, especially research involving children, should be intended for prevention and treatment—not experimentation and politics,” said Lankford. “Our tax dollars should not be used to fund medically unnecessary hormone treatments or puberty blockers that could irreversibly damage the bodies of children, some of whom are younger than 10 years old. No one should have their lives permanently changed based on decisions made when they were 10 years old. It is our responsibility to protect our nation’s children.”

“The Federal Government should never fund research that harms kids,” said Lee. “This bill will protect taxpayers from funding spurious research, but more importantly, it will protect kids from the permanent damage this irresponsible research can produce.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Sexual and the Gender Minorities Research Office (SGMRO) has awarded grant money to four pediatric clinics to study hormonal interventions on children with healthy bodies as young as eight years old, which means that due to a feeling of discomfort, girls as young as eight could receive high-dose testosterone solely on the basis of their “gender identity” as a boy. The Biden Administration recently renewed and extended this research until 2026.

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