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Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist Urges Senators to CoSponsor Non-Government Spending Jobs Bill


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, 9:18 AM PERMALINK


[PDF Document]

3 February 2010

Dear Senator:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and millions of taxpaying Americans and their families, I ask you to sponsor an alternative to the “Jobs Bill” that does not increase government spending, “The No Cost Stimulus Act.”

This critical piece of legislation will create more than 2 million long-term, sustainable and well paying jobs while helping reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. Supported by Senators Barrasso, Brownback, Bond, Bunning, Crapo, Coburn, Cochram, Cornyn, DeMint, Ensign, Enzi, Hutchinson, Inhofe, Risch, Sessions, Shelby and Vitter (as of this writing), this legislation could increase GDP by $10 trillion over the next 30 years.

Additionally, specific sections of this bill will drastically reduce the cost of energy for every American family while providing jobs in the United States:

  • Create 1.2 million long-term jobs by opening offshore mineral lease areas
  • Provide more than $2.2 trillion in incremental tax receipts
  • Extends state boundaries to 12 miles so states have control over their offshore areas
  • Opens ANWR areas to create 730,000 American-based jobs
  • Streamlines the nuclear licensing process to add 610,000 jobs to the economy
  • Saves 500,000 per year by preventing the EPA from regulating CO2
  • Simplifies the energy leasing judicial review process advancing 300 new projects

All of the above job creation, GDP growth and energy independence can be achieved without adding increasing the amount of government spending.

One of President Obama’s clear messages in his State of the Union address was that he wanted to hear good ideas, from both parties. The “No Cost Stimulus Act” is exactly that. 

For more information, contact federal affairs manager Brian Johnson in my office at bjohnson@atr.org and contact Bryan Zumwalt in Senator Vitter’s office at Bryan_Zumwalt@vitter.senate.gov to become a sponsor.

Onward,
 
Grover G. Norquist

cc:    All Members of the US Senate

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US Attorney Reviews Call for Probe into SEIU President Andy Stern's Lobbying Activities


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, February 1st, 2010, 3:44 PM PERMALINK


Today, new reports confirm that the United States Attorney, Channing Phillips, is reviewing our Nov. 13 request for an investigation into the potential violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) by Service Employee International Union (SEIU) President Andrew Stern. 

In a letter delivered on Nov. 13  ATR President Grover Norquist and AWF Executive Director Brian Johnson wrote:

By this letter, we urge you to investigate the activities of Mr. Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)…specifically, it is important to determine whether those and related activities could constitute unregistered “lobbying” by Mr. Stern in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act  (LDA), 2 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.

Nov. 16, SEIU spokesperson Michelle Ringuette acknowledged the validity of claim and, without offering evidence responded: “Andy Stern spends less than 20 percent of his time talking to elected representatives.”

Jan 5 Andy Stern told Carol Costello in a one-on-one interview on CNN: “We’re going to send them a letter and tell them the truth, which is we’ve complied with the law. And we assume whenever the investigation is done it will be fine.”

Jan 25, SEIU spokesperson Kawana Lloyd contradicted what Mr. Stern had said on CNN, saying: “SEIU had likely said all it would say on the matter.”

Feb 1, the US Attorney’s office confirmed to CNSNews.com that they are “reviewing the matter.” Ms. Ringuette retorted: “The charges were meritless; we have been informed by the Senate that the complaining parties were notified.”

“We have not received the letter Mr. Stern promised on CNN or any response from the U.S. Senate other than their confirmation that our complaint was received,” said Norquist.

Click here for a PDF of ATR and AWF's joint press release.

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Obama Labor Board Nominee, "workers should not be able to choose against having a union"


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, February 1st, 2010, 11:29 AM PERMALINK


If the Senate’s schedule remains unchanged, a cloture vote on Obama's nominee to the National Labor Relations Board, Craig Becker, is expected Thursday, February 4. Such a move will disenfranchise the Senate’s newest member, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Democratic leadership reaffirmed numerous times that the Senate would not vote on any health care legislation until Senator Brown is seated.

Harry Reid: “We’re not going to rush into anything. We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives to do more on health care.”

Jim Webb: “It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.”

The magnitude of health care legislation is unquestionable; Democrats should be applauded for delaying a Senate vote until Mr. Brown is seated. Similarly, Craig Becker’s nomination for the NLRB is of comparable magnitude and should also be postponed until Senator Brown is seated. A vote for Becker is a vote for card check.

Mr. Becker, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Associate General Counsel, has regularly advocated for inappropriate use of the NLRB’s power. In an instant of uncensored honesty, Mr. Becker wrote that employers should be barred from NLRB proceedings:

“On these latter issues employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case, even though Board rulings might indirectly affect their duty to bargain.”

To suggest that employers should have no role in the unionization process, as Mr. Becker does, is a point of view that is outside of the mainstream and one that puts him at odds with the current practices of the NLRB.

Just as Mr. Becker views employers as obstacles to increased unionization, he similarly views workers ability to democratically choose union representation as problematic:

“Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”

Mr. Becker feels workers "should not be able to choose against having a union." How do you feel? Call your Senator (Senate switchboard: (202)224-3121) and tell them to oppose Mr. Beckers nomination to the NLRB.

ATR sent this letter to all members of the Senate urging them to oppose Becker.

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Seven Prudent Reforms Tackling Our Nation's Over-Spending Problems


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 1:37 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Document]

On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, and as the U.S. Senate continues to deliberate on amendments to the bill to raise the Federal debt ceiling yet again, here’s a quick look at a few prudent reforms that would help bring our fiscal house in order without burdening taxpayers. 

1.    Enact a REAL Spending Freeze – Not a Phony One

President Obama will be proposing a 3-year freeze on non-defense non-security discretionary spending. While a nice nod to the need for fiscal restraint, the freeze comes one year too late – one year after domestic discretionary spending has increased by $101 billion, or 17.4 percent. What’s worse, CBO was actually projecting a decline in non-defense discretionary spending over the next few years (from $682 billion in FY 2010 gradually down to $640 billion in 2014).  In fact, freezing this spending is actually a hike in projected spending over the next several years.

According to CBO, domestic discretionary spending in FY 2009 (which includes some stimulus spending, but is mostly pre-Obama budget decisions) was $581 billion.  In FY 2010 (which is entirely an Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending decision), it’s projected to be $682 billion.

A real freeze would take domestic discretionary spending back to where it was before the spending binge happened.  We should freeze domestic discretionary spending at $581 billion (which requires cutting $101 out of the FY 2010 budget), and it should stay at $581 billion for the foreseeable future—not just 3 years.

Doing that would reduce the CBO baseline (not counting interest savings) by $824 billion over the next decade.  When the interest savings are included, such a real freeze should yield almost $1 trillion over the decade.

2.    End the TARP Program

Congress should end the Treasury Department’s authority to spend unobligated funds under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) immediately, and prohibit further obligations of repaid funds.

Ending TARP, as previously proposed by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), would prevent TARP funds from being wasted on politically-motivated bailouts of companies and industries well-outside the original scope of the program, which have left taxpayers to bear the cost and risks associated with them.  It would also prevent the revolving use of repaid funds for these purposes.

According to recent reports, approximately $545 billion in TARP funds have been committed, with $374.62 billion paid out while $165.18 billion had been repaid leaving about $319 billion of unobligated TARP authority.

3.    Rescind Unobligated “Stimulus” Funds

   
Almost a year after its passage, the “stimulus” package has clearly failed to deliver on its promises.  Not only did the package not prevent jobless numbers from going above 8%, as the Administration had claimed it would. Instead, unemployment rose to over 10 percent, with much of the spending under the package going towards dubious project.

In light of the package’s obvious failure, unobligated funds, currently still more than $250 billion according to recent reports, should be rescinded immediately.

4.    Enact the CARFA Act


After rejecting the flawed Conrad/Gregg bipartisan commission proposal, the Senate will be taking up the GOP alternative, the so-called CARFA Act modeled after the successful Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC). 

Unlike Conrad/Gregg, which – because of the way it was structured – would have led to a guaranteed tax increase, a commission modeled after BRAC which led to the successful closure of military bases that were underused, would be a prudent mechanism to address our nation’s fiscal problems. 

The BRAC process, put in place by Congress in 1990, would not have worked if it had been tasked with either closing unnecessary bases or raising taxes to pay for unnecessary bases. It worked precisely because it had one job: to save taxpayer money by closing unnecessary bases, and that is the model we should follow now.

5.    Adopt Sen. Coburn’s Rescission Amendment to the Debt Ceiling Resolution

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is offering an amendment to the debt ceiling resolution that would consolidate more than 640 duplicative government programs, cutting wasteful Washington spending, and returning billions of dollars of unspent money. 

Enacting the Coburn amendment would yield at least $120 billion.

6.    Enact Another Territoriality Measure in 2010

Back in 2004, Congress changed the tax law to allow companies to repatriate overseas earnings back to the United States at a low tax rate.  This is money which would never come back to the United States otherwise because of our highest-in-the-world corporate income tax rate. 

The result was astonishing.  In that one year alone, $318 billion was repatriated.  This actually increased corporate tax revenues by over $18 billion.  This money was used to invest in plant and equipment, boost pension fund assets, and create jobs.  Today, there is nearly $1 trillion in overseas earnings, just waiting to be brought home. 

Congress should enact another territoriality measure in 2010.

7.    Repeal Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Requirements

The Depression-era wage subsidy law of the 1930s, known as the Davis-Bacon Act, should NOT apply to any federally funded construction projects as it artificially inflates wages by 22% and adds $9 billion to the cost of projects nation-wide.

Had this outdated law been repealed earlier, it would have shaved $17 billion off the cost of the “stimulus” package.

While this may sound like a drop in the bucket, repealing Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements would be a simple step Congress could take to address our problems.

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State of the Union: Time to play Obama BINGO!


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 12:29 PM PERMALINK


Back by popular demand: Obama BINGO!   To help you get through the State of the Union address on Wednesday night, Americans for Tax Reform once again presents Obama BINGO!  Use the cards to check off terms and phrases likely to be used during President Obama’s State of the Union address. 

We've prepared four different cards this year so that you may compete with your friends and family:

Obama BINGO Card 1

Obama BINGO Card 2

Obama BINGO Card 3

Obama BINGO Card 4

Good luck, and let us know how it goes! 

(Or for those of you in Louisiana, let us know how it "geauxs")

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Obama's First Year: Transparency - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 12:26 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Document]

Throughout the campaign, President Obama made many promises to increase transparency and accountability in Washington.  And while some of his supporters cheerfully assign him good grades when evaluating his record in this area, a closer look reveals that in terms of fulfilling his transparency promises, his first year in office holds a mixed bag at best. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:

Steps towards more openness – Upon taking office, the Obama administration issued two memoranda, one instructing all agencies and departments to "adopt a presumption in favor" of Freedom of Information Act requests, and a second one directing the Office of Management and Budget to develop an Open Government Directive that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement greater transparency.  

The Open Government Directive issued on December 8, 2009, indeed looks promising and reiterates the presumption of openness. The first part discusses general agency data, and the second part of the document focuses on improving the quality of government information and specifically focuses on the area of Federal spending information, setting a timeline for developing a longer-term comprehensive strategy for spending transparency.Among other things, agencies will be required to soon publish at least three high-value data sets and register them on Data.gov, an already-functional website created by the Obama administration for this purpose earlier in the year.That is a promising step in the right direction, although there is a caveat, which we have discussed here

The Bad:

Easy-to-keep promises are off to a slow start. During the campaign, President Obama made a “Sunlight Before Signing” promise:

"When there's a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you, the American voter, will have five days to look online and find out what it is before I sign it, so that you know what your government's doing.”

Still, while this is a promise that should be fairly easy to put into practice, the President’s record of compliance with this promise has been poor. As Jim Harper, who tracks the issue for the Cato Institute, pointed out on January 6, only six bills out of 124 were posted in accordance with the promise.

When transparency becomes spin – Recovery.gov. Taxpayers were promised “unprecedented transparency” in conjunction with trillion dollar spending and debt package passed under the guise of “economic stimulus.” For that purpose, Recovery.gov was created. However, several months and $18 million later, the website offered little substance and much spin, while a website created by a private company, Onvia, was already tracking expenditures on its website Recovery.org.

Things took a turn for the worse when recipient data was posted on Recovery.gov, because rather than presenting facts, the site now boasted job creation and retention numbers that were not only inflated and bogus, but also were also occurring in non-existent Congressional districts.  Clearly, this is not transparency, it is spin.

The Ugly:

Abandoning transparency when it’s no longer politically expedient – During the campaign, President Obama repeatedly promised that the healthcare negotiations would be conducted publicly.  Among his promises were this one:

"That’s what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process."

Members of Congressional leadership have echoed this sentiment on numerous occasions and proclaimed their commitment to open and transparent negotiations on this important subjec. However, the more it became apparent that the public was not seeing the Democrats’ proposals as favorably as the President and other proponents had expected, the more secretive the process became.  At the beginning of this year, shortly before the apparent implosion of the healthcare process in the wake of the Massachusetts election, the President and Congressional leaders decided to embark on abbreviated behind-closed-doors negotiations, shutting out the American people.  The President clearly failed to insist on an open process, and transparency became a victim of political expediency

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DC Bag Tax in Effect


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, January 4th, 2010, 3:37 PM PERMALINK


Last Friday DC grocers and retailers began levying a new tax on every plastic and paper bag as a result of legislation passed last year. Below is an OpEd by Patrick Gleason, ATR's state affairs manager, that was published in yesterday's Washington Examiner on the matter:

Patrick Gleason: New D.C. bag tax won't accomplish much

By: Patrick Gleason
OpEd Contributor
January 3, 2010

Washingtonians heading out in search of VitaminWater and bacon to cure their New Year's morning hangovers will be greeted by a new Pigouvian tax at the check out.

Starting this past week, a new 5-cent tax will be imposed on every plastic and paper bag used by shoppers at grocers and other retailers throughout the District.

The bag tax is the result of legislation passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in June. The bill, sponsored by council members Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, and Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, was rushed through under the auspices of cleaning up the environment.

That might sound great and will make many District residents feel warm and fuzzy, but previous experience with bag taxes and regulations elsewhere suggests the rhetoric from Wells and company is hollow.

San Francisco went so far as banning plastic bags outright in 2007, becoming the first American city to do so. That extreme measure had zero effect on the city's litter mitigation goals, according to litter audits.

Many bag tax advocates point to Ireland as their standard bearer, with usage of plastic shopping bags declining by 90 percent as a result of its nationwide bag tax. What the na?ve greenies and money-hungry politicians who support bag taxes won't tell you is that total usage of all plastic bags in Ireland actually increased by 10 percent following imposition of the bag tax.

How could that be? Over 92 percent of the population already reuses plastic bags for a cadre of basic household tasks such as lining trash cans. A new levy on bags at the checkout discourages this.

It's also important to keep in mind that the bureaucrats who are going to siphon ever more money out of the D.C. economy aren't exactly stewards of fiscal responsibility. Aside from increasing spending by 42 percent in just five years' time, D.C. Council members think awarding themselves salaries that are higher on average than most governors is reasonable.

In fact, Mayor Fenty and council member Vincent Gray, D-Ward 5, each make more than every governor except Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new tax gives them a new slush fund.

Four cents of the new 5-cent bag tax will go into a fund dedicated to cleaning up the Anacostia River. The other penny will be kept by the retailer. Stores that provide incentives to bring reusable bags will retain 2 cents.

Mayor Fenty and council member Wells boast that it will simultaneously increase usage of reusable bags and tidy the Anacostia River. However, the best way to benefit the environment would actually be to request as many plastic and paper bags as possible at checkout, thereby ensuring the new Anacostia River cleanup fund is flush with cash.

Just like the politicians who claim that tobacco tax increases can both reduce smoking and provide a windfall for government coffers, Fenty and Wells either don't see the fault in their own logic or they think their constituents are pretty gullible.

D.C. Council members aren't the only lawmakers to warm up to this policy. More than 20 bag tax bills were introduced over the past year nationwide, and more are expected moving forward. This is just the beginning.

Shortly after the bill's passage last summer, council member Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, stated that the new bag tax was merely "the first step to try to address this issue." District residents and businesses would be wise to keep a close eye on the D.C. Council in 2010.

 

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Baucus Earns Place on 2009 "Naughty" List


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 4:49 PM PERMALINK


Sen. Max Baucus has earned a place under the “Naughty” column on Americans for Tax Reform’s 2009 Naughty and Nice List after being caught telling a brazen lie on the floor of the United States Senate: Claiming that the Senate healthcare bill would not raise taxes. 

Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor on Nov. 30, Baucus said:

I have also heard it argued that health care reform will raise taxes.  That, too, is false.”
 
In reality, the 2,074-page Senate healthcare bill uses the term “tax” 183 times and contains 18 separate tax increases.
 
Continuing his remarks on the Senate floor, Baucus said:
 
“In fact, health care reform will provide billions of dollars in tax relief to help American families and small businesses afford quality health insurance—tax cuts.  The Joint Tax Committee—again bipartisan and which serves both the House and the Senate—tells us, for example, that our bill would provide $40 billion in the tax cuts in the year 2017 alone—$40 billion in tax cuts in the year 2017.”
 
In reality, the official tax score for the bill is provided by the Joint Tax Committee (JCT) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In 2017 alone, they report a net tax hike of $132.5 billion – not a tax cut as Sen. Baucus claims. Over the ten-year scoring window, they report a net tax hike of $857.9 billion.
 
“Max Baucus is lying to the people of Montana,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Or he’s speaking from ignorance and he hasn’t actually read the bill. If he did, he might have stumbled across one of the eighteen painful tax increases it contains.”
 
ATR’s full 2009 “Naughty and Nice” list can be viewed here.

Click here for a printable PDF
 

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Presenting the Official 2009 "Naughty and Nice" List


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 10:55 AM PERMALINK


 Santa has completed his 2009 "Naughty and Nice" list, and he managed to leak us an advance copy straight from the North Pole:

Naughty

Former Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) – for not understanding that people want skinny budgets, not skinny governors

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- for repeatedly failing to put legislation online for 72 hours before a vote, in violation of her explicit promise
 
Peter Orszag, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, John Podesta, Paul Volcker, Roger Altman, Alan Greenspan, Nancy Pelosi, and the Center for American Progress —for being storm petrels for a Value Added Tax
 
Rep. Charlie Rangel, again – for engaging in “unilateral tax reduction” while raising everyone else’s taxes
 
Tom Daschle – for engaging in “unilateral tax reduction” after a long career of raising everyone else’s taxes
 
Sen. Harry Reid – for representing Washington, DC instead of Nevada
 
Sen. Max Baucus – for violating the Eighth Commandment by claiming the Senate health bill doesn’t raise taxes
 
Sen. Jay Rockefeller – for threatening to have the government take control of the internet during an “emergency”
 
Sens. Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg – for trying to set up a bipartisan budget commission which is guaranteed to recommend tax hikes
 
Sen. Mary Landrieu – for taking a $300 million bribe to vote for cloture on the Senate health bill
 
Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Barney Frank, and Rahm Emanuel – for helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac destroy the life savings of millions of Americans
 
Christina Romer—for slinging around the bogus term “saved or created jobs” -- when in the real world, 2.8 million Americans lost their jobs since the signing of the “stimulus” bill
 
Andy Stern and Anna Berger of the SEIU – for their efforts to strip workers of their right to a secret ballot election, all while skirting the lobbying rules Obama, Reid, and Pelosi championed
 
Randy Pullen, Arizona Republican Party Chairman – for pushing a $3 billion tax increase
 
The 11 New York county party chairmen who anointed Dede Scozzafava
 
The New York Court of Appeals – for ruling against property owners in the famous Brooklyn Atlantic Yards case: This is the first state court to rule against property owners since Kelo in an eminent domain for private gain case
 
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – for instituting a forced exercise program onto its riders
 
Vice-President Biden – for his “stimulus” package claim:  “In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well.”
 
(And for washing his Trans Am in the White House driveway, shirtless) 
 
Nice
 
Rep. Paul Ryan – for providing the free-market budget alternative to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid tax-and-spend plan
 
Creigh Deeds – for admitting he wanted to raise taxes if elected Governor, thus electing Bob McDonnell
 
Paul Volcker, Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board – for not yet releasing his secret, hidden, horrible tax report until next year
 
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – for warning that Obama’s double-tax proposal will make the U.S. less competitive: “It makes U.S. jobs more expensive…we’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S.”
 
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey – for penning his op-ed on free market healthcare reform in the Wall Street Journal
 
Rick Santelli – for his motivational speaking skills reminding us that the government shouldn’t reward bad behavior
 
Robert Gibbs -- for cleaning up after David Axelrod and Tim Geithner by reminding the American people that there are indeed “no caveats” to President Obama’s promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250k per year
 
Flat Tax Jurisdictions – Iceland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Georgia, Romania, Iraq, Ukraine, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Jamaica, Jersey, Guernsey, Pridnestrovie, and Hong Kong
 
Rep. Tom Price—for leading the conservative majority of the GOP conference in his role as chairman of the Republican Study Committee
 
Rep. John Shadegg – for leading the effort to allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines (First on every free-market health care action list)
 
Sen. Jim DeMint – for introducing the Healthcare Freedom Act, the most comprehensive free-market alternative to the Reid-Obama health scheme
 
Rep. Patrick McHenry – for sponsoring the taxpayer-friendly alternative to the Wolf Commission bill
 
Arizona State Sens. Pamela Gorman and Ron Gould – for leading the fight against the Gov. Chuck Coughlin/Junior Staffer Jan Brewer/Randy Pullen $3 billion tax hike
 
Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño – for slashing thousands of government jobs as part of a plan to cut Puerto Rico’s government spending by $2 billion per year
 
Keith Self (Collin County, TX Judge) -- for opposing a gas tax increase and making his one of the first counties that has opened its books to public scrutiny by posting government spending data online
 
Hannah Giles, James O’Keefe, and Andrew Breitbart – for exposing ACORN’s willingness to pimp out their “services” at taxpayer expense
 
House Republican Leader John Boehner, Sen. Mike Johanns, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and Rep. Darrell Issa – for winning the Nutcracker Award (Awarded for “Outstanding Leadership in Protecting Taxpayers from Corrupt Organizations Named After Nuts”)
 
San Diego ACORN office – for not using a shredder
 
Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney – for producing Not Evil Just Wrong -- a film debunking Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth
 
Malcolm Turnbull – for getting deposed by his own conservative opposition party, thus leading to the defeat of Cap and Trade in Australia
 
The whistleblower who released the Climategate documents
 
Carbon Dioxide – without it, plants would die
 
CNN – for deporting Lou Dobbs

 

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Grover Norquist Urges House Members to Oppose H.R. 2868, The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 2:21 PM PERMALINK


Dear Representative:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), I am urging all Members to vote no on H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009. While claiming to be an extension of Section 550 of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, H.R. 2868 reinterprets Section 550 in ways never intended by its original authors. H.R. 2868 seeks to publicize national security audits and make them subject to potentially unsubstantiated litigation claims.  

Section 2116 of H.R. 2868 allows for any citizen to file a lawsuit against a regulated facility or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enforce compliance with the act no matter what their association with the chemical facility. H.R. 2868, a broad vague initiative, is sure to be exploited by trail lawyers and other interest groups looking to profit from the unrestricted lawsuits the bill permits.

While common in environmental lawsuits, citizen suits are rarely heard on national security grounds. Generally, national security lawsuits are reserved for private citizens who have an expertise in an applicable field, H.R. 2686 makes no distinction between environmental claims and national security ones.  Seeing as this bill is sold as a national security measure, the same legal principals should apply.

National security information is inherently sensitive and usually made available to a select few. In order for citizens to file substantiated lawsuits against chemical facilities they need to have complete knowledge of classified information. Lawsuits against the DHS and chemical facilities would force sensitive information into the public realm. Releasing classified, and potentially dangerous, documents to the public, is irresponsible and unnecessarily puts chemical facilities at risk.   

Should private citizens be allowed to sue over something they know little about, companies and the DHS will spend untold amounts of time in court fighting potentially endless claims. Taxpayer’s dollars will be spent defending the DHS and chemical facilities shareholders will watch as trial lawyers try to suck money from their companies.

Americans for Tax Reform MAY RATE H.R. 2868 vote in our annual Congressional Scorecard. For more information, please contact Brian Johnson in my office at bjohnson@atr.org or 202.785.0266.

Onward,
 
Grover G. Norquist
President

cc:     All Members of the U.S. House of Representatives
 

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