Natalie De Vincenzi

ATR Supports Federal Budget Accountability Act

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Monday, April 17th, 2017, 1:53 PM PERMALINK

Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.) recently introduced H.R. 1999, the Federal Budget Accountability Act. This legislation requires an annual report to Congress to track whether federal revenue collected as offsets materialize as intended.

For decades, the U.S. has been headed down a path of fiscal unsustainability, spending money that the government doesn’t have. Currently, whenever Congress enacts a pay-for to offset new spending, there is no system in place to ensure that the pay-for works. This bill would help reverse this trend through two ways.

First, H.R. 1999 would call for the Director of Office of Management and Budget to create a system to track any revenue collected. This would also entail tracking the accuracy of such provisions and how effective they are, so that ones that are not working can be re-evaluated.

Secondly, this bill would require the Director of OMB to submit a report to Congress every year on the effect of the offsets and pay-fors enacted. Any provision that increases revenue, reduces the deficit, or reduces spending is to be included in the report and analyzed for 10 years.

The Federal Budget Accountability Act will help ensure that any offsets proposed by lawmakers work as intended when they are implemented in the real world. Doing so will help put the federal government back on a path of fiscal sustainability. ATR supports this bill and urges all members of Congress to support and co-sponsor this important legislation.

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ATR Supports Bill to Make Tax Code More Equitable

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Thursday, March 30th, 2017, 4:28 PM PERMALINK

Congressman Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Congressman Blumenauer (R-Ore.) have introduced H.R. 1810, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, which will remove the inequities in the tax code that are biased against marijuana dispensaries claiming tax credits or deductions. Section 280E of the tax code prevents businesses with expenditures connected to illegal drug sales from utilizing deductions or tax credits.

However, in 28 states, D.C., and Guam, marijuana businesses are not considered illegal, yet are unfairly discriminated against by Section 280E. Because of this, marijuana businesses nationwide face income tax rates as high as 90%. This bill will remove marijuana businesses from the arbitrary measures of Section 280E and entitle them to the same deductions and credits any other legal business has. Americans for Tax Reform urges support for this bill. Please read the letter here or below. 

The Honorable Carlos Curbelo
United States House of Representatives
1404 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Earl Blumenauer
United States House of Representatives
1111 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Curbelo and Congressman Blumenauer,

I write in support of H.R. 1810, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, legislation which allows legal marijuana dispensaries to take common necessary business deductions under the tax code.

Under 280E of the tax code, marijuana businesses that are operating legally under state law in 28 states, D.C., and Guam are not allowed to deduct necessary business expenses like wages, equipment, and rent from taxable income.

This law was originally created in 1982 to stop drug dealers from taking tax credits and deductions. Today, it is hitting legal businesses across the country resulting in federal income tax rates close to 90 percent.

The Small Business Tax Equity Act addresses this with a simple and commonsense change – amending federal law so that Section 280E does not apply to legal businesses.

The fact is, marijuana businesses that are operating legally should be entitled to the same deductions and credits under the tax code as any other business.  Passage of the Small Business Tax Equity Act will remove the arbitrary and punitive measures of the tax code that treat legal marijuana businesses as illegal. All members of Congress should have no hesitation supporting and co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

 

 

 

 

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ATR Supports Biennial Budgeting Bill

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Monday, March 20th, 2017, 2:40 PM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist wrote a letter to Congressman Messer in support of H.R. 1065, the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act of 2017. H.R. 1065 would reform the budget and appropriations cycle by extending it from one to two years, aligning the budget process with Congressional terms.

This key piece of legislation will increase efficiency and oversight over federal spending and remove any practices that promote wasted spending. The failure of Congress to complete a budget and appropriations process numerous times over the last 40 years is an issue that needs to be addressed. A biennial budgeting process, like the one created by this bill, would help resolve that problem. Read the letter here or below. 

March 20, 2017

The Honorable Luke Messer
United States House of Representatives
1230 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Congressman Messer,

I write to express support for your bill, the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act of 2017. The legislation, H.R. 1065, offers a new approach to solve Washington gridlock, and promote efficiency in federal spending.

 The 1978 Budget Act has created a broken system that is rigged toward higher spending. In the last 40 years, the appropriations process has been completed just four times. Within the last 20 years, it has been completed just once. Congress has even failed to pass a budget in 9 of the last 18 years.

H.R. 1065 would reform the budget and appropriations cycle by extending it from one to two years, aligning the budget process with Congressional terms. This would allow Congress ample time to allocate how it spends taxpayer dollars and conduct oversight over federal programs. Lawmakers would be required to complete the budget process in non-election years, so they are not impeded by campaign responsibilities.

By using election years to focus on studying long-term budgetary and economic effects, your legislation will ensure strong oversight over federal spending. In turn, this will allow Congress to better understand and highlight how much money an agency or program needs based on the economic implications it would produce. Wasteful or unnecessary programs can then be better identified and cut.

A biennial budget process like the one created by H.R. 1065 could reverse current practices that are biased towards waste, not prudence. Agencies are rarely able to plan effectively in the shortened budget windows created by stopgap measures. As a result, the current system encourages federal agencies to abide by a “use it or lose it” mentality, in which they spend billions during the last few weeks in order to avoid having their budget reduced for the next year.

It is clear that our current budget system does not work. Your legislation recognizes that and implements key reforms that aim to streamline the budget process to allow Congress to better conduct oversight and combat waste. I urge your colleagues to support H.R. 1065, the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act.

Onward,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

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Lawmakers Should Oppose Tax Increases on Capital Gains

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Thursday, March 9th, 2017, 6:20 PM PERMALINK

In a letter sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Chairman of the Ways and Means Commitee Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Americans for Tax Reform along with 31 other organizations urged members of Congress to oppose any increases in the capital gains tax. The conversation surrounding tax reform should not include increasing the tax on capital gains or carried interest. If anything, it should move to lower the tax on capital gains. Read the letter here or below. 

March 9th, 2017

The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan & Chairman Brady:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in support of your efforts to pass pro-growth tax reform and urge you to oppose efforts to increase taxes on capital gains.

The next four years represents an opportunity to reduce -- not increase taxes on capital gains. Over the past eight years, the top rate increased from 15 percent to 23.8 percent, and the top integrated rate currently sits at 56.3 percent compared to the OECD/BRIC average of 40.3 percent. 

While it appears unlikely that incoming lawmakers and the administration will increase rates outright, they should also be sure not to incrementally move the needle toward higher capital gains taxes in other ways, like boosting taxes on carried interest capital gains.

Carried interest capital gains income is earned through a net gain within a partnership formed between individuals with capital and an expert investor. They are indistinguishable from any other type of capital and so they are paid at the same capital gains tax rates. 

While supporters of higher taxes on carried interest capital gains say it takes aim at 'hedge fund guys,' it would also hurt pension funds, charities, and colleges that depend on these investment partnerships as part of their savings goals. In addition, small businesses, innovators, and

inventors would find themselves increasingly shut out from investment money available to them from these partnerships.

Rather than supporting proposals that lead to higher capital gains tax rates, the incoming Congress and administration should look toward lower rates. One model to follow is contained in the House GOP blueprint, which reduces the top rate on capital gains to 16.5 percent.

Today, pro-growth tax reform is needed more than ever. It is imperative that lawmakers prioritize an overhaul of the tax code as well as protect the areas of the current tax code that promote innovation, investment, and growth. 

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union and Foundation

Jim Martin
Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Norm Singleton
Vice President for Policy, Campaign for Liberty

James Edwards
Co-Director, Inventors Project

Charles Sauer
President, Market Institute

Larry Ward
Chairman, Constitutional Rights PAC

Shaun McCutcheon
Chairman, Conservative Action Fund

Colonel Rob Maness
Chairman, Gator PAC

Donny Ferguson
Chairman, BetterEconomy.org

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Andrew Langer
President, The Institute for Liberty

Judson Phillips
Founder, Tea Party Nation

Paul Morinville
Chairman, US Inventors

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Louis Foreman
President, Edison Nation

Dee Hodges, President
Maryland Taxpayers Association

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance 

Melissa Ortiz
Founder and Principal, Able Americans

Dan Weber
CEO, Association of Mature American Citizens

Mario Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Gregory T. Angelo
President, Log Cabin Republicans

Willes K. Lee
President, National Federation of Republican Assemblies

Derrick Hollie
President, Reaching America

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Dick Patten
President, American Business Defense Council

Adam Brandon
President and CEO, Freedomworks

Jeffrey Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Richard A. Viguerie
Chairman, Conservative HQ

Adrian Pelkus
President, San Diego Inventors Forum

Randy Landreneau
Founder, Independent Inventors of America

Iain Murray
Vice President, Competitive Enterprise Institute

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Tax Reform Must Preserve the Deduction for Advertising Costs

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi, Alexander Hendrie on Friday, February 17th, 2017, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

2017 marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform. As lawmakers move forward with tax reform, they must retain the ability of businesses to deduct advertising costs. Eliminating or removing this deduction would distort business decisions and undermines the goals of growth, simplicity, and equity that drive tax reform. 

[ATR letter in support of preserving advertising deduction]

Treating Advertising Costs Differently From Other Business Decisions Would Distort the Tax Code: Advertising is one of many costs of doing business that firms are properly allowed to deduct, and has been treated as such in the tax code for more than 100 years. Other costs to businesses include wages and other forms of compensation, travel, and rent.

There is little difference between advertising costs and these other business expenses. Changing current law would needlessly create a bias against investing in advertising. In turn, this would encourage businesses to make economically inefficient decisions based on tax reasons.

Eliminating the Advertising Deduction Would Have Drastic Economic Consequences: Past tax reform proposals have called for limiting or eliminating the advertising deduction as a “pay-for” in tax reform. However, any revenue raised in this way would be dwarfed by the negative impacts to the economy. 

In total, advertising directly or indirectly supports almost 22 million jobs and $5.8 trillion in total economic output. Every dollar of advertising spending generates $22 of economic activity. Advertising associated with local radio and television is alone projected to contribute more than $1 trillion in economic output and 1.38 million jobs.

Preserving the Deductibility of Advertising is Consistent With the Principles of the “Better Way” Tax Reform Blueprint: One of the most pro-growth changes in the House Republican blueprint is the creation of a “cash-flow” business tax that allows businesses to immediately deduct the costs associated with necessary expenses like the purchase of tangible and intangible assets.

This gives business owners a zero percent rate on dollars spent when they invest in their business, which in turn drives stronger growth, and helps create more jobs and higher wages. In fact, implementation of immediate full business expensing would lead to an estimated long-term GDP growth of 5.4 percent and create more than one million jobs, according to the Tax Foundation.

Implementing full business expensing is a vital step toward creating a pro-growth tax code. At the same time, taking the existing treatment of advertising costs in the other direction by forcing it to be depreciated over multiple years makes no economic sense and undermines both the economic gains and the rationale for moving to full business expensing.

As part of the tax reform conversation, legislators should oppose any proposal that removes the ability of businesses to deduct advertising costs as a necessary business expense. Limiting this provision would undermine economic growth, the principles of the “Better Way” blueprint, and completely distorts business decisions.

 

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ATR Supports H.R. 1051, the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Thursday, February 16th, 2017, 12:14 PM PERMALINK

One of the many Obamcare tax hikes was an income tax increase that increased the threshold at which Americans could deduct out of pocket medical expenses.  Prior to Obamacare, this threshold allowed Americans to deduct any out of pocket medical expense that exceeded 7.5 percent of their annual adjusted income, but Obamacare raised this threshold to 10 percent. This increase has a large effect on many including the elderly who typically have high medical expenses and the least flexibility in their income. 

Representative McSally (R-AZ) has introduced legislation, H.R. 1051, the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act, to put a stop to these Obamacare tax increases and provide much needed tax relief for seniors and the middle class. Last year, the legislation passed with bipartisan support with a vote of 261-147 and as such, it should have no problem being passed again this year. Americans for Tax Reform supports this legislation and urges all members of Congress to support it as well. See the letter here or below: 

February 16, 2017

The Honorable Martha McSally
United States House of Representatives
510 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congresswoman McSally,

I write in support of H.R. 1051, the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act, legislation to stop Obamacare’s 2017 tax increases on out of pocket medical expenses and provide tax relief to Americans.  This piece of legislation easily passed in the last Congress with large bipartisan support and will most likely pass again with widespread support.

Seniors and the middle class bear the brunt of Obamacare’s tax increases. Prior to passage of Obamacare, Americans could deduct out of pocket medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted annual income.  10.2 million families used this tax provision in 2012 with an average of under $8,500 in medical expenses claimed. More than half of the families that used this provision made less than $50,000 per year.

Thanks to Obamacare, this threshold increased to 10 percent for most families, and on January 1, 2017 it also increased for seniors. This tax hike represents President Obama once again violating his “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any American earning less than $250,000.

Typically, the elderly have the costliest medical expenses and require greater medical care. In addition, they typically no longer have an influx of income, instead relying on their savings. Obama’s tax increase from 7.5 to 10 percent will have a ringing effect on seniors, who often no longer have an influx of income. 

H.R. 1051 stops this tax increase on seniors and reinstates the older, lower threshold for medical expenses for all Americans. This tax hike represents yet another way Obamacare has hurt American families, who were already struggling to receive the medical care they need.

Americans for Tax Reform supports the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act and urges all members of Congress to support and co-sponsor this important legislation to relieve Obamacare’s tax burden on the middle class and seniors.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

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ATR Supports H.R. 523, The Debt Transparency and Accountability Act

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

Representative Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) has introduced the Debt Transparency and Accountability Act, H.R. 523. This legislation creates a clear framework for holding the administration accountable for any increase in the debt and requires the Treasury Secretary to produce options for reducing the debt. This bill passed in the last Congress with bipartisan support, so legislators on both sides of the aisle should have no problem in supporting this key piece of legislation.

This legislation requires the Treasury Secretary to appear before the House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee between 21 and 60 days before it is anticipated that the debt limit will be reached. Specifically, the Secretary will be required to present a detailed report outlining the nation’s financial state while also proposing substantive reforms.

Firstly, the Secretary will be required to report on the current state of the debt (including historical levels of debt, current composition of debt, and future debt projections).

Secondly, this bill will require the administration to propose detailed proposals to reduce the debt in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

Thirdly, the legislation requires the administration to project how increasing the debt limit will affect future spending, debt service, and the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency.

Lastly, the Secretary will be required to report projections of the long-term sustainability of mandatory entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

In addition, the legislation requires the Treasury Secretary to present progress reports on efforts to reduce the debt when returning to Congress to ask for future debt ceiling increases.

The Debt Transparency and Accountability Act creates a clear, yet comprehensive framework that any administration must follow to reduce federal debt when requesting a debt limit increase. By requiring the submission of a detailed report and comprehensive plan before Congress, H.R. 523 ensures that increasing the debt ceiling only occurs as part of a framework of serious proposals to reform the nation’s finances and chart a pathway toward fiscal responsibility. Americans for Tax Reform supports this legislation and urges all members of Congress to support or cosponsor this bill.

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Global Trade Accountability Act Reasserts Congressional Authority

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Monday, February 6th, 2017, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

The power to impose tariffs and regulate foreign commerce is not granted to the executive branch, but rather to Congress under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. Presidents are granted the power to negotiate international trade agreements, but that does not include imposing tariffs. Yet over the years, Congress has consistently allowed the President to raise tariffs and restrict imports, heeding much of its congressional authority to the executive branch.

Congress must reassert its authority through the Global Trade Accountability Act, S. 177, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). This important piece of legislation will reinforce Congressional oversight and accountability of any trade decisions made by the Executive Branch.  Americans for Tax Reform along with 13 other free market groups wrote a letter to members of Congress urging them to support S.177, the Global Trade Accountability Act. Read the letter here or below.

Congress will be able to ensure that we don’t head down the path of protectionism we once historically did. There is a reason why our nation was set up to have checks and balances.  This piece of legislation is merely reaffirming the principles our nation has already established.

It is imperative that the U.S. pursues the best trade policy possible and strengthens international trade relations.  International trade is directly linked to millions of jobs across all 50 states. In 46 of the 50 states, trade-related jobs account for more than one-quarter of ALL jobs. In total, more than 1 in 5 jobs, or close to 41 million are reliant on trade. In fact, these workers earn 15-20 percent more than jobs in industries not tied to trade. Free trade is critical to the American economy and is an essential component to guaranteeing a high standard of living for all Americans.

Open Letter to the House and Senate:

Protect Families and Businesses from Unnecessary Tax Increases: Enact the Global Trade Accountability Act

 

February 2, 2017

 

To Members of Congress:

We the undersigned free market organizations, representing millions of hardworking Americans, urge you to support S. 177, the “Global Trade Accountability Act,” introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). If enacted, the legislation would strengthen Congressional oversight and accountability of trade-related decisions made by the Executive Branch.

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to impose tariffs and regulate foreign commerce. Article II of the Constitution gives the President the power to negotiate international trade agreements. Over time, Congress has ceded much of its authority to establish and raise tariffs and restrict imports to the Executive Branch as long as certain conditions are met. This current arrangement gives the Executive Branch virtual carte blanche to raise tariffs or otherwise restrict imports in a manner that could trigger a costly and unnecessary trade war.

Consistent with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and similar in process to the REINS Act, the Global Trade Accountability Act would require Congressional approval of proposed Executive Branch trade measures aimed at raising tariffs or restricting imports.  In short, it would allow Congress to assert its Constitutional authority over trade policy when appropriate.

Trade policy has been unfairly maligned in recent years, but make no mistake: protectionism has an ugly history in the United States. The Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930 deepened and prolonged the Great Depression. Since World War II, however, a bipartisan consensus emerged and the United States began working to liberalize foreign trade between nations. This has paid enormous dividends both domestically and abroad. Regrettably, the specter of protectionism is higher today than it has been at any point since the Depression. The Global Trade Accountability Act can prevent the United States from slouching toward protectionism. That is why we strongly urge you to pass S. 177, the Global Trade Accountability Act.

Sincerely,

Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

Grover Norquist, President
Americans for Tax Reform

Norm Singleton, President
Campaign for Liberty

David McIntosh, President
Club for Growth

Iain Murray, Vice President of Strategy
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Adam Brandon, President
FreedomWorks

Matt Kibbe, President
Free the People

Tom Giovanetti, President
Institute for Policy Innovation

Lisa Nelson, President
The Jefferson Project

Jerry Taylor, President
Niskanen Center

Lori Sanders, Outreach Director
R Street Institute

David Williams, President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Berin Szoka, President
TechFreedom 

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Medicare Part D Already Works

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Friday, February 3rd, 2017, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

Medicare Part D is an example of the free market ensuring lower costs and greater access to care. Preventing government bureaucrats from interfering with private-sector negotiations allows pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical manufacturers, and pharmacies to negotiate lower drug prices and reduce overall healthcare costs amongst themselves.

Too often, government-created programs spend more than projected. But, Medicare Part D is an exception, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. The CBO estimated in 2005 that Part D would cost $172 billion in 2015, but it has cost less than half that – just $75 billion.

The government shouldn’t mess with a program that isn’t broken, and doing so would do almost nothing to address runaway federal spending. Instead this proposal would decrease access to life-saving medicines and increase costs to the healthcare system over the long term.

In a letter to Representatives, ATR President Grover Norquist, together with CAGW President Tom Schatz and NTU President Pete Sepp urged Congress to not interfere with Medicare Part D. The letter can be found here or below.

 

February 2, 2017
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the more than 1.8 million members and supporters of our respective organizations, we urge you to oppose any attempts to change the successful and cost-saving process by which drug prices are negotiated for Medicare Part D.

When Congress created Part D, a non-interference clause was included to prevent the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from interfering with the robust private-sector negotiations that occur among pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical manufacturers, and pharmacies.  PBMs use a variety of methods, such as acquiring price concessions from both brand-name and generic drug manufacturers, rebates, and networks of more affordable pharmacies to lower drug costs for beneficiaries.  PBMs also work with patients on drug adherence to keep them out of hospitals and doctors’ offices, which also helps to reduce healthcare costs.

These competitive, private-sector negotiations have been instrumental in making Medicare Part D an all-too-rare example of a government-created program whose expenditures have been significantly less than projected.  In 2005, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Part D would cost taxpayers $172 billion in 2015; instead the cost was $75 billion.

Critics of the current process for determining drug prices claim that there either are no real negotiations or that the secretary should be given the authority to negotiate.  The first claim is patently false.  In regard to allowing the secretary to negotiate prices, CBO has stated that changing the non-interference clause would have a negligible impact on costs, unless HHS established a formulary, which would lead to a restrictive, limited list of medications eligible for reimbursement by Medicare.  In other words, there would be price controls on the drugs, and some medications that are now covered by the program would be cut off.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there were 41 million beneficiaries enrolled in the Medicare Part D program in 2015.  A July 2016 Healthcare Leadership Council survey found that 92 percent of seniors reported that their plan was convenient to use; 88 percent were satisfied with their prescription drug coverage; 86 percent said their plan works well and without hassle; 84 percent reported it was important to them to have a variety of plans to compare and choose from; and, 80 percent stated their plan was a good value.

Price controls never work as advertised and cause more problems than they solve.  Medicare Part D is working more effectively than originally anticipated and is helping to keep taxpayer costs under control. The government should not interfere with something that is not broken.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

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U.S. Should Pursue Bilateral Trade Agreement with United Kingdom

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

A bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and United Kingdom would be extremely beneficial. Not only do the U.S. and U.K. have a strong commitment to one another that would be strengthened by this agreement, a trade deal would produce immense economic benefits.

President Donald Trump has expressed concerns with the current state of trade but has also committed to passing strong bilateral free trade agreements that benefit American workers and families. A U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement should be the first step in achieving the trade goals of the new administration.  Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Congressman Mark Walker (R-AL) have introduced a resolution, H.Res.60, that would pressure the Trump admiration to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement. President Trump should have no hesitation in supporting this resolution as he has expressed the prospect of such an agreement as favorable, considering it a “top priority” of the United States.

While free trade has come under scrutiny in recent years, conceptually it produces immense economic benefits.  Free trade agreements allow the elimination and reduction of tariffs—or taxes on trade—as well as other discriminatory measures such as trade quotas.  

Fewer barriers on American exports means less money taken by foreign governments out of the pockets of workers and business owners seeking to trade overseas. Fewer barriers on imports into the U.S. results in more competition and access to a greater range of products at lower prices for consumers across the country, guaranteeing a higher standard of living for Americans. 

The U.S. economy is heavily reliant on trade, so it is imperative that we have sound bilateral agreements with our major trading partners. Trade-related jobs account for more than one-quarter of ALL jobs in almost every state and a total of 41 million jobs across the country are tied to trade. These jobs pay on average 15-20 percent more than jobs in industries not tied to trade.

The United Kingdom has historically been a major stakeholder and investor in the United States and has also served as a major market for U.S. goods. Following the UK’s “Brexit” vote, there has been much uncertainty as to whether the United Kingdom and the United States can retain the strong economic and cultural ties they share. 

Passing Representative Dent and Representative Walker’s U.S.-U.K. trade deal would be a step towards strengthening these meaningful ties by starting the conversation for a bilateral trade agreement. Such a conversation would provide much-needed certainty and stability in the global economy and foster a smooth transition for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. 

It is crucial that the Trump administration take action on this resolution and start the discussion for a U.S.-U.K. bilateral trade agreement.

 

 

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