This message is long but well worth the read.
I'd like to talk directly to you about our vote last week in the United States House of Representatives regarding the government funding bill, the so-called "CRomnibus." It is important that the people of the 2nd District and Missouri have a full explanation of what is in the bill, the benefits it contains not only for the people of Missouri, but for smaller, more limited government in general and why I voted "yes."
Recognizing that our government spends too much, when Republicans took Control of the House in 2011, they began making significant cuts and reforms to government. And last week's CRomnibus continued those reforms by cutting spending even further and sending the federal government back to 2009 spending levels. Overall, with this budget, Republicans will have reduced discretionary spending by $176 billion in just four years. Additionally, the CRomnibus funds all agencies of the federal government through September 2015, except for the Department of Homeland Security which is tasked with enforcing our immigration laws.
The bill funds Homeland through February 27th, so we can have a specific debate on the President's executive amnesty. The President has not issued an order yet, but he is preparing to act -- and so are we in the United States Congress. We will fight the President on his plan to grant amnesty to millions and we will have a full and thorough debate worthy of an issue of this magnitude. But we must fight when we have the troops to fight. In January, Republicans will control the U.S. Senate with 54 votes and the U.S. House with 247 votes. It is foolish to begin this struggle now with limited strength when we know reinforcements are on their way -- so we will fight in January and February and we will hold this President accountable for his executive amnesty threat.
The CRomnibus also contains two major victories against the onerous government agencies that have been wreaking havoc on farmers, small businesses and Americans for several decades: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
From last year's budget, we cut the EPA's funding by yet another $60 million. In all, since Republicans took over the House, the EPA's budget has been slashed by 21% sending that over-reaching agency back to 1989 staffing levels. Additionally, written into the law is a provision that prevents the Army Corps of Engineers from regulating water sources previously covered by the state, such as farm ponds and irrigation ditches. This is a big deal for Missourians in many ways, as they try to open up shopping centers and build new roads across the state. I have heard about this particular challenge time and time again from farmers and business owners in and around the 2nd District.
The IRS has been reduced to historic funding lows as well. We have now reduced the IRS budget by $345 million, bringing it below 2008 levels. Even better, the bill that the President signed this week will actually place into law a prohibition against actions that his own IRS took when they targeted conservatives groups based on their beliefs. This bill prohibits the IRS from targeting groups for scrutiny based on their political views or targeting citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights. Additionally, it bars the White House from ordering the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization -- getting rid of any political targeting.
These two gains against the EPA and IRS are historic and by definition reduce government, force it to operate more efficiently and remove politics from these agencies. But there is so much more.
The CRomnibus protects farmers and other commodity producers by amending a provision in Dodd-Frank that required them to put down excessive collateral to get a loan, expand their businesses and hire workers. This is no big-bank bailout as liberals have hailed. This is getting the government off of your back so you can purchase financial products that help your business manage periods of market volatility, which allows you to subsequently produce goods and create jobs.
The CRomnibus is also a major victory for pro-life causes. The bill maintains all current pro-life protections and includes two new major pro-life provisions: the bill requires Obamacare plans to tell customers if they provide abortion services; the bill requires the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights to address complaints of violations of conscience protection. This President is no defender of pro-life causes -- but this President signed this bill into law, strengthening pro-life laws!
The CRomnibus also contains provisions important not only to our local economy, but also to our national security. You have heard me time and time again talk about the E/A-18G Growler aircraft and its important role in the local economy and for national security. I, along with many of my colleagues, fought for 12 Growlers to be included in this budget, but in the end, we received 15 as a result of our hard work and a testament of the need for these fighter jets in our global engagements.
The jobs, long term stability and the investment in the local economy from this aviation defense project cannot be oversold: 13,000 jobs, at least $640 million in annual economic impact to the St. Louis area, support from 91 Missouri suppliers and, now, because there are 15 instead of 12 Growlers, the production line will be up and running through 2018. Like I said, these are major achievements for the area and cannot be discounted. Last week I talked about it online HERE. I will continue to work hard in order to make sure our troops abroad have the support of Growlers and F-18 Super Hornets in the sky above them in the future.
I can go on and on and on about the achievements of this bill, which are many. From prohibiting the Department of Energy from forcing manufacturers to stop producing incandescent light bulbs to eliminating important funding to the Department of Education used to coerce states into adopting Common Core initiatives to prohibiting the transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, the CRomnibus is not a perfect bill, but it is a good bill and one with many conservative achievements that limit the size of government and limit the intrusiveness of government.
The unified Republican Congress that will be sworn in on January 6th will continue to build on the gains from the last several years. The American people are counting on the Republican Congress to hold this President accountable for his unpopular and unconstitutional actions -- and hold him accountable we will.
Member of Congress