As a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan, I know all too well what bad decisions look like, and how one bad decision — even early in a game — can cost you. In the first quarter of a scoreless football game, you don’t gamble and go for it on fourth down if you are in field-goal range — you take the points. If the immigration debate is a football game, it’s a scoreless first quarter right now and it’s time to kick the proverbial field goal and take the policy points in the form of enhanced E-Verify and legislation dealing with high-skilled workers.
Passing enhanced E-Verify and high-skilled worker legislation doesn’t mean giving up on comprehensive immigration reform. Indeed, passing these pieces of legislation will help make a broader immigration deal possible by establishing trust among the parties involved and putting in place some of the ingredients necessary to any comprehensive immigration overhaul.
Almost everyone agrees that enhanced E-Verify is an essential element of immigration reform. Jobs are the main magnet for unauthorized entry into the U.S. and the main magnet for overstays of legal entries. A prerequisite for any path to legalization or citizenship is a “prevention” strategy aimed at turning off this magnet. E-Verify can do that. Indeed, the reason the Reagan-era legalization program failed is that it lacked a system like E-Verify to help establish who is here legally and who is here illegally.
Enhanced E-Verify would include new identity-proofing methods that utilize 21st-century technology. An employer would electronically supply a job applicant’s name, address, date of birth and Social Security number (or Department of Homeland Security identity number if the applicant isn’t a citizen). The employer would then be given either a green light (meaning the applicant is authorized to work), a yellow light (meaning the applicant’s eligibility can’t immediately be confirmed) or a red light (the applicant isn’t authorized to work). This process could be done on any computer or smartphone with Internet access.
There is broad agreement about not only the need for enhanced E-Verify, but also the need to make it easier for high-skilled workers to come to the U.S. The current system of providing a limited number of H-1B visas is woefully insufficient — with tremendous backlogs of applicants — and dramatically restricts the ability of H-1B recipients to change employers or even change jobs with the same employer.
There is an alternative to the current H-1B-based system that can and will work for immigrants, employers and our economy. We need to redesign the employment green-card process to avoid the H-1B pitfalls and address timeliness and efficiency directly. This means making the green-card process relevant and workable for new employees — replacing labor certification with fees or other mechanisms that can be accomplished immediately on worker selection — and ending the backlogs with sufficient visa numbers, at least for new employees.
We should replace labor certification with a prompt system (including premium processing of petitions) that requires strong attestations regarding an initial prevailing wage, non-displacement, strong and consistent recruitment and the payment of substantial fees (such as 10-25% of the prevailing wage, depending on employer size) to create a clear market-based preference for U.S. workers.
A new system should include a short (two- or three-year) conditional status for employment-based green cards (modeled on the current spousal system). The green card would automatically be made permanent if the employee remains with the petitioning employer for the entirety of the conditional period. Employees who leave their original employer for good cause (any unfair treatment or breach of attestation or contract) before the end of the conditional period would be eligible for a waiver to gain permanent status. Such a system would prevent green-card recipients from abandoning employers after those employers have paid fees and invested in training them.
Once enhanced E-Verify and high-skilled immigration reform are signed into law, all parties to immigration reform — from unions to border security advocates — can begin to establish a level of trust. Getting something done will also build trust with voters, who are skeptical — and rightfully so — that Washington can get anything right. This trust will be absolutely critical when Washington tackles the bigger and thornier issues relating to comprehensive immigration reform.
There is plenty of game ahead in the immigration debate and there may come a time when it makes sense to gamble and go for it, but for now, let’s take the points.
Steve LaTourette, a former Republican member of Congress from Ohio, is the president of the Main Street Partnership.
Originally from: The Daily Caller
Rep. Tiberi (R-OH) Opening Statement: Hearing on the Ways and Means Small Business Tax Reform Discussion Draft
The hearing will come to order. Good morning and thank you for joining us for our hearing on the Ways & Means Small Business Tax Reform Discussion Draft.
In March 2011, the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee held a hearing on small businesses and tax reform. We learned that the temporary, complex nature of the tax code was forcing small business owners to invest their time and resources complying with the tax code instead of growing their businesses. The message was clear: simplifying the tax code means more jobs created by small businesses.
Indeed, comprehensive tax reform must result in a simpler, more stable tax code with lower statutory tax rates for small business owners. Today nine out of ten small business owners rely on a tax preparer. There have been over 4,500 changes to the tax code over the last decade. And with the addition of the 3.8 percent Obamacare tax, small business pass-through entities—which pay their taxes at individual rates—will have a top federal tax rate of 44.6 percent. Comprehensive tax reform cannot be limited to an exercise of only lowering the corporate tax rate as the President has suggested. It must also lower rates for small businesses, who employ over 50 percent of the private sector workforce and whose tax compliance costs are 65 percent higher than for large businesses.
The Small Business Tax Reform Discussion Draft is a step forward in creating a better tax code for small businesses. But that’s not to say it can’t be improved upon, and that’s why Chairman Camp released this as a discussion draft: to ensure that through a public, transparent process, stakeholders – including small businesses themselves – have the opportunity to tell us what they need from tax reform to help them create jobs and increase wages for their employees. I’m looking forward to a great bipartisan discussion today. I thank our witnesses for being here and I now yield to Ranking Member Neal for his opening statement.
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced the release of the 2013 Compilation of Trade Statutes – commonly known as the “Trade Blue Book.” First published in 1987 and periodically updated since, the Blue Book compiles the statutory text of U.S. trade laws, integrating numerous separate acts of Congress into a single statutory compilation. Designed as a resource for Committee Members and interested parties in the international trade community, it is available free of charge on the Committee’s website here and printed copies can be ordered from the Government Printing Office.
Chairman Camp: “The Trade Blue Book is a valuable resource for Committee Members and the international trade community. I welcome the release of this edition, which reflects the high level of activity last Congress, including passage of seven bipartisan trade bills.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The official name for President Obama’s health-care law is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Yet, despite its misleading title, Obamacare will do anything but provide affordable health care.
When the bill’s series of mandates and tax increases are fully implemented in January 2014, Americans of all ages and incomes will be faced with the daunting realization that our nation’s health-care system will never be the same.
Employers and their employees will be hit hard by the upcoming mandates and tax increases. Not only will they provide a strong disincentive for businesses to grow and provide jobs, but they will lead to lower wages for many workers. They will also cause an estimated 7 million Americans to lose the employer sponsored health coverage that they currently enjoy. And sadly, even companies that comply with employer mandates are not exempt from increased fees. Many are just learning that employers will also be forced to pay a yearly fee over the next three years for every employee that receives insurance.
It’s not just businesses and their employers who will bear the brunt of this misguided law — Americans of all ages will be affected. Younger Americans will feel the pinch as their insurance premiums rise and seniors’ care will be deeply harmed by the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were used to partially finance the $2 trillion law. President Obama’s own Medicare actuaries estimate that 15 percent of all hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health facilities will be unable to serve Medicare patients by 2019, and this figure will increase to 40 percent in 2050.
Families and single individuals of all income levels will see their premiums increase. Nationwide, single adults between the ages of 21 and 29 who earn at least $25,000 per year and buy insurance in the individual market will see their premiums increase next year by an average of 42 percent. In West Virginia, the average health-insurance premium in the individual market will increase by 56 percent. Despite the president’s promises of insuring families of lower income levels, families earning $46,000 may not qualify for government subsidies and will therefore bear the full cost of these premium increases.
If the looming mandates and taxes aren’t enough to convince Americans that Obamacare is bad medicine, enrolling in the government exchanges might be enough to convince them. A draft exchange plan enrollment form is 21 pages long, and asks individuals to provide information about their employer’s health plan that they almost certainly will not have. That 21-page form will only determine a person’s eligibility for government subsidies or tax credits, even more paperwork will be necessary to actually sign up for insurance coverage.
Along with many in Congress, I voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2009. Since then, I have voted on multiple occasions to repeal and defund implementation of the law because Americans deserve better than devastating Medicare cuts, tax increases and mandates. They deserve patient-centered reforms that make health care affordable and available for families, but it will take repealing the Affordable Care Act to do that.
Capito, of Charleston, represents West Virginia’s Second District and is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) team up to launch http://TaxReform.gov, a new website dedicated to obtaining input from the American public on tax reform.
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Committee on Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), along with other Members of the Human Resources Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 1896, the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. The bipartisan legislation mirrors legislation that unanimously passed the House on June 5, 2012 by voice vote and makes a number of no-cost improvements to the State-administered child support enforcement program designed to improve child support collections especially in cases that stretch across international borders.
On the introduction of the legislation, Chairman Reichert stated: “Enforcement of child support orders should not end at the water’s edge. Children, regardless of where they or their parents live, should receive financial support from their parents. The introduction of this bill takes the next step toward ratifying the Hague Convention so that State and local child support enforcement officials have access to the necessary tools to make international enforcement possible.”
Ranking Member Doggett commented: “This legislation will help ensure that borders don’t become barriers to children receiving the financial support their parents are obligated to provide. It does right by children and saves taxpayers’ dollars. I look forward to working together to again pass this legislation in the House and hope that the Senate will act upon it quickly so it can be signed into law.”
Other Members of the Human Resources Subcommittee cosponsoring the legislation include: John Lewis (D-GA), Charles Boustany (R-LA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Tim Griffin (R-AR), and Jim Renacci (R-OH).
The International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 is nearly identical to H.R. 4282, which passed the House by voice vote on June 5, 2012. This bill serves as the implementing legislation for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This multilateral treaty, to which the Senate provided its consent in 2010, provides for the structured exchange of information and consistent enforcement of international cases of child support.
The bill also builds on the Subcommittee’s recent bipartisan efforts to standardize data within and across social programs. This includes applying to the child support enforcement program the same no-cost data standardization provisions recently enacted in the child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and unemployment insurance programs. Finally, the bill will allow researchers expanded access to data in the child support program’s National Directory of New Hires for use in evaluating whether Federal reemployment programs are working as intended.
Overall, the legislation is expected to yield savings of nearly $500,000 over 10 years by improving the recovery of child support payments. The Obama Administration is expected to support this legislation.
Original story here.
I rise today in support of H.R. 807, the Full Faith and Credit Act.
This legislation credibly and permanently removes the threat of default on a U.S. debt payment and ensures that Social Security benefit payments are paid in full and on time.
The bill is really quite simple: it requires the Treasury Department to issue debt not subject to the statutory limit to make principal and interest payments.
And here are the facts about who holds that debt: American families and businesses hold the overwhelming majority of U.S. debt. Teacher pension funds, individual Americans, our military retirement fund, and the list goes on and on. So by ensuring that Treasury has the ability to honor our debt obligations, we are in fact ensuring Americans will be paid.
This legislation is the first step in protecting our credit rating. Two major credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, have indicated that they differentiate between debt and other payments when determining whether or not to review our credit rating. To that end, this bill specifically addresses the default on U.S. debt obligations that these agencies have identified.
Additionally, Standard and Poor’s was crystal clear as to why it downgraded the U.S. credit rating following the debt negotiations in the summer of 2011. And I quote: “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”
In plain English, they downgraded the U.S. credit rating because we have not addressed the primary drivers of our debt and deficits. It’s nearly two years later, and neither the President nor Congressional Democrats have offered a serious plan that would address the problems that caused the downgrade in the first place. This legislation places that responsibility on the Obama Administration and encourages the President to be more involved with taming our debt, something Republicans have long called for.
Some critics of this legislation have claimed that it opens the door for Treasury to issue new debt for new spending or that it is simply raising the debt limit by another means. This is categorically false. This bill does not increase the debt limit. Instead, under this legislation, Treasury loses the authority to issue debt above the limit if doing so creates any room under the existing debt limit. Treasury may not issue new debt above the statutory limit again until the limit is reached. Additionally, any new debt issued to pay principal and interest is not exempt from the statutory limit unless issuing the new debt would cause Treasury to exceed the statutory limit.
The American people agree – and that support transcends party lines. A majority (55 percent) support requiring the government to pay the principal and interest on the debt before it pays for any other government expenses. Support for the proposal is strong among Republicans (65%) and Independents (53%), while Democratic voters are split evenly between favor (46%) and oppose (47%).
Clearly, we cannot default on our debt. The consequences of doing so could be very serious. A default would at the very least hinder an already stagnant economic recovery, and, in a worst-case scenario, lead the country back into a recession. Failure to make a debt payment will increase our borrowing costs and threaten our ability to make any of the other payments we owe. If signed into law, this legislation would prevent such an unacceptable situation.
The President and Congress must work to reduce the growing burden of our debt and deficits, but we must do so without imposing more tax increases on hardworking families and job creators. There are bipartisan policies that we can enact to reduce wasteful Washington spending and preserve Social Security and Medicare for future generations. The Ways and Means Committee has already begun to examine those policies and will continue to do so over the coming months. In the meantime, we must act to make it clear to the American people and the world economy that the U.S. will not default on a debt payment. The legislation before us accomplishes that important goal, and I would urge my colleagues to join me in voting for its passage today.
Original statement here.
Washington, D.C. – With Mother’s Day around the corner, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02) is leading the charge for women across the country by introducing bipartisan breast cancer legislation. The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, H.R. 1830, sets the goal of ending deaths from breast cancer by 2020.
In the United States, the chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime has increased from 1 in 11 in 1975 to 1 in 8 today. Last year, an estimated 110 women died of breast cancer every day, adding up to nearly 40,000 lost lives.
“This Mother’s Day, my husband’s family and many more across the country will be without their mother due to breast cancer. As breast cancer continues to claim tens of thousands of lives each year, Congress should do everything it can to prevent this life threatening disease. That is why I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, which sets the goal of ending deaths from breast cancer by 2020. It is my hope that together we can help save lives.”
Background on the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act:
- This bill not about spending more money on the problem. Instead, it is about leveraging both public and private resources to make our response to the disease more effective.
- The bill establishes a commission comprised of the best minds in biomedical research, business, breast cancer advocacy and other related and unrelated disciplines to identify promising opportunities and ideas not currently being prioritized by the public and private sectors.
- The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act will focus on identifying strategies for the primary prevention of breast cancer and identifying methods to prevent breast cancer metastasis, thereby saving lives.
- The Commission will ensure our limited research dollars are funding the most promising science in the area of breast cancer.
- The bill sets the goal of ending deaths from breast cancer by 2020.
The original press release can be found here.
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) issued the following statement upon release of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) report on the Ways and Means Committee Tax Reform Working Groups. The report includes a summary of present law and suggestions for reform submitted to the 11 Tax Reform Working Groups.
“Over the past two-plus months the Joint Committee on Taxation has worked tirelessly alongside Ways and Means Committee Members of the 11 Tax Reform Working Groups. The release of today’s report reflects the hard work of Members and staff. This document provides an important and comprehensive overview of the tax code, an overview of some of the most commonly referenced previous tax reform proposals and summarizes the views of more than 1,300 submissions offered to the Ways and Means Committee by key stakeholders. The Committee will dig into its details over the coming weeks.”
Public comments were accepted through April 15, 2013. To view comments that were submitted click here.