04-22-2016 Rokita Report

Apr 22, 2016 Issues: Education, Transportation

Dear Friend,

Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 114th Congress. I trust this finds you and your family well, as we work together to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington.

For daily updates, please take a moment to "Like" my Facebook page by clicking here  or follow me on Twitter if you prefer  @ToddRokita.


In this week's Rokita Report

  • Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act
  • Purdue Aviation Day
  • Blocking the Fiduciary Rule
  • Holding the IRS Accountable


Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act

As Chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee, I am committed to empowering parents and local communities in education decision-making.  Last year, we were able to roll back the No Child Left Behind Act and replace it with the Every Student Succeeds Act, legislation that the Wall Street Journal praised as the largest devolution of power from the federal government in a quarter century.

To build on this accomplishment, I introduced H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.  Child nutrition assistance has long played a critical role in the lives of millions of vulnerable children across the country.  These programs help deliver healthy meals to kids who need them and, in most cases, wouldn’t have them otherwise.  This bill will strengthen our commitment to those in need of nutrition assistance by enhancing program integrity and fighting fraud, waste, and abuse.

H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act would:

  • Require regular reviews of federal nutrition standards ensuring they are based on the best available science, reflect the input of school leaders, and meet the needs of all students.
  • Enhance the verification process to increase accountability and transparency, and rein in fraud, waste, and abuse.
  • Provide states more flexibility to serve meals during the summer.
  • Strengthen the integrity and efficiency of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by supporting a faster transition to electronic benefit transfer.
  • Support nutrition education across programs and help bring families into schools to engage in the healthy development of their children.


Purdue Aviation Day

Last weekend, 2,500 community members and aviation enthusiasts were able to see dozens of aircrafts and learn about the joys of flight during Purdue University's Aviation Day event.  Being a commercially-rated pilot and the only Hoosier Republican on the Aviation Subcommittee, I was able to provide attendees with a unique legislative update.

Rep. Rokita speaking at Purdue University's Aviation Day

I shared with attendees information about a bill that I introduced, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act.  That bill would allow the use of a driver's license to skip an onerous certification process that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires for many in the general aviation community.  The general aviation community supports $6 billion in economic activity in Indiana and the entire community supports over $14 billion.

The first Aviation Day event was held in 1911 and featured just two planes.  The past century has seen amazing advances in aviation technology.


Blocking the Fiduciary Rule

On Thursday, the Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup for H.J. Res. 88.  This resolution would block the Department of Labor’s (DOL) burdensome “fiduciary” rule, which would make it harder for Americans to save for retirement, restrict access to retirement advice, and create new hurdles for small businesses who want to offer their employees retirement options.

The DOL’s new ‘fiduciary’ rule is the latest over-regulation of the private sector we have experienced under President Obama.  The effects of this rule will prevent many Hoosiers from receiving the retirement advice they need and deserve.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to advance this resolution to the floor as I continue to fight on behalf of all Hoosiers against government red tape.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress may prevent a federal agency from implementing a rule by passing a resolution of disapproval.  H.J. Res 88 would keep the DOL’s fiduciary rule from going into effect in April of 2017. 


Holding the IRS Accountable

Monday was Tax Day, the last day to file your taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for 2015 without penalty.  In FY 2015, the government drew in $3.2 trillion in revenues, more than it ever has.  The federal government still managed to spend $3.6 trillion for a deficit of $400 billion.  Last month, as Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I helped lead committee passage of a budget that restores fiscal balance within a decade.

This week, the House passed common sense bills to continue to hold the IRS accountable for its abuses of power.

H.R. 1206, the No Hires for the Delinquent IRS Act prohibits the IRS from hiring new employees until the Treasury Department certifies to Congress that no IRS employee has a “seriously delinquent” tax debt.

H.R. 3724, the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act prevents the IRS from rehiring an employee that had been fired for misconduct before.

H.R. 4885, the IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act requires the IRS to deposit receipts collected from user fees into the general fund of the Treasury, instead of keeping it within the agency. This ensures that these funds are accountable through the Congressional appropriations process.

H.R. 4890 is a bill that imposes a ban on paying bonuses to IRS employees until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy.

These bills are now pending before the Senate.

Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.  



Todd Rokita