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Rokita Report 4-17-12
Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 112th Congress. I trust this finds you and your family well.
This week (4/15 - 4/21/12)
This week, the House is back in session with key hearings and votes.
On the House Floor
Sportsmen's Heritage Act, H.R. 4089 -
H.R. 4089 offers additional protection and opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.
Small Business Tax Cut Act, H.R. 9 -
This bill allows small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income, freeing up funds to retain and hire new employees.
Surface Transportation Extension -
The House will also consider an extension to surface transportation programs. Last month, Congress passed a three month extension of these programs. It is my hope that this legislation opens the door for a long-term solution to transportation funding with the Senate. This bill would extend transportation programs through September 30 and would issue a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. It is expected that if this bill passes the House, it would go to a conference committee with the Senate to resolve the differences between the two bills.
At the Committee
Today, the House Budget Committee held a hearing, "Strengthening the Safety Net." This hearing focused on reform ideas for our social safety nets - Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Several respected public policy experts testified before the committee. You can view a witness list and see the archived webcast here.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is holding two hearings this week. On Tuesday, the committee held a hearing on the Workforce Investment Improvement Act, H.R. 4297. Then on Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a meeting, "Reviewing the Impact of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' Regulatory and Enforcement Actions." You can learn more about these hearings and view live or archived webcasts here.
Also on Wednesday, the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing regarding the Library of Congress, "Library of Congress: Ensuring Continuity and Efficiency During Leadership Transitions." The committee will hear testimony from Library of Congress leadership on operations and will discuss improvements that can be made to better serve the public and their elected representatives. You can watch the hearing live or watch an archived webcast at a later date here.
Last week (4/8 - 4/14/12)
Last week was spent in Indiana, meeting with and listening to Hoosiers about issues that are most important to you. Photos are posted on my Facebook page for your convenience.
On Thursday, the Greater Indianapolis Republican Women's Club held their monthly luncheon and I was pleased to be their guest speaker for the event. The group has been inviting speakers to talk about a specific amendment to our Constitution. Last week's topic was the 10th Amendment, which establishes that the states retain all powers that are not delegated to the federal government. This amendment certainly is at the heart of every political conversation that our country is engaged in, particularly as the Supreme Court considers overturning the drastic expansion of federal power enacted under Obamacare.
Saturday morning, I attended the Hendricks County Rural Electric Management Cooperative (REMC). A power cooperative, or co-op, is a pool of private citizens that purchase electricity. They self-administer the cooperative through yearly elections, and refund overpayment of their electricity should there be any remaining funds at the end of the year. I was glad to visit with folks in this town hall-like atmosphere. REMC meetings throughout our state usually draw upwards of 1000 people, and it's exciting to be part of a civic gathering with so many Hoosiers. It is important to me to learn more about how REMC members' energy prices are affected by burdensome government regulations.
Later that day, I was honored to receive the Nathan Hale Award when I spoke to the Reserve Officers Association of Indiana during their annual conference in Lafayette. As many of you have expressed in your letters and e-mails, there are some concerns regarding cuts to defense spending due to the Budget Control Act and the failure of the "Super Committee" last year. These concerns are important and I appreciate the frank and honest discussion we had at this event. As we tackle our massive debt crisis, we have to be willing to cut waste, fraud, abuse, and overspending, even in the defense budget.
I would also like to take time to mention an example of successful casework by my team. Recently, a retired and disabled veteran contacted my office in an effort to retrieve his medical records, which had been lost by his unit, to resolve a paperwork issue with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He had tried unsuccessfully for quite some time to obtain his records, once being told they were gone for good. After many doors were closed in the face of this veteran, he contacted my office and my team persevered for this Hoosier hero and were able to locate his records, which helped resolve his surgery and disability case.
Each year my office sees hundreds of cases just like this one and I felt it was important to highlight a story like this to show the work my team does for the 4th District. While we don't do this to pat ourselves on the back, I thought it was important to mention this story to be helpful to anyone that may need assistance from my office.
Being your elected representative is quite often more than hearings and legislation, and this is an example of it. Should you or someone you know in the 4th District need assistance with a specific problem you are experiencing with your federal government, please do not hesitate to contact my team in any of my Indiana offices. We will work as hard as we can to get a successful result.
In Case You Missed It...
A clickable offering of books and articles that I've read recently and highly recommend, if we are to "Keep the Republic."
This week, I would like to offer two columns on free enterprise for your consideration.
In a recent column that I read in the City Journal, Guy Sorman highlights the many global successes that free markets and U.S. leadership have led to. In "Growing Out of Poverty," Sorman cites specific historical events to support the case for the free market. As I have said time and again, when given the opportunity, American consumers can be incredibly shrewd, supportive, and beneficial to our economy. Sorman takes it a step further and notes the importance of American consumers to the world marketplace, and I agree with him.
Another article that I read last week - a Real Clear Politics column by one of my favorite authors, John Stossel, titled "Can Government Do Anything Well?" - builds upon Sorman's case for the free market. Stossel provides a detailed and simple description of socialism and the end result of government intervention. He asserts what many of us already know: that free enterprise and the power of the individual can do a better job with many things that we call on our federal government to do today.
You can review previous postings on my blog or by clicking on Rokita Readings on the right column in this message.
Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts in Washington. Take care.