The Tiffany Telegram: November 5, 2021
Infrastructure and reconciliation are the two words on everyone’s mind in Washington this week— luckily for American taxpayers the Democrats haven’t been able to stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to come up with an agreement to move them forward.
President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s big government socialist spending plans would exacerbate the labor shortage, worsen supply-chain disruptions, and further fuel the runaway inflation that is hammering family budgets. And yet my colleagues on the other side have taken it upon themselves to try and make a bad situation even worse by tying Biden’s massive 2,000-page wish list to the infrastructure bill – a lethal combination that could send our economy into a tailspin.
From increasing penalties on businesses that fail to obey Biden’s controversial vaccine mandate to hiking taxes on the middle class and smacking job creators with the highest tax rate in the developed world.
If that weren’t bad enough, the Democrats’ package also earmarks $80 billion to hire an additional 87,000 IRS agents to spy on the financial transactions of Americans while removing the safeguards that prevent IRS enforcers from unfairly targeting taxpayers.
The Biden administration’s plan to tax itself into prosperity is as misguided as their idea that supercharging welfare benefits without requiring work would encourage people to rejoin the workforce.
As I’ve said before, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you have to do is stop digging. Unfortunately, President Biden doesn’t seem ready to put his shovel down.
We have a lot more to tell you in this week’s edition. We will be back in two weeks with another Telegram. Thanks again for starting off your weekend with us and enjoy the Veterans Day holiday!
|Honoring our Veterans on the House floor|
Member of Congress
Migrant caravan approaches border
We’ve been warning for weeks about a massive caravan of some 100,000 unknown, unvetted migrants making their way to the United States. Recent news reports now indicate that as many as half of these migrants may have serious health problems. Yet President Biden refuses to do anything to stem this record-breaking tide of illegal immigration. In fact, the President and Democrats in Congress are doing just the opposite – taking steps to encourage and reward illegal immigration. This week I joined several of my House and Senate colleagues in putting pressure on the White House to secure the border. You can read our letter here. I also pressed President Biden to punish the government of Mexico and other countries in the region who are enabling this mass migration. For too long, many Latin American governments have been willing accomplices in this transnational human trafficking pipeline. I asked the Biden administration to retaliate against these governments by halting the issuance of visas to their nationals, imposing financial penalties, and restricting their access to American markets. You can read that letter here. The President needs to stand up for American workers and American sovereignty – and stop allowing corrupt foreign leaders to use our nation as a dumping ground for their social and economic problems.
Making illegal aliens millionaires?
It sounds crazy, right? Well, it’s true. As we mentioned in last week’s Telegram, an investigative news report revealed that President Biden’s Justice Department is preparing to make $450,000 cash payments to illegal aliens – courtesy of American taxpayers. The President initially denied the report, calling it “garbage.” But a few hours later, a White House spokesman said the President was “perfectly comfortable” with the half-million dollar handouts. This isn’t chump change. These payments could reportedly net illegal alien families a cool $1 million each – and cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in total. At a time when American families are grappling with rising prices for everything from gas to groceries – and even shortages of some essential goods – President Biden is “perfectly comfortable” paying out six figure jackpots to people who knowingly violated our immigration laws. It’s outrageous. That’s why this week I joined several of my colleagues in demanding answers from the Biden administration on this shady plan (you can read that letter here), and joined 145 lawmakers in introducing a bill that would shut down the president’s push to make illegal aliens overnight millionaires.
Speaking of millionaires…
While middle class and small business owners face significant tax hikes in the reconciliation bill the multimillionaires in New York and California can sleep a little easier tonight knowing that Nancy Pelosi’s got their back. House Democrats reconvened the Rules Committee in the middle of the night on Thursday to modify a little-known federal tax provision known as the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT). Republicans capped this deduction in 2017 at $10,000 as part of tax reform. Democrats now plan to raise this cap from $10,000 to a whopping $80,000 – after dismissing a less extreme proposal that would have just exempted those making less than $550,000 a year. The result will be a massive tax giveaway to top tier earners in high-tax states financed by taxpayers in low tax states. Not exactly what most Americans have in mind when they hear the words “fair share.”
Biden to reward China’s bad behavior
Rewarding bad behavior has been a hallmark of the Biden administration. From promises of more handouts for corrupt governments to resurrecting the failed Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, the White House’s approach to foreign policy seems to be “America Last.” Earlier this year, President Biden said he was “proud” of his foreign policy team after Chinese diplomats humiliated Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on U.S. soil, mocking our country as a weak and declining power. Yet President Biden is reportedly poised to reward China’s communist rulers with a high level “summit” in the coming weeks. This is wrong. For years, Beijing has been lying about COVID, stomping out civil liberties in Hong Kong, and inflaming tensions with Taiwan. President Biden has repeatedly said he wants to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy – so why on earth would he want to sit down with the world’s most prolific human rights abuser? If the president is truly committed to human rights, he should be meeting with Taiwan’s elected president or Hong Kong’s courageous democracy leaders – not the architect of what the Biden administration itself has declared to be an ongoing genocide. You can read what I had to say about the situation here.
Essential workers: From the frontline to fired?
During the height of the pandemic millions of essential frontline workers continued to do their jobs despite hardships and health risks. From keeping Americans fed, store shelves stocked, providing life-saving medical care, and keeping us safe—these hardworking heroes put their lives on the line during a time filled with uncertainty. To turn around now and tell them that unless they get the jab they’ll have to find a new job is shameful. Not only is Joe Biden’s “jab or job mandate” a slap in the face to these unsung heroes, it needlessly puts lives in danger by creating a self-inflicted staffing shortage as the nation continues to fight an invisible enemy. This week I introduced the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act with Rep. Burchett, Sen. Blackburn, and Sen. Johnson. This bill protects those who served the nation in its time of need by exempting essential workers from COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Against medical advice?
Last week, I told you about the appalling comments made by a committee member on the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel who voted in support of approving the vaccine for children aged 5-to-11. During the discussion Dr. Eric Rubin stated, “We’re never gonna learn about how safe the vaccine is until we start giving it. We’re worried about a side effect that we can’t measure yet, but it’s probably real.” That is not how medical advice should be provided nor is it consistent with the FDA’s mission to protect public health by ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs – the very purpose of the committee on which he serves. FDA approval should come after testing to see what the potential side effects are – not before. I sent a letter to Dr. Rubin along with Rep. Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03) calling on him to either retract his statement, clarify it or resign as an advisor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
School spending up, test scores down
Despite historic levels of state taxpayer dollars and the massive influx of additional federal school aid – to the tune of $2.4 billion – student test scores and proficiency rates took a massive hit. The tumbling test scores recently released by the Department of Public Instruction reveal how much learning was not absorbed by students who were only allowed to attend school virtually after their classrooms were forced to close overnight. Less than a third of students are proficient or performing at grade level in math or English language arts, which saw proficiency rates drop 9 and 7 percentage points. The results are disappointing but not surprising as Governor Evers administration didn’t require schools to teach virtually during the statewide shutdown, which left some students receiving very little or no instruction at all.
Threats to “pack” the Supreme Court resurface
The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on SB 8, The Texas Heartbeat Act, this week. Not coincidentally, this week the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing regarding the same topic. I believe this hearing had little to do with the merits of the Texas law, and was instead an attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court. And we’ve seen this before. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to bully the court into rubber-stamping a raft of controversial and constitutionally suspect “New Deal” programs. In fact, at one point, FDR proposed adding six Justices to the Court – a bad idea that was overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. Unfortunately, some in Congress have dusted off this bad idea, and are once again promoting it. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States added that “[c]ourt expansion is likely to undermine, rather than enhance, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy.” The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, too, warned against this dangerous idea, noting that it “would make the court look partisan.” Even President Biden previously described court-packing as a “bonehead idea, a terrible, terrible mistake.”I am committed to defending separation of powers and an independent judiciary. That’s why I have cosponsored legislation proposing an amendment to the constitution that would prevent any court-packing scheme.
Biden spending package targets gun rights
We told you earlier about the socialist wish-list being considered by lawmakers. One provision of the so-called “Build Back Better Act” plan contains Community Violence Intervention (CVI) funding that could advance gun control efforts. During a recent House Judiciary Committee markup, my friend and colleague Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky offered an amendment clarifying that these funds could not be used “in any manner that results in the denial, without due process, of an individual’s exercise of any right under the Second Amendment to the Constitution.” I supported this amendment. Unfortunately, it was defeated by committee Democrats. I am committed to defending our individual right to keep and bear arms and will continue to stand up for the Second Amendment.
Expanding reliable broadband is a key issue facing our part of the state. From keeping students connected during the early days of the pandemic, to being able to compete in the global economy, finding ways to bridge the digital divide is one of my top priorities, and this week I was pleased to support bipartisan legislation to help accomplish that goal. On Thursday I voted for the Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act, introduced by Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri. This piece of legislation authorizes the Department of Commerce to award grants to carry out broadband projects and enable local communities to partner with the private sector. With so much division in our nation’s capital these days, I’m glad we were able to come together in the House across party lines to advance this important bill.
Freeing truckers from red tape
Telegram readers know that I’ve been working to try and cut through the red tape that is worsening supply-chain problems – like a burdensome federal regulation that needlessly limits the ability of younger Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders to transport interstate shipments. Currently, CDL holders between the ages of 18 and 20 are only allowed to drive intra-state routes. But to cross state lines, they must be 21. This restriction makes it harder for trucking companies to fill vacancies and deprives younger workers of key opportunities to advance their careers. This barrier also harms consumers. That’s why I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation to eliminate it. Thanks to another outdated federal regulation, picking up goods from a port and transporting those goods within the same state is inexplicably considered an “interstate” shipment – which, again, means 18 to 20-year-old CDL drivers can’t help with getting products out of overloaded ports and on to store shelves. This week I signed on to a bill that would eliminate this unnecessary government roadblock as well. You can read more about that bill here.
This week the average of new cases in Wisconsin saw a slight uptick increasing by 68 cases to an average of 1,888 new cases statewide. While transmission rates are still high, neither the statewide hospitalization nor ICU admissions rates showed any significant change. The average number of statewide deaths dropped by nearly 50% this week down to seven.