The Tiffany Telegram: October 15, 2021
This week we learned that the federal government collected more in taxes this year than ever before. Tax revenues surged by 18 percent – the biggest year over year increase since 1977. Even so, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have spent so much, that even with this record spike in tax collections – the federal government still posted a record deficit. It’s pretty obvious: Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.
Despite this, Speaker Pelosi wants to spend trillions more on an expensive “Green New Deal” style reengineering of the American economy and generous taxpayer handouts to households that, in some cases, earn as much as $800,000 a year. The Biden plan would also spend a whopping $80 billion to hire 87,000 IRS agents who would be empowered to monitor any American bank account showing more than $600 in “activity” (more on that later). Even worse, the White House is determined to push ahead with plans to target American families and employers with the steepest tax hikes in nearly a half century.
But while Washington, DC is booming, Main Street is struggling. The divide between those who live in America’s coastal political power-centers and the rest of the country is widening every day. And the Biden administration’s policies are making it worse.
Prices are skyrocketing thanks to reckless and unsustainable government spending. Inflation just hit a 13-year high – and we all feel it. Prices for staples we rely on continue to rise. Eggs cost more than they did last year. The cost of bacon, steak, ribs and chicken are up 20 percent over the last 12 months. Even your Friday Fish Fry isn’t safe – with fish costs up more than 10 percent.
At the same time, lucrative unemployment benefits – which paid millions of Americans not to work for much of this year – continue to take a toll on the economy. A record number of Americans quit their jobs in August.
That means businesses still clawing their way back from government lockdowns are struggling with staffing shortages and higher prices. It also means empty shelves, as the trucking industry struggles to find drivers while goods stack up at shipping terminals and warehouses. Making matters worse, heavy handed vaccine mandates are putting many workers in the impossible position of choosing between their jobs and their deeply held beliefs.
We’ve all heard the old adage: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. From the border chaos to the budget crisis, we’d all be a lot better off if President Biden and Speaker Pelosi would put down their shovels.
We’ve got a lot more to tell you about this week, and hope you enjoy this week’s edition of the Telegram.
Member of Congress
Time to remove federal roadblock to younger truckers
We talked a little bit earlier about the disruption of supply chains, which is impacting everything from ports to pubs. In too many cases, these problems are caused or made worse by misguided government policies. One sector impacted by this kind of counterproductive red tape is the trucking industry. Currently, Commercial Driver’s License 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. It also harms consumers – and makes little sense. If a 20-year-old truck driver can legally haul a load from Green Bay to Hudson, he should be able to take that same load from Superior to Duluth. That’s why I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation to eliminate this outdated and unnecessary barrier. By removing this federal roadblock, we can open new career lanes for younger workers, and help get America’s economy moving again.
Biden halts immigration enforcement, again
Telegram readers know all too well how bad the crisis at our southern border has gotten. Shortly after taking office, President Biden returned to the failed policy of “catch-and-release” on our southern border, setting off a massive flood of illegal immigration into the United States. This disaster is worsening with each passing month, and we are now on pace to see a whopping 2 million illegal aliens enter the U.S. this year. Recent news reports indicate that another 60,000 migrants are making their way toward our country from Central America at this very moment, and President Biden’s own Homeland Security Department is reportedly bracing for another 400,000 aliens to overwhelm our southern border in October alone. Yet rather than taking steps to stem this unprecedented tidal wave of illegal immigration, the Biden administration is doing just the opposite. On Tuesday Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly described Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s efforts as a waste of resources and ordered ICE to effectively stop workplace enforcement. This isn’t just bad news for American workers and American security, it’s also bad news for undocumented workers – many of whom are exploited and mistreated by unscrupulous employers. And once again, it sends a dangerous message to the world that America’s border is wide open.
Communist China threatens Taiwan, testing Biden
Americans weren’t the only ones who watched President Biden’s botched and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Our foreign adversaries also watched the administration kowtow to the Taliban as the country collapsed, and billions of dollars-worth of advanced U.S.-made military technology fell into the hands of terrorists. One of those adversaries is Communist China. China’s People’s Liberation Army has sent more than 600 military aircraft into areas near Taiwan in recent months, a reckless provocation on the part of Beijing – one that is clearly designed to test America’s resolve by intimidating a peaceful, democratic U.S. ally. The response from the Biden administration to the latest incursion was a Tweet. While I appreciate the State Department’s sentiments, it will take more than strongly worded social media posts to deter Communist China’s dangerous escalation. Successful diplomacy must entail more than words – it requires employing concrete strategies to discourage China’s destructive behavior. Last week I sent a letter to President Biden asking him to impose meaningful economic and diplomatic consequences on China in response to Beijing’s unacceptable provocations. You can read about that effort here.
Will IRS agents soon be snooping into your bank account?
As many of you have heard, the Biden Administration and some in Congress want to spy on your financial transactions. Their most recent proposal would require banks, credit unions and other financial companies to report the outflows and inflows on all accounts with over $600 to the IRS every year. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said in an interview that this is an effort to target high-income individuals cheating the tax system. Why should Americans with $600 in their checking account be subject to the government monitoring their financial transactions? The IRS experiences 1.4 billion cyberattacks annually and has experienced multiple data breaches. This leaves Americans most private of information vulnerable to attack and fraud. Not only is this a massive invasion of personal privacy, it would also impose significant compliance costs on banks, credit unions and other financial institutions – costs which will be passed on to consumers and threaten the existence of small community banks and credit unions. Law-abiding Americans reserve the right to privacy over their personal financial data. We shouldn’t allow government bureaucrats to sift through bank accounts. That’s why I recently cosponsored a bill which would prohibit federal agencies from requiring financial institutions to report the financial transactions of their customers.
House Judiciary Committee
PTA to terror watchlist
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he would be mobilizing the FBI to target parents protesting the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools. The move comes as more and more parents are speaking out against this dogma, which promotes division by teaching children to believe that their inherent value and destiny is predetermined based on their skin color. The Biden administration’s decision to label parents as domestic terrorists for exercising their first amendment right is bad enough – but there’s more to the story. Recent news reports indicate that a member of the Attorney General’s family has a financial stake in the promotion of this far-left educational curriculum. Garland’s son-in-law is the co-founder of Panorama Education, Inc., a company that publishes and sells Critical Race Theory materials to school districts nationwide. This week I sent a letter to the Attorney General along with Rep. Mike Johnson and Rep. Jim Jordan expressing our concerns and requesting an ethics investigation into Attorney General Garland’s actions.
Natural Resources Committee
This week I sent a letter to President Biden, along with 144 of my colleagues, regarding his administration’s hypocritical requests for the OPEC+ oil cartel to increase production. While prices at the pump continue to skyrocket, President Biden continues to pursue anti-energy policies that restrict oil and gas development here at home. Meanwhile, he is begging U.S. adversaries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela to increase energy production. Before President Biden took office, gas prices were low, American energy independence was fueling good American jobs in the energy sector – and we didn’t have to rely on dangerous foreign regimes to power our nation. Now, rising fuel costs are hitting family budgets and undermining our national security, our economic security and our job security. I will continue to push back against these reckless decisions coming out of the White House and work to restore American energy independence. You can read the letter here.
This week the average of new cases in Wisconsin continued to drop for the third week in a row down to 2,318 new cases statewide. While most Wisconsin county transmission rates are still classified as high, neither the hospitalization nor ICU admission levels have shown any significant change.
Onward & Upward Finding Your Purpose:
Veterans Job & Resource Fair
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 11:00am to 4:00pm
Hayward Veterans & Community Center
10534 Main Street
Hayward, WI 54843
Open enrollment for Medicare begins on October 15 and will run through December 7. During this time, people with Medicare can choose to change their health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year. For more information or to compare plans call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare.gov.
As many begin to travel internationally again, the Department of State is available to assist with passport services. We recommend to apply at least six months before planned travel as routine service may take up to about 18 weeks. For more information, please visit travel.state.gov.
If you would like to register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please utilize the state registry system here: https://vaccinate.wi.gov/en-US/.
The USDA continues to make resources and assistance available to agricultural producers and working families to ensure access, safety and stability for food markets and supplies.
Small businesses can also apply for assistance through the Economic Injury and Disaster Loan program. This program provides economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic.
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As always, you are welcome to visit my website or to contact my offices in Washington, DC or Wisconsin, which remain open for service, if you have any questions or need assistance.