If This is What it Means to be “Conservative” — I’m Proudly a Bleeding Heart Liberal

Clearly, members of the GOP in the House are all about looking for ways to handicap ANY organization tasked with performing regulatory actions that might impede their ideological plans for the future of the United States of Republica.  A case in point is this recent  press release from Representative Amodei’s office.  My comments are in blue italics at various points throughout his release.  Some original text has been highlight in RED for emphasis.

Amodei: Appropriations Financial Services bill reins in IRS, ACA and Dodd Frank

Wednesday June 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 Contact:    Brian Baluta, 202-225-6155

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee today passed its fiscal year 2015 bill, which would provide annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other agencies.

The bill totals $21.3 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $566 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the president’s request for these programs.The legislation prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.

Well now, that makes just a ton of sense.  IRS is tasked with collecting revenue necessary for the operation of various government operations … so let’s under fund them so we can then make a scapegoat of them when they can no longer effectively perform their regulatory and tax-collecting functions.

“Every day, I am asked, ‘Why don’t you do something?’ This bill ‘does something’ by removing funding from executive agencies that have become political tools of the administration,” said Amodei.   

Bill highlights:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)– Included in the bill is $10.95 billion for the IRS – a cut of $341 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $1.5 billion below the President’s budget request. This will bring the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the level that was in place in fiscal year 2008. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, including taxpayer services and the proper collection of funds, but will require the agency to streamline and make better use of its budget.

Interesting! They continually carp about the IRS not providing for an EMAIL BACKUP strategy as part of their business plan. Server BACKUPs are NOT FREE!  How much more will they stop BACKING UP because they no longer have sufficient funding to do their tax collection duties, let alone ancillary functions like BACKUPS, SYSTEM UPDATES, SOFTWARE IMPROVEMENTS, etc.?

In addition, due to the inappropriate actions by the IRS in targeting groups that hold certain political beliefs, as well as its previous improper use of taxpayer funds, the bill includes the following provisions:

Here we go again, perpetuating the falsehood that ONLY right-wing political groups were scrutinized, when it was actually liberal groups that were denied with some that had already been given tax-exempt status seeing that status revoked (e.g., EmergeAmerica affiliated groups).  NO politically-focused groups should be receiving TAX-EXEMPT 501(c)(4) status, PERIOD!

A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many non-profit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech, simply because they may be involved in political activity.

Sorry, but I don’t get to deduct my “freedom of speech” contributions to political endeavors.  Thus, NO politically-focused organizations should be able to have a free of tax right to free speech at the American Taxpayer’s expense!

A prohibition on funds for bonuses or awards unless employee conduct and tax compliance are given consideration.

A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs.

Congress passed a law that clearly states that to be considered 501(c)(4) organization, your activities must be EXCLUSIVELY-FOCUSED on “Social Welfare” activities.  Politically-focused activities are NOT social-welfare activities and thus, it IS the IRS’s responsibility to scrutinize and deny tax-exempt status to ANY organization (conservative, liberal or otherwise) not meeting that exclusivity provision.

A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.

More BS related to the previous proviso — the IRS is NOT prohibiting ANYONE from exercising their free speech.  The IRS is merely and rightfully determining whether a group is a group exclusively devoted to providing SOCIAL-WELFARE opportunities/activities and thus, whether that group is entitled to TAX-EXEMPT status!

A prohibition on funding for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.

Really?  Oh, please, pray tell, what “inappropriate videos” might it be that the IRS is producing?

A prohibition on funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

Again, if you want to allow any organization wanting to conduct EXCLUSIVELY politically focused activities to never have to pay taxes, well then, you need to REPEAL the law that PROHIBITS them from being tax exempt!  You cannot have a LAW on the books that says one thing and then prohibit the IRS, which is responsible for administering that section of the law, from enforcing it!

A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) –The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.

Well, let’s see.  We elected President Obama and a Democratic Congress to get health care reform. Then, the Republican propaganda machine bought a Republican House.  Despite their efforts to gerry-rig the system, we still re-elected President Obama. Health care reform is one of the hardest things we’ve ever worked on. But no matter, they just keep trying to either LIE ABOUT REPEAL or DEFUND access to healthcare for the American People despite its need or popularity.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)– Included in the bill is $1.4 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is $50 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $300 million below the President’s budget request. The increase in funds is targeted specifically toward critical information technology initiatives. The legislation also includes a prohibition on the SEC spending any money out of its “reserve fund” – essentially a slush fund for the SEC to use without any congressional oversight.

In addition, the legislation contains requirements for the Administration to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act, and a prohibition on funding to require political donation information in SEC filings.

My my, lookie here — looks like an increase in funding.  But wait, isn’t this the organization that’s supposed to regulate Wall Street?  It’s a shame that the increase in funding is just for a bit of information technology so they can determine how their GOP-Donor base is affected by any sort of regulation.  It’s also despicable that they’ve included a proviso that PROHIBITS any reporting of information as to Corporate political donations.  If you and I donate, our freedom of speech is broadcast for all to see … but the Republican Donor-base has a special privileged secreted freedom of speech.  Apparently the Republicans believe their Donors are free to speak with their Dollars, but the general American public is underserving of being able to speak with their dollars in response.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)– The bill includes a provision to change the funding source for the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the congressional appropriations process, starting in fiscal year 2016. Currently, funding for this agency is provided by mandatory spending and is not subject to annual congressional review. This change will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency’s activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires extensive reporting on CFPB activities.

The Republicans have done EVERYTHING conceivably possible to handicap, repeal, defund and decapitate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  This is yet their latest attempt to defund and cripple any and all Consumer financial protection at the behest of their Donor-base.

Bills Being Proposed to Help Small Business Startups

The Small Business Startup Support Act (S 2088), introduced by Sen. John Rockefeller [D-WV]

  • This bill would amend the tax code to permanently double the amount of start-up expenses (from $5,000 to $10,000) entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes. What do you think of this bill?

 Submit your comments to your U.S. Senators about this bill using POPVOX. (78 comments thus far; 79% Support / 21% Oppose)

The Startup Expansion and Investment Act (HR 2941 intr’d by Rep. Ben Quayle [R-AZ3]  and S 1962 intro’d by Sen. Jim DeMint [R-SC])

  • Amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to revise an exception to rules prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that require the annual reports of certain publicly traded securities issuers to contain: (1) an assessment of the issuer’s internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting, and (2) an attestation to such assessment by each registered public accounting firm that prepares or issues an audit report for the issuer.
  • Permits an issuer to elect not to provide such an assessment and attestation if the issuer: (1) has a total market capitalization for the relevant reporting period of less than $1 billion, and (2) is not subject to the annual reporting requirement under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. (Current law exempts issuers with an aggregate worldwide market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by its non-affiliates of below $75 million, as of the last business day of the issuer’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter.)
  • Requires an issuer electing not to provide such assessment and attestation to disclose that decision in its next annual report.

Submit comments about HR 2941 to your Rep in the US House using POPVOX (44 comments thus far;75% Support / 25% Oppose)
Submit comments about S 1962 to your Senators in the US Senate using POPVOX (26 comments thus far; 77% Support / 23% Oppose)

The Startup Act (S 1965. intro’d by Sen. Jerry Moran [R-KS] and HR 3427, intro’d by Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D-TX25])

  • Startup Technical Assistance for Reemployment Training and Unemployment Prevention Act or the STARTUP Act – Amends the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 to authorize states to establish a self-employment assistance program (a program to provide unemployed individuals with an allowance in lieu of extended unemployment compensation to establish a business and become self-employed). Amends the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to allow individuals receiving emergency unemployment compensation to participate in a self-employment assistance program.
  • Directs the Secretary of Labor to: (1) award grants to states for self-employment assistance programs; (2) develop model language that may be used by states in enacting such programs and provide technical assistance to states in establishing, improving, and administering such programs; (3) establish reporting requirement for states that have established such programs; and (4) report to Congress on the effectiveness of such programs.
  • Amends the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 to repeal the program for investment in microentrepreneurs. Limits and rescinds funding for the Loan Modernization and Accounting System established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Directs the Administrator of SBA to terminate the Special Purpose Counseling Grant program under the Small Business Act.

Submit comments about HR 3427 to your Rep in the US House using POPVOX (26 comments thus far; 50% Support / 50% Oppose)
Submit comments about S 1965 to your Senators in the US Senate using POPVOX (61 comments thus far; 61% Support / 39% Oppose)

The Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act (HR 3571, introduced by Rep. Judy Chu [D-CA32])

  • Directs the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in consultation with the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), to establish a self-employment tax initiative grant program to provide certain self-employed individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes of $50,000 or less with affordable tax preparation and business development assistance. Authorizes the Commissioner to make program grants of not more than $75,000 to community-based organizations, microlenders, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and local governments.
  • Directs the Comptroller General to study and report on such program, including program outcomes.

Submit comments about HR 3571 to your Rep in the US House using POPVOX (29 comments thus far, 38% Support / 62% Oppose)

The Startup Visa Act (S 565 and HR 1114)

  • Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish an employment-based, conditional immigrant visa (StartUp visa) for a sponsored alien entrepreneur: (1) with required amounts of financial backing from a qualifying investor, government entity, or venture capitalist; and (2) whose commercial activities will generate required levels of employment, revenue, or capital investment.
  • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to terminate the status of a sponsored entrepreneur (and the alien spouse and children of such entrepreneur) if not later than three years after the date on which such permanent resident status was conferred: (1) the sponsoring venture capitalist or investor fails to meet investment requirements; or (2) the entrepreneur fails to meet job creation, capital investment, or revenue requirements.

Submit comments about HR 1114 to your Rep in the US House using POPVOX (116 comments thus far; 55% Support / 45% Oppose)
Submit comments about S 565 to your Senators in the US Senate using POPVOX (577 comments thus far; 51% Support / 49% Oppose)