Session II of the 115th Congress...
This week Congress convened in Washington for the second session of the 115th Congress. As we move into the new session, I look forward to keeping you updated on the work I am doing on your behalf. As always, I appreciate the opportunity to bring you this update.
As 2018 begins, I am very excited that individuals and businesses can base their financial plans and budgets on a new and simpler tax code. The changes we have made to the tax code with the passage of HR 1, the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017’ are pro-family, pro-growth, and pro-higher wages for hard working families. I am pleased that already numerous companies across the nation (view running list here), many which have employees and operations in Colorado, have announced bonuses and wage increases for their employees because of H.R. 1. For example, Walmart, which has over 28,000 employees in Colorado, just announced it is boosting starting wages, providing bonuses for employees and expanding company benefits. Another result of tax reform is that multiple utility companies around the country (even in DC!) have announced that they will pass their tax saving onto their customers.
On Tuesday, we started on a productive note by coming together to pass H. Res.676, titled ‘Supporting the Rights of the People of Iran’ on a vote of 415-2. This resolution states that the United States House of Representatives “stands with the people of Iran that are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive, corrupt regime.” I think it’s important to emphasize our ongoing support for the people of Iran who seek relief from a brutal theocratic regime. Iran’s leaders continue to oppress their own citizens and have consistently squandered economic opportunities to improve their standard of living. Rather than making life better for Iranians, corrupt clerics prioritize the export of Islamic extremism and support terrorism around the globe. The arbitrary arrests of political rivals and reporters who have tried to shed light on the corruption within the regime is unacceptable.
On Thursday, the House considered, and with my support passed, S. 139, the ‘FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act’. The bill reauthorizes ‘Title VII’ of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which includes Section 702, surveillance authorities on foreign targets. When I reviewed the bill, I wanted to make sure that any bill that I would support would both 1) protect our constitutional rights, and 2) would provide our intelligence community with the necessary tools to combat terrorism. After throughout review, S. 129 did both, by requiring the development of standardized procedures for Section 702 database(s)— further protecting Fourth Amendment rights of all U.S. citizens, and secondly, provided the necessary tools to our intelligence community to keep the homeland safe. The bill passed the U.S. House with a 256-164 vote.
Lastly, I want to inform you that the conversations and negotiations to keep the government funded are still underway. If you may recall, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) on December 22, 2017. This resolution funds government operations through January 19. Like you, I am frustrated that we are nearly half way through the fiscal year and still operating on CR’s. The U.S. House did pass all of its appropriation bills in mid-September 2017 but, unfortunately, the Senate seems unable to pass its versions of these important bills. As January 19th quickly approaches, know that I will support a legislative solution that keeps the government and our military funded. As I’ve said, keeping the government open and serving the American people is at the core of good government.
As always, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see everything I am doing on your behalf in Washington.