Committee on Ways and Means

Dave Camp

Chairman Reichert Announces Hearing on Subsidized Job Programs and their Effectiveness in Helping Families Go to Work and Escape Poverty

2014/07/30


Chairman Tiberi Announces Hearing on Dynamic Analysis of the Tax Reform Act of 2014

2014/07/30


Chairman Nunes Announces Hearing on Advancing the U.S. Trade Agenda: Trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act

2014/07/29


Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on What Workers Need to Know About Social Security as They Plan for Their Retirement

2014/07/29


Chairman Brady Announces Hearing on the Future of Medicare Advantage Health Plans

2014/07/24


Brady Opening Statement: Hearing on the Future of Medicare Advantage Plans

2014/07/24

Today we will hear testimony regarding the Medicare Advantage program.  We will hear about these private plans that are chosen by increasing numbers of seniors.  We will hear how these private plans can combine high quality and low costs.
 
We will look at the future of this popular program and ask, when the scheduled cuts to Medicare Advantage plans in the Affordable Care Act take place, can these popular plans continue to effectively serve seniors?  Will the policies of the Obama Administration narrow choice and plan flexibility, further impacting our seniors?
 
Since seniors were first given the option to select a private health plan to receive their Medicare benefits they have shown a strong preference for these plans.
 
Over the past decade enrollment in Medicare Advantage has tripled.  Of new enrollees, more than half choose a Medicare Advantage plan over traditional fee for service.

Today, nearly sixteen million seniors are receiving their benefits through these private plans.
 
Medicare Advantage plans are particularly popular with low income and minority seniors since these insurance plans are able to provide caps on out-of- pocket costs, coordination of care for seniors, and more predictable costs.
 
The seniors that choose these plans are highly satisfied with the coverage and benefits they receive.
 
Unfortunately, many of our elderly could lose access to the plans they have and like because of cuts that are just beginning to hit that are a part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Knowing just how unpopular these cuts were with the seniors that select these plans, the White House - acting through a new “demonstration” program and other regulatory actions - masked and delayed the impact of the initial stages of the $300 billion in cuts past the November 2012 elections.
 
Those political delays are over.  The difficult reality is 2015 is now upon us and millions of seniors who rely on the Medicare Advantage program may be in jeopardy of losing their plan, their doctor, and the financial protection and benefits they have chosen.

The future for Medicare Advantage may look grim.  The questionable $8.3 billion quality bonus payment demonstration program used to mask the ACA cuts is coming to an end.  

In addition, the new payment methodology for Medicare Advantage plans that assume Congress will fix the way Medicare pays physicians is only temporary.  

This leaves the looming threat that Medicare Advantage plan rates could again include the broken physician reimbursement formula, unless we finally and permanently fix the way Medicare pays physicians.
 
Instead of improving the situation, CMS’s regulatory actions are threatening plans through potential termination and limiting their ability to innovate.
 
For example, plans serving largely low-income populations find themselves struggling to meet the demands of the Medicare Advantage Star Rating system.  That could place them in jeopardy of being terminated in this coming year – weeks before Open Enrollment is to begin.
 
Ironically, high-performing Medicare Advantage plans are also in the cross-hairs.  
Plans that have consistently found ways to be rated highly in the Stars system now find themselves unsure of what supplemental benefits they must cut going forward due to backwards incentives under a benchmark cap created by the ACA.
 
As many of us predicted following the passage of the controversial Affordable Care Act, seniors and Medicare Advantage health plans have not yet experienced the full impact of these cuts.  As the full impact of these cuts is felt in the coming years, could millions of seniors be forced out of the plans they have and like?
 
A report released Monday by the American Action Network has mapped out likely benefit cuts per Medicare senior by congressional district, which I would like to enter for the record.

The report points to one glaring conclusion - seniors in every district in America, Republican or Democrat, now face damaging cuts to the health care and pharmacy benefits they selected because they fit their needs.
 
The Medicare Advantage program is popular among our nation’s seniors because it provides seniors with choices, to select the plan that best fits their needs.  We need to ensure seniors continue to have this valuable option.

It’s no surprise then that many members of Congress - even our colleagues in the Senate – have recognized the challenges facing seniors and have come out in bipartisan opposition to further cuts to Medicare Advantage.
 
Today we will hear from witnesses who will tell us the current picture of Medicare Advantage – the good, the bad, and yes maybe even the ugly.  But I am confident, that as we look forward and work together, we can break down barriers and improve Medicare Advantage for America’s seniors who depend upon these critical plans.
 
The ACA brings new level of uncertainty to those who depend on Medicare Advantage.  The time is now to consider the future of the Medicare program, and the importance Medicare Advantage plans play for a growing number of seniors.
 
This subcommittee will hold the Administration accountable to carefully examine the impact that any changes to Medicare health plans will have on seniors, the Medicare program, and ultimately to taxpayers. 

We must work together to make sure that our nation’s seniors continue to have choices in their care and benefits.

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Reason #19: Record Numbers Are Working Temp Jobs

2014/07/24

Record Numbers Are Working Temp Jobs.  Today nearly 3 million American workers are in temporary positions.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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As introduced on June 17, 2014, Ways and Means Chairman Camp is listing 40 reasons for the Senate to pass the 40 jobs bills the House has already approved.  The reasons define the distress Americans continue to feel in the “new normal” of high unemployment and weak job creation resulting from Obama Administration economic policies. 

View the prior reasons here.

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Boustany Announces Hearing on the Integrity of the Affordable Care Act’s Premium Tax Credit

2014/07/23


Chairman Reichert Announces Hearing on Subsidized Job Programs and their Effectiveness in Helping Families Go to Work and Escape Poverty

2014/07/23

Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on subsidized jobs programs and their effectiveness in helping families escape poverty. The hearing will take place at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, July 30, in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

In view of the limited time available to hear from witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include individuals with experience administering subsidized employment programs and experts who have studied the effectiveness of these programs. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.

BACKGROUND:

Helping people find full-time jobs is the best way to reduce poverty. Over 97 percent of individuals age 18-64 who work full-time have earnings that place them above the poverty line, while almost one-third of individuals in that age range who do not work are in poverty. Working full-time also helps individuals move up the economic ladder. Of households in the bottom 20 percent of the earnings distribution, fewer than one in five had a household member working full-time, and more than 60 percent included no one who was working. Households in the top 20 percent of earners had on average two household members working, in almost all cases full time.

The major accomplishment of the 1996 welfare reforms was to help more low-income families and individuals find jobs, so they could escape poverty and dependence on government benefits and move up the economic ladder. Since the work-based welfare reforms were enacted, the employment rate of adults receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare benefits has more than doubled.[1] Child poverty rates fell dramatically in the years immediately after welfare reform, while welfare caseloads declined by 60 percent through June 2013. In addition to expecting more welfare recipients to work and prepare for work, welfare reform provided more flexibility for States to support work by providing child care benefits, transportation assistance, and other work supports.

While welfare reform moved many low-income families into work, more can be done to help welfare recipients work and escape poverty. States now report spending only a small share of their TANF funding 6 percent in FY 2013 on activities designed to get welfare recipients jobs. Although States are required to engage 50 percent of welfare recipients in work or work-related activities, 22 States face effectively no such requirement because of loopholes in the law. Further, in the most recent State data on work performed by welfare recipients (FY 2011), States reported that almost 60 percent of adults performed no hours of work or work-related activities, such as education or training.

A number of States have taken steps to more quickly move welfare recipients into the workforce, in some cases providing wage subsidies to employers to hire these individuals so they can earn a paycheck instead of receiving welfare. State approaches to subsidizing employment have been varied, including by the type of recipient placed in subsidized jobs, whether the placement is in the public or private sector, the length of the subsidy, and the amount of the subsidy. Specific Federal funding for this purpose was provided under the 2009 economic stimulus law (P.L. 111-5), under which $1.3 billion was spent on subsidized jobs programs between 2009 and 2010. Placing welfare recipients in subsidized jobs can help these individuals gain skills that will help them find and maintain full-time employment. However, because research on the long-term impacts of subsidized jobs is mixed, it is important to review the structure of different subsidized jobs programs to determine which features appear most likely to make these programs successful.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Reichert stated, “Our nation’s welfare programs should be focused on one thing – helping people in need find work, so they can escape poverty and move up the economic ladder. The 1996 welfare reforms achieved this goal by requiring States to get welfare recipients working or preparing for work. One of the ways States have done so is by connecting recipients quickly with employers, sometimes by subsidizing their wages. Welfare reauthorization is on hold as the Administration continues to insist – despite 15 years of TANF law and precedent to the contrary – that it can waive the critical TANF work requirements. So now is a good time for us to review how these subsidized job programs are working. I look forward to hearing more about these State efforts so we can improve our nation’s welfare system and move more people out of poverty.”

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

This hearing will focus on State subsidized jobs programs designed to move individuals from welfare to work, including what research reveals about the impact of such programs on employment and earnings.

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. Attach your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by August 13, 2014. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

  1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
  2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
  3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons, and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available online at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.


[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. TANF Tenth Report to Congress. Figure 10-H, Trend in Employment Rate of TANF Adult Recipients, FY 1992 – FY 2011.


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Boustany Opening Statement: Hearing on the Integrity of the Affordable Care Act’s Premium Tax Credit

2014/07/23

Good morning and welcome to this morning’s hearing on the integrity of insurance premium subsidies under the President’s health care law. Last month, this Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Health held a hearing that showed the Administration’s failure to implement effective eligibility verification systems would result in billions of dollars in improper payments going out the door, and unexpected tax debts for families across America. This morning, we turn to the question of whether the Federal Exchange has sufficient controls in place to verify income and identity, including Social Security Numbers, names, and other information.

On September 12 of last year, Chairman Camp, Senators Tom Coburn and Orrin Hatch, and I wrote to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking that the Government Accountability Office conduct testing to determine whether the Administration had in place appropriate internal controls to prevent fraud and abuse in the health insurance exchanges. We asked that he do this through the GAO’s Forensic Audits and Investigative Service – a team of forensic audit and investigative professionals who conduct special investigations and fraud assessments.

To test these internal controls, GAO went undercover and created 18 fictitious identifies to apply for insurance subsidies online, over the phone, and in person. When the GAO applied for premium subsidies online or over the phone with fictitious names, Social Security Numbers, and documents, it succeeded over 91 percent of the time. When the GAO went to seek help from taxpayer-funded assisters, five times out of six they were turned away or unable to find help. When the GAO sent in fake documents to support their applications, federal contractors accepted those documents. Sadly, this should not be terribly surprising.

Time and time again, the Administration has chosen to either ignore the law, or when it does implement the law, it does so incompetently. The Administration decided the employer mandate would harm its political and electoral interests, so it delayed the mandate. The Administration found that the words of the law would prevent it from implementing federal subsidies in the way it preferred – so it ignored the law, as the D.C. Circuit ruled yesterday. When the Administration sought to implement the Federal Exchange and create Healthcare.gov, the website crashed spectacularly. When the Administration began issuing billions of dollars in subsidies, we have found that it did so without regard to protecting those taxpayer dollars from improper payments.

This is not simply a question of whether one likes the President’s health care law or the way his Administration has gone about implementing it. The question is whether the Administration is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and is putting in place adequate controls to protect those dollars from fraud, waste, and abuse. The history of the health care law’s implementation suggests the answer is no.

Today, we hear from Seto Bagdoyan, the Acting Director of the Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, on GAO’s preliminary findings in this matter. I thank him and the GAO for their work and look forward to his testimony.


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Reason #18: Full-Time Jobs Down, Part-Time Jobs Up

2014/07/23

Full-Time Jobs Down, Part-Time Jobs Up. In June 2014, all the job creation was in part-time employment, with significant loses in full-time employment.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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As introduced on June 17, 2014, Ways and Means Chairman Camp is listing 40 reasons for the Senate to pass the 40 jobs bills the House has already approved.  The reasons define the distress Americans continue to feel in the “new normal” of high unemployment and weak job creation resulting from Obama Administration economic policies. 

View the prior reasons here.


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Chairman Tiberi Announces Hearing on Dynamic Analysis of the Tax Reform Act of 2014

2014/07/23

Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on dynamic analysis of the discussion draft of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, as released by Chairman Dave Camp on February 26, 2014.  Specifically, the Subcommittee will review dynamic analyses of the macroeconomic effects of the draft conducted by outside economists, the role of dynamic analysis in assessing tax reform proposals, how dynamic analysis can provide recommendations to strengthen the draft, and recommendations for improving the availability and use of dynamic analysis.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.  A list of invited witnesses will follow.

BACKGROUND:

As part of the Committee’s pursuit of comprehensive tax reform, Chairman Camp released on February 26, 2014, a discussion draft of legislation intended to overhaul the tax code.  The draft was intended to achieve a simpler, fairer, and pro-growth tax code.  In the interests of transparency and accuracy, the Chairman continues to seek feedback from a broad range of stakeholders, taxpayers, practitioners, economists, and members of the general public on how to improve the discussion draft. 

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) serves a critical role in the legislative process by providing expert and impartial analysis of the potential effect of proposals to change U.S. tax policy.  In evaluating the discussion draft, JCT conducted both a static and a dynamic estimate.  Under the static analysis, the draft is projected to reduce the deficit by $3 billion over the ten-year budget window.  The dynamic analysis released by JCT demonstrates that the draft will increase output, consumption, and employment over that same ten-year window.  Outside analyses performed by a wide array of economists found similar results.

In announcing this hearing, Chairman Tiberi said, “Fixing our broken tax code will strengthen the economy to help employers create more jobs and increase wages for American families.  Chairman Camp has worked hard to produce a tax reform draft that does just that.  This hearing provides a good opportunity to hear economic analysis on how the draft achieves this goal and to learn about more actions the Committee can take to improve the draft and the accuracy of our measurements.”

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

The hearing will focus on macroeconomic analyses of Chairman Camp’s discussion draft and the role of dynamic analysis in evaluating options for tax reform in general.  The hearing will address: (1) dynamic estimates of the effects of Chairman Camp’s discussion draft; (2) how dynamic analysis can help to assess the impact of tax reform; (3) what changes could be made to the draft to achieve stronger growth; and (4) what changes could be made to JCT’s models, assumptions, or procedures to obtain more transparent, accurate, and robust results. 

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit written comments for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Wednesday, August 13, 2014.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-3625 or (202) 225-2610.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.

 


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Camp Floor Statement: H.R. 4980 - Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

2014/07/23

I rise in support of this legislation, which is designed to prevent sex trafficking of youth in foster care, encourage the adoption of more children from foster care, and increase child support collected to support children, among other important purposes.

Subcommittee Chairman Reichert will discuss the provisions designed to prevent sex trafficking, and I will focus my comments on the important adoption provisions.  

I have spent much of my professional career promoting adoption of children by loving parents. As an attorney in private practice, I worked with parents and children in the foster care system. Those sorts of experiences provided much of the background for changes in landmark adoption legislation Congress has approved in recent years.

In 1997, my colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee crafted the Adoption and Safe Families Act. That legislation streamlined the adoption process to help more children in foster care quickly move into permanent adoptive homes. It also, for the first time, offered incentives to states to safely increase the number of children adopted from foster care.

It worked. In the decade following that legislation, the number of U.S. children adopted from foster care increased by 71 percent. In the years since, adoptions have continued to remain higher even as the foster care caseload started to decline. Overall, almost 300,000 children have been adopted as a result of the increase in adoptions starting in 1997. While placing children in permanent loving homes is the most important benefit of the legislation, one study estimated the federal government saved $1 billion over eight years by ensuring children were adopted instead of remaining in foster care.  

That’s the successful incentive program this legislation extends and updates. With this bill today, we add a new award for states that increase adoptions of older children, who are the hardest to adopt and have the worst outcomes if they “age out” of foster care without a family to call their own.

We also add a new award for increases in guardianship, when family members step up to care for their nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.

And, this bill ensures states maintain their commitment to post-adoption and related services so children truly have a forever family.

Finding a forever family is the goal of this legislation, and forever homes are possible.  Just last year, I met with the Johns family of Midland, Michigan.  The Johns family has adopted three kids and was honored during their visit to DC as an Angels in Adoption family.  But before they adopted, they were foster parents to Austin and Katie, their first two children.  They adopted them and later adopted their third child, Aliyah.  The Johns family made a safe, permanent and loving home a reality for three children, and with this legislation we can continue to build on that success.
 
I note that this legislation is fully paid for by expecting all states to use electronic methods that will do a better job collecting child support – increasing family incomes and reducing the amount of welfare benefits taxpayers pay.  Those savings not only cover the cost of this legislation, but reduce the deficit by $19 million over the next 10 years. That’s a win-win for children, families, and hardworking taxpayers alike.
 
This legislation reflects bipartisan, bicameral agreements on all these policy areas, and I thank my colleagues who joined me in introducing this legislation – Mr. Levin of Michigan, Mr. Reichert of Washington, and Mr. Doggett of Texas, as well as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senators Wyden and Hatch. They are all leaders on these issues, and I value their help in developing and advancing this legislation.

This bill was crafted the way legislation is supposed to be – through hearings, markups, public comments and negotiations with our colleagues in the Senate.  The bill we are considering today incorporates many suggestions from experts in the child welfare field, as well as just interested citizens and adoptive parents.  We are grateful for the public’s comments and their participation in this process.  

The bottom line is this: children in foster care deserve a place to call home, not just for a few months or years, but for good. We have already seen great progress in increasing adoptions since the Adoption Incentive program was created in 1997, and it is our hope that we can continue this progress once this bill is signed into law.

I encourage all my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill in the House, and I hope and expect the Senate to also act soon on this bill so we can continue to move even more foster children into permanent, loving homes.

I reserve the balance of my time.  

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Chairman Camp Statement on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in Halbig v Sebelius

2014/07/22

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that taxpayer-funded health insurance subsidies cannot be granted to individuals in the federal Exchange.
 
“Today’s decision is a victory for the rule of law.  The plain text of the law does not allow for tax credits in the federal Exchange.  President Obama cannot ignore this fact just because he doesn’t like what a Democrat-controlled Congress did.

"I submitted an amicus brief in this case because I believe in the rule of law and separation of powers.  The issue in question is whether President Obama can ignore what the statute plainly says and rewrite the law to fit his liking.  The Supreme Court will likely decide this case, and I believe the Supreme Court will say the answer to that question is no and will reaffirm that the President cannot simply ignore laws written and passed by Congress.”

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Reason #17: Share of Adults Working Full-Time Remains Near Record Lows

2014/07/22

Record Low Share of Adults Are Working Full-Time.  The percent of adults in their prime working years (i.e. ages 25-54) working full-time remains near the lowest levels ever recorded.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that this data began in 1986.

________________

As introduced on June 17, 2014, Ways and Means Chairman Camp is listing 40 reasons for the Senate to pass the 40 jobs bills the House has already approved.  The reasons define the distress Americans continue to feel in the “new normal” of high unemployment and weak job creation resulting from Obama Administration economic policies. 

View the prior reasons here.

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Lerner Hard Drive Was "Scratched"

2014/07/22

Washington, DC – Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was “scratched,” but data was recoverable.   In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data.  That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).  “The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded.  To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.”

It is also unknown whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate, but former federal law enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts consulted by the Committee say that most of the data on a scratched drive, such as Lerner’s, should have been recoverable.  However, in a declaration filed last Friday by the IRS, the agency said it tried but failed to recover the data, but is not sure what happened to the hard drive afterwards other than saying they believe it was recycled, which, according to the court filing means “shredded.”

Further complicating the situation, the Committee’s investigation has revealed evidence that this declaration may not be accurate.  A review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner’s computer was actually once described as “restored.”  In a transcribed interview on July 18, IRS IT employees were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry “recovered.”

“It is these constant delays and late revelations that have forced this investigation to go on so long,” Camp added.  “If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this.  Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.”

Background:

After the Supreme Court released its January 2010 decision in Citizens United, the IRS spent three years responding to Democrat complaints and calls to stop activities of conservative groups.  The IRS in Washington, DC took these complaints as marching orders to subject Americans to harassment for their beliefs by subjecting applicants to extraordinary delay and inappropriate questions, audits, and by making their confidential tax information public.  

At a May 10, 2013 legal event, Lerner admitted that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions.  Initially, President Obama vowed to work with Congress to “get this thing fixed.” Likewise, upon assuming leadership of the agency, IRS Commissioner Koskinen said his goal was to “find problems quickly, fix them promptly, make sure they stay fixed, and be transparent about the entire process.” Unfortunately, the Administration’s professed eagerness to help Congress investigate the targeting quickly waned and it began obstructing the Committee’s investigation.

The most egregious recent example is the delay in notifying Congress of Lerner’s lost emails. On June 13, 2014, over 13 months into the investigation, and one month after the Committee was promised it would receive all Lerner emails without qualification, Congress learned that potentially thousands of Lerner emails were destroyed by the IRS.  The IRS purportedly notified Congress in a letter sent to provide an update on the pace of production.  Buried in the third attachment of the 27-page letter was the revelation that over two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails to and from individuals outside the IRS were lost due to an apparent computer crash that occurred in mid-2011. In later correspondence with the Committee, Treasury and the White House admitted learning of the lost emails in April 2014, two months before the IRS informed Congress.

The Committee immediately began investigating the matter.  On the following Monday, the IRS’ Deputy CIO told staff that the agency was unable to retrieve information from Lerner’s malfunctioning hard drive, even after sending it to experts at the IRS’s Criminal Investigations unit.  When pressed by investigators about any other computer issues, the IRS admitted that six other IRS employees involved in the political targeting also experienced computer crashes.

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Chairman Nunes Announces Hearing on Advancing the U.S. Trade Agenda: The World Trade Organization

2014/07/16


Markup of: H. Res. 645, “Requesting that the President of the United States transmit to the House of Representatives copies of any emails in the possession of the Executive Office of the President that were transmitted to or from the email account(s) of former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011.”; H. Res. 647, “Directing the Secretary of the Treasury to transmit to the House of Representatives copies of any emails in the possession of the Department that were transmitted to or from the email account(s) of former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011.”; H.R. 5021, “Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014.”

2014/07/10


Markup of: H.R. 3393, "Student and Family Tax Simplification Act"; H.R. 4935, "Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014"

2014/06/25


Camp Announces Hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

2014/06/20


There is no media available for this committee.

Contact Information

1102 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3625
Fax 202-225-5680
waysandmeans.house.gov


Membership

Diane Black

TENNESSEE's 6th DISTRICT

Charles Boustany

LOUISIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Dave Camp

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Jim Gerlach

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Tim Griffin

ARKANSAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Lynn Jenkins

KANSAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Erik Paulsen

MINNESOTA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Price

GEORGIA's 6th DISTRICT

Tom Reed

NEW YORK's 23rd DISTRICT

Dave Reichert

WASHINGTON's 8th DISTRICT

Jim Renacci

OHIO's 16th DISTRICT

Peter Roskam

ILLINOIS' 6th DISTRICT

Paul Ryan

WISCONSIN's 1st DISTRICT

Aaron Schock

ILLINOIS' 18th DISTRICT

Adrian Smith

NEBRASKA's 3rd DISTRICT

Pat Tiberi

OHIO's 12th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT