Committee on Ways and Means

Dave Camp

GAO Finds Railroad Retirement Disability Program Fails to Prevent Fraud

2014/08/01

Washington, DC – Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) today released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding the Railroad Retirement Board’s (RRB) total and permanent (T&P) disability program, financed in part by Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) revenues, lacks safeguards to prevent fraud.  

“With reports like these it’s no wonder that Americans are losing confidence in Social Security and the federal government as a whole.  It’s time for the Railroad Retirement Board and Social Security to get serious about stopping those who don’t deserve disability benefits from getting them in the first place,” Johnson urged.  “Hardworking taxpayers and those truly deserving of the benefits want, need, and deserve no less.”

The RRB’s T&P disability benefits are based on the same definition and the same criteria as Social Security uses for the DI program.  But, poor quality medical information and few oversight controls led the GAO to find that the RRB is unable to ensure the integrity of its process system-wide and that no program risks have been addressed.

The GAO found that the RRB lacked accurate earnings data, did not require cases to be reviewed by a secondary source, lacked a quality assurance review program and accuracy goals, and put little emphasis, such as agency wide staff training on identifying and preventing fraud.  

In 2012, the RRB awarded $276 million in T&P benefits.  Under current law these benefits are financed through the RRB and the SSA resulting in DI revenues funding 79 percent of benefits in 2012.

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Camp, Nunes Statements on Failure to Adopt Trade Facilitation Agreement

2014/08/01

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) made the following statements on the failure to adopt the Trade Facilitation Agreement protocol in Geneva:

Rep. Camp:  "India’s actions last night to bring down implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement are completely unacceptable and put into doubt its credibility as a responsible trading partner.  As we determine next steps, I am committed to the WTO as an institution, and I hope that we can salvage the Trade Facilitation Agreement, either with or without India." 

Rep. Nunes:  "It's one thing for a country to be a tough negotiator.  It is entirely another to agree to a deal with your trading partners, and then just simply walk away months later, insisting instead on one-sided changes.  That’s what India has done here by going back on its word, running the risk of eliminating any sense of good will toward it."

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Markup of: H.R. 647, "ABLE Act of 2013"

2014/07/31


Camp Opening Statement: Markup of the "ABLE Act of 2014"

2014/07/31

Many of us in the room today know the joys and responsibilities of being a parent.  Part of that responsibility is working every day to ensure that our kids can have a good education and live safe and healthy lives.  We spend years ensuring they have the necessary skills so they can gain independence that allows them to reach their full potential as adults.  

Being a parent is challenging, and many of the everyday responsibilities parents face can increase tremendously when they have a child with a disability.  Today, we have an opportunity to ease some of the challenges that those with disabilities, their parents and their caretakers face.  The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, commonly known as the ABLE Act, will allow those with disabilities and their caregivers to have the stability and security of knowing that they can save and provide for education, housing and medical expenses in the future.


Many of our nation’s disabled receive their medical care through the Medicaid program and additional cash assistance from the Supplemental Security Income program, which provide a stable source of medical care and benefits.  But to remain eligible for SSI, the program sets a “resources limit” of $2,000, limiting the ability of the disabled to save for the future.

The ABLE Act addresses that by allowing those with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts in order to save for their own costs of medical care, housing, transportation, and continued education.  This will allow those who are on Medicaid and SSI to work, earn, and save more while still receiving important benefits.  It is important to note that these savings accounts will be available to all individuals with disabilities and their caretakers, not just those on Medicaid or SSI.


This is a commonsense bill that will aid those with disabilities and their caretakers so they can live more fulfilling, happy lives and have the ability to provide for a better future.  As Sara Wolff, a strong advocate of the ABLE Act who has worked for years to see its passage, said in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, “Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life. I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, people like me are held back in life. This is the year, we call on leaders in Congress to put an end to the inequities that exist for people with disabilities by passing the ABLE Act and allowing individuals and families to save for the future and break down the barriers to employment for these individuals.”

I couldn’t say it better than Sara did.  Today, we have an opportunity to make a real difference for those who need it most.  

Now, I will turn to a more technical note.  The legislation before us is not offset.  However, the Ranking Member and I have spoken and we agree that before this bill goes to the Floor, we need to find bipartisan payfors that not only he and I agree to, but can also easily pass the House and Senate.  

So, while I look forward to a relatively quick markup today, we do have some work ahead of us.  It is my expectation that immediately following today’s markup our staff will begin serious discussions on how we pay for this bill.  

I am committed to working with and finding agreement with the Ranking Member in order to make this bill a reality.  Given the over 370 cosponsors in the House and over 70 cosponsors in the Senate, we owe it to our colleagues – and more importantly, to those with disabilities and their families– to come up with a solution.

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Prescription Pad: Medicare Part D - A Program Working for Seniors and Taxpayers

2014/07/31

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report showing how the successful Part D program has harnessed competition and private sector innovation to save billions for taxpayers and seniors.

The report highlighted that spending in fiscal year 2013 was $50 billion less than CBO's originally projected in that year.  That is nearly HALF of what they had previously estimated.  

Additionally, CBO confirmed that having more Part D sponsors leads to more competition.  

This report shows that competition can, and does, work in a Medicare program.  Best of all, almost 90 percent of seniors say they are satisfied with their Part D coverage. 

That's good news for seniors, Medicare and taxpayers.  And more reasons to stay vigilant against attempts to inflict rules that could restrict seniors’ access to medication, limit the number and types of plans available and raise prescription drug costs.

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Reason #23: Near Record Numbers of Poor Children

2014/07/31

Near Record Numbers of Poor Children.  The number of children living in poverty is near record levels, which were first set when the measure was created in 1959.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

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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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ICYMI: NBC, CBS Nightly News On Lerner Emails

2014/07/31

Evidence of IRS hostility toward the GOP
CBS Evening News, 7/30/2014



Former IRS official Lois Lerner calls GOP "crazies" in email
NBC Nightly News, 7/30/2014


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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


Reason #22: Record Numbers Living in Poverty

2014/07/30

Record Numbers Living in Poverty. In 2012 (the most recent data), a record 46.5 million Americans were living in poverty.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

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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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Tiberi Opening Statement: Hearing on Tiberi Opening Statement: Dynamic Analysis of the Tax Reform Act of 2014

2014/07/30

Good morning and thank you for joining us for our subcommittee hearing on dynamic analysis of Chairman Camp’s tax reform discussion draft, the Tax Reform Act of 2014.  

Today we examine the discussion draft of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, released by Chairman Camp in February.  The draft attempts to overhaul the tax code to create one that is simpler, fairer, and more pro-growth.

I applaud Chairman Camp for his work on the draft and for working to fix our broken tax code to strengthen the economy, help employers create more jobs and increase wages for American families.

An important goal for any tax reform plan is economic growth, and the Joint Committee on Taxation for the first time provided a dynamic analysis of tax legislation, where it found that the draft would increase GDP by as much as $3.4 trillion and would create nearly 2 million private sector jobs.

Chairman Camp requested feedback on the draft, on the JCT analysis, on economic modeling generally, and on how to treat dynamic revenue that results from a macroeconomic analysis of the discussion draft.  I’m pleased that so many stakeholders and economists have offered feedback thus far, and during this hearing we intend to examine some of that feedback relating to dynamic analyses.

The Tax Reform Act is a huge, important step forward in creating a better tax code for individuals and businesses.  But that’s not to say it can’t be improved, and that’s why Chairman Camp released this as a discussion draft: to gather feedback from stakeholders and experts in a public and transparent manner.  I’m looking forward to a great bipartisan discussion today. 


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Camp Sends More Evidence of Criminal Wrongdoing to DOJ

2014/07/30

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) sent additional evidence to the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the April 9, 2014 criminal referral letter which laid out evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing by former IRS employee Lois Lerner uncovered through the Committee’s investigation.

In releasing the letter, Camp stated, “Despite the serious investigation and evidence this Committee has undertaken into the IRS’s targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously.  In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”

In the letter to DOJ, Chairman Camp revealed:

Lerner had a bias against conservatives:

A newly discovered email exchange from Ms. Lerner’s official IRS email account, dated November 9, 2012, directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner’s deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as “---holes.”   Lerner further illustrates her disgust with conservatives, even suggesting they will ruin the country.  In her email, Lerner states: “So we don't need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It's our own crazies that will take us down.”  This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.

Lerner used her personal email for official business, including taxpayer information:

The Committee also found that Lerner used her personal email for official business, including confidential return information.  The Committee believed that further investigation, using resources available to the Department of Justice, could reveal whether there was unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information in violation of the law.  A newly discovered email from February 22, 2012 shows an exchange between Ms. Lerner and an IRS IT professional regarding a “Virus on Home PC.”  In the exchange, Ms. Lerner indicates that she kept work information on her home computer, some of which may have been lost.  She further states that her computer may have been “simply hacked because my password was too simple.”  This exchange further raises concerns that taxpayer information may have been leaked. 

The full letter can be read here.

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Reichert Opening Statement: Hearing on Subsidized Jobs Programs and Their Effectiveness in Helping Families Go to Work and Escape Poverty

2014/07/30

Thank you to our guests and witnesses for joining us today for this important hearing to review what we can do to help more parents go to work and help families escape poverty.

We clearly have lots of work to do, as we enter the sixth year of the so-called “Obama recovery.”  Not only has this been the worst recovery for jobs and growth ever, but record numbers of Americans are not working, or working only temp jobs.  More people dropped out of the workforce during this “recovery” than during the recession that preceded it.  And the median household income is down over $2,000 since this “recovery” started.  All of which may be why nearly half of Americans think the U.S. is still in a recession.  Over five and a half years after Democrats’ trillion-dollar stimulus plan, Americans are still asking “where are the jobs”?  

Make no mistake: work is not only what parents need and what they are looking for, it is the only real path out of poverty.  We know this implicitly, and the data confirms it.  Less than 3 percent of full-time workers are in poverty, while the poverty rate for people who don’t work is 10 times higher.

Work also addresses inequality.  Of households in the bottom 20 percent of the earnings ladder, less than one in five had a household member working full-time, and more than 60 percent had no one in the household who was working at all.  In contrast, households in the top 20 percent of earners had on average two workers in the household, with almost all of them working full time.

Looking back, we see the 1996 welfare reforms confirmed the centrality of work to reducing poverty.  Since the work-based 1996 welfare reforms were enacted, the employment rate of welfare recipients more than doubled, and child poverty rates fell dramatically and are still below the level in the early 1990s.  And welfare caseloads declined by 60 percent.

Still, in many places, loopholes have allowed states to keep welfare recipients on the rolls too long without working, reducing their income and increasing their dependence on taxpayers.  States now spend only a small share of their TANF funding— just 6 percent in FY 2013—on activities designed to get welfare recipients jobs.  The most recent data from States (for FY 2011) shows almost 60 percent of adults on TANF who were required to work had no reported hours in any work or work-related activity.  So the question is this: How can we get more low-income adults into jobs so they can better support their families and move up the economic ladder?

As we will learn in the testimony today, one approach to achieving this goal is through supporting subsidized jobs.  For years, some States have placed welfare recipients in subsidized jobs, providing payments to public and private employers to hire welfare recipients so they earn a paycheck instead of just collecting a welfare check.  

The goal of this approach is for the job to continue even after the subsidy ends, but it doesn’t always work out that way, raising concerns about effectiveness and cost of such efforts compared to other approaches.  We hope to review those sorts of issues today to determine how these types of programs can help low-income families escape poverty.

The bigger picture is important, too.

If we want to promote subsidized jobs or any other way of helping welfare recipients go to work, we simply will not make any progress while the Administration continues to insist it can waive precisely these sorts of policies.  The irony is, when the Administration announced its TANF waiver policy two years ago, we were working together across party lines to close loopholes that weakened welfare to work rules.  Those loopholes remain wide open today.  We can and should revisit ways to close those loopholes – along with discussing ways to implement ideas like promoting subsidized jobs – in the months ahead.  But if the Administration continues to insist it can simply waive any of the rules Congress creates, it is very unlikely to happen.   

I look forward to today’s testimony, and our continuing to work together on ways to help low-income parents find the work they need to get ahead. 

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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


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

2014/07/23


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


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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