Cynthia Lummis

Cynthia Lummis

WYOMING

Lummis: Border Security Comes First and Foremost

2014/08/04

On Friday night of last week, the U.S. House passed two bills to help address the crisis at the border with Mexico. First H.R. 5230 grants supplemental funding to enhance border security including $405 million to the Department of Homeland Security directed to the border and $70 million to deploy National Guard units. The bill also closes loopholes in a 2008 trafficking law that allowed illegal aliens to be released into the U.S. until deportation and ensures that customs and border patrol agents can operate on federal land.

The second bill the House passed, H.R. 5272, defunds the President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. This prohibition on funding ensures the safe but expeditious deportation of unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally.

U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, who voted for both the bills, said they are "the first of several measures that must be taken to secure our border."

"The bills we passed are careful but decisive and will send a clear message to those considering illegally crossing our border: we will not allow it," said Rep. Lummis. "The supplemental funding reinforces quick apprehension and expeditious deportation. The bill’s policy of ‘last in, first out’ will send back as quickly as possible the ones who just arrived so they can spread the word that the legal means is the only means of immigrating to America. Defunding DACA also offers clarity where President Obama remains obscure. Let us be clear, border security comes first and foremost."

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Lummis Demands EPA Listen to Wyoming

2014/08/01

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finishing their urban-area-only listening sessions on the EPA’s proposed carbon emissions rule. The hearings were held this week in Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Denver, CO; and Pittsburgh, PA. U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis joined colleagues in the House in sending a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA, demanding additional hearings in states where coal production takes place, including Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, and Arizona.

“These cities are large urban areas, several of which are hundreds of miles from the communities that will be most impacted by this flawed proposal,” the letter says. “It is deplorable that the EPA has not scheduled public hearings in communities that will lose thousands of jobs if these overreaching regulations are adopted.”

The rule sets carbon emissions targets that will close coal-fired power plants, increase the cost of electricity, and force drastic changes to the electrical grid that could threaten power reliability. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the EPA’s approach could cause 224,000 job losses annually and lower disposable income in the U.S. by $586 billion through 2030 – all for miniscule carbon emissions reductions that will be more than offset by increasing coal usage in other countries. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a coalition of business organizations representing over 80 percent of the U.S. economy, stated that in addition to significant legal questions, the proposed mandate is “fundamentally incompatible with numerous practical and technical aspects of America’s electricity system.”

On Wednesday, July 23, McCarthy told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in reference to the carbon rule: "And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It's about increased efficiency at our plants…It's about investments in renewables and clean energy.”

“The EPA could not be more out of touch with the needs of every day Americans,” said Rep. Lummis. “Wyoming will take the economic brunt of this ill-conceived rule for no benefit. We could all hop on one foot and have about the same effect on climate change. Billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost if this rule is enacted and all so the President can feel a moral superiority on the international scene. Here at home, Americans will suffer, our economy will suffer, and our energy security will suffer. The EPA needs to hold a hearing in Wyoming, look our citizens straight in the eye, and hear first-hand the damage their proposal will inflict on hard-working Americans.”

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Campbell County Office Hours

2014/07/31

DeAnna Kay, Brianna Straub and Matt Jones, Field Representatives for U.S. Senators Michael Enzi and John Barasso and Congressman Cynthia Lummis are scheduled to hold "Office Hours" in Wright and Gillette. Area residents are encouraged to come to discuss issues or views, questions or concerns with Kay, Straub and Jones regarding the Federal government. These comments will be relayed to Senators Enzi and Barasso and Congressman Lummis. Hour are as follows:

Wright Town Hall: Friday, August 1st, 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Gillette City Council Chamber: Friday August 1st, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

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Lummis Bill to Reform ESA Passes House

2014/07/29

Today the U.S. House passed H.R. 4315: the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act. H.R. 4315 combines four bills authored by members of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group, of which U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis is a Co-Chairman. The legislation advances basic transparency in ESA science and litigation, elevates the role of states and tribes in the decision-making process, and seeks to discourage the excessive ESA litigation that is driving ESA implementation, including through closed-door court settlement agreements between the federal government and ESA litigators. Rep. Lummis authored the portion of the bill requiring the Department of the Interior to track, report to Congress, and publish online: 1) the taxpayer funds spent to respond to ESA lawsuits; 2) the number of federal employees dedicated to ESA litigation; and 3) attorneys’ fees awarded in the course of ESA litigation and settlement agreements.

“Today, forty years after the Endangered Species Act was created, and twenty five years since it was last amended, it’s time to bring the ESA into the 21st Century,” said Rep. Lummis. “This legislation is a small but important step in that direction. It won’t solve all of the ESA’s problems overnight, but it will start the reform process by instilling transparency, accountability, and an elevated role for states in the ESA’s implementation. The law’s heavy mandates and costs have been borne by Wyoming’s citizens for too long without meaningful oversight, which this legislation will facilitate by shining light on rampant ESA litigation and the questionable science used to make decisions that impact people’s livelihoods. Wyomingites care deeply about their land, water, and wildlife and practice conservation every day on the ground where it matters most. Wyoming deserves a voice at the table and the benefit of transparency in the federal ESA decisions that impact our state.”

Summary of H.R. 4315:

o Requires the publication on the internet of the data used to make ESA listing decisions. The internet did not commercially exist the last time the ESA was reauthorized in 1988 and this provision brings this part of the ESA up to date.

o Requires federal agencies to provide states, tribes and local governments with the data used to formulate a listing decision before a listing decision is made.

o Requires the consideration of data submitted by states, tribes, and local governments as a part of the ESA process.

o Requires the tracking and publication of ESA-related litigation expenses, including taxpayer-funded attorneys’ fees. The public deserves to know how many of their tax dollars are being spent to finance briefcases-in-courtrooms instead of boots-on-the-ground species recovery. This transparency will also begin to open up the secretive litigation processes by which ESA policy is being set with zero input from those actually impacted.

o Caps attorney fees for litigation filed under the Endangered Species Act at $125 an hour. This is the same cap that applies to claims under the Equal Access to Justice Act, a law under which small businesses, veterans, and federal benefit recipients may sue and recover fees from the government.

H.R. 4315 is supported by the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming County Commissioners Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Western Energy Alliance, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, The Public Lands Council, the National Association of Counties and many others.

Rep. Lummis has also joined colleagues from sage grouse states in introducing H.R. 4716: the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, which would prevent a federal ESA listing of the sage grouse, allowing Wyoming and other states to prove that they can effectively manage and conserve sage grouse within their respective states. Click here for more information.

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Lummis Joins Chorus to Reassure Border State Governors of Emergency Defense Authority

2014/07/25

This week, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis signed onto H.Res. 675 in support of the constitutional authority of the governors of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California to take action to secure the international border of the United States within their states. In addition to supporting gubernatorial authority, the resolution calls on these governors to deploy the National Guard to the border and commits to compensating these states for costs incurred in securing their borders.

“During this latest surge in the growing border crisis, the President has shown again and again that he will not act and we cannot afford to wait until he does,” said Rep. Lummis. “The federal government is under a constitutional obligation to defend the states, but the Administration’s inaction as tens of thousands of illegal immigrants rush our border only exacerbates a dangerous and real breach of state and national security that must be dealt with. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives states the right to protect themselves against ‘imminent danger as will not admit of delay.’ We cannot afford to delay addressing the rush on our nation’s border, and so I urge the governors of the states involved to deploy National Guard units to secure the borders within their respective states both for their own security and the security of our country.”

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Appropriations Cuts IRS Funding, Stops Obamacare Fines

2014/07/17

Yesterday U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis R-WY voted with the majority in the U.S. House to cut funding for the IRS by $341 million and stop its rule that threatens free speech for 501(c)(4)s as part of the FY 2015 Financial Services Appropriations bill. The funding legislation, as amended, also prohibits enforcement of the Obamacare individual mandate as well as cuts funding for preparations of executive orders that contradict current law. In addition, the act cuts unjustified IRS bonuses and wasteful spending, prevents destruction of records, requires IRS employees attendance at taxpayer rights training, prohibits future political targeting and protects Americans’ 1st Amendment rights.

“The House has the power of the purse and we are using that power to rein in this out of control President and administration,” said Rep. Lummis. “From the IRS’s political targeting to the presidential power grabs through the many executive orders, Congress needs to reclaim the authority granted it by the people and the constitution and hold those responsible accountable. Hitting this administration where it hurts most, the wallet, is the best way to get their attention.”

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Lummis, Carney Introduce Bi-partisan Bill to Modernize C-130H Aircraft Flown by Wyoming National Guard

2014/07/16

Today U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and John Carney (D-DE) introduced the bipartisan C-130 Modernization Act (H.R. 5119), legislation to prevent wasteful spending and allow the United States Air Force to modernize the C-130H aircraft in a fiscally responsible manner without jeopardizing our national security.

The C-130H aircraft is the military’s primary combat delivery aircraft and has provided humanitarian assistance, precision airdrop and tactical airlift across the globe for more than 40 years. Currently, the C-130H fleet is flown by Air National Guard units in Wyoming, Delaware, and 16 additional states and has played an invaluable role in our nation’s security, both at home and abroad. Unless the C-130H fleet is upgraded and modernized, the aircraft will be inoperable in 2020 due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international safety regulations. This could mean the end of the Wyoming’s National Guard’s C130 flying mission, along with associated job losses.

For the past 13 years, the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) has been the designated program to upgrade the C-130H fleet to ensure its compliance with national and international regulations before the 2020 deadline. But due to significant cost overruns, the Air Force announced in 2012 that it wanted to abandon the AMP program and pursue a scaled-down and more cost-effective solution. A Congressionally mandated cost-benefit study found that modernizing just the navigation systems of the C-130H fleet would cost a quarter of the AMP program, saving $12 million per aircraft, while still allowing the C-130H fleet to meet all flight and airspace safety requirements by 2020.

The C-130 Modernization Act gives the Air Force the option to pursue this more targeted and fiscally responsible modernization approach. It would allow the Air Force to pursue either the AMP program or the cost-effective alternative program solely modernizing the navigation systems of the planes. The legislation does not cancel the AMP program, but instead gives the Secretary of the Air Force the flexibility to determine how best to upgrade the C-130H fleet in order to meet the 2020 deadline.

“Wyoming’s Air National Guard represents a critical component of defense and service capabilities for our state, the U.S. Air Force, and our nation,” said Rep. Lummis. “This legislation provides for an effective, more affordable path to modernize these aircraft and allows the Air National Guard to continue their invaluable service. I am glad to work with Mr. Carney on this issue and I look forward to continuing to fight for the men and women who work and fight for the American people.”

“I’m pleased to work with Rep. Lummis on this bipartisan issue,” said Rep. Carney. “Not only will this approach save the government money – it ensures the sustainability of the C-130 fleet, which is vital to the National Guard missions in both of our districts.”

The 54 Adjutants General of the United States National Guard voted unanimously to support the Air Force’s efforts to modernize the C-130H fleet and expressed support for an alternative, cost-effective solution to the AMP program.

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Lummis Uses Appropriations Bill to Defend Wyoming Uranium Jobs

2014/07/11

Last night U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis secured language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to strengthen the Department of Energy’s legal obligation to consider the health of the United States’ uranium mining industry as it seeks to dispose of excess uranium. Under the Lummis language, a ten percent drop in the price of uranium would invalidate the Department’s standing uranium transfer authority, forcing the agency to undergo additional analysis of whether the federal transfers are hurting uranium miners and other domestic uranium industries. Additionally, the House unanimously adopted by voice vote a Lummis Amendment blocking funding for Department actions that adversely impact the domestic uranium industry or fail to comply with public notice and comment requirements that bind all federal agencies.

Current law prohibits the Secretary of Energy from transferring uranium unless the Secretary determines the transfer will not adversely impact the domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries, all of which are crucial to the uranium supply chain that feeds our nation’s nuclear power plants. However, these secretarial determinations have not fully reflected the true damage inflicted on Wyoming’s uranium miners when the federal government dumps large amounts of uranium on the market. These secretarial determinations have also been plagued by a lack of transparency. A June 9, 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has documented shortcomings in the Department’s analysis of impacts on the domestic uranium market, including a failure to adequately consult with the uranium miners and others in the industry.

“The secretarial determination is supposed to be a safeguard so the government doesn’t abuse its enormous assets and crush domestic industries, but the whole process has turned into a sham,” said Rep. Lummis. “The Department’s own commissioned market analysis confirms that the next round of transfers will cause job losses in Wyoming and elsewhere, but instead of scaling back the transfers the Administration is moving forward based on mysterious ‘other information and analysis’ they have chosen not to make public. Wyoming has the largest uranium deposits in the U.S. and hard-working people working to alleviate our nation’s dependence on foreign uranium for 90 percent of our country’s nuclear-based electricity supply. But their task is made difficult, if not impossible, in the face of reckless federal uranium transfers. My amendment is but a first step towards the reforms we need to restore sanity in the federal uranium program and improve American energy security with Wyoming uranium and Wyoming jobs.”

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Lummis Challenges EPA’s Claims of Power to Garnish Private Citizens’ Wages

2014/07/10

Today U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis joined more than 20 of her colleagues to send a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy objecting to the agency’s claim of authority to “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States” without first obtaining a court order. The letter goes on to express concerns of “the increasingly punitive nature of the agency” citing a “more than 160 percent increase” of fines collected “in a span of only four years”. The House members also criticize the “process for challenging fines and wage garnishment” as unsatisfactory because “it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense.”

“We are seeing a federal agency going rogue and, frankly, drunk with power,” said Rep. Lummis. “If anyone doubts the outrageous things the EPA is willing to do, just look at the approximately $187,500 in daily fines they are trying to impose on a private Wyoming land owner for building a pond on his own property. Moreover, Americans have a constitutional right to due process and it is absurd for any agency, especially a regulatory agency like the EPA, to claim they can decide who is allowed and who is not allowed to make a defense. It is time to rein in the EPA and make it back off of our rights, wages, waters, and lands.”


Below is the full text of the letter.

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We are writing to express our deep concerns with a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claim to have authority to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order."

This claim seems to violate American citizens’ Constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process by placing the burden of proof on the debtor, rather than the agency. The process for challenging fines and wage garnishment is not satisfactory because it allows the agency to decide if the accused can even present a defense.

The increasingly punitive nature of the agency is also of concern. According to the agency’s annual reports, the amount of fines collected by the EPA has gone from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2013. Though we agree stakeholders must be responsible and the EPA should enforce rules reasonably, the more than 160 percent increase in a span of only four years indicates that some of these fines may have been excessive.

The EPA has said the rule was not subject to review because it is not a "significant regulatory action." But it has recently been reported that a Wyoming homeowner was threatened with a $75,000 fine for building a pond on his property. That might seem like a drop in the bucket to a bureaucratic agency with a multi-billion dollar budget, but for the vast majority of Americans, $75,000 is a lot of money. The proposed rule would make it both more difficult to dispute such fines and provide incentive for the EPA to issue penalties against more Americans. Its impact, therefore, would certainly create “significant” hardships on affected individuals.

The agency has fast-tracked the rule to take effect on September 2nd, 2014 absent sufficient opposing comment by August 1st, 2014. We are writing to voice our strongest opposition to the rule and the EPA’s inadequate engagement with the public concerning it. Further, we ask that you reverse your decision and not follow through with this rule. By doing so, your agency will demonstrate respect for the right to due process under the law that is guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.

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Lummis Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Contraceptive Mandate

2014/06/30

Washington, D.C.-In response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby case U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court ruling affirms what we knew all along: the Obamacare contraceptive mandate to supply abortifacients and contraceptives to employees violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion.  I am pleased that the majority of Justices realized this and ruled in favor of that freedom.  In the U.S. House I have already joined Rep. Diane Black to co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, to ensure that the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion is protected for everyone.  This is just one more way Obamacare violates our rights and freedoms and one more reason to repeal it and replace it.”

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Contact Information

113 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2311
Fax 202-225-3057
lummis.house.gov

Cynthia Lummis (pronounced “Luh-miss”) was elected to represent the people of Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.  She was raised on her family ranch in Laramie County and graduated from the University of Wyoming with bachelor degrees in Animal Science and Biology. In 1979, Cynthia became the youngest woman ever elected to the Wyoming Legislature. She returned to the University of Wyoming for a law degree, which she received in 1985.

 

Cynthia then clerked at the Wyoming Supreme Court, practiced law in Cheyenne, and served a total of fourteen years in the Wyoming House and Senate, concentrating on natural resource and taxation issues. She completed her legislative service in 1994 and then chaired Governor-elect Jim Geringer’s transition team. She continued to work in the Governor’s office for two more years, primarily on natural resource issues. Cynthia also served as the interim Director of the Office of State Lands and Investments.

Cynthia was elected Wyoming State Treasurer in 1998. In eight years (two terms) as Wyoming State Treasurer, she converted Wyoming’s primarily fixed income investment portfolio of $3.5 billion to a fully diversified portfolio of equities, real estate and fixed income investments, public and private, domestic and international, totaling $8.5 billion. Her term of office as State Treasurer ended in January 2007.

 

Cynthia continues to be involved in the daily operations of the Lummis family ranch. She and her husband, Al Wiederspahn, a former Wyoming legislator and Cheyenne attorney, have one daughter, Annaliese.

As the sole House Representative for the state of Wyoming, Cynthia is a staunch advocate for fiscal responsibility, limiting the size and scope of the federal government and developing our nation’s domestic energy capabilities. Cynthia is a member of the House Natural Resources, Oversight and Government Reform and Science, Space and Technology Committees.


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