Darrell Issa

Darrell Issa

CALIFORNIA's 49th DISTRICT

Rep. Issa Calls for Judiciary Hearing On Impact of White Supremacist Groups on Civil Rights in America

2017/08/17

In the wake of the events in Charlottesville this weekend, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) today released a letter calling for the House Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing at the full committee level to examine the attacks in Charlottesville, recent displays of white nationalism, and their impact on civil rights in America.

A full copy of the letter is available here and text is below.

August 17, 2017

 

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Goodlatte:

As you and our colleagues are well aware, this weekend a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was attended by hundreds of self-identified members of the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other repulsive hate groups. The despicable display of bigotry and evil resulted in an unconscionable attack that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of 20 others assembled in counter protest. As the nation grieves and heals from the scenes of this past weekend, we have a duty to more fully understand what led to these terrible events and the persistence of these hateful, extremist ideologies.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Department of Justice will appropriately conduct a federal civil rights investigation into the violence in Charlottesville this weekend. Further, the House Homeland Security Committee has announced a hearing on September 12th to examine the events from the perspective of domestic terrorism. As members of the committee of jurisdiction on issues related to civil rights and democracy, we too have a unique duty to examine the impact recent displays of hatred from white supremacist groups have on civil rights in America. Therefore, I write today to call for the full Committee to hold a hearing on this topic when we return in September.

While Congress cannot legislate respect, decency, or acceptance of others, we have an obligation to use our platform to lead our country forward on these matters. Thank you for your time and I look forward to working with you further on these critical issues.

Sincerely,


Darrell Issa
Member of Congress

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ICYMI: TIME Op-ed by Darrell Issa and Mike Lee: Occupational Licensing Is Too Often Bad for Jobs

2017/08/17

Rep. Issa and Sen. Lee: Job Licensing Is Too Often Bad for Jobs
TIME Magazine
August 17, 2017
By: Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Mike Lee
http://time.com/4905290/job-licensing-american-jobs/

Who’d have thought it would take more time, training and money to be licensed as a hair stylist, interior designer or barber than it does to become an emergency medical technician ready to save people’s lives in an emergency? Yet in California, Utah and every state across the nation, legal absurdities like this have become the new normal, as occupational licensing requirements (essentially government permission slips required to do your job) have become mandated in more fields than ever before.

Their spread has made it increasingly difficult for workers — especially lower-income Americans — to start their careers or take new jobs in any number of fields, including even those as simple as hair-braiding, upholstery or, yes, even flower arranging.

Americans already face a tough economy, and occupational licensing requirements only make it harder for them to build better lives for themselves and their families.

For jobs with a direct impact on health or public safety, the government has a legitimate role to play in protecting customers from unscrupulous or dangerous actors in the marketplace. But many occupational licensing requirements have little to do with ensuring your safety — and a lot to do with keeping people like you out of work.

Take California, for example, which requires four years of experience, $400 in fees and an exam in order to be licensed as a landscaper — 52 times the experience it takes to become an EMT. Or look at Utah, where it takes more than twice as much experience to work in a nail salon than it does to deliver medical care in an ambulance. Yet, if occupational licensing laws were really designed to protect public safety, you’d expect the opposite to be true.

Just look at the numbers. In 1950, fewer than 5% of U.S. workers had to be licensed for their jobs. Today, nearly one in three needs a license. 

According to research by Institute for Justice, a non-profit law firm, California is the second-most “onerously licensed” state in the country. And Utah isn’t far behind, coming in at number 12. On average, aspiring workers in the ever-increasing number of licensed professions nationwide must pay more than $200 in fees, spend at least nine months in training and pass at least one exam, just to meet their respective states’ education and experience requirements.

Occupational licensing laws erect unnecessary barriers for many, but the effects are especially pronounced for low-income and minority communities. Most low-income workers don’t have the savings or free time to enroll in required training programs, let alone to pay hundreds of dollars in fees just to earn an honest day’s wages. Additionally, a recent study showed that stiffer occupational licensing requirements reduced the number of low-income Americans taking the risk to start their own businesses by as much as 11%, compared to states with simpler requirements.

The effects on our economy are stark. According to one estimate, licensing requirements run amok have cost the U.S. economy as many as 2.85 million jobs and cost consumers an astounding $203 billion a year.

How’d we get in this mess? It's best to start by how examining how a state decides to license a given profession in the first place.

Usually, a group of workers in a particular field band together and lobby state government set up a requirement. Next, a state licensing board is formed and invariably controlled overwhelmingly by practitioners of that industry. Standards are then adopted, administered and enforced by the board. Anyone who doesn’t meet the industry insiders’ requirements can be shut down on their command.

The conflict of interest is painfully obvious. Existing professionals in a given field control the board, licensing requirements and who enters and leaves the market. They use this power to shut out competition, drive up pricing or, worse, lock out innovative new market disruptors that threaten their way of doing business.

Further, since the boards often run with little oversight from state, they've become so rife with abuse that the Supreme Court has even begun to take notice. In 2015, the Court ruled that state licensing boards can be held legally liable for unfairly blocking competition after the North Carolina Board of Dentistry tried to prevent mall-based teeth-whitening services by requiring the procedure to be performed only by licensed dentists — despite the fact that countless Americans safely self-administer teeth whitening products at home every day.

Though the decision raised questions over whether it may make it harder for states to recruit knowledgeable citizens, who are often market participants, to volunteer to staff licensing boards, the Supreme Court’s decision was a victory for American workers and consumers. More importantly, however, it gave Congress an opening to curb the worst excesses of these occupational licensing regimes.

Building on this decision, we introduced the Restoring Board Immunity Act. The bill uses the Court’s decision to incentivize states to make necessary and long-overdue changes to their occupational licensing regimes by giving states two options: either bring the licensing boards under direct oversight of the state or create a way for citizens to challenge whether a given requirement is truly necessary for the public’s health and safety. 

Occupational licensing reform is a rare and growing area of bipartisan agreement that’s drawn the attention of lawmakers and think tanks all across the spectrum from the libertarian-minded Cato Institute, to the left-leaning Brookings Institution — even the Obama Administration, which put out a report in 2015 detailing the need for change.

As consensus continues building Congress should seize the moment at once and come together to sweep away the most burdensome of these regulations and give countless Americans a better opportunity to improve their lives.

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ICYMI: Issa Licensing Reform "Could Do An Awful Lot Of Good For An Awful Lot of American Workers"

2017/08/15

As consensus continues to build on all sides of the aisle to roll back many of our nation's capricious and often unaccountable licensing requirements for Americans to work in particular fields, Michelle Cottle of the Atlantic takes a look at how these requirements are hurting American workers and how Congressman Issa and Senator Mike Lee's occupational licensing reform legislation could hold the key to "doing an awful lot of good for an awful lot of American workers."

Excerpts are below and the full piece is available here.

The Onerous, Arbitrary, Unaccountable World of Occupational Licensing
The Atlantic
August 13, 2017
http://theatln.tc/2fBQnZY

I know what you’re thinking: What kind of sad creature considers occupational licensing a hot topic? But with more than one in four U.S. workers now required to hold such a license, the answer absolutely should be: everyone.

An occupational license is basically a government permission slip to do certain work. In many places, before one can become a makeup artist, taxidermist, massage therapist, and so on, one must first jump through a variety of hoops—attending classes, taking exams, and paying fees—mostly set at the state level. (Federal and local authorities are fringe players in this game.)

...

In theory, such licensing protects consumers from being harmed by incompetent or fraudulent providers. (No one wants to get deep into labor only to discover that her midwife can’t tell an umbilical cord from a baby toe.) In practice, however, the process has sprawled far beyond questions of public health and safety, morphing into an onerous, arbitrary, unaccountable mess that, in far too many cases, is less about consumer protection than about economic protectionism.

How does a state decide to license a particular occupation? Typically, workers in that field lobby legislators to establish such a system. Licensing requirements are then determined, and the system is overseen and enforced by a licensing board dominated by practitioners of said field. Any newcomer who attempts to enter that field without a proper license can be shut down by the board.

It’s not hard to spot the potential conflict here. For a practicing barber, auctioneer, or funeral attendant, there’s a clear incentive to limit new competitors. Existing practitioners control licensing boards. Licensing boards control the flow of new practitioners. And since the boards tend to be (very) loosely overseen by the state, they often operate with scant accountability. It’s a classic recipe for abuse.

...

Once licenses are on the books, it’s hard to get them off. Trade groups and training schools that benefit from the system lobby hard to keep them in place. Often, the judicial branch has to step in, which is what happened in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners had overstepped in barring anyone but dentists from performing teeth whitening. Non-dentists had been charging less for the service, and dentists flipped out. Their licensing board issued cease-and-desist letters. In 2012, Obama’s Federal Trade Commission felt moved to file a complaint about the anti-competitive behavior.

Technically, the high court’s ruling said that the board in question was not closely connected enough to the state government to enjoy its antitrust exemptions. The decision nonetheless served as a warning shot for all states to keep closer tabs on their boards and perhaps rethink their licensing regimes. “The court decision creates a sense of urgency,” Carpenter said.

It’s also opened the door for the federal government to goose states toward a saner approach. In a speech to state lawmakers on July 21, Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, told them to get serious about repealing anti-competitive licensing practices.

Less than a week later, a gaggle of conservative lawmakers—Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse, along with Representative Darrell Issa—introduced legislation that would give licensing boards immunity from antitrust suits, but only if a state dramatically reformed (read: dialed back) its licensing regime.

...

Despite all the libertarian and conservative energy focused on occupational licensing, it is not a left-right, red-blue issue. Right along with IJ, the Brookings Institution has been pushing reform ideas. Liberal journalists such as Matt Yglesias and Jonathan Chait have denounced the insanity. And it was the Obama administration that got the ball rolling with a 2015 report outlining the need for reform.

Now, it’s Trumplandia pressing for change, backed by some congressional support. Hopefully, they won’t lose focus. Fixing occupational licensing may not be as attention-grabbing as, say, building a see-through, solar-powered border wall, but it could do an awful lot of good for an awful lot of American workers.

Read more in The Atlantic

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Issa Statement on President Trump's Press Conference on Charlottesville

2017/08/15

Following President Trump's remarks at Trump Tower in regards to the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Congressman Issa responded on Twitter with the following statements:
 

We should be abundantly clear. White supremacy, Nazism, and hate have no place in our society. We must condemn it on no uncertain terms.

— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) August 15, 2017

Evil thoughts turned to evil acts this weekend. No excuses. https://t.co/XNraeYgv9m

— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) August 15, 2017
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Issa Takes On The Onerous, Arbitrary, Unaccountable World of Occupational Licensing

2017/08/14

NOTE: Less than a week later, a gaggle of conservative lawmakers—Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse, along with Representative Darrell Issa—introduced legislation that would give licensing boards immunity from antitrust suits, but only if a state dramatically reformed (read: dialed back) its licensing regime...Despite all the libertarian and conservative energy focused on occupational licensing, it is not a left-right, red-blue issue.

The Onerous, Arbitrary, Unaccountable World of Occupational Licensing
The Atlantic
August 13, 2017
http://theatln.tc/2fBQnZY

For all Donald Trump’s flightiness and lack of ideological moorings, in one regard at least, the guy is reasonably steadfast: If Barack Obama supported something, he wants to blow it up or roll it back. Save for filling Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat—which, really, should count more as a win for Mitch McConnell—arguably 45’s most noteworthy feat thus far has been his dogged quest to unravel his predecessor’s legacy.

Which makes it oh-so-interesting to encounter the rare policy parallels between his administration and the last. Among the more sizzling examples to surface of late: the need to overhaul occupational licensing.

I know what you’re thinking: What kind of sad creature considers occupational licensing a hot topic? But with more than one in four U.S. workers now required to hold such a license, the answer absolutely should be: everyone.

An occupational license is basically a government permission slip to do certain work. In many places, before one can become a makeup artist, taxidermist, massage therapist, and so on, one must first jump through a variety of hoops—attending classes, taking exams, and paying fees—mostly set at the state level. (Federal and local authorities are fringe players in this game.)

In theory, such licensing protects consumers from being harmed by incompetent or fraudulent providers. (No one wants to get deep into labor only to discover that her midwife can’t tell an umbilical cord from a baby toe.) In practice, however, the process has sprawled far beyond questions of public health and safety, morphing into an onerous, arbitrary, unaccountable mess that, in far too many cases, is less about consumer protection than about economic protectionism.

How does a state decide to license a particular occupation? Typically, workers in that field lobby legislators to establish such a system. Licensing requirements are then determined, and the system is overseen and enforced by a licensing board dominated by practitioners of said field. Any newcomer who attempts to enter that field without a proper license can be shut down by the board.

It’s not hard to spot the potential conflict here. For a practicing barber, auctioneer, or funeral attendant, there’s a clear incentive to limit new competitors. Existing practitioners control licensing boards. Licensing boards control the flow of new practitioners. And since the boards tend to be (very) loosely overseen by the state, they often operate with scant accountability. It’s a classic recipe for abuse.

Stories abound of licensure run amok. Some states require hair braiders to get fully licensed as cosmetologists. Others demand that casket sellers become licensed funeral directors. Many states bar non-dentists from whitening people’s teeth. (That last one took a bit of a hit with a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, which I’ll get to in a jiff.) Obtaining such licenses can be crazy-expensive and call for hundreds of hours of training that have no bearing on the work in question. The Institute for Justice, or IJ, a libertarian public-interest law firm, has amassed juicy tales of overreach on its website.

Complicating matters, licensing requirements vary widely by state. In its 2012 report “License to Work,” IJ sliced and diced state data in multiple, illuminating ways. For instance, 33 percent of Iowa’s workforce is licensed, while only 12.4 percent of South Carolina’s is.

Different states, of course, have different rules: All 50 plus Washington, D.C., license pest-control applicators; seven license upholsterers; and only one licenses florists. (If you’re looking to sling posies, think twice before moving to Louisiana.) The state-to-state differences in what it takes to earn a license are equally stark. Iowa requires cosmetologists to have 490 days of experience/education; New York calls for only 233. Arkansas demands 1,825 days of experience/education for a painting contractor; Washington state, zero.

Occupational licenses do not transfer across state lines, and research—along with common sense—suggests this curtails worker mobility. (God forbid someone giving pedicures in Pennsylvania try to ply their wares in Idaho without a new license.) Certainly, it poses a burden for folks who move frequently, such as military spouses.

The burdens add up. In 2011, a trio of University of Minnesota and Princeton economists estimated that occupational licensing results in 2.8 million fewer jobs and costs consumers $203 billion a year.

State lawmakers need to be made aware of these costs, said Dick Carpenter, IJ’s director of strategic research and co-author of the book Bottleneckers. The title is his term for those who use government power to block competition: “For too long, bottleneckers have gone to legislators, and the case they’ve made is that there is no cost to licensing,” he told me. “The state budget will not be harmed, and any cost will be paid by the fees that applicants pay.” In the narrowest sense, licensing boards are self-financed, Carpenter said. “But this ignores other costs, greater costs.”

Besides, it’s not a binary choice between licensing and doing nothing, he insisted. “There’s a menu of regulatory options in between”—mandatory bonding and insurance, registration, inspections, certification. Legislators should think of this menu as a continuum, Carpenter said, and go with the least restrictive option appropriate.

Once licenses are on the books, it’s hard to get them off. Trade groups and training schools that benefit from the system lobby hard to keep them in place. Often, the judicial branch has to step in, which is what happened in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners had overstepped in barring anyone but dentists from performing teeth whitening. Non-dentists had been charging less for the service, and dentists flipped out. Their licensing board issued cease-and-desist letters. In 2012, Obama’s Federal Trade Commission felt moved to file a complaint about the anti-competitive behavior.

Technically, the high court’s ruling said that the board in question was not closely connected enough to the state government to enjoy its antitrust exemptions. The decision nonetheless served as a warning shot for all states to keep closer tabs on their boards and perhaps rethink their licensing regimes. “The court decision creates a sense of urgency,” Carpenter said.

It’s also opened the door for the federal government to goose states toward a saner approach. In a speech to state lawmakers on July 21, Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, told them to get serious about repealing anti-competitive licensing practices.

Less than a week later, a gaggle of conservative lawmakers—Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ben Sasse, along with Representative Darrell Issa—introduced legislation that would give licensing boards immunity from antitrust suits, but only if a state dramatically reformed (read: dialed back) its licensing regime.

Even more concretely, in February, the acting head of the FTC, Maureen Ohlhausen, launched an Economic Liberty Task Force with an emphasis on curbing overbroad licensing. Education and advocacy will be a big part of the game, Ohlhausen said in her speech. But if the good-cop approach doesn’t work, the commission can go the other way, too: “When warranted, the FTC will bring enforcement actions in appropriate cases.”

Despite all the libertarian and conservative energy focused on occupational licensing, it is not a left-right, red-blue issue. Right along with IJ, the Brookings Institution has been pushing reform ideas. Liberal journalists such as Matt Yglesias and Jonathan Chait have denounced the insanity. And it was the Obama administration that got the ball rolling with a 2015 report outlining the need for reform.

Now, it’s Trumplandia pressing for change, backed by some congressional support. Hopefully, they won’t lose focus. Fixing occupational licensing may not be as attention-grabbing as, say, building a see-through, solar-powered border wall, but it could do an awful lot of good for an awful lot of American workers.

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Issa Condemns White Supremacist Attack in Charlottesville

2017/08/12

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) issued the following statement condemning the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia:

"I am sickened by the despicable display of intolerance, violence, and hatred in Charlottesville this weekend.  We must denounce white supremacy, bigotry, and their ancillary evils without hesitation and seek a more peaceful path forward for our nation."

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Union-Tribune: Praise for Issa's Work To Reduce Homelessness

2017/08/11

NOTE: "Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, deserves praise for courageously taking the lead to request Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson look at how Housing First impacts vulnerable populations — families and children — and how other approaches can work in tandem to overcome poverty and homelessness. He should be commended for taking action to prevent homeless programs across the state from being forced to shutter their doors, thanks to the new misguided guidelines."

More than one way to address San Diego homeless crisis
San Diego Union-Tribune
By: Chris Megison
http://bit.ly/2hS5q26

San Diego’s homeless crisis is growing worse by the day. Yet as more are living on the streets and fewer in shelters than ever before, some, including Michael McConnell who recently took to the Union-Tribune’s opinion pages (“Why the Housing First approach is a practical solution for homelessness,” Aug. 4) argue that the best approach to solving homelessness is to outlaw any program that doesn’t fit his particular recipe for success.

As someone who has served the homeless for more than 25 years, solving homelessness for thousands using a very different approach, it is hard for me to not take his criticism personally. It’s even harder not to call it out for it narrow-mindedness.

Homelessness is a complex problem with causes spanning the criminal justice system, mental health, substance abuse, family support, human connection, and other social and economic forces. Other innovative and replicable program models that work shouldn’t be kept out of the picture.

In his commentary, McConnell makes many mischaracterizations, claiming that progress in solving homelessness is jeopardized by “ill-informed politicians and agencies.” But what he gets wrong most of all is that no one is calling for an end to Housing First. Instead, what some are asking for is a simple request to include other high-performing results-driven approaches in our homelessness policy.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, deserves praise for courageously taking the lead to request Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson look at how Housing First impacts vulnerable populations — families and children — and how other approaches can work in tandem to overcome poverty and homelessness. He should be commended for taking action to prevent homeless programs across the state from being forced to shutter their doors, thanks to the new misguided guidelines.

At Solutions for Change, our programs our based on a 25-year personal empowerment and accountability model that puts the hard-to-serve homeless to work and is funded almost entirely by the private sector and social enterprise. Our approach adopts a completely unique model focused on a permanent solution to homelessness, not just a band aid of temporary housing.

Over 18 years, we’ve successfully led more than 850 families and 2,200 children out of homelessness and back on their feet. Yet, thanks to the misguided requirement that any homelessness program follow Housing First to be eligible for federal funding, we’ve been forced to walk away from as much as $600,000 in grants and our 40-bed family center now sits empty because Housing First rules require that we abandon our drug free housing and scrap our workforce training in favor of no-strings-attached optional programs.

When McConnell and other Housing First allies assert that their model works, they’re not talking about solving homelessness and its root causes. His goal is to getting people into “permanent” taxpayer-supported housing. They then offer Family Option Study as proof that families benefit from Housing First, but fail to mention how the very study also demonstrates that families in these programs experienced only temporary success because issues like employment, mental health and substance abuse were poorly addressed for the long haul.

Our approach uses work, education and employment to transform those experiencing homelessness. The families we help like this approach — they want to be supported, empowered and treated as valuable and capable. Central to this effort is a healthy and drug-free living community focused on keeping kids safe. Good programs like ours with a track record of success shouldn’t be shut out of the system.

This issue is about more than housing: It’s about saving the lives of kids and ending poverty and dependency. We know that the large majority experiencing homelessness can develop job skills, obtain work and pay for their own housing. We must do better than coldly pushing families and children into homelessness and insisting on only utilizing one way of solving homelessness.

The number of chronic homeless in the top four cities (New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego) has spiked with no signs of abating. McConnell and the Housing First advocates say that providing housing, supporting sobriety, training for employment and engaging the root causes of homelessness is “outdated, ineffective and wasteful.” What’s “ineffective” is choosing to punish homelessness programs based on their approach, rather than on their results.

Homelessness reaches far beyond any single cause and our homeless policy should be big enough to support more than any single solution.

Megison is president and CEO of Solutions for Change.

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Issa: North Korea greatest threat 'since Cuban Missile Crisis'

2017/08/09

Issa: North Korea greatest threat 'since Cuban Missile Crisis'
San Diego Union Tribune
http://bit.ly/2uoWoLR

Reports that North Korea has developed a nuclear weapon small enough to load inside a missile alarmed San Diego’s and California’s congressional delegation, with members calling for even tougher diplomatic measures against the rogue state.

“If true, it represents the greatest crisis probably since — let me rephrase that — undoubtedly since the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista said in an appearance on CNN, referring to the 1962 nuclear showdown between the U.S. and Soviet Union over ballistic missiles on Cuba. “And the correlation is very similar. This is something that can hit us and our allies, and it's a rogue nation that we suspect would use it.”

Issa, like others, called for an enforcement of the new sanctions that the United Nations Security Council voted over the weekend to impose. Those new restrictions curb North Korea’s international trade in an attempt to make it difficult for the country to pay for its expansive military.

"If we cut off all currency, hard currency to this regime, this regime is going to have to choose: Nuclear weapons or an internal problem that this dictator probably cannot deal with,” said Issa, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Last week President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that puts stiffer sanctions on North Korea as the country continued to publicly test its weapons program, including long-range missiles.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, said that this new law puts pressure on North Korea, and he praised countries including China for their own interventions, but added that the efforts are not enough.

“Sanctions alone are insufficient,” he said. “We need an unyielding, long-term strategy to check North Korean aggression and prevent an escalation of hostilities that would have devastating consequences for thousands of American service members stationed in Asia, millions of civilians, and the global economy,” he said in a statement.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that sanctions haven’t had their intended effect, and there must be talks with North Korea.

“What this tells me is that our policy of isolating North Korea has not worked,” she said. “The United States must quickly engage North Korea in a high-level dialogue without any preconditions. Hopefully, Secretary (of State Rex) Tillerson is already discussing the possibility of reopening talks with our Asian partners during his current trip. In my view, diplomacy is the only sound path forward.”

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Rep. Darrell Issa: It’s Time to Bring Pre-1972 Copyrights Out of the Dark Ages

2017/08/07

Rep. Darrell Issa: It’s Time to Bring Pre-1972 Copyrights Out of the Dark Ages 
Variety Magazine
August 7, 2017
http://bit.ly/2hDy9aU
 

When Sly Stone and Charley Pride received the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Grammy Awards in my home state of California, their place in history was preserved for all time. Unfortunately for them and so many others, their rights to their own work is not.

The moment highlighted a key policy wrinkle hurting many of our legacy artists: Stone and Pride are among those whose works are not subject to federal copyright protection.

When a musician records a song today, federal law grants a copyright in the “sound recording” itself — the captured version of the performance, separate and apart from the notes and lyrics. But thanks to an inexplicable gap in federal copyright law, the recordings by musical greats like John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and others before February 15, 1972 aren’t given the same copyright protections as their modern peers. In recent years, disputes have arisen as to what these rights should consist of — creating significant uncertainty for artists, record labels, and music distributors alike.

Under the current system, there is no way for a recording artist to be guaranteed payment in all 50 states. Instead, they are captive to a patchwork of inconsistent and ultimately unworkable state laws – denying them millions in royalties for their older songs. In its sweeping analysis of the issue, the U.S. Copyright Office argued that artists seeking compensation for their older songs are standing on murky legal footing because “state laws that relate to sound recordings are inconsistent, [and] the claims that can be brought under state law may be more limited than those that could be brought under federal copyright law.”

Leaving many of our generation’s most memorable performers out of the federal copyright system makes little sense. This glaring omission has been almost unilateraly derided, most poignantly, by the U.S. Copyright Office, which wrote in a recent report that “Congress did not articulate grounds for leaving pre-1972 sound recordings outside the federal scheme and there is very little information as to why it did so.”

This unsettling reality has translated into real trouble for our most cherished artists.

SoundExchange, the group that collects and distributes digital performance royalties, estimated that the gap in copyright for pre-1972 recordings forced artists to lose out on more than $60 million in royalties in 2014 alone – a figure that swelled to more than $70 million in royalties in 2015, the latest year for which the figures are available.

Fortunately, the long-simmering question over whether and how to provide federal copyright protection to recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972 will get an answer.

In Congress, I introduced the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society Act (CLASSICS) Act on a bipartisan basis in order to finally close this decades-old loophole by bringing these “pre-1972 classics” into the federal copyright system and ensure they are given the same protections afforded to the modern peers.

The legislation will ensure that digital music distributors will have the freedom to continue to spin these classic recordings, by the likes of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, which make up about 15% of all songs streamed on digital radio services every day — and in certain genres, the number is even higher.

Under the new proposal, artists without a label will no longer need to litigate to collect royalties, and will automatically collect payments for the past three years through SoundExchange.

While the issue has long split the industry, the complicated patchwork of state laws has driven both sides of the music industry together to support the new legislative push. This is a big moment of consensus not just across party lines, but across all sides of the industry — Congress would be wise to take notice.

The time has come to finally treat these recordings like their newer peers. Let’s pass the CLASSICS Act and bring our outdated music licensing laws into the twenty-first century.

 

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee for Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. He represents parts of Orange and San Diego Counties in Congress.

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Service Academy Night for High School Juniors and Seniors

2017/08/01


Interested in attending one of the five United States Service Academies?

The Office of Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49) invites high school students and their parents to attend Military Service Academy Night in San Clemente on Thursday, August 10, 2017. Representatives from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and Staff from Congressman Issa’s office will be available to answer questions about the application and nomination process. Students residing in any of the southern Orange County cities including Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Ladera Ranch and neighboring cities are encouraged to attend and bring their parents if they wish.

Military Service Academy Night will take place at The Outlets at San Clemente, VIP Lounge, located at 101 W. Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente CA 92672 from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

What: Congressman Darrell Issa’s Military Service Academy Night

When: Thursday, August 10th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

Where: Outlets at San Clemente VIP Lounge, located at 101 W. Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente CA 92672. The Lounge is located on the second floor of Customer Service, located directly behind the GUESS Factory Store.

Who: Interested members of the public, students, parents and educators are all invited to attend.

Why: To give interested parties the opportunity ask questions about the nomination and academy selection process and to find out more about the incredible educational opportunities our service academies can provide.

How: No reservation or RSVP is required. We look forward to seeing you then.

For additional information please contact Joseph Pimentel in Congressman Darrell Issa’s office at (760) 599-5000 or joseph.pimentel@mail.house.gov.

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Contact Information

2347 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3906
Fax 202-225-3303
issa.house.gov

Congressman Darrell Issa represents the people of California’s 49th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, a seat he has held since 2001. The 49th District includes Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps training facility in the United States, and the northern portions of San Diego County and southern Orange County. Congressman Issa and his wife Kathy live in Vista, CA. They have one son, William, and celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in 2010.

As a senior in high school, Issa enlisted in the United States Army. Through his Army service, he received an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a degree in business from Sienna Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. Upon graduation, Issa was commissioned as an Army officer, and ultimately obtained the rank of captain. He completed his active-duty military service in 1980 and turned his interests to the private sector.

At the height of his career in business, Issa served as CEO of California-based Directed Electronics, a company that Issa founded and built in the mid-1990s to become the nation’s largest manufacturer of vehicle anti-theft devices, including the highly-successful Viper system. In 1994, Issa was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young and The San Diego Union Tribune. During his leadership of Directed Electronics, Issa served as chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association, an organization of 2000 companies within the consumer technology industry that hosts the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. When he stepped down as CEO to serve as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Directed Electronics employed nearly 200 people.

As a Congressman and leader in California grassroots politics, Issa has championed the cause of smart, efficient government, and has pushed legislation to balance the federal budget and promote transparency across the federal bureaucracy. In 2003, Issa was the architect behind the successful popular uprising to recall former Democratic California Governor Gray Davis.

Issa currently is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where he serves as the Chairman. Previously, Issa served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Energy & Commerce Committee, and the Small Business Committee. As the holder of 37 patents himself, Issa has been vigilant about protecting the intellectual property rights of artists and other entrepreneurs to help protect America’s position at the forefront of innovation and creativity in the entertainment and technology industries. His successful efforts to fight human trafficking along the United States border has resulted in tougher laws, stiffer penalties, and more consistent enforcement. His watchful concern to guarantee that U.S. taxpayers receive the royalties they are owed from mineral interests on federal lands exposed fraud and mismanagement at the Mineral Management Service (MMS) in 2006.

In 2008, when Congress was asked to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the wake of an historic financial crisis, Issa stood by his instincts as a businessman and opposed giving a blank-check bailout to Wall Street – he voted against all bailouts during the financial crisis. Refusing to give up and concede to those who favored a bailout-centered response to this and future financial failures, Issa put forward a proposal to create a bipartisan commission to uncover the root causes of the financial crisis. This idea was passed into law in early 2009 and the investigation commenced in January 2010. Issa expects the results will reveal government mistakes and protect U.S. taxpayers from future runaway government intervention in the financial and housing markets.

Recognizing his success as a Congressional watchdog of taxpayer dollars, at the beginning of the 111th Congress House Republicans tapped Issa to serve as the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is the main investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives charged with the protecting the interests of U.S. taxpayers and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal bureaucracy. In the first year of his leadership, the committee has undertaken numerous detailed investigations of the Countrywide Financial VIP Program that benefited government officials with special reduced-rate mortgage loans, the illegal use of taxpayer dollars by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the decades-old misplaced government agenda to manipulate the U.S. housing market through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that created the housing crisis, the politicization of science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a broad investigation into the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

As a fiscal conservative committed firmly to low taxes and free markets, Issa has opposed the rise of out-of-control government spending and fought tirelessly for the responsible, transparent use of taxpayer dollars. He’s pushed to achieve more whistleblower protections for those who report waste, fraud and abuse in the federal bureaucracy. And he’s offered substantive reform initiatives to open up government so that Americans know what’s happening in Washington and can become more democratically engaged in the day-to-day oversight of their government.


Serving With

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Tom McClintock

CALIFORNIA's 4th DISTRICT

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

David Valadao

CALIFORNIA's 21st DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Kevin McCarthy

CALIFORNIA's 23rd DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Ken Calvert

CALIFORNIA's 42nd DISTRICT

Mimi Walters

CALIFORNIA's 45th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Duncan Hunter

CALIFORNIA's 50th DISTRICT

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