WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) applauded Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) for their relentless and unwavering support of the fiscal interests of American taxpayers while serving in Congress. Sen. Scott and Rep. Duncan were two of the 17 lawmakers to earn a perfect score of 100 percent in CCAGW’s 2014 Congressional Ratings, making them “Taxpayer Super Heroes.” Since Sen. Scott was elected in 2012, he has an impeccable lifetime rating of 100 percent, while Rep. Duncan has maintained a 95 percent lifetime rating since his election in 2010.
The report, which CCAGW has issued since 1989, highlights the voting records of all 535 members of Congress. It identifies members whose impeccable voting records helped protect and save the taxpayers’ money, earning them the honored title of “Taxpayer Super Hero,” while it cites members who consistently voted against the fiscal interest of taxpayers.
CCAGW rates members of both chambers on a 0-100 percent scale. Members are placed in the following categories: 0-19% Hostile; 20-39% Unfriendly; 40-59% Lukewarm; 60-79% Friendly; 80-99% Taxpayer Hero; and 100% Taxpayer Super Hero. The 2014 Congressional Ratings scored 85 votes in the House of Representatives and 13 votes in the Senate.
“We applaud and wholeheartedly thank Sen. Scott and Rep Duncan for their hard work on behalf of the taxpayers while serving in Congress,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “Their courageous votes to cut wasteful spending and make government more accountable should serve as an example to other members, encouraging them to make good on promises to protect the fiscal interests of American taxpayers.”
“We have no doubt that Sen. Scott and Rep. Duncan will continue to help lead the effort to end wasteful spending and reduce the growing national debt,” added Schatz. “Their constituents should be very proud of them.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed legislation to give Congress veto authority over high-cost regulations that the Administration has promulgated. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act would require that Congress vote on any major rule or regulation coming from the executive branch that is estimated by OMB to impact the economy by $100 million or more.
“I am proud that the House has passed this critical legislation,” said Congressman Jeff Duncan, who is a cosponsor of the bill. “This Administration has overreached its Constitutional authority time and time again. Restoring this Congressional check and balance is critical to getting the bureaucratic leviathan back under control.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute recently estimated the cost to America of federal regulations at $1.88 Trillion – more than $5000 for every man, woman and child in the country. Last year, new federal regulations totaled 77,687 pages. That includes 80 “Major Rules” which had a negative economic impact of $100 million. Under the REINS Act, Congress would have 70 legislative days to decide whether such regulations would move forward.
“This legislation is a great step towards rebalancing the balance of power in our government, restoring power to the Legislative Branch that our Founders intended,” Duncan said. “I call on the Senate to pass this critical bill and put it on the President’s desk as soon as possible.”
The deal the P5+1 struck with Iran shatters American and Israeli security, potentially placing our great country and our strategic allies in harm’s way. In essence, this deal legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state, unfortunately bringing the United States closer to a deadly military confrontation with the zealous Shiite theocracy.
If Congress fails to block this deal and sanctions against Iran are lifted, then America will essentially subsidize the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism with a $150 billion payday. The mullahs will use this money to support terrorism around the globe and further their imperialistic ambitions through their proxies across the Middle East. This payday will help the ayatollah’s consolidate its hold on power. It will not help the United States or our allies ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapons capability. I suspect American capitulation will only make the Orwellian chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel” louder.
To allege that the only alternative to this current deal is military action is specious. It is the essence of naiveté to believe that rewarding the Iranian regime – who seeks the “annihilation” of Israeland complete hegemony over the Middle East – will lead to anything other than armed conflict. The truth is that the Obama administration not only rewarded Iranian intransigence by caving at the negotiating table, but will permit the West to subsidize it.
This deal greatly reduces the strength of American deterrence against Iran. After 5 years, they may reengage in the global conventional arms trade, while after 8, attain ballistic missiles. These arms will surely go to terrorist proxy groups who currently kill Americans and our allies.
The Administration may say we retain the “military option” in case Iran makes a mad dash to the bomb. But this ignores how the deal weakens American deterrence. For example, Russia has already confirmed plans to ship state of the art S-300 surface-to-air missiles to the Iranians making control of the air more difficult. Iran will be allowed to grow their military and emboldened to confront American power.
Supporters of this agreement argue that it is the only way to prevent armed conflict with Iran. Perversely, this agreement actually makes war with Iran more likely. The deal lifts virtually all major restrictions against Iran in about 10-15 years, gearing up the ayatollahs to have the ability to break out in days, not months or weeks. Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure is left in place with the ayatollahs retaining the ability to “weaponize” quickly. In just a few years down the road, restrictions on Iran’s centrifuges and limitations on its nuclear facilities, including the number of heavy water reactors, will be abandoned.
Furthermore, without adequate provisions in place to inspect Iran’s nuclear programs and sites, or effective compliance measures to efficiently implement snapback sanctions, Iranian centrifuges will spin.
Congress has a moral duty to restore clarity and rationale to America’s diplomacy efforts by voting against this absurdly irrational foreign policy strategy. We must return to a rational strategy aimed to protect us and our allies from the Iranian nuclear threat.
Iran will emerge as a nuclear threshold state with the international community’s stamp of legitimacy. This is precisely why Iran’s vociferous political leaders and ayatollahs have been rejoicing since the deal was announced.
If there was ever a quintessential issue that could so easily unite Democrats and Republicans alike, it’s this one. When it comes to matters of national security and deterrence against enemies, party politics should take a back seat.
A pivotal moment for Congress is upon us. When the time comes to vote on the Iranian nuclear accord, I intend to vote against the deal, and strongly encourage my esteemed colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same. We are fortunate to know Iranian ambitions: Death to Israel, Death to America. History will record this fatal error. I hope Congress will not be complicit in ushering in a policy that will surely lead to a future – and more difficult – conflict.
Read more here: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/249131-the-obama-doctrine-a-path-to-conflictRead More
Last week, President Obama sought to solidify his legacy as a liberal icon by announcing the intent to reestablish diplomatic relations and re-open embassies with Havana. This decision to negotiate and engage with the Communist Castro regime has provided the U.S. with nothing substantial in return.
In fact, it may even put the American people at risk while actually worsening conditions for the Cuban people.
How could President Obama’s decision harm Americans? In a Congressional hearing I chaired in February, expert witnesses highlighted the sheer size of Cuba’s intelligence apparatus: reportedly 34 times the size of our own efforts. Why would a country 90 miles from Florida whose people are struggling to make basic ends meet want or need such a large intelligence force?
Cuba has a clear record as a foreign intelligence collector and trafficker of U.S. national secrets to other authoritarian regimes, such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Recall that Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart stated in February that “Cuban intelligence services . . . remain the predominant counterintelligence threat to the U.S. emanating from Latin America.” Practically, this means that American tourists or business professionals who visit Cuba could easily find themselves subjected to Cuban surveillance, and potentially having personal information about them used as a tool of spy craft.
In January, Raul Castro demanded that we hand back U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) before Cuba and the U.S. could normalize relations. Last week, the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee reiterated that call, stating it was “indispensable” that the U.S. return GTMO to achieve normalized relations. This follows other calls for the U.S. to end the embargo, end our democracy promotion efforts and Radio Martí broadcasting, and pay compensation for “human and economic damages” to Cuba. While the Obama Administration has said that it has no intention to alter the existing lease agreement for GTMO, based on its feeble record of keeping its promises to allies or on stated red lines, Americans should be very skeptical of this promise.
Aside from further demonstrating weakness, relinquishing the base at GTMO would be a strategic misstep of epic proportions for the United States. It would have significant national security and military implications. GTMO is the oldest overseas U.S. naval base and only permanent U.S. defense base in the region. Its location enables U.S. forces to maintain full advantages across a wide spectrum of military operations. It plays a critical role in migrant operations assistance missions and is a logistics center for U.S. ships and aircraft, allowing these assets to maintain tactical advantages and freedom of movement in strategic waters in a region with limited U.S. military presence.
If Castro achieved control of GTMO, what would happen? The all-too-obvious answer is that it would allow him to extend an invitation to one of the close allies of Havana, such as the Putin regime in Moscow or the mullahs in Tehran. If any of the actors interested in taking over the lease of GTMO does move into the warm Cuban waters off Florida’s southern coast, this would provide a direct military threat to the U.S. homeland. Consider for a moment the depth of waters and potential ability for nuclear submarines to conduct intelligence operations or worse.
Two years ago, the Russian Defense Minister stated that Russia wants to build military bases in several countries in the Western hemisphere, including Cuba. Press reports of Russian intelligence ships operating in the waters around Cuba, most recently earlier this year on the eve of U.S. talks with Cuba in Havana, prove that Russia is deadly serious about making good on those intentions.
Remember what Russia is doing in its own neighborhood for a moment. Vladimir Putin brazenly acted to annex the Crimean Peninsula, ignoring the international outrage, and Ukraine is worried about a “full-scale” Russian invasion. If the U.S. gave way on GTMO, Putin would likely welcome the opportunity to have warm-water lodging for his navy only 90 miles from the United States. Similarly, Iran continues to test the patience of the international community with its nuclear operations and refusal to cooperate with international inspectors. If things go badly for Iran with any nuclear deal, having a deeper presence in Latin America through Cuba offers Iran options for retributive action should they want it.
The potential for the U.S. homeland could be devastating if we are not careful. We all know how close we came the last time there was a potential nuclear threat building in Cuba.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “those who deny freedoms to others deserve it not for themselves.” In Cuba, the Communist Castro regime denies liberty to its people every day. For over fifty years, the Cuban people have been living an authoritarian nightmare. However, this seems to make no difference to Time Magazine, which named Raul Castro as one of its top “100 Most Influential People” in April. In this case, influential can only reflect the real fact that he maintains nearly complete control over the daily lives of the Cuban people.
Obama’s decision last week gives Castro economic relief without requiring any change in behavior. In fact, it is easier to create a list of items that the U.S. has not gained from negotiations with Havana since Obama’s negotiators have yet to require any substantive demands. There has been no end to political violence and persecution; no progress on the protection and improvement of human rights; and no reparations for the billions of dollars of American and Cuban property stolen by the Castro regime even while Cuba continues making its own demands on us.
Swapping out the sign that reads “U.S. Interests Section” for one that says “Embassy” only further serves to validate the Castros’ leadership. It is also a repudiation of American principles. Thus far, the bilateral talks have provided no measurable changes or benefits for the U.S. or the Cuban people.
This is a bad deal for everyone involved, except the Castro brothers.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) represents the Third District of South Carolina.Read More
Laurens, S.C. – Last week Congressman Duncan released a statement concerning the Obama Administration’s announcement to formally restore diplomatic relations with Cuba:
"Yet again, the Obama Administration has decided to follow a foreign policy that is entirely removed from the cruel realities of authoritarian regimes. Establishing full diplomatic relations with the Castros– a regime whose brutal tyranny over its people still continues to this day – poses grave consequences to the Cuban people.
Already there have been reports of increased brutality by the regime since the Administration's December announcement. The Obama Administration’s policy of “progress” seems to be a policy that will only increase the bottom line for the Castro brothers and other communist thugs. We have seen no indication of progress on democracy, rule of law, human rights, or the settling of property claims for either American or Cuban citizens. In fact, the Castros are actually asking that we pay them reparations for imposing the embargo on them, and are even demanding the return of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station as a condition of “normalization.” Shameless. The recent misguided actions by the Administration make me question their resolve to stand firm over America’s critical strategic interests. It is critical to American and regional security that Guantanamo Bay remains under the authority of the United States.
By all accounts it appears that our State Department negotiators received very few of their stated goals in return for resuming embassy operations, and that America is sacrificing the freedom and human rights of the Cuban people in the name of naïve ideological pandering. The Obama Administration has retreated from all leverage with nothing in return except more pain and suffering for the Cuban people. Progress for the Obama Administration seems only to equate to progress for tyrants. With this decision to appease Cuba's dictatorship, I fear what tomorrow’s definition of “progress” will be against the zealotry of the Iranian mullahs, Russian aggression against Ukraine, or the Colombia's FARC terrorist organization who all appear more determined than ever to win at the negotiating table."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Duncan issued a statement regarding the ruling in the case before the Supreme Court, King v. Burwell.
“I am very disappointed with the ruling today by the Supreme Court. Any rational person who would see this as an obvious conflict in law, the Supreme Court yet again invented absurd reasoning to give the President what he wanted. To the modern Supreme Court, the meaning of a word is entirely arbitrary. The ruling simply tortures logic.
Though I’m incredibly upset, this will not deter my continued fight for liberty. This must start with the full repeal of Obamacare. Poll after poll shows Obamacare is very unpopular. Americans will not stand for the continued drift into unrestrained government involvement in our lives.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning Congressman Duncan released a statement concerning the tragedy that struck Charleston last night.
“There are no words strong enough to describe the devastating crime that took place in Charleston last night. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, particularly the family of Senator Pinckney, a former colleague of mine and the pastor for the church that was attacked. I will always remember Senator Pinckney as a soft spoken gentleman who deeply cared for others.
These brutal murders are the rare kind of horror that shakes at our very core. This devastating event will be on our minds for some time to come. I ask that you join me in praying for Charleston. Our brothers and sisters in Christ taken from us last night clearly believed in the power of prayer. They were praying and so should we. We are all children of God.”
LAURENS, S.C. – Speaking from the Third District, Congressman Duncan slammed the final Waters of the United States rule greatly expanding the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate land across America. Mr. Duncan spoke while travelling to meetings with constituents:
I would be shocked the Administration has proceeded with such unabashed disrespect for the rule of law and Democratic principles of the United States Constitution, but this President has made a living out of it. This is a blatant power grab by the Obama Administration. A power grab, which, along with the combination of prior injustices committed to the people of the United States, has placed this Administration far and away apart from what we consider good, decent, and lawful government in this country. The House of Representatives, the voice and conscious of the American people, has voted multiple times to overturn this shameless seizure of power. The rule not only demands our democratic principles to bow before the almighty authority of the administrative state, but continues the century long federal conquest over the rights and privileges of local and state law. This rule will be used in the future to regulate and control every square foot of the United States, leaving it to federal regulators to determine where, what, when, why and how you can build something. The EPA claims this will be used to clean up “dirty waters”. Unfortunately, now the dirtiest thing about these waters is the fat power hungry fingers of federal regulators dipping in to regulate it.
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday May 26th, Congressman Jeff Duncan has announced will be the start to this year’s Thanking Our First Responders Tour. The tour plans on encompassing counties in the 3rd District by highlighting the crucial work and sacrifices made to serve local communities:
“These people are true servant leaders. Our first responders are there when we are at our weakest. They run towards the danger and those who call for help. Unfortunately, we tend to take these local heroes for granted. This is why the First Responders Tour is so important. By highlighting their service, I hope to encourage more people to acknowledge their courage and sacrifice given for the safety of the communities every day and gain more insight into the unique challenges they face,” Mr. Duncan said.
The tour will hold multiple events throughout the Third District:
Abbeville County Emergency Services
901 W. Greenwood St., Suite 2700, Abbeville
McCormick County EOC
212 Augusta Street Extension, McCormick
Town of Edgefield Fire and Police Building
402 Main Street, Edgefield
Saluda County EOC
111 Law Enforcement Drive, Saluda
Newberry County EOC
540 Wilson Road, Newberry
116 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jeff Duncan is a South Carolina native and a 1988 graduate of Clemson University. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Duncan served as branch manager and an Assistant Vice President during his seven years of working in community banking. Later, he became the President and CEO of J. Duncan Associates, a South Carolina based, family owned real estate marketing firm which specialized in statewide real estate auctions.
Duncan served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2002-2010, where he served as the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee from 2007 to 2009.
During his tenure in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Jeff was known as one of the most conservative House Members, earning recognition as a “Taxpayer’s Hero” from Governor Mark Sanford for his work combating wasteful government spending and fighting against tax increases. Jeff has also received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); he had an A+ rating from the Club for Growth; he was awarded the Palmetto Leadership Award from the SC Policy Council during his Freshman term; “Legislator of the Year” recognition from both the SC Recreation and Parks Association and the SC Wildlife Federation. In 2010, Jeff Duncan was awarded The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina.
Congressman Duncan is passionate about American Energy Independence. While a State Legislator, Jeff served on the US Department of the Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf’s 5 year Planning Sub-Committee which was charged with making recommendations for oil and natural gas leases on offshore areas. In addition, he served on the state’s Natural Gas Offshore Drilling Study Committee and was appointed to represent the state of South Carolina on the Southern States Energy Board.
Elected in 2010 to the 112th Congress, Jeff currently sits on three House committees including the Natural Resources Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also serves as the Subcommittee Chairman of Homeland Security’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. Additionally, Congressman Duncan was appointed by Speaker John Boehner to the Executive Committee for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
The Natural Resources Committee gives Duncan an outlet to promote US energy policy. He is an integral part of the GOP’s House Energy Action Team (HEAT) which supports expedited permitting of energy projects and the use of currently undeveloped areas for energy production in the United States, including areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other Federal land.
Jeff takes a particular interest in the promotion of nuclear energy, a topic especially important to South Carolina, home of the Savannah River Site nuclear complex. Energy independence is vital to national security and a segue to job creation. Congressman Duncan views nuclear power as a key ingredient in that equation. He supports the use of the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as a long-term storage site for nuclear waste. Although he is a strong proponent of American solutions to American energy issues, Congressman Duncan is not in favor of federal energy subsidies for alternative energy or ethanol.
As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, Jeff can advocate for some of his passions: the enjoyment of the great outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman. Jeff sits on the subcommittee for fisheries and wildlife.
A member of both the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus, Jeff took a strong stand on major fiscal issues in the 112th Congress. Dissatisfied with the level of spending cuts offered, he split from a majority of Republicans in his opposition of: the final fiscal 2011 spending deal; the final debt limit increase deal in August 2011; both versions of a bill to keep the government operating at the start of fiscal 2012; and the final FY 2012 Appropriations bill. A strong believer in the Constitution, Jeff fought against ambiguous language in the National Defense Authorization Act which he feels could put certain American liberties in peril.
In February 2011, he introduced a resolution that would create a new committee called the Committee on the Elimination of Nonessential Federal Programs, with the express purpose of reducing federal outlays. He supports taking a closer look at any government agency that is not included in the constitutional role of the federal government.
Jeff strongly believes that border security does fit the Constitutional definition of a federal duty and is proudly a member of the Border and Maritime Security subcommittee. He advocates an “all-of-the-above” strategy for border enforcement, including physical fencing, greater use of surveillance technology and increased manpower. His stance on border security includes an immigration policy aspect, as well as a national security element. He supports stronger enforcement of immigration laws and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.
Duncan has also worked the national security angle to border enforcement from his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee. When news reports broke in October 2011 that the Iranian government allegedly wanted members of Mexican drug cartels to carry out an assassination on U.S. soil, Duncan introduced a resolution urging the government to consider Iran a threat to the Western Hemisphere when formulating counterterrorism strategy.
Act! for America presented Representative Duncan with the “2011 National Security Patriot Award” because of his strong and enduring commitment to protecting our national security and democratic values.
Jeff also serves as the co-chairman of the Sovereignty Caucus along with Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn. The Caucus seeks to combat the influence of international organizations and multilateral agreements on United States policy. He urges greater scrutiny of foreign aid and has been an advocate for blocking economic assistance to governments that oppose the United States in the U.N. General Assembly.
In September 2011, Duncan became the only member of Congress with a 100 percent rating on the Heritage Action for America legislative scorecard “covering the full spectrum of conservatism.” He finished the 112th Congress at the top of the House leader board.
Jeff has been married to his wife Melody for twenty-five years and they have three sons: Graham, John Philip, and Parker. The Duncan family are members of First Baptist Church of Clinton, South Carolina.
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.@megratu I did not laugh. But the US military didn't kill 20 million people last year either.
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How much terrorism can Iran export with $150 Billion? Arms and financial support will be back online if this bad deal goes thru #NoIranDeal
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.@megratu the United States military killed over 300,000 people last year? Please send me your source on that.
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@megratu actually no they don't. 40,000,000 to 65,000,000 babies killed in America since RvW. We can disagree. I am going to stand up 4 life
Was able to take a late night flight back to South Carolina yesterday. Looking forward to calling into Tony Beam's radio show at 7:45am, Vince
Yesterday, the House passed one of the most important bills of the year, the REINS Act. The REINS Act would fix our broken system of checks and
I can't think of an issue that has brought more Republicans & Democrats together in opposing something than this bad Iran deal.
Americans still being held in Iranian prisons are on my mind as Secretaries Kerry, Lew, and Moniz testify about the Iran nuclear deal in the
My thoughts on the Iran nuclear deal.