Mac Thornberry

Mac Thornberry


House passes permanent repeal and replacement for Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate


U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted Thursday in support of a bill that permanently repeals and replaces Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system. The “H.R. 2” passed by a vote of 392-37.
The bill permanently repeals the SGR and ensures a 5-year period of annual updates to transition to a new system that will be based more on rewarding provider performance.  If Congress had failed to act, physicians who accept Medicare would have seen a 20 percent reduction in payments, ultimately resulting in fewer doctors who accept Medicare patients and limiting health care options for seniors who use Medicare. It also includes an extension for a number of Medicare payment programs important to our rural hospitals.
“Congress has enacted 17 ‘patches’ to stop Medicare physician payment cuts since 2003. Trying to solve this problem with a short-term fix each year is like trying to heal a gunshot wound by putting new Band-Aids on it every so often,” Thornberry said. “These temporary fixes cost money each year and only continue a vicious cycle of uncertainty for doctors and their patients.”
The SGR was created as a part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and was designed to control Medicare costs with a formula for the payments that Medicare providers receive. The SGR formula triggers across-the-board reductions in payments when overall physician costs exceed target expenditures. SGR does not account for efficiency, quality of care, or performance of the physicians, so all Medicare providers see reductions in payment regardless of the quality of care and service they provide patients. Since 2002, Congress has used a series of temporary fixes, known commonly as the “doc fix,” on a semi-annual basis to prevent the reduction in payments. 

“This legislation is a long-term solution to a very serious problem. Most importantly, it will provide doctors and patients more certainty,” said Thornberry. 

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Thornberry statement: A balanced budget that provides for national security


U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) released the following statement after voting in support of a House Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution that would balance the federal budget within 10 years through responsible entitlement reforms and reductions in mandatory spending. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 228-199:
“This proposal balances the federal budget and reduces government spending by $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years. It is a plan that offers solutions to some of our nation’s most complex fiscal problems, but it also makes funding our national defense a priority.
“The bottom line is that the nation’s defense is the first job of the federal government, and our military leaders have repeatedly warned us of the serious consequences we will face if these mindless defense budget cuts continue. Defense spending represents 16 percent of the federal budget but has shouldered 50 percent of the cuts under sequestration. If we really want to get our fiscal house in order, we have to target the real driver of our growing national debt – entitlement spending – and this budget does just that.
“It makes commonsense reforms to entitlement programs like Medicaid and food stamps. It repeals Obamacare, and it shores up Medicare’s finances. The budget does all of these things without imposing new taxes. And equally as important, this budget proposal moves toward a simpler, flatter, and fairer tax code and would broaden the tax base by closing special interest loopholes.
“The President and Democrats have shown that they have no intention of balancing the budget, but Republicans are committed to making serious reforms to and reductions of federal spending in order to grow the American economy and provide our children the same kind of opportunities that we had.”

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Thornberry introduces major defense acquisition reform bill


U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) today introduced the “Agile Acquisition to Retain Technological Edge Act,” H.R. 1597, a bill to reform the Department of Defense’s (DOD) broken acquisition system.
“We are releasing this bill one month ahead of the National Defense Authorization Act consideration because we want to get people’s feedback. We listened to a lot of folks as we drafted this bill, and we want to hear from them again as we work to make it law,” Thornberry said. “While this bill won’t fix all that is broken, it is a start.”

Thornberry and other Members of the Armed Services Committee have engaged with experts at the DOD, in the defense industry, and within Congress for more than a year with a focus on reforming the DOD’s acquisition system.
Thornberry said part of the motivation to act on this reform is out of budgetary concerns to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. He also explained that dysfunction in the acquisition process is sapping America’s technological edge and robbing the U.S. military of agility in the face of multiplying threats.
“The broken acquisition system is contributing to the loss of our military’s technological edge. I hope that by streamlining the process, improving accountability, and eliminating outdated regulations, we can start to get some of that edge back,” said Thornberry. “Ultimately, this acquisition reform must make the system more proactive, agile, transparent, and innovative.”

You can find the bill text and more information about the reform effort here: Defense Reform.

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Thornberry to host U.S. Service Academy Forum in Wichita Falls


Wichita Falls, TX — On Saturday, March 28, the office of U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) will host the annual 13th District’s Service Academy Forum for high-school students interested in pursuing an education at a United States Service Academy. 

The free, informational event will take place at the Region 9 Education Service Center from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.  This forum is designed for potential nominees in their junior or senior year of high school.  However, all local students of any age, parents, and counselors are invited to attend.  No R.S.V.P. is required. 

To be eligible to attend an academy, students must be at least 17 years old, but not have passed the 23rd birthday by the entry date; must be a United States citizen; unmarried; and, have no legal obligation to support children or other dependents.

“Nominating students to a service academy is one of the highest privileges I have in Congress,” said Thornberry, who serves as the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.  “We owe the deepest gratitude to the brave men and women who serve to protect our freedoms, and I applaud each and every student for their desire to answer this worthy calling.”

At the event, representatives from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), and the U.S. Naval Academy will provide details on appointment procedures, daily life at the academies, and post-graduate military commitments, as well as answer any specific questions from the audience. 

Each applicant must receive a nomination from a member of Congress in order to be considered.  As a member of Congress, Rep. Thornberry is allowed to nominate a limited number of students for each service academy per year. 

Applications for nominations must be submitted to the Congressman’s Wichita Falls office by December 1 of a student’s senior year.  After reviewing the congressional nominations and student applications, the service academies will make final selections and offers of appointment in the spring.

Accepted nominees will receive a free education, including tuition and room and board, in return for an agreement to serve as an officer in the military for a minimum of five years after graduation. 

For more information on the forum or the academy application process, please visit Rep. Thornberry’s website or Facebook page.

WHO:      Representatives from Rep. Mac Thornberry’s Office
                  Service Academy Representatives

WHAT:    U.S. Service Academy Forum for prospective students & parents

WHEN:    Saturday, March 28 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. CT

WHERE:  Region 9 Education Service Center
                   301 Loop 11
                   Wichita Falls, TX 76306          Read More

House passes bills to make EPA more transparent and accountable


U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted this week in support of two bills to rein in overly-aggressive regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by making the agency more transparent and accountable.  Both bills passed with bipartisan support in the House. 

“People are sick and tired of regulations that hurt jobs and our economy, but what is more upsetting is that those regulations are often based on science and research that is never made available to the public,” said Rep. Thornberry. “These two bills seek to make the EPA more transparent and the bureaucrats who create these regulations more accountable to the American people. All of this is consistent with the transparency policy this President claims his administration operates on.”
The “Secret Science Reform Act” (H.R. 1030), which passed by a vote of 241-175 Thursday, requires the EPA to base its regulations on the best available science that is publicly available. Currently, the EPA can create regulations based on science and research that is not made publicly available.
“Many Americans are unaware that some of the EPA’s most expensive and burdensome regulations, such as its proposed ozone rules, are based on data that not even the EPA has seen. This bill ensures that the decisions that affect every American are based on independently-verified, unbiased scientific research, instead of on secret data that is hidden behind closed doors,” said House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) in a statement about the Secret Science Reform Act.
The “EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act” (H.R. 1029), which passed by a vote of 236-181 Wednesday, would require nominees to the Science Advisory Board (SAB)  to disclose financial relationships and interests -- including EPA grants, contracts or other financial assistance -- that are relevant to the board’s advisory activities. The bill would also require that at least 10 percent of the board’s membership come from state, local or tribal governments. 
“This is a good-government bill; it reflects the values we should uphold regardless of which side of the political aisle we are on. The bill recognizes the important role science should play in our policy debates and provides safeguards to give the public confidence in science. It restores the independent Science Advisory Board (SAB) as a defender of scientific integrity,” said House Science Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) in a statement about the bill.
The bill would also bar the EPA administrator from appointing registered lobbyists to the board and members would be barred from participating in advisory activities that directly or indirectly review or evaluate their work, unless fully disclosed to the public and the work has been externally peer-reviewed. SAB was created in 1978 to provide independent expert advice to the EPA and Congress on scientific and technical information that may be used to justify federal regulations.   Read More

House passes the "America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015"


Area Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted Friday for the “America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015” to make the Section 179 Deduction of the Internal Revenue Code permanent, which will allow farmers, ranchers, and small business owners to write off, or expense, up to $500,000 a year on equipment purchases. The Bill, H.R. 636, passed the House by a vote of 272 to 142.

“Congress is doing right by our nation’s small business owners, farmers, and ranchers any time we can provide them with more certainty about the taxes and regulations that will affect them,” said Thornberry. “Making the Section 179 Deduction permanent provides more planning stability and promotes production. Small businesses create 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs, and this bill makes it easier for them to expand their operations.” 

For 2008 and 2009, up to $250,000 of qualifying property could be expensed. From 2010 through 2014, small businesses were allowed to write off up to $500,000 with a phase-out threshold of $2 million, which Thornberry supported. When these levels expired at the end of 2014, the expensing limit fell to $25,000 with a phase-out threshold of $200,000. H.R. 636 seeks to make the 2010 through 2014 parameters permanent. 

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Thornberry Comments on AUMF


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:Jon Corley/Nicole Bender
February 11, 2015 (202) 225-3706

 Thornberry Comments on AUMF

WASHINGTON- Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today commented on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force proposed by the President:

“ISIL is at war with the United States and the civilized world. The President has taken the right step by requesting an AUMF. I have concerns about how the proposal the President has put forward will enable our military commanders to degrade and defeat ISIL.

“In making his request months after military action against ISIL has started, the President must tell the American people why an AUMF is necessary. He must explain his strategy for success. He must detail where the resources will come from to achieve that success. He must explain how the military can operate within the restrictions he has suggested. And he should explain why he is seeking to tie his own hands by limiting authority that he’s already claimed.

"He must also assure the American people and our allies around the world that his heart is in the fight. And the Congress must uphold its Constitutional obligations as a separate branch of government with vital responsibilities to defend the American people against a bitter enemy.”


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U.S. House votes again to fully repeal Obamacare


Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) made the following comments after the House voted to repeal the President’s health care law:

“Yesterday, I voted again to fully repeal Obamacare. Since taking control of the House in 2011, Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal, dismantle, or stop funding for this disastrous law. 

“Many people are seeing higher insurance premiums, and I have personally talked with several doctors who have decided to retire or are considering retirement because of the law. The latest CBO estimate of the cost of Obamacare projects that it will add $1.28 trillion to our national deficit over the next ten years. 

“The costs continue to rise, and more than 27 million people are projected to remain uninsured. I hope the Senate will take up the bill we passed today and send it to President Obama’s desk.”

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Thornberry Op-ed: Putting the death tax to rest


My political life began in a slightly unlikely place: in the pickup with my grandfather in Donley County.  A rancher by heritage and profession, he was always interested in the news and somehow imparted upon me the understanding that decisions being made a long way off affected our daily lives. 
My ears would especially perk up as I would listen to my father and grandfather discuss the impact of the inheritance tax, or death tax, and the dire possibility that we would have to sell part of our land to pay the taxes. 
Even at the age of 12, this seemed fundamentally unfair.  Like most farmers and ranchers in the area, we weren't rich.  The value of our ranch was in the land itself, not sitting in a bank somewhere.
I took it upon myself to write letters to our Senators and Representatives.  There may have been a few chuckles as they read those letters I wrote at a young age, but I think I understood the basic facts.  And, unfortunately, those facts haven’t changed in all these years.
The death tax is still a burden to family farms, ranches, and small businesses.  It still hurts rural economies and still stops one of America’s most important means of capital formation: building a family enterprise.
The importance of my family’s work was never lost on me.  We were and still are a part of the less than one percent of the U.S. population that raises safe and healthy food for people here at home and abroad.  And if what economists say is true, we will need to raise 70 percent more food by 2050. 
That is a challenge the agriculture community here in the 13th District is ready to meet. But unfortunately, it is made more difficult because the federal government continues to stack the cards against us with onerous regulations and fundamentally unfair taxes. 
How can we continue to feed a growing population when, as each generation moves on, a piece of or the whole farm is sold off just to pay the tax bill?  The federal government must stop stripping farmers and ranchers of not only our livelihoods, but our family legacies as well. 
Congress has acted to raise the personal exemption, while President Obama wants to increase taxes on family businesses.  But I believe that the death tax is wrong whether an estate is $100 or $100 million.  You pay taxes when you earn it; you should not have to pay taxes on it again.

On the first day of the new Congress, I introduced a simple, two-page bill that would permanently and fully eliminate the death tax.  I've introduced this bill several times before, and I will continue to push until the tax is eliminated.  Death should never be a taxable event.  The American people should be able to work hard, build, and save knowing that they can pass on what they have earned to their children and grandchildren. Read More

Thornberry Reacts to the 2015 State of the Union


Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) made the following comments after the President's 2015 State of the Union address:

“Tonight, the President had the opportunity to show leadership and promote unity as our nation faces complex challenges both at home and abroad.  Instead, he added to our division. Rather than propose serious solutions to address our nation’s pressing needs, the President chose politics and partisan rhetoric that show very little regard for the overall good of the country.  The President chose to roll out plans for steep tax hikes and so-called “free” community college that he knows will not pass the newly elected Congress.  

“The President said he understands the Commander-in-Chief’s duty to defend the United States of America, but I worry that he refuses to make the tough decisions. One of my gravest concerns is that the President routinely projects weakness and indecision when it comes to international affairs and national security.  This course only instills doubt in our allies and emboldens our enemies.  Our military is capable of adapting to the evolving, complicated threats around the world, but they require stronger leadership.  Congress plays an important role in advancing our intelligence and military capabilities, and the President has the responsibility to see that these advancements are carried out.

“Last year, I said that the country would be better off if the President focused on solving problems rather than scoring political points.  This same sentiment holds true after his address tonight.  Unfortunately, the lack of leadership from the President shows that he is not truly serious about solving real problems.”
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2329 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3706
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Committee Assignments

Armed Services

A fifth generation Texan, Mac Thornberry has strong ties to the people he serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the area since 1881 – a family business in which Mac remains actively involved.

Mac shares the values of the people he represents and continues to fight for the things that are important to them. He is a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited government. Boosting domestic energy production, protecting private property rights, and reforming health care are top priorities for Mac. He strongly supports cutting government spending and creating the kind of policies that encourage economic growth, rather than suffocating it.  Additionally, as one of the few Members of Congress personally involved in agriculture, Mac understands the challenges agricultural producers face and has been a key player in efforts to support producers in the 13th District.

Mac has established himself as a leader in national security, an area in which he continues to be given new responsibilities and opportunities to help advance the security of our nation.  He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee where he also leads the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities.  He also continues to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
In early 2011, Mac was tapped by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader to spearhead a Cybersecurity Task Force to guide House legislative action on this growing national security and economic threat. Well-respected by Members on both sides of the aisle for his insight and leadership, they asked Mac to chair a group of lawmakers representing nine major committees of jurisdiction. The charge was to make recommendations in a number of areas including updating existing laws, protecting critical infrastructure, and sharing cybersecurity information. On October 5, 2011, the Task Force released its recommendations, which have received a favorable response from Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, as well as the White House, private businesses, and other outside organizations.
Mac is also widely respected as an innovator and strategic thinker.  He was one of the first in Congress to recognize the need to confront the threat of terrorism. Six months before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Mac introduced a bill to create a new Department of Homeland Security, which formed the basis of legislation signed into law by President Bush 20 months later. He has also played a major role in shaping national policy on transformation of the military and strategic nuclear issues. In addition, he is at the forefront of efforts in Congress to protect the country from threats ranging from terrorist attacks to nuclear proliferation.
Born in Clarendon and raised on the family ranch in Donley County, Mac graduated from Clarendon High School before continuing his education at Texas Tech University. After obtaining a B.A. in history from Tech in 1980, he went on to the University of Texas Law School where he graduated in 1983. For the next several years, he worked in Washington, including serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in the State Department under President Reagan.In 1989, Mac joined his brothers in the cattle business and practiced law in Amarillo.  He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.

Mac’s wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two children.

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