Mac Thornberry

Mac Thornberry


House passes bill to permanently repeal the death tax


U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted today in support of a bill that permanently repeals the death tax. The “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015,” H.R. 1105, passed the House by a vote of 240-179.

The death tax, also known as the inheritance tax or estate tax, requires families to turn over portions of an inheritance to the government. Small business owners, farmers, and ranchers are often particularly vulnerable to this tax, making it more difficult for future generations to build upon their family’s hard work. 

Please follow the this link to download video of Thornberry speaking on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the legislation. You can use all or some of the video for news purposes.

Thornberry has introduced or cosponsored a bill to repeal the death tax more than 20 times while serving in Congress. On the opening day of the 114th Congress this year, he filed the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” H.R. 173, which had 79 cosponsors and would permanently repeal the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. He was a cosponsor of the bill that passed today, H.R. 1105, introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). Read More

Thornberry, Cornyn introduce small business taxpayer bill of rights


On Tax Day, U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced legislation to lessen the burden on small business owners and assist taxpayers in cutting through IRS red tape. The Small Business Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 would lower compliance burdens for taxpayers, strengthen taxpayer protections, compensate taxpayers for IRS abuses, and improve taxpayer access to the U.S. Tax Court System.

“All too often, the federal government, especially the IRS, places unnecessary burdens on our nation’s most important job producers: small businesses,” said Thornberry. “The laws and regulations that come out of Washington should always first do no harm, but they should also help grow our economy and American jobs. This bill provides hard working small business owners with important protections against an IRS that has been out of control for far too long.”

“Tax Day serves as an annual reminder of the complexity and inefficiency of our federal tax system, and especially the burdens the IRS places on job-creating small businesses.  This bill takes concrete steps towards easing that burden so the small businesses that drive our economy can get back to what they do best – innovating and creating opportunity across America,” said Cornyn.

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Thornberry receives Benjamin Franklin Award for work to repeal estate tax


U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) received the Benjamin Franklin Award from the 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan seniors advocacy group, for his continued efforts to repeal the death tax.

“I appreciate being recognized for my work to repeal the death tax, but, more importantly, I’m encouraged that a bill to repeal it was passed out of the Ways and Means Committee last week,” said Thornberry.  “That is an important step to remove the burden the death tax places on family farms, ranches, and small businesses.”

The death tax, also known as the inheritance tax or estate tax, requires families to turn over portions of an inheritance to the government.  Small business owners, farmers, and ranchers are often particularly vulnerable to this tax, making it more difficult for future generations to build upon their family’s hard work. 

Thornberry has introduced or cosponsored a bill to repeal the death tax over 20 times while serving in Congress.  On the opening day of the 114th Congress this year, he filed the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” H.R. 173, which would permanently repeal the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes.  Thornberry also cosponsored a bill by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), H.R. 1105. Brady’s bill passed out of the Ways and Means Committee last week - a key step before a bill can come to the House floor for a vote.

“Since the estate tax was temporarily imposed in 1916 to help pay for World War I, by every measure it’s failed to achieve the purposes its supporters champion,” Brady said in a statement about his bill. “It’s robbed America’s economy of $1.1 trillion in capital investment. It generates little annual revenue – less than enough to cover one day of Washington spending. It hurts the economy, encourages income inequality and fails to meet any basic standard of fairness.”

The legislation also has the support of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). NBCC president and CEO, Harry C. Alford, wrote the following in The Hill last week:

"The death tax creates an unfair situation for minority businesses which have primarily started to accumulate wealth within the last 60 years. Many minority-owned family businesses are first-generation businesses, where children work alongside their parents. These business owners do not want to sell out at fire-sale prices to pay the estate tax and eliminate the livelihoods for the next generation in addition to the jobs for those whom they employ."

Other organizations that support the repeal of the death tax include: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, The Farm Bureau, Family Business Coalition, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Americans for Tax Reform, American Trucking Association, Associated General Contractors of America, and more.
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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.”


Click here to download an updated official photo of Rep. Mac Thornberry

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620 South Taylor Street, Suite 200
Amarillo, Texas 79101
T (806) 371-8844
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2208 Rayburn House Office Building
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Wichita Falls, Texas 76308
T (940) 692-1700
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Contact Information

2329 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3706
Fax 202-225-3486

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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Pete Olson


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