WASHINGTON— The House voted today to repeal the Death Tax. Congressman Rob Bishop was a co-sponsor of this bill and voted in favor of its passage today. Congressman Bishop issued the following statement regarding the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015.
“I voted to repeal the death tax today because it is an immoral double taxation. It hits grieving families at the most tragic of times. One should not be required to pay a tax for dying. The death tax can force a farmer to sell land, equipment and property simply to pay the government after a loved one’s death. While republicans are trying to do away with this unfair tax, President Obama is trying to increase it. The death tax hurts small business, small companies and small farmers. A family should be allowed to mourn when they lose a loved one, not forced to fill out another tax form.”Read More
“There are some significant gains for western and rural states in this legislation and I am especially pleased that we have established safeguards to limit long-term actions that may be taken toward implementation of the President’s amnesty executive order. For states like Utah, it is especially important that this bill gives the Fish and Wildlife Service additional time to evaluate state progress on management and conservation of the greater sage grouse. States like Utah are making progress every day to collaborate with local communities and public land users to protect the species.
“I am also pleased that PILT will continue in FY2015 for counties surrounded by public lands. The compensation they receive to address the lack of tax revenue generated from federal land helps fund important community infrastructure that is typically funded through property taxes and other public uses. A similar program that funds communities in areas with National Forests known as the Secure Rural Schools program was not included in this legislation. I remain committed to ensuring SRS is addressed early in the 114th Congress.
“The nature of these bicameral and bipartisan packages is that they’re extremely dynamic and far from perfect. Taxpayer dollars are a finite resource that should be appropriated and spent with utmost scrutiny and oversight. This is why I remain concerned about the status of the Eisenhower Memorial project and architect Frank Gehry’s controversial design. Taxpayers have bankrolled the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and its staff, Gehry’s architectural firm, and the widely unpopular design, for over a decade. After 14 years, there is little to show for the work and only a rough accounting of where the money was spent. I am pleased that this bill includes some safeguards to help get the project back on the right track toward an appropriate and fitting tribute to one of our nation’s greatest leaders,” said Congressman Bishop.
Specifically, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015:
· Delays the Fish and Wildlife Service’s action and decision on whether or not the greater sage grouse should be listed as an endangered or threatened species to September 2015
· Provides $372,000,000 to the U.S. Department of Interior for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program. *This is in addition to the $70 million provided in the National Defense Authorization Act
· Includes safeguards to protect taxpayers from having to bankroll the estimated $140 million for construction of Frank Gehry’s proposed design
· Prohibits the IRS from unfairly targeting Americans based on their personal, political, or professional connections
· Includes no funding for Race to the Top
· Includes no new funding for ObamacareRead More
Among other things, the FY2015 legislation includes additional funding for our nation’s military depots, prevents the transfer of Apache helicopters from the National Guard to the Army, includes funding to support the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, and includes a one year prohibition on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) proceedings.
“This bill does some good things for our national defense capabilities. However, the nature of a negotiation is that compromises have to be made and, in the end, nobody walks away completely satisfied,” said Congressman Bishop. “I am especially pleased that this legislation includes funding for our nation’s Depots, like the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, which provides key maintenance and logistical support for our nation’s warfighter and other weapon systems,” said Congressman Bishop.Read More
“The natural resources provisions included in the NDAA bring resolution to multi-year legislative efforts that seek to establish new opportunities for energy production, mineral development, job creation, grazing, recreation, conservation, and other secondary economic benefits. They have unnecessarily languished in the Senate for two years as a result of the Senate’s inaction on most natural resources bills. For many western states like Utah, jobs, education, and economic development depend upon the multiple use of our lands. As a westerner, I can attest to the inherent need for these policies to become law. The nature of a compromise is that everyone gets something, but nobody gets everything they want. Conservation can be utilized as currency and in this bill, it enabled us to convey over 100,000 acres out of the federal estate and bring economic development, jobs, and education funding to states that need it most.”
Congressman Bishop cited the following as key natural resources provisions included in the NDAA:
CONVEYING LAND OUT OF FEDERAL OWNERSHIP, JOB CREATION, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
· Designates 245,000 acres of wilderness, which have strong local and Congressional support, are balanced with conveyances of land out of the federal estate, new opportunities for energy production, mineral development, grazing, recreation, and economic development for public lands states. In addition, nearly half of the wilderness acres are already managed by the federal government as if it were wilderness due to status as a Wilderness Study Area (WSA) or roadless area
· Releases 26,000 acres of current wilderness study areas to multiple use
· Enhances of programs to raise private funding for National Parks, such as donor recognition programs and the issuance of a commemorative coin to recognize the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016
EXPANSION OF MULTIPLE-USE ON FEDERAL LANDS
EXPANSION OF ENERGY AND MINERAL PRODUCTION, JOB CREATION
· Extends and expands the successful BLM permit streamlining pilot project. The program will be extended nationwide to improve the efficiency of the approval process, which will ultimately increase oil and gas production from federal lands;
· Facilitates several proposed mineral development projects, including the third-largest undeveloped copper resource in the world
· Conveys federal land to the Nevada Copper operation at Pumpkin Hollow will produce more than 800 construction and mining jobs. A University of Nevada Cooperative Extension study noted the mining operation should also create almost 4,400 indirect jobs in Northern Nevada.
· Approves a swap of coal mineral rights between the federal government, a private mineral rights holder, and Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Tribe
PROTECTS TRIBAL INTERESTS
PROTECTS PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
“The President’s use of the Antiquities Act would unjustly deprive the communities surrounding Browns Canyon of the opportunity to debate the proposed monument through the open legislative process. I hope Chief Tidwell and Deputy Director Ellis take this into consideration during their visit,” said Bishop.
Nearly 22,000 acres located within this region are the subject of legislation introduced by Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet that would establish a new national monument. Despite a Democrat majority in the Senate, the two Democrat Senators have been unsuccessful in their efforts to gain enough support to move the bill. As a result, they have appealed to President Obama to designate the new national monument by executive fiat using the Antiquities Act.
“The inability of two Democrat Senators to garner support for this initiative despite a Democrat majority is hardly justification for robbing Coloradans of the opportunity to have their voices heard. They have referred to the term ‘gridlock’ when explaining why their bill has languished but evidence suggests there are other issues at fault. Lack of support is certainly one of them,” Bishop added.Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) introduced legislation in the 113th Congress that would require the application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whenever the Antiquities Act is used by the President to establish a new national monument greater than 5,000 acres. Application of NEPA would ensure that the American people have an opportunity to participate in the national monument designation process. Read More
“I want to thank the PLPCO and the team of experts who carefully and thoughtfully considered the feasibility of the transfer of federal lands to the State of Utah. The findings of this report confirm that the state is more than capable of taking on the management of these lands. This data will be a helpful resource as we continue to work toward resolving some of the biggest challenges facing public lands policy in the state,” said Bishop.In 2012, the Utah State Legislature passed the Transfer of Public Lands Act [H.B. 148], which requires the federal government to transfer approximately 31.2 million acres of federal land to the State of Utah. Following the passage of H.B. 148, the Utah State Legislature passed H.B. 142, which directed the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office to analyze all economic factors associated with a transfer of federal land to the state. After 18 months of research, the PLPCO and the team of experts who facilitated the study produced a report found here. A summary of the report can be found here. Read More
A memorial planned to honor one of the great American leaders of the 20th century has instead become a monument to government waste.
In 1999 Congress authorized building a Washington memorial to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower for his service as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and his guidance of the country as its 34th president.
Fifteen years later the project has already cost American taxpayers more than $65 million. And quarrels between the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission on the one hand and Congress and the Eisenhower family on the other hand mean that there's a real possibility that no memorial will ever be built and the money will have gone for naught.
The commission, the body in charge of the memorial's "nature, design, construction and location," previously devoured $41 million of the funds and is on pace to spend the rest of the $65 million allotment from Congress without ever building a monument.
Some members of the commission — which is composed of four citizens appointed by the president, four members of the House of Representatives and four senators — are now lobbying for an additional $50 million in taxpayer funding.
Bruce Cole, a member of the commission who has been critical of the spending, calls the process behind the Eisenhower memorial "the classic definition of a Washington boondoggle."
The final cost of the monument is now estimated to reach $150 million. In contrast, the Lincoln Memorial cost $47 million to build, adjusted for inflation, according to research by the National Civic Art Society. The expansive Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, with five water features, four open-air "rooms" and numerous statues and sculptures spread across nearly 8 acres, cost a comparatively modest $65 million.
For taking $65 million from the pockets of taxpayers with absolutely nothing to show for it, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission has been awarded the Golden Hammer, a weekly mark of shame for egregious examples of wasteful spending of tax dollars.
Rampant spending and interminable delays associated with the monument are rooted in the commission's decision to award the memorial's design contract to celebrated avant-garde architect Frank Gehry. The selection of Mr. Gehry's design was fraught with issues, including special treatment for the celebrity architect, a House Committee on Natural Resources majority staff report about the project found.
The report's authors determined that Mr. Gehry may have been improperly chosen to design the memorial because his submission failed to meet Congress and the commission's original aesthetic goals. Today, eight years after the original design criteria were established, Mr. Gehry's plan still fails to meet them. A design jury that evaluated the design proposals even recommended against accepting Mr. Gehry's proposal.
His design was chosen, nonetheless, partially because "the factors used to select the designer were weighted in a way that benefited a well-known designer such as Gehry," according to the report.
The chairman of the commission, Rocco C. Siciliano, who served as a special assistant to President Eisenhower, declined to speak on the record, citing ill health.
Carl Reddel, a retired Air Force general who serves as the commission's executive director, said Mr. Gehry was the ideal choice for a designer of the Eisenhower memorial given the president's "international constituency."
"Frank Gehry is the most celebrated architect in the world," Mr. Reddel said, adding that the name will appeal to "many different stakeholders nationally and internationally" such as "people from WWII ally countries and early NATO members."
John S.D. Eisenhower, the president's son, who died late last year, requested that his father be remembered "with an Eisenhower Square that is a green open space with a simple statue in the middle, and quotations from his most important sayings."
Mr. Gehry's design, however, ignores these wishes.
The architect's colossal proposal features a series of 80-foot-tall stone and steel columns that a member of the National Capital Planning Commission said looked like something out of the "latter scenes of 'Planet of the Apes.'" The columns would hold massive metal tapestries "composed of multiple 3-foot-by-15-foot panels featuring twisted, bent and welded stainless steel wiring" that "when hung together, depict barren trees that are intended to depict the plains of Kansas," according to the Committee on Natural Resources report.
Opponents of the design fear the columns could obstruct views of the nearby Capitol, and the metal tapestries would require costly maintenance and have to be replaced occasionally.
Members of the Eisenhower family oppose the metal tapestries because they "would be a literal 'iron curtain' and are evocative [of] Cold War era Communist iconography," the report claims.
John S.D. Eisenhower believed "the scope and scale of [Mr. Gehry's design] is too extravagant and it attempts to do too much. On the one hand it presumes a great deal of prior knowledge of history on the part of the average viewer. On the other, it tries to tell multiple stories. In my opinion, that is best left to museums."
Susan Eisenhower, the president's granddaughter, testified to Congress that her family "thinks the design is flawed in concept and overreaching in scale."
Against the Eisenhower family's wishes, the commission paid Mr. Gehry's firm $16.4 million for the design and went to work shoehorning the massive memorial in a small plaza just south of the National Mall, across the street from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
A public outcry about the memorial's size and design, as well as concern over the commission's apparent disregard for the Eisenhower family's wishes, however, have ground the project to a halt.
"Even the memorials we now regard as great today didn't have unanimous support in their day," said Victoria Tigwell, the deputy executive director at the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
Federal regulations prevent a construction project from beginning until all funding is in place. The rule is a safeguard against projects sitting half-finished for years. In order for that funding threshold to be met, the commission needs to raise another $85 million.
The commission is currently seeking $50 million in additional public funding from Congress, but federal lawmakers want nothing to do with spending more tax dollars on Mr. Gehry's controversial monument design.
The current design for the Eisenhower Memorial is a "rare exception where there is true bipartisan agreement," said Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society. "Democrats don't want it; Republicans don't want it. It doesn't have a single champion in Congress."
The House of Representatives voted earlier this year to withhold any additional funding for the monument during the 2015 fiscal year.
It appears that any additional federal money for the project is unlikely unless the design is changed to something more reflective of the Eisenhower family's vision for the memorial.
"Would [critics] rather see no Eisenhower memorial at all than have this one?" asked Ms. Tigwell.
"The fear is that the commission will spend down all its remaining appropriated money on the Gehry design, and the worst will happen: No fitting memorial to a great American and no will to start over," said Mr. Cole, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In addition to hoping for another $50 million in tax dollars from Congress, the commission planned to raise $35 million from private donors to underwrite a portion of the memorial's construction costs. The commission spent $1.2 million on a consulting firm to help raise private funds. To date, those efforts have resulted in just $448,000 in donations.
Still, Mr. Reddel remains optimistic about raising money for the project. "As [potential donors] find out how Gehry is bringing the heathland to the capital, we believe we will be able to raise the additional private funding," Mr. Reddel said.
"According to federal regulation, many more dollars — in the neighborhood of $80 million — will have to be in place before a single shovel of earth can be turned," Mr. Cole points out. "All this money has to come from the taxpayers' pockets because, in over a decade, the commission has raised less than $500,000 in private donations."
Critics claim that the controversy surrounding the monument has made the project toxic for foundations, corporations and wealthy individuals who would typically help to bankroll such an endeavor.
In October, a small group of commissioners met and agreed to slightly alter Mr. Gehry's design, including removing two of the metal tapestries and eliminating several of the columns in order to make the monument less obtrusive. Thus far, those changes have failed to make Mr. Gehry's design any more palatable for the Eisenhower family, members of Congress and potential donors.
"There is no way that any version of the [Gehry] design will ever get funded," Mr. Shubow said.
In the meantime, taxpayers are still being forced to spend $1 million a year funding the nine-person staff that oversees the day-to-day operations of the commission.
"From its K Street aerie, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission staff is wasting yet more money pushing Frank Gehry's bizarre design — something that Congress has refused to fund and that has already cost the public north of $40 million dollars, with no end in sight," Mr. Cole said.
Mr. Cole and Mr. Shubow both think a fitting memorial that conforms with the wishes of Eisenhower's family can be designed and built with the approximately $24 million the commission has yet to burn through.
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Jason Knox previously worked on the House Natural Resources Committee from 2006 to 2011. Knox then made the transition to the Senate Budget Committee where he handled energy and environmental issues. He most recently served as a Counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee under Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06).
“Throughout his career, Jason has worked tirelessly to develop and advance strategic policies that improve the way our natural resources are managed and utilized. He shares my commitment to address some of the biggest challenges facing federal land management and natural resources. One of Jason’s many qualities and qualifications is his dedication as a public servant and I am confident that his experience and leadership will be instrumental to the committee and its Members,” said Chairman-elect Bishop.
Todd Ungerecht has served as senior counsel for Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings since 2010, focusing most recently on Endangered Species Act oversight and legislation. He previously served as Congressman Hastings’ counsel on the House Ethics Committee and as a senior policy advisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during President George W. Bush’s administration.“Todd’s comprehensive experience as counsel and policy advisor are a valuable resource for the committee. His career demonstrates a clear commitment to some of the most important issues facing our federal lands, waters, and mineral resources. In this new role, Todd will continue to be a leader on key policy issues that impact our diverse and abundant natural resources, both onshore and offshore,” said Chairman-elect Bishop. Read More
"We are supposed to be a nation of laws, but what the President is doing is an abuse of his authority. Like all Americans, I share a sense of compassion and understanding for families caught in these difficult circumstances, but the President's plan does not fix the problem. He has made it worse. We desperately need a permanent solution, not an imperfect presidential mandate done in isolation. President Obama may think it is acceptable to exceed his own authority through executive action, but our founding fathers established clearly defined powers through the Constitution. The President missed an opportunity to work with Congress and instead has created a toxic atmosphere harming future efforts. Amnesty is not an answer and it sends the wrong message to those who are going through the legitimate immigration process. The first thing to fix is the porous border and that is where our attention should initially be focused," said Congressman Rob Bishop.Read More
123 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A public school teacher turned public servant, Rob Bishop represents Utah’s First Congressional District in the U.S. Congress.
Rob Bishop is a life-long resident of the First District, with the exception of two years he spent in Germany while serving a mission for the LDS Church. He was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah, where he graduated from Davis High School with High Honors. He later graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science. He has been a resident of Brigham City since 1974.
Rob is married to Jeralynn Hansen, a former Miss Brigham City. They have five children: Shule, Jarom, Zenock, Maren, and Jashon. They have six grandchildren- three boys and three girls.
Before coming to Congress, Rob was active in community theater, which is how he met his wife many years ago. As an avid baseball fan, Rob is a season ticket holder to the Salt Lake Bees and has coached in multiple leagues.
Rob is a devoted public servant. He has served his community in the State Legislature. During his sixteen years representing the Brigham City area, Rob distinguished himself as a leader. His last two years he was unanimously elected to serve as Speaker of the House. He also co-founded the Western States Coalition, a multi-state organization dedicated to protecting states’ rights and promoting Western interests and values.
Rob has served his political party for more than thirty years. Rob has worked at nearly every level of the Republican party, from precinct chair to member of the Republican National Committee, and has spent years working in every corner of this District. He has gone from Vice-Chair of the Davis County Teenage Republicans in 1968 to the advisor of the Utah Teenage Republicans in 1996. In 1997, he was elected Chairman of the Utah Republican Party. He served for two terms.
Rob has dedicated his life to teaching. He started teaching at Box Elder High School (BEHS) in Brigham City in 1974. From 1980 through 1985 he taught German and coached debate at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, Utah, before returning to BEHS. Before retiring in December of 2002, he taught advanced placement courses in government and U.S. History, while serving as the Chair of the History Department at BEHS.
On January 7, 2003, Rob Bishop was sworn in as the new Congressman from Utah’s First Congressional District, replacing the retiring Representative Jim Hansen. For his first term, he was appointed to serve on his top three choices for House Committees – the Armed Services Committee, the Resources Committee, and the Science Committee – all three of which handle critical issues for Utah’s First District. In January 2005, Rob was sworn into a second term. He was subsequently appointed by the Speaker to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee, the legislative “gatekeeper” for all bills coming to the House floor. During the 111th Congress, Rob was instrumental in founding the10th Amendment Task Force- a coalition of House Members committed to working toward disbursing power in Washington back to the people and states.
Rob is now in his sixth term in the House. During the 113th Congress, Rob will serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the powerful House Rules Committee. Rob will also continue serving on the Committee on Natural Resources where he is Chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee.