Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5260, the Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014, to combat fraud in the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program and better protect taxpayers and beneficiaries.
Upon introducing the bill, Chairman Johnson gave the following remarks on the House floor:
“Every worker in America pays a portion of their hard-earned wages into the Social Security Disability Insurance program for promised benefits if he or she becomes too disabled to work.
“While providing a vital safety net, the disability program is plagued by major fraud.
“This fraud reveals significant weaknesses in the program that put at risk not only billions of taxpayer dollars, but also the benefits on which millions of disabled Americans rely.
“At a time when the program revenues will cover only 81 percent of benefits in 2016, not one dime should be lost to fraud, waste, or abuse.
“That’s why, as Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, I’m introducing the Stop Disability Fraud Act which makes fair, commonsense changes to combat fraud and better protect taxpayers and beneficiaries. Americans want, need, and deserve no less.
“I urge my colleagues to support this effort.”
Every worker in America pays a portion of their hard-earned wages to the Social Security DI program for promised benefits if he or she becomes too disabled to work. Unfortunately, recent DI fraud scandals have revealed significant vulnerabilities in the program that have resulted in lost taxpayer dollars. Due to poor oversight, badly outdated rules and the DI program’s “pay first” culture, Social Security has awarded benefits to those who are not truly disabled. Additionally, Social Security’s complex application and disability determination process makes it nearly impossible for many claimants to apply without paid professional help. Through common sense and fair changes, the Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014 seeks to combat fraud and better protect taxpayers and beneficiaries.Bill text can be found here.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) delivered the following remarks in support of H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014. H.R. 4935 includes Johnson’s commonsense measure to require a Social Security number when claiming the $1,000 refundable child tax credit.
Remarks as prepared:
I thank my colleague for yielding.
I would also like to thank Chairman Camp for including in this bill my common sense measure to require tax filers to provide their Social Security numbers in order to claim the $1,000 refundable child tax credit, formerly known as the additional child tax credit. My measure would save $24.5 billion. That’s real money.
Sadly, there’s been a lot of misinformation about this common sense measure that I would like to clear up.
First, this is basically a benefit check handed out by the IRS.
Second, my measure is based on the good work of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Right now the IRS is providing this refundable child tax credit to those who are here illegally. But don’t take my word for it. This is what the IG has said about the refundable credit:
“Although the law prohibits aliens residing without authorization in the United States from receiving most Federal public benefits, an increasing number of these individuals are filing tax returns claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).”
Notice the IG refers to this as a public benefit. The IG also points to an increase in the number of illegal immigrants claiming this benefit. And I would add that some are claiming children who don’t even live here.
Third, and even more troubling in light of the border crisis, is that the IG says this credit can encourage individuals to come illegally to the U.S. The last thing we need is to continue to encourage folks from Central America to make the dangerous and life threatening trek to Texas. Accordingly the IG has recommended that the IRS require Social Security numbers. And why is that? Because Social Security numbers are provided to those who can legally be in the U.S. Additionally, this credit is based on earned income. Income that should be earned by those who have Social Security numbers. Period.
Fourth, it’s not just Republicans who have expressed concern and the need to take action but also Democrats – yes Democrats -- about the IG’s work. For instance, following the 2011 IG report, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri, demanded answers from the IRS and more importantly vowed to end payments to individuals without Social Security numbers.
Also then-Finance Chairman and Democrat Senator Max Baucus from Montana along with other Finance Committee members fired off a letter expressing “serious concern” to Treasury and the IRS.
Fifth, requiring tax filers to include their Social security numbers for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit is a long-standing commonsense idea. For instance, the IRS requires Social Security numbers for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a similar refundable credit for low-income families. Congress included this anti-fraud measure in the 1996 Welfare Reform law signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. Democrats such as then-Senator Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steny Hoyer voted for the law.
Now let me ask: Do Democrats now oppose requiring Social Security numbers for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
And in 2008, 215 House Democrats voted for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 which provided tax rebates to individuals and children. Guess what? That bill also required Social Security numbers. Do Democrats now regret supporting this policy back in 2008?
What’s going on here is that President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress are now playing politics with taxpayer dollars. It’s wrong and irresponsible! There is no policy reason for this opposition.
Bottom-line, my measure is about protecting the hard-earned taxpayer dollars of Americans, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.
It’s time to stop playing politics with this. It’s time to stand up for the American taxpayer. I thank the Chairman again for working with me on this important taxpayer protection measure.
I yield back.
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U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the House passing H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014 which included his commonsense measure to require a Social Security Number when claiming the $1,000 refundable child tax credit. According to the Treasury Inspector General (IG) for Tax Administration, the refundable child tax credit can serve as an incentive for individuals to come illegally into the United States. The Johnson-based provision would save $24.5 billion
“It’s a great honor to have my important commonsense measure included in the bill passed by the House today,” said Johnson. “More importantly, it’s a great day for hardworking Americans when their tax dollars are protected. I urge the President and Senate Democrats to stop playing politics with taxpayer dollars and recognize the importance of this measure.
Johnson’s provision would require tax filers to provide their Social Security numbers to claim the $1,000 refundable child tax credit – the same mandate the IRS currently uses to give the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. Additionally, Congress included this fraud prevention measure in the 1996 Welfare Reform law signed by President Clinton. The House has passed a version of Johnson’s bill three times in the previous Congress
Click here to view Johnson’s floor statement.Read More
By Alan K. Ota
House Republicans will move the debate over the child migrant crisis into tax territory this week by calling for new action to stop alleged tax fraud by low-income families, including undocumented aliens.
Senior Republicans said they will push for a requirement for taxpayers applying for the refundable child tax credit to provide a Social Security number. They said the provision would be folded into a proposal (HR 4935) by Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., for a permanent extension of a more generous child tax credit that is coming to the floor this week.
Tax revenue has been “bled out of here” by fraudulent tax claims, said House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas. “We need it for the integrity of the system. It's a tax compliance issue,” Sessions said.
Republican aides said the version of the Jenkins bill coming to a vote would include an abridged version of a proposal (HR 556) by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, to require a taxpayer to provide at least one Social Security number "of either spouse" in order to meet the identification requirement for the refundable child tax credit.
Supporters say the Johnson language would raise $24.5 billion over 10 years and help to prevent undocumented aliens from trying to claim child-related tax benefits through the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury.
Johnson and other supporters also make the case for tougher guards against tax fraud as part of a broader push for immigration and law enforcement measures to help deter a wave of undocumented child migrants in Southern border states.
"In light of the border crisis, my effort to stop fraud and abuse of the refundable child tax credit is more critical than ever,” Johnson said. “As tens of thousands of individuals surge over the southern border, it is just not right that struggling American families should have billions of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars be handed out by the IRS to illegal immigrants,” Johnson said.
“Enough is enough," Johnson said.
Democrats have rejected GOP calls for the tougher enforcement of identification standards for federal entitlement programs before, including this year when Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., offered the plan as an offset for a proposed extension of emergency unemployment benefits. Ayotte’s amendment would have eliminated tax credits for the children of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are American citizens.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva of New Mexico, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, charged that Johnson and his allies were taking advantage of the border crisis to promote undue restrictions on tax benefits. "The migrant kids crisis has become a convenient vehicle for Republicans to try to slap on other things that would not pass stand-alone. It would not stand a chance if we were not in the throngs of this other thing," Grijalva said.
He and other Democrats say the requirement for Social Security numbers would limit access to needed tax benefits for poor families. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va, said he was concerned that low-income taxpayers would lose out on benefits they had earned.
The Jenkins bill does not include another provision in the original Johnson bill that would have required tax preparers to fill out a form and meet diligence requirements if they worked on tax returns that claimed the refundable tax credit.
The underlying Jenkins bill would index the $1,000 child tax credit for inflation and end the so-called marriage penalty by setting the phaseout threshold for reduced benefits for joint filers at double the $75,000 income ceiling for single taxpayers.
An education tax break proposal (HR 3393) by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., is also on the schedule this week and includes a similar requirement for a taxpayer to provide a student's Social Security number when claiming American Opportunity Tax Credit for tuition and other expenses. The bill would provide a permanent extension of the AOTC and provide for a $2,500 maximum tax credit, and a $1,500 maximum refundable tax credit, while eliminating other tax credits and write-offs for tuition and fees.
Click here for Congressman Johnson’s release on preventing fraud and protecting taxpayer dollars.
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U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) issued the following statement on his visit to Texas’ southern border in the Rio Grande Valley sector – the primary entry point for the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants coming from Central America and Mexico
“I’ve been to the border many times, but I never expected to witness what I saw today – a real man-made crisis. It’s truly an outrage and a tragedy what is happening on our southern border.
"It is clear as ever that the President’s failure to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws has encouraged this flood of illegal immigrants. His unlawful actions have left Border Patrol agents overwhelmed, migrant children and families risking life and limb, Texans to fend for themselves, and Americans’ wondering if they’re safe. What a grave failure of leadership
“I am grateful for the committed men and women who are on the front lines working around the clock to manage the crisis. As it is the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders, Washington must do so now and send more border patrol agents to Texas. I will continue working to ensure Texas has the resources and man power it needs to secure the border. It can and must be done.
Johnson has previously relayed deep concern on the insufficient number of border patrol agents in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson where he demanded an explanation as to why the most trafficked area, the Rio Grande Valley, has less agents than areas where illegal crossings are relatively low.
Congressman Johnson led a Congressional Delegation (CODEL), which included Congressman Jeb Hensarling(R-TX), Michael Conaway (R-TX), and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) to the Texas-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley. The CODEL met with Chief Patrol Agent Kevin Oaks, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz and other agents on their team at the McAllen Border Patrol Station. In addition, the visit included a stop at the Rio Grande Valley Centralized Processing Center in McAllen followed by a boat and aerial tour of the South Texas border.Read More
U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) issued the following statement on H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014, which includes a Johnson-based provision to require a Social Security Number (SSN) for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit. H.R. 4935 is scheduled for consideration on the House floor next week. According to the Treasury Inspector General (IG) for Tax Administration, the refundable child tax credit can serve as an incentive for individuals to come illegally into the United States. The Johnson-based provision would save $24.5 billion.
“In light of the border crisis, my effort to stop fraud and abuse of the refundable child tax credit is more critical than ever. As tens of thousands of individuals surge over the southern border, it is just not right that struggling American families should have billions of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars be handed out by the IRS to illegal immigrants. Enough is enough.”
Johnson originally proposed legislation following a March 2009 IG report finding that the credit could encourage individuals to come to the United States illegally. The IG recommended that tax filers provide their SSNs in order to receive the refundable credit. More specifically, the IG said in reference to the refundable child tax credit: “…the payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.” In July 2011, the IG issued another report on the credit entitled “Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits.” That report sparked strong bipartisan concern.
Requiring tax filers to include their SSNs for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit is a long-standing commonsense idea. For instance, the IRS requires Social Security numbers for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides a refundable credit for low-income families. Congress included this anti-fraud measure in the 1996 Welfare Reform law signed by President Clinton. Democrats such as then-Senator Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Steny Hoyer voted for the law.
Last Congress, the House passed a version of Johnson’s refundable child tax credit bill three times as part of larger bills. However, Reid refused to take them up even though one of his colleagues, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), expressed “alarm” about the IRS’ improper payment of the refundable child tax credit and vowed to take action to end it. Johnson re-introduced his bill in February 2013 (H.R. 556).
“I’d like to thank Chairman Camp for including this commonsense measure that will protect and save taxpayers billions of dollars and deter illegal immigration. Now more than ever we must stand up for hardworking American taxpayers who in today’s economy are struggling to make ends meet.”
Washington, DC – U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX03) announced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that he will head to Texas’ southern border on Friday, July 18, to see the immigration crisis first-hand. Since October 2013, more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors many from Central America have illegally crossed the southern border. According to Customs and Border Protection, the number will increase to more than 150,000 next year unless Congress acts.
Today, in advance of the border visit, Johnson spoke with Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Homeland Security Deputy Director Robert Bodisch to get their perspective on the border crisis and what Congress can do to immediately help the State of Texas manage the crisis. On Friday, Johnson will meet with Chief Patrol Agent Kevin Oaks, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz and other agents on their team at the McAllen Border Patrol Station. Johnson will then head to the Rio Grande Valley Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, which is the first stop for the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who cross into the United States.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The immigration crisis taking place on the southern border of my home state of Texas demands our undivided attention as well as immediate action.
“That’s why unlike the President, I will head to the Rio Grande Valley on Friday. This area covers over 320 river miles and 19 counties equating to over 17,000 square miles. Knowing this, there’s no way to fully grasp the scope and depth of the crisis through a simple briefing in Washington.
“The President and Harry Reid just don’t get it. Last night Harry Reid declared, ‘The border is secure.’ That blew my mind! If he and the President spent any time at the border they would see just how out of touch they are.
“Mr. President, Americans – particularly Texans – have been waiting 5 ½ years for a secure border. It's time to secure our border. It's time to enforce our immigration laws.”
Note: In response to the border crisis, Congressman Johnson has recently voted to:
Johnson has cosponsored legislation to help secure the border (H.R. 4962, The National and Homeland Security Act) and change a 2008 law to discourage future flows of illegal immigrants to the U.S. (H.R. 5053, The Expedited Family Reunification Act of 2014).
Additionally, Johnson wrote a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson demanding an explanation as to why the most trafficked area, the Rio Grande Valley, has less Border Patrol agents than areas where illegal crossings are relatively low and to also address what is currently being done to secure the border.
Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on the current humanitarian and national security crisis involving tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who are illegally crossing Texas’ southern border. The letter calls on Secretary Johnson to explain why the most trafficked area, the Rio Grande Valley, has less Border Patrol agents than areas where illegal crossings are relatively low and to also address what is currently being done to secure the border.
“A recent Associated Press article titled, “A Look at the Border Patrol’s Staffing Imbalance,” highlights the inadequate number of Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley. While this region is the most trafficked when it comes to illegal crossings, it is not the most staffed.
“As Secretary of Homeland Security your number one priority is to protect the U.S. and the safety of U.S. Citizens. It’s clear that our southern border needs more protection. Now more than ever, the Rio Grande Valley needs your utmost attention. The time for concrete action is now. Americans want, need, and deserve more than an editorial. It’s past time for a secure border.
“On behalf of my constituents, I would like to know why the Rio Grande Valley, the leading region in illegal crossings, has less Border Patrol agents than areas where illegal crossings are lower? In addition, what is currently being done to address these staffing inadequacies?”
The full text of the letter can be read here.
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Washington - During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen, U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) slammed the IRS for its bogus claim that it didn't have the money to backup employee emails.
Johnson also strongly backs Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s renewed call for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s illegal targeting of Americans based on their beliefs. In May, Johnson joined the House in passing a resolution calling on the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor.
“Today’s hearing further proves the IRS can’t be trusted. The IRS claims that it didn't have the money to back-up emails. Yet, this is the same agency that pays out bonuses to workers who owe back taxes. Enough is enough. The American people have been waiting long enough for the truth. The IRS clearly has no interest in cooperating with us to get to the truth. It’s past time for a special prosecutor,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s remarks as prepared for delivery
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing.
Learning about the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails and other IRS officials is troubling and received with great skepticism. Americans have been waiting for the whole truth. I hope we begin to get it today. It’s past time to hold all of those responsible accountable for targeting Americans for their beliefs.
Commissioner, you have argued that the IRS’s practice of destroying employee emails after six months was a cost-cutting measure.
In FY 2011 the IRS’s enacted budget was $12.77 billion-- a high water mark of spending.
Can you tell me whether in 2011, the IRS was engaged in a policy of destroying and reusing its backup tapes?
Didn’t the IRS estimate that keeping and storing those tapes would only cost $200,000 annually?
Mr. Koskinen, my constituents and I refuse to accept that in years of record high IRS budgets, the IRS destroyed employee emails every six months to save $200,000 annually. I am far too familiar with the rampant wasteful spending at the IRS during this time. To date, the Committee has uncovered wasteful spending in Star Trek parody videos, lavish conferences; $23.5 million in spending on salary and benefits due to union time, and to bonuses going to workers who owe back taxes.
Mr. Commissioner, you and I both know that the IRS’s failure to backup employee emails began long before any budget cuts to the Agency. There is simply no excuse for what happened. I yield back.
Watch Congressman Johnson’s exchange with the commissioner here.
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Washington, DC – Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced commonsense legislation to give veterans and their families more freedom when saving for health care. Johnson introduced H.R. 4900, the Helping Veterans Save for Health Care Act of 2014, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“We’ve heard the horror stories of our veterans experiencing long wait times, subpar care or worse, no care at all at VAs across the country. While we can’t fix the broken VA system overnight, we can do something now to help our brave men and women in uniform.
“That’s why; I’m introducing the Helping Veterans Save for Health Care Act that would allow veterans who receive care through the VA to contribute to a Health Savings Account. Such savings could then be used by the veteran or their family.
“Veterans want, need, and deserve more choices when it comes to saving for health care, particularly at a time when our VA is failing to provide the care they earned. We must continue to put our veterans first, and we can start by making it easier for them to save through an HSA for quality care.
“I ask my colleagues to join me in this effort. It’s the right thing to do.”
Under current law, taxpayers cannot make contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSA) if, in addition to a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), they have other qualifying health coverage. Although the tax code does not specify whether veterans’ coverage or medical care obtained through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disqualifies a veteran from contributing to an HSA, it is reasonable to conclude that it might. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clarified the status of VA coverage – offering relief from an outright disqualification – by stating that someone who is eligible for VA medical benefits but does not receive VA care during the preceding three months is eligible to make HSA contributions.
Helping Veterans Save for Health Care Act of 2014
Johnson represents Texas’ Third Congressional District and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. Johnson is a 29-year career Air Force veteran and former Prisoner of War.
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1211 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Sam Johnson, a decorated war hero and native Texan, ranks among the few Members of Congress to fight in combat. During his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Representative Johnson flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement. Following his distinguished military career, Sam established a home-building business in North Dallas from scratch and served in the Texas State legislature.
Sam holds a House leadership role as one of the few Deputy Whips (vote counters). He is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he serves as the Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee and sits on the Health Subcommittee. In the 112th Congress, House leaders appointed Sam to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).
Sam uses his committee assignments to benefit the Third District. Sam’s tenure and long-standing relationships give his constituents direct access to top congressional leaders.
A fiscal hawk and constitutional conservative who advocates lower taxes and smaller government, Sam has proven himself as a respected leader with a rock-solid record.
In 2011, the renowned bipartisan publication, National Journal, named Sam the most conservative Member of Congress based solely on his voting record, meaning he voted against Nancy Pelosi and President Obama’s big government, failed stimulus agenda at every turn.
In 2009, Sam’s peers recognized him as the “most admired” Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, in 2009 the prestigious Congressional Medal of Honor Society bestowed Sam their highest civilian accolade, the National Patriot Award, for his tireless work on behalf of the troops, veterans, and freedom.
In 2011, Sam accepted the “Freedom of Flight” award at the Living Legends of Aviation Awards, dubbed the Oscars of aviation, from renowned air show pilot Bob Hoover.
Sam serves as a Regent for the world famous Smithsonian Institution, where he represents the Board of Regents on the Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum.
Sam chronicles his POW experience in solitary confinement in his autobiography, Captive Warriors. The book details the stories of the self-named “Alcatraz Gang,” including great American patriots, such as Jeremiah Denton and Jim Stockdale.
A decorated combat veteran and war hero, Sam was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards.
Sam Johnson is married to the former Shirley L. Melton of Dallas. They are proud parents of three children and grandparents to ten.
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Nice Monday afternoon on Capitol grounds. http://t.co/7WvlXvVYXg
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Said this all along.....
Mark your calendar for 3rd District 2014 events!
It is truly humbling that a broken former POW whom the VA classifies as 100 percent disabled would be honored as the namesake of the Homestead
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