WASHINGTON—Today, during a House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) questioned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray on millions in unaccountable spending on management consulting contracts.
The CFPB was created under Dodd-Frank as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve System with the purpose of regulating consumer financial products. The Bureau is not funded through the Congressional Appropriations process unlike other federal agencies, leaving it effectively unaccountable to Congress and American taxpayers with the exception of providing a semi-annual report to Congress, which was reviewed in today’s earing.
Between FY 2011 and FY 2014, the CFPB paid $61.3 million in contracts to consulting firms for ambiguous business management services.
Watch the exchange HERE.
“Between the 12th of February to today, we’ve seen the national debt rise over $31 billion. Whether it is by fee or by appropriation, the ultimate payers are the hardworking folks in my district who are frankly struggling right now to keep a roof over their head,” said Tipton. “We were looking over some of the expenditures that you made, through the CFPB, and it’s my understanding that you’ve spent over $60 million on business management?”
“We started off as an agency from nothing in 2011, and we’ve been building an agency over the last three and a half years,” said Cordray.
“That’s what frightens me, we see you building Washington,” said Tipton. Tipton pressed Cordray for greater details on what exactly business management entails.
Cordray only provided a broad answer saying “it has to do with all of the apparatus of running an organization.” When pressed further for specifics, Cordray said he would work with Tipton’s staff to provide additional detail.
Tipton also asked Cordray about new CFPB requirements for disclosures on pre-paid cards. Tipton underscored that CFPB-required disclosures could create additional confusion for consumers on the terms of pre-paid cards, rather than clarity as the Director stated he was striving for.Read More
WASHINGTON–Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) issued this statement on today’s vote in the House to fund the Department of Homeland Security for a year. Tipton voted against the measure.
“The House has done its job time and again, including passing legislation in January to fully fund DHS, as well as legislation last week to go to conference with the Senate to work out a solution through regular order. However, the legislative process is being held up in the Senate by obstructionists led by Harry Reid who would rather hold funding for DHS hostage than allow regular order, and even have a conversation.
“As of now, the President’s immigration orders have been put on hold by a court-ordered injunction, so they are not being implemented; however, while appeals are pending, we do not yet know what the court’s decision will be. It’s important to discern that this is not an immigration issue, as the President has tried to frame it, but an issue of executive overreach. The President’s orders on immigration, which he admitted 22 times he had no authority to enact, have marginalized the millions of people who are going through the immigration process legally and send the wrong message.
“The focus of the immigration conversation should remain on how legislatively we achieve an outcome that truly fixes the problems plaguing the broken system; some such solutions are currently moving through the House. The President’s executive actions ignore the problem, serve only political ends, and fix nothing in the long term. They do, however, create further uncertainty.
“The President and his Administration continue to ignore the Constitution and circumvent Congress by making and enforcing their own laws. That is not the role of the executive branch. Should the court-ordered injunction be lifted, today’s bill would fund the President’s executive orders, which I do not believe is the best course of action and therefore voted against the measure. The best option would have been for the Senate to go to conference with the House and work together to pass a fair solution, but unfortunately, Harry Reid won’t allow that to happen.”
WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) spoke to the importance of the bond between the United States and Israel in this statement following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress.
“I share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s conviction that the bond between the United States and Israel is more than strategic; it is one of family. Along with our countries’ many common values, we share the critical goal of bringing about peace in an unstable region—a peace that would be made all but impossible with a nuclear Iran.
“Unfortunately, instead of welcoming the Prime Minister today and showing respect to one of our country’s most important allies, the Administration and some members of Congress decided to play politics and skip his address. I believe this sends a reckless message to the international community that the United States is not approaching ongoing talks with Iran on that nation’s nuclear program from a position of strength, but from one of compromise—which we cannot do.
“There is no question that a nuclear Iran would further destabilize the Middle East and pose a grave threat to our allies and U.S. interests. It cannot be allowed to happen under any circumstance. The U.S. must approach talks with Iran from that perspective, and I believe it is important to work closely with our allies, especially Israel, throughout the process. Much is at stake, and politics shouldn’t get in the way of working together in every way possible to ensure the best outcome for our nations.”
Tipton, a member of the Republican Israel Caucus, spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in December to call for stronger sanctions on Iran and pressured the Senate to vote on legislation passed in the House with overwhelming bipartisan support to increase sanctions. Read his speech HERE.Read More
The clash between environmental and energy reality versus idealism reached a crossroads in Denver when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) convened a technical conference on February 25th. The meeting concerns the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) self-titled “Clean Power Plan” which would effectively regulate-away the ability of existing power plants to produce the affordable electricity on which countless Coloradans rely to heat and cool their homes and keep the lights on. While we should be working toward creating win-win outcomes through an all-of-the-above energy solution and responsible environmental safeguards, all the focus so far by the Administration and their supporters has been on picking winners and losers, embracing only what the EPA anoints as “clean” energy. Now, FERC will finally have a chance to weigh in on “power” – what it takes to reliably operate our increasingly strained electricity delivery system under EPA’s overreaching plan.
In Colorado, we’ve successfully maintained a diverse energy portfolio that has kept rates reasonable overall, provided a stable power supply and a healthy, clean environment. EPA’s plan, however, would slash coal use an additional 37 percent - a readily-available resource Colorado relies upon for more than 60 percent of our electricity. EPA promises that boosting renewable generation an additional 36 percent will offset this drastic cut when coupled with forcing Colorado families and businesses, many of which are already struggling to get by on tight budgets, to invest hundreds of billions to substantially reduce their own electricity use. But intermittent renewables like wind and solar cannot substitute for baseload power – the electricity we need day-in, day-out, rain or shine, breezy or not. While phasing out traditional energy resources to the extent EPA prefers will have virtually no effect on global greenhouse gas emissions, it does spell serious trouble for the U.S. power grid.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is confident that her agency’s plan will work. But seeing that electricity can reliably flow to where it’s sorely needed is not her agency’s area of expertise. In fact, EPA has a woeful record of accurately predicting the impacts of its regulations on the nation’s power grid. That falls under FERC’s purview, but so far EPA has crafted its regulatory plan without any meaningful involvement from FERC. That is simply unacceptable since FERC’s purpose is to guarantee a reliable supply of electricity.
FERC now must get involved because EPA chose to go it alone without consideration that its proposed actions would drastically jeopardize our power supply. Congressional inquiry has determined EPA did not share any meaningful details of its plan with FERC and, more important, didn’t consult FERC about whether or not its regulatory agenda would impact the reliability of our power grid. Many experts agree that EPA's lopsided focus threatens reliable operation of an energy delivery system made more brittle by a cascade of EPA regulations that failed to account for their cumulative consequences.
Be at home or on the factory floor, we summon electricity with the flick of a switch or punch of a power button. Assuring something happens when we do involves thousands of hardworking Coloradans operating a staggeringly complex energy delivery infrastructure that not only includes the wires we see and pipelines we don’t, but power plant switchyards we never think about and dispatch centers few of us even know exist.
This is a world of technology that anticipates our need for electricity an instant before we want it there, balances fluctuations in the availability of resources in the nano-seconds it takes to ramp up an alternative source – then back it off or send it somewhere else the instant the situation changes. EPA’s short-sighted regulations up-end that system, and system failure disrupts our nation’s lifeblood.
Congressman Scott Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.
FERC heard from utilities, independent generators, regulators, system operators and transmission companies – the players upon whose successful interactions we unknowingly depend. EPA has thus far disregarded their warnings, choosing instead to go it alone. It’s time for FERC to catch up, and listen to the experts who work every day to ensure that our lights come on. They must.
WASHINGTON—Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) stressed the need for a permanent legislative solution to protect private water rights from federal takings and interference, following today’s comments by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the agency is, for the time being, backing off of its controversial Groundwater Directive.
“While Chief Tidwell made a comment that the Forest Service is for now holding off on its overreaching Groundwater Directive, he offered no guarantees that the directive won’t be back in the future, and in fact, stated that the agency still intends to move forward with it in some form after gathering more input. This provides no certainty for Western water users, who rely on privately-held water rights for their livelihoods, that the federal government won’t continue to attempt to come after their rights,” said Tipton. “Short of legislation to codify long-held state water law and priority-based systems, as my Water Rights Protection Act seeks to do, the federal government will continue to attempt to take private water rights or restrict water users from accessing them—we’ve seen it many times before. I will be reintroducing this commonsense bill in the 114th Congress and am currently working with stakeholders and community groups to finalize language to ensure protection for water users from these coordinated, backdoor attempts by the federal government to circumvent state law and trample private water rights.”
The Forest Service’s proposed rule would have expanded the agency’s reach over groundwater, sought to establish new bureaucratic hurdles to interfere with private water users’ ability to access their water, and even included a provision that would have essentially put into effect a ski area permit requirement that would have required the transfer of privately held water rights to the government without compensation. Learn more HERE.
In the 113th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, with bipartisan support, Congressman Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 3189) to uphold state water law and protect private water rights from uncompensated federal takings. Tipton plans to reintroduce the bill soon for the 114th Congress and is finalizing language.
Read more about the Water Rights Protection Act as introduced in the 113th Congress HERE.Read More
WASHINGTON—Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) has reintroduced legislation in the House of Representatives to help Fort Lewis College and the State of Colorado cover tuition costs of qualifying Native American Indian students who receive federally-mandated free tuition at the college under a 1910 federal land grant. Tipton delivered the legislation today accompanied by Fort Lewis College President Dene Thomas and former United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
The Native American Indian Education Act would require the federal government to meet treaty obligations to help cover the tuition costs for out-of-state students. Currently, the State of Colorado has been left to cover the expense, which has significantly increased in recent years and is jeopardizing the future of the important program. The University of Minnesota, Morris has a similar mandate and would benefit from this legislation.
“The State of Colorado is currently forced to carry the weight of an unfunded federal mandate, which has created uncertainty for this vital program at Fort Lewis College that satisfies our nation’s treaty obligations and ensures that many talented and bright Native American Indian students have the opportunity to get a quality education,” Tipton said. “Should the state face a budget shortfall, this program could be at risk. Our legislation seeks to address this issue by requiring the federal government to fully live up to its obligation, easing the burden on Colorado taxpayers, and providing certainty for students at Fort Lewis and other impacted institutions.”
The cost to the State of Colorado has increased significantly over the years, especially as an increasing number of out-of-state Native American Indian students attend the college. As of fall of 2014, Fort Lewis College had 1,123 Native American Indian students enrolled (30 percent of the student body), from 155 different tribes.
In 2014, Colorado paid about $15 million in tuition reimbursement for qualifying Native American Indian students attending Fort Lewis College. Tipton’s bipartisan bill, which has 11 original cosponsors including Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Dianna DeGette (D-CO) and Mark Takano (D-CA) who serves on the Education and Workforce Committee, will remove the cost of this unfunded federal mandate from the state and, by offsetting the spending elsewhere in the budget to prevent increased spending, require that the federal government pays its fair share for the important program.
Endorsements are still being gathered, but supporters of this legislation in previous Congresses include: National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Gaming Association, Native American Rights Fund, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe (CO), Mescalero Apache Tribe (NM), Cherokee Nation (OK), Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (MN).Read More
WASHINGTON— Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) joined with a number of his bipartisan House colleagues to urge House leaders to work with them to pass a multi-year transportation infrastructure reauthorization bill.
The text of the letter from Tipton and his colleagues to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi follows:
Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:
Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have consistently recognized the importance of a well-functioning and efficient surface transportation network in the United States. We know that our country needs robust transportation infrastructure to compete in the global economy and that without such a network, the United States will be less able to realize future economic growth.
Very simply, we support transportation and infrastructure investment because our economy needs a national system to safely move people and deliver goods from place to place. Our constituents in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and distribution sectors rely heavily on our network of roads and bridges to move the products that make us competitive around the globe.
We were pleased that Congress was able to enact the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, but we are more troubled by the significant uncertainty that has plagued federal highway and transit policy in recent years. In the last decade, there have been nine short-term extensions of highway and transit programs. This kind of uncertainty impedes economic growth and makes it difficult for our country to fulfill its competitive potential.
The current extension of the Highway Trust Fund is slated to expire on May 31, 2015. This is not a long way off. We are united in our conviction that now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions that kick the can down the road by doing the work needed to pass a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. To make this happen, we support efforts to develop a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation’s transportation network as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will not be able to enact a transportation bill that truly meets our country’s economic and infrastructure needs.
We respectfully urge you to move a responsibly paid-for multi-year surface transportation bill that will support much needed economic growth throughout our nation. We stand ready to work with you on this endeavor in the coming months.
See a pdf of the letter HERE.Read More
Tipton Pushes for Long-Term Transportation Infrastructure Investment
WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) joined with a number of his House colleagues in a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on proposed funding cuts to the newly established Veterans Choice Program under the President’s FY 2016 budget. Tipton first raised concerns earlier this month about the cuts after the President sent his budget proposal to Congress.
The text of the letter from Tipton and his colleagues to Secretary McDonald follows:
The Honorable Robert McDonald Secretary Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20420
Dear Secretary McDonald,
It has been over half a year since the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act was signed into law, yet veterans are still struggling to gain adequate healthcare. More importantly, for those of us who represent rural districts, the Veterans Choice program represented a new opportunity to address the wait time backlog for veterans. While this program aims to help veterans living in areas with limited VA access, details surrounding its implementation, and the president’s recent budget, have raised some concerns.
Last week, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 budget and chose to raid funding for the Veterans Choice Program that he signed into law a mere 6 months ago. The Choice Program was designed to directly help eligible veterans seek care outside the Veteran Affairs (VA) network if they experience a wait time over 30 days or don’t live within 40 miles of a VA clinic. As a pillar of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, it stood to show Americans that the VA was trying to improve and change its scandal plagued culture. Simply put, cutting funding for this program to relieve other deficit shortfalls is a step backward for those of us who supported this breakthrough legislation.
Although the President’s budget is just a proposal and the VA network has improved since its widespread scandal in 2014, members of Congress are still left asking themselves many of the same questions. Fundamentally, how can we effectively care for our veterans? Basic in nature, this question sets the foundation for improvement. To answer it, several questions need to be asked regarding the programs designed to improve our veterans’ lives:
- Was the VA consulted before determining cuts to funding for the Veterans Choice program?
- Are the cuts a signal by the VA that the program has been unsuccessful and will not be renewed?
- Although some veterans live within the 40 mile limit set by the VA to be eligible for the Choice Card program- roads seldom create such direct path. Shouldn’t the 40 mile VA clinic proximity rule apply to actual road mileage?
- What steps are being taken to address concerns about VA facilities that are within the 40 mile limit, but do not provide the necessary medical services the veteran requires?
- How effective has the VA been in reimbursing health care providers who accept the Choice Card?
As Congress continues with its budget process in the weeks and months ahead, knowing the current state of the Choice Card program will allow members to consider appropriate funding levels. We appreciate all the work you have done on behalf of veterans and look forward to your response.
See a pdf of the letter HERE.Read More
WASHINGTON— Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) joined his House colleagues in passing legislation this week to make permanent provisions that simplify the tax code and create greater certainty for small businesses and opportunities for families, and to incentive charitable giving.
“Generosity and hard work are among the foremost values that have shaped our country into a land of opportunity and prosperity for generations. Given the chance, Americans will rise to the occasion to help a neighbor in need and provide for their families. That’s what makes this such a special place to live, and I believe that these values should be encouraged by the policies coming out of Washington,” said Tipton. “As part of our continued effort to create an economic climate in which businesses and families can thrive, we passed legislation this week in the House to simplify the tax code and provide greater certainty and relief for small businesses and families, and also make permanent a critical provision that allows Americans to claim tax deductions for charitable giving, including for food donations. If signed into law, these policies would help grow the economy, and continue to encourage Americans’ generosity, which benefits our entire nation.”
Background Courtesy of the Speaker’s Office:
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) questioned Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro during a House Committee on Financial Services oversight hearing to examine the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) precarious financial state.
According to a third-party actuarial report released in November 2014, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s (MMIF) economic value was $4.8 billion, which is the sum of the FHA’s existing capital resources plus the net present value of its current books of business. However, the report calculated the FHA’s capital reserve ratio includes more than $2 billion in proceeds from recent Justice Department settlements with mortgage lenders. The report showed that the FHA’s reserve ratio was 0.41 percent, when the statutorily mandated minimum standard is 2 percent.
“The inability of HUD Secretary Castro to answer basic questions on the FHA’s portfolio today, specifically on matters related to its capital reserve ratio, is deeply concerning. The FHA’s capital reserves are well below the mandated minimum. If the economy sputters or stalls at all FHA could easily require another bailout by the taxpayer, and yet isn’t even taking basic available steps to fix the problem,” said Tipton. “In my small business, if we faced a situation where we were losing money because of our business practices, we didn’t kick back and wait to reach a crisis point. We took corrective action to get back on track and stop losing money. This simple principle, universally followed by businesses, is exactly what the FHA isn’t doing. Instead, the agency seems to be waiting for a different outcome to occur without changing its behavior—the very definition of insanity. In fact, government regulators are increasing capital requirements on private sector insurers, yet all the while FHA is engaging in the very same risky practices the administration is regulating in the private sector. This is beyond unacceptable.”
The FHA’s risky practices led to a $1.7 billion taxpayer bailout two years ago, and short of the agency taking steps to minimize losses through such actions as raising insurance premiums and increasing down payment size, taxpayers could once more be on the hook for additional bailouts.
Among FHA’s most absurd practices is that of insuring loan amounts way beyond the agency’s original purpose of serving targeted populations such as low-income families, first time buyers and communities with limited access to credit. Today, FHA insures loans as high as $625,500. Before the financial crisis, the FHA could not insure mortgages over $363,000. Tipton questioned Secretary Castro about continued attempts by the FHA to gain market share.
Watch the exchange HERE.
“Today the FHA can insure a loan for a borrower to the $625,500 limit even though in most communities across America this would be a ludicrous amount for a low-income family or first time home buyers,” said Tipton. “It’s time for a common sense fix of setting loan limits regionally so that borrowers are not getting loans approved for homes they cannot afford. However, this would run counter to the FHA’s continued attempts to grow its market share—which is already about 50 percent of the market. It shouldn’t be the FHA’s goal to continue to grow its market share, but get its fiscal house in order, and fulfill its mission of serving the underserved.”
Secretary Castro’s testimony is available HERE.Read More
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.
After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.
Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.
In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children. That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.
Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources. In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower. He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.
Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.
Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses. Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.
In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.
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I’m looking forward to listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address shortly. Watch live: http://t.co/zF9EXD2H9D
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Today, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will present the CFPB’s semi-annual report to Congress. While the CFPB
I share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s conviction that the bond between the United States and Israel is more than strategic; it is one of family.
I’m looking forward to listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address shortly. I will be attending and encourage you to
Twice a year the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes before the House Committee on Financial Services to provide a report
Today the House will vote on two bills out of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, H.R. 294, the Long-Term Care Veteran Choice Act, and H.R. 280,