Tom McClintock

Tom McClintock


Federal Lands Subcommittee Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3668, the “Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017” (“Share Act”)


Congressman McClintock is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.  The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on September 12, 2017.  Congressman McClintock delivered the following opening statement:

Opening Statement of Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04)
House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Federal Lands

September 12, 2017

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3668, the “Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017” (“Share Act”)

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands meets to discuss HR 3668, the “Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017” or “Share Act.”  The Share Act combines provisions from previous legislation passed by the House in the 112th, 113th and 114th congresses.  Its purpose is to increase opportunities for hunters, recreational shooters, and anglers; eliminate regulatory impediments; safeguard against new regulations that impede outdoor sporting activities; and protect Second Amendment rights. 

Outdoor sporting activities, including hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, are deeply engrained in the fabric of America’s culture and heritage. Values of personal responsibility, resource management, conservation and outdoor recreation instilled by these activities are passed down from generation to generation and play a significant role in the lives of millions of Americans. Hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting are growing in popularity.  In 2011, over 37 million people over the age of 16 hunted or fished across the country.  And every year sportsmen and women contribute around $90 billion to the U.S. economy.  

Much of America’s outdoor sporting activity occurs on our public lands; lands that we have set aside for the express purpose of “public use, resort and recreation,” in the words of the original Yosemite charter.  Sadly, over the last several decades, federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have sought to prevent or impede access to public lands for these traditional outdoor sporting purposes. 
One of the most commonly cited reasons by Americans who have given up on these recreational pursuits on public lands is ease of access.  People don’t go where they’re not wanted, not allowed, or legally jeopardized by a tangle of intricate rules and jurisdictions.

Congress represents the people and under our Constitution is given exclusive jurisdiction over the people’s lands.  Yet these policies – so antithetical to the purpose of our public lands – have been made not by Congress, but by bureaucrats who seek to replace the doctrine of “use, resort and recreation” with an elitist and restrictive policy of “look, but don’t touch.”

The Federal Lands Sub-committee of the House has for the last six years sought to restore public access to public lands, and the SHARE Act is a very important part of that policy.

One of the key provisions of this bill, the “Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act”, begins to rein in these bureaucratic abuses, by declaring our public lands open to hunting and fishing unless the agency has specific reasons to exclude these activities from individual tracts of land.  

It takes care not to prioritize hunting and fishing over other traditional public uses of public land but rather to maintain them within the multitude of outdoor recreational pursuits the public enjoys.  It also respects the cooperative relationship we have sought with local communities affected by federal ownership.  For example, another provision in the bill will improve inter-governmental coordination to create and maintain recreational shooting ranges on public lands and respect agreements with tribal jurisdictions. 

The bill also protects Second Amendment rights and the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle.  It defends law-abiding citizens’ constitutional right to carry arms on lands owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. It assures that firearms can be carried across state lines under uniform rules without fear of legal jeopardy.  It also removes ATF's authority to use the "sporting purposes" clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the Second Amendment. The bill also ensures that hunters are not burdened by outdated laws preventing bows and crossbows from being transported across National Parks.

The bill also removes fire suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act, replacing the federal transfer process with a National Instant Criminal Background Check. Suppressors are important devices to reduce hearing damage for shooters – my father suffered from it -- as well as to reduce noise at shooting ranges located near residential areas.   In my district, this has been a major complaint of residents near a recently-opened outdoor shooting range in Shingle Springs.

The early kings of England declared a third of the public lands off limits to commoners and made them the exclusive preserves of the elites of the royal court.  The English people resented this so greatly that they devoted no fewer than five clauses of the Magna Carta for redress. Our forbearers created the American public lands on precisely the opposite premise: that EVERY American has the right to enjoy these lands in all the traditional pursuits – and hunting and fishing are indisputably the oldest of them.  Yes, they are absolutely essential to manage wildlife populations.  Yes, they contribute greatly to our economy.  Yes, they instill critical moral values.  But the most important reason is that they are the birthright of every American, confirmed by the original charters that established our public lands.  

It is our responsibility to preserve and protect that right and this bill takes us a long way to restoring it.


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H.R. 601 – Three-month Debt Limit Suspension, $230 billion of general spending and $8 billion for Emergency Hurricane Relief


Vote Note on H.R. 601

H.R. 601 – Three-month Debt Limit Suspension, $230 billion of general spending and $8 billion for Emergency Hurricane Relief.

I supported the clean disaster relief bill for Hurricane Harvey.  But I cannot and will not support the cynical use of disasters as an excuse to pack relief bills with extraneous and questionable policies that ought to be considered on their own.  This bill left the House with my support to provide $7.9 billion of emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey.  Period.  It returns from the Senate with a three-month suspension of the debt limit, an additional $230 billion of general government spending unrelated to hurricane relief and $7.4 billion of added spending for Community Development Block Grants (that have notoriously little accountability).  

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The Senate's Choice


September 7, 2017

Two weeks after the 2016 election, I spoke on the House floor and warned that the greatest single obstacle to meeting the expectations of the American people was the cloture rule in the Senate.  I said: “Voters elected Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and they expect action.  They’ll get it from the President and from the House.  But in order for the Senate to rise to this occasion, it must reform its cloture rule when it organizes in January.”  It didn’t.

Cloture is the Senate motion to conclude debate, and it is based on a sound parliamentary principle: as long as a significant minority – currently 40 Senate members – want to continue debate, that debate should continue.  But this principle assumes it is an actual debate between real people regarding the merits of the subject directly at hand.

But that is not what cloture has become.  Today, any Senator can block virtually any bill simply by filing a protest at the desk, and until 60 of the 100 Senators agree to take up the bill, it cannot be heard.  

Ironically, a motion originally designed to protect debate has degenerated into a motion that very effectively prevents debate.

It also hands practical control of the Senate to the Democratic minority, which can effectively veto any proposal by the majority, essentially reversing the result of the election.

This is not some act of God or constitutional constraint that has been forced upon the Senate.  No, this is a deliberate choice by Senate Republicans NOT to reform their cloture rule.  It has rendered the Senate dysfunctional, and with it, the Congress. 

Earlier this year, the Senate briefly recognized this and chose to reform cloture for Supreme Court nominations -- but not for legislation absolutely vital to the interests of our country.

The news yesterday that the President has capitulated to Democratic demands on the debt limit should come as no surprise.  This became inevitable when Senate Republicans turned over control of the Senate to Chuck Schumer by failing to reform cloture.  

That is how we got wrapped around the axle on repealing and replacing Obamacare.  The House could have passed a comprehensive bill that completely and cleanly abolished Obamacare and fully replaced it with all the market and tax reforms that Republicans agreed with and campaigned on – popular reforms that put consumers back in charge of their health care decisions and placed those decisions within their financial reach. 

Instead, the House leadership chose to attempt this through a budget process called reconciliation – a process completely unsuited for complex policy reform.  They did so for one reason: to bypass the Senate cloture rule.  By adhering to the very limited and restricted requirements of budget reconciliation, the House produced a mangled, tangled mess that fell well short of the reforms we had promised and ultimately failed to receive even a simple majority of the Senate.

Those who supported this process argued that a clean, complete, comprehensive bill would have been dead on arrival in the Senate for lack of Democratic votes for cloture.

I doubt that.  Quite the contrary, had the House done its job through regular order – rather than try to cover for the Senate Republicans’ bad choice – one of two things would have happened.

As Obamacare continued to implode, Senate Democrats would have been seen as the single obstacle to a popular, comprehensive reform.  It’s entirely possible that eight of the most vulnerable Democrats would ultimately have crossed party lines and supported this rescue of our health care system.

Or, far more likely, Senate Republicans would have been forced to come to the same conclusion that they came to with respect to the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch and reform this rule.  

Certainly, we couldn’t have been worse off than we are today.

I ask that henceforth, the House leadership stop covering for the Senate Republicans, and move all the legislation we promised the American people to the Senate through regular order.  It is time we left the management of the Senate to the Senate, stopped enabling their atrocious judgment on not reforming cloture and made very clear to the American public why the reforms they entrusted us to enact aren’t being sent to the President.  

Senator Dirksen once noted, “When they feel the heat, they see the light.”  It’s time the House – and the American people – adopted this maxim.

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Amendment to H.R. 3354 - Essential Air Service


Amendment to H.R. 3354
Essential Air Service
September 6, 2017

Mr. Chairman:

This amendment eliminates the $150 million of discretionary spending wasted on one of the least essential programs in the entire United States Government, the so-called “Essential Air Service.”  That is the program that subsidizes empty and near-empty planes to fly from small airports to regional hubs just a few hours away or less by car.

This was supposed to be a temporary program to allow local communities and airports to re-adjust to airline de-regulation in 1978.  Last year, the Essential Air Service cost a total of $298 million between direct taxpayer subsidies and fees to fly near-empty airplanes to underused airports.  $150 million of that is in our control and this amendment zeroes it out and puts it toward deficit reduction.

Actual subsidies per passenger can be over $1,000 per seat.  

Year after year, we’re promised reform, and year after year the cost goes up.

Essential Air Service flights are flown out of Merced airport, near my district in the Sierra Nevada of California.  Yet Merced is less than an hour’s drive from Fresno Airport, that offers scheduled commercial air service.  A tiny number of people in my district may use this service, but EVERY person in my district who hears about this waste of their money is outraged by it. 

Apologists for this wasteful spending tell us it is an important economic driver for these small airports – and I’m sure that’s so – whenever you give away money, the folks you’re giving it to are always better off.  But the folks you’re taking it from are always worse off to exactly the same extent.  Indeed, this has become a very lucrative business for charter companies to employ otherwise idle aircraft at taxpayer expense.

I want to emphasize that this program has nothing to do with emergency medical evacuations.  It solely subsidizes regular, scheduled, commercial service that practically nobody uses.  

If it actually had a passenger base, we wouldn’t need, in effect, to hand out wads of hundred dollar bills to the few passengers who use it. 

An airline so reckless with its funds would quickly bankrupt itself.  The same principle holds true for governments.

The Washington Post is not known as a bastion of fiscal conservatism, but I cannot improve upon an editorial a few years ago when it said,  

“Ideally, EAS would be zeroed out, and the $200 million we waste on it devoted to a truly national purpose: perhaps deficit reduction, military readiness or the social safety net.  Alas, if Congress and the White House were capable of making such choices, we probably never would have had sequestration in the first place.”

There are many tough calls in setting fiscal priorities, but this isn’t one of them.  If the House of Representatives -- where all appropriations begin – with a Republican majority pledged to stop wasting money -- can’t even agree to cut this useless program off from the trough, how does it expect to be taken seriously on the much tougher choices that lie ahead?

Indeed, this is the kindest cut of all – eliminating a temporary program established 39 years ago and that has become a poster-child for wasteful federal spending.

Our national debt has roughly doubled in eight years.  American taxpayers will pay roughly $269 billion this year just in interest costs on that debt.  If you’re an average family paying average taxes, it means about $2,200 of your taxes this year will do nothing more than RENT the money we have already spent.

Continuing to pay for this obsolete and wasteful program with money we don’t have is obscene.  It makes a mockery of any claim that we have cut spending to the bone.


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Statement on President's DACA Announcement


Statement on President's DACA Announcement
      DACA was an unconstitutional usurpation of legislative authority by President Obama and President Trump is right to end it, while giving Congress the time it will need to develop law to transition out of it.  I have long maintained that until our borders are secured, discussions over legalizing the residency of illegal immigrants brought to this country as children were premature and would encourage more illegal crossings.  Now that the administration is making progress on restoring border security, it is time for Congress to address this issue.  Reform should incorporate two fundamental policies:
      First, the reform must include measures to restore complete integrity to our legal immigration system.  This includes full funding for construction of the border wall, mandatory use of e-verify for employment with strengthened penalties to employers who violate federal employment law, strengthening penalties for those illegally entering or staying in the country, strong sanctions against local and state sanctuary jurisdictions and implementation of entry/exit monitoring of visa stays.
      Second, DACA must not be made a permanent and open-ended policy, or we will encourage more parents to illegally bring their children to the United States.   DACA should be ended immediately.  Those currently enrolled in the program should be granted legal residency if they have no criminal convictions in their background, if they are not affiliated with criminal gangs and if they have not previously been subject to a deportation order.  DACA residents who wish subsequently to apply for citizenship should not displace the applications of legal immigrants.  
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Forest Fire Prevention


Click for Forest Fire Prevention link

August 22, 2017 Speeches
First, I want to thank Senator Feinstein for restoring the bi-partisan nature of this annual Tahoe Summit. Lincoln once reminded us “that we can succeed only by concert.” We demonstrated that maxim with the enactment of the Tahoe provisions in the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act last December. That wouldn’t have been possible without Republicans and Democrats coming together in Washington.

Detwiler Fire

July 26, 2017 Speeches
Mr. Speaker: I want to begin by saluting the more than 5,000 firefighters from 40 cooperating agencies that assembled under the coordination of CALFIRE to battle the Detwiler fire that threatened Yosemite Valley and its gateway communities
June 21, 2017 Speeches

H.R. 1873 – Hazard Tree Removal


Chairman’s Opening Statement - Subcommittee on Federal Lands

June 15, 2017 Speeches

Congressman McClintock is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.  The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on June 15, 2017.  Congressman McClintock delivered the following opening statement:

Chairman’s Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Federal Lands
House Natural Resources Committee
June 15, 2017

May 17, 2017 Speeches

Congressman McClintock is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.  The subcommittee held a hearing on May 17, 2017.  Congressman McClintock delivered the following opening statement:

Hearing on Wildfire Prevention
Federal Lands Subcommittee
House Natural Resources Committee

WRDA - A Critical Moment for Tahoe and the West

December 7, 2016 Speeches
WRDA Conference Report: Water for California; Fire Protection for Tahoe. The conference report on the Water Resources Development Act is the product of many, many hours of good-faith negotiations between the House and Senate and between Republicans and Democrats.
May 12, 2016 Speeches
And here’s a song we’ve heard before: despite the high fire risk, BLM is not performing adequate fire prevention activities, particularly mechanical treatments, in the area because it is managed as a WSA. In addition, the location of the WSA hampers firefighting tactics, leaving local firefighters with no maneuvering room to protect life and property in the event of catastrophic wildfire.
February 22, 2016 Press Release

The attached letter to the editor from Congressman McClintock has been submitted to the Sacramento Bee:

Matt Weiser grossly misrepresents both Republican federal lands policy and my leadership of the House subcommittee that oversees it.

Our committee seeks to restore responsible stewardship of our national forests and protect the public’s right to enjoy the public’s lands.  

January 27, 2016 Speeches

February 22, 2016

The attached letter to the editor from Congressman McClintock has been submitted to the Sacramento Bee:

Matt Weiser grossly misrepresents both Republican federal lands policy and my leadership of the House subcommittee that oversees it.

Our committee seeks to restore responsible stewardship of our national forests and protect the public’s right to enjoy the public’s lands.  

October 8, 2015 Press Release

Rep. Tom McClintock’s (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-NV) H.R. 3382, the “Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015” passed the House Natural Resources Committee today.  The legislation focuses resources on fire prevention and additional measures to protect the lake from the introduction of invasive species. 

August 24, 2015 Speeches
Tahoe rests on the northern boundary of California’s Fourth Congressional District. Meanwhile, right now – as we speak – a catastrophic wildfire is raging in the King’s Canyon region on the southern boundary of this very same district. That fire has already consumed 78 square miles of national forests and at latest report is only 17 percent contained.
July 30, 2015 Press Release

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation yesterday to address catastrophic wildfire and invasive species threats to Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin.  The Federal Lands Subcommittee chaired by McClintock had already considered the preliminary draft of H.R. 3382, “Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015,” on July 14th, putting it on a fast track for House passage.

July 9, 2015 Press Release

Congressman McClintock is a co-author of H.R. 2647 (Westerman), the Resilient Federal Forests Act. The legislation was approved by the House on July 9, 2015.  The bill next goes to the Senate. Congressman McClintock delivered the following House floor debate remarks in support of the measure:

Resilient Federal Forests Act
July 9, 2015

    Excess timber comes out of the forest one way or the other.  It is either carried out or it is burned out. 

    When we carried it out, we had healthy forests and a thriving economy.

May 14, 2015 Speeches

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight hearing on the impact of litigation on forest management, the U.S. Forest Service’s response to the growing challenge of litigation and related impacts upon forest health. 

Supervisor Randy Hanvelt of Tuolumne County provided testimony at the hearing.  Supervisor Hanvelt’s district includes large sections of the Stanislaus National Forest, an area severely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire.

April 23, 2015 Speeches
Over the past thirty years, we have seen an 80 percent reduction in timber harvested from our national forests, and in the same period a concomitant increase in acreage destroyed by fire. This phenomenon far predates the Western drought and was best summed up by a forester long ago who observed, “All that excess timber comes out of the forests one way or the other. It is either CARRIED OUT or it is BURNED OUT. But it comes OUT.”
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New Citizens Ceremony


New Citizens Ceremony
Sacramento, California
August 23, 2017
I am honored to join you today on this auspicious occasion of your assumption of American citizenship.  
America is not just a nation.  America is also a notion – an idea – that is unique among the nations of the world.  There are many democracies and republics around the world today – but only one to my knowledge, founded on the uniquely American principles given voice in the American Declaration of Independence and given life in the American Constitution.  
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln observed that in the 82 years since the American founding, many could trace their roots back to that first generation, but many had arrived since then.  He said,
“If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.”
The Declaration proclaims the self-evident truth that we are all born with certain rights that come to us not from government, but from the laws of nature and of nature’s God.  We know instinctively what these rights are because we would have them if we were alone in the world.  They make no demands on others but to respect those rights.  The right to the fruit of our own labor; the right to our opinions and beliefs and to express and practice them freely; the right to enter into voluntary associations with others; the right to raise our children according to our own values; the right to defend ourselves from those who would deny us these rights.    Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.
Government does not create these rights; rather WE create governments to protect these rights.
In other countries, government is the sovereign and rights flow from it to the people.  In America, the people are sovereign and loan to their government certain enumerated powers defined by the Constitution.  
And as Ronald Reagan once said, “The Constitution is not the government’s document telling the people what it can and cannot do.  The Constitution is the people’s document, telling the government those things that we will allow it to do.”
Upon becoming a citizen, or taking up arms, or assuming office, Americans do not swear allegiance to the country or to the government.  The Oath you are about to take is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  The reason is this – if we ever lose our Constitution, we have already lost our country.  It is the Constitution that defines what our government may do and that protects our liberty.  But it can only work as long as those who exercise its powers are obedient to it and that only works if “We, the People” insist on it through the votes we cast.  And if we ever cease to insist upon it, we will forfeit the Constitution and the liberty it protects.
The ancient Athenians had a word for citizen that continues into modern usage today.  The Greeks called a citizen a “politis,” from which we get the word, “politician.”  In the Athenian view, when one accepted the rights and privileges of citizenship, he also accepted the responsibilities to be an active participant in the politics of the community.  And in the American view, the ultimate aim of that participation is the preservation of our Constitution – what Daniel Webster called “the sacred and inviolable palladium.” He said, “Whatever variety of opinion may exist on other subjects, on this there must be but one.”  
You now join ten generations of Americans whose Constitution has produced the most productive, happy, prosperous and moral society in the history of human civilization.  You now take ownership of that Constitution and become “We the People of the United States.”  And you assume the sacred duty and obligation to preserve it, support and defend it, honor it, and pass it intact and inviolate to your children and their children to the latest generation.
Congratulations, fellow citizens.
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Lake Tahoe Summit


Lake Tahoe Summit
First, I want to thank Senator Feinstein for restoring the bi-partisan nature of this annual Tahoe Summit.   Lincoln once reminded us “that we can succeed only by concert.”  We demonstrated that maxim with the enactment of the Tahoe provisions in the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act last December.  That wouldn’t have been possible without Republicans and Democrats coming together in Washington.  
Returning the annual Lake Tahoe Summit to the same bi-partisanship is an important step forward locally and promises the same kind of progress into the future.
Tahoe Summit
Two years ago at this summit, I warned that the greatest single environmental threat to the beauty and grandeur of Lake Tahoe was catastrophic wildfire.  As if we needed reminding, on the day of that summit, the Rough Fire was threatening Yosemite Valley.  Today, the South Fork fire is burning deep within Yosemite National Park and the town of Wawona is under mandatory evacuation.  That could just as easily be Lake Tahoe.
Indeed, last month marked the tenth anniversary of the Angora Fire.  Angora was tiny compared to the mega-fires we’ve seen in the last few years.  Yet it destroyed 242 homes and 67 commercial structures.  It cost the local economy an estimated $1 billion.  It fouled the Basin with ash and left a scar on the land that is still visible today.  
The threat has significantly increased in these last two years.  Tree density in some parts of the Tahoe Basin is reported to be 500 to 600 per acre on land that normally supports 100.  At the lower elevations, tree crowding is four times the historic density and at the upper levels, twice the density.
When we accepted responsibility a century ago to protect our forests and our forest communities for future generations from the ravages of wildfire, we assumed responsibility to manage those forests according to scientific principles of modern forestry.  We recognized that excess timber comes out of our forests one way or the other – it is either carried out or it burns out.  When we carried it out, we had healthy forests and a thriving economy.  Forty five years ago, we abandoned that responsibility.  
Trees that once had room to grow healthy and resilient now fight for their lives in desperately overcrowded conditions.  In this stressed and unhealthy environment, their natural defenses to drought, pestilence and disease are completely overwhelmed.  UC Davis researchers warned last month that tree mortality in the Tahoe Basin has increased dramatically, with the number of dead trees doubling from 35,000 in 2015 to 72,000 last year.  
Seventeen fires have been extinguished here in the Tahoe Basin this year, thanks to the vigilance of our fire agencies at the local, state and federal levels and because of AlertTahoe fire cameras that are giving the early warnings so critical in stopping these fires before they can explode.  But that is a thin green line indeed, and it will not hold if we do not restore scientific principles of forest management in the Tahoe Basin.
This is all the more important in warming epochs, when we cannot afford to lose precious snowfall to evaporation in dense canopies or lose precious groundwater to excessive transpiration in overcrowded forests.  
For this reason, Congressman Amodei and I introduced the legislation that places forest management and fire prevention at the forefront of our environmental defense of Tahoe.  And it is deeply gratifying to see its key provisions incorporated into the bi-partisan agreement that we celebrate today.
At the core of our legislation is a categorical exclusion from the time-consuming and cost-prohibitive provisions of NEPA in order to expedite and expand forest thinning projects in the Tahoe Basin of up to 10,000 acres per project.  I am informed that the Forest Service is already moving on the first of these plans under this new authority and that the acreage will be identified and the project initiated within the next several months.  
When I visited the command center of the Rough Fire two years ago, I asked the fire fighters what message I could carry back to Congress in their name.  They said two words: “Treatment matters.”  Where the fire reached treated portions of the forest, it broke up and slowed and could be extinguished.  But, they warned, there just wasn’t enough of it.  If we can follow through on the new legal authority from our legislation, this need not be the post-mortem of a future fire here.
Additional legislation building on these provisions is pending in the House, and needs to be enacted in coming months – hopefully with the same bi-partisan consensus begun here at Lake Tahoe.
At the last bi-partisan summit two years ago, I said I hoped that we would meet next time in an era of declining danger.  We’re not there yet, but we have certainly turned the corner, the management tools are now in place and we must use them with the urgency that our forest conditions demand and pray that we are not too late.  
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NTLF Tax Colloquium


NTLF Tax Colloquium
August 18, 2017
Thank you for organizing this discussion on tax reform.  
I believe the most important mandate given to this administration and this Congress is to revive our economy.  Our success or failure will largely be determined on achieving this objective and will be judged by the answer every American gives to Ronald Reagan’s question in both 1980 and 1984: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?
In order for this answer to be a resounding “YES,” our economic reforms have to be enacted this year for them to have time to improve the economy and most importantly, the daily lives of individuals, by next year.
The good news is that we know how to do this because we’ve done so many times before.  When Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1981, we suffered double digit unemployment, double digit inflation and double digit interest rates.  Reagan diagnosed the challenge with these words: “In this great economic crisis, government is not the solution to our problems – government IS the problem.”  He rolled back the tax and regulatory burdens that were crushing the economy.  He slashed the top federal income tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent and cut federal spending by one percent of GDP.  He produced one of the most prolonged economic expansions in our nation’s history and because of that growth, our revenues nearly doubled.
This wasn’t a uniquely Republican policy.  John F. Kennedy did the same thing in the early 1960’s with the same result.  Harry Truman abolished the excess profits tax in 1945, reduced income tax rates and slashed federal spending from $85 billion down to $30 billion in FY 1946.  The result was the post-war economic boom.
After his drubbing in 1994, Bill Clinton announced that the era of big government was over.  He approved what amounted to the biggest capital gains tax cut in American history, overhauled entitlement spending – in his words, ending welfare as we know it – and cut federal spending by 4 percent of GDP.  
The efficacy of these policies should be beyond reproach.  But I would like to offer a few caveats.  
FIRST, we DO need to worry about debt.  Tax reductions without spending restraint simply shifts taxes to the future and crowds out investment capital that would otherwise be available for economic expansion as government borrows to cover the difference.  Reagan’s one percent cut in spending relative to GDP still increased debt relative to GDP -- but our debt was less than $1 trillion.  Today it is over $20 trillion.  Clinton cut spending by 4 percent of GDP and was successful in reducing debt relative to GDP.   The budget pending before the House starts that process, but we have a long way to go, and we can’t safely count on economic growth to fully offset lost revenue.  
SECOND, (with apologies to the Bill Clinton campaign) IT’S THE SPENDING, STUPID.  The European experience with austerity programs in the 1990’s illustrates this nicely.  Austerity was a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.  Those countries, such as Spain, Italy and Portugal that relied on tax increases did poorly.  Those countries, such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, which relied on spending cuts did very well.  Between 1993 and 1997, Sweden reduced spending from 71.5 percent of GDP to 51 percent and its economic growth rate doubled relative to the prior decade.
THIRD, flattening and broadening the tax base is just as important as lowering rates.  The Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that tax compliance costs the economy $1 trillion annually including capital misallocation caused by political preferences littering the tax code.  The more we flatten and broaden that code, the fewer distortions in the flow of capital and the greater the productivity of capital allocations.
FOURTH, lowering rates does matter.  In the last sixty years, the top income tax rate has been as high as 92 percent and as low as 28 percent, but income tax revenues have stayed remarkably steady at between 13 and 20 percent of GDP.  Indeed, some of the lowest income tax revenues came when the top tax rate was at its highest.  Some of the highest revenues came when the top rate was quite low.  But although the tax rate within this envelope has remarkably little effect on revenues relative to GDP, it has a huge impact on the growth of GDP, and thus the growth of total revenues.
Finally, what are the prospects of getting this done?  The good news is that past performance is not (necessarily) an indicator of future results.  I am still optimistic that we will be able to get the tax bill done this fall for three reasons.  First, reconciliation was poorly adapted for policy reform like health care but is very well adapted for tax reform.  Second, the thorniest matter, the Border Adjustment Tax, has been dropped from the discussion.  And third, this HAS to be done and every one of my colleagues fully understands this.
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Click for Healthcare Issues

June 7, 2017 Columns
Lower premiums, increased choices and improved care: these were the promises made to America by those who imposed Obamacare. Exactly the opposite has happened. Last year, premiums increased an average of 25 percent and this year we’re warned they’ll increase 40 percent. Last year, only one provider remained in a third of American counties. This year, entire regions have no providers at all. In 2015, American life expectancies actually declined.


HR 1628 – American Health Care Act: YES

May 4, 2017 Vote Notes on Legislation

HR 1628 – American Health Care Act: YES.  Obamacare is collapsing.  Last year’s average premium increase of 25 percent is expected to balloon by another 40 percent this year.  Last year there was only one provider in a third of American counties; this year entire regions will be without ANY providers.

Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

April 5, 2017 Speeches
Congress is fundamentally a deliberative institution. Deliberations take time and they’re often messy – in fact, the bigger the issue, the messier the deliberations. The designers of our Constitution wanted a great, big, ugly debate whenever a decision was being made. They wanted the subject to be held up to every conceivable light and for every voice in the country to be heard.

Repeal and Replace

March 21, 2017 Speeches
Any discussion of the American Health Care Act needs first to consider where we will be without it. Obamacare is collapsing. More people are paying the steep tax penalty or claiming hardship exemptions than are choosing to buy Obamacare policies. In a third of the counties across America, there is only one provider to choose and soon we will see counties where there are no providers at all.


McClintock, MacArthur, McSally & Aderholt Welcome Changes to AHCA, Announce Support for the Bill

March 21, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representatives Tom McClintock (CA-04), Thomas MacArthur (NJ-03), Martha McSally (AZ-02), and Robert Aderholt (AL-04) announced their support of changes to the American Health Care Act of 2017 intended to result in major cost reductions to low-income middle-aged Americans.



January 13, 2017 Vote Notes on Legislation
Instead of a straight-forward measure to repeal Obamacare completely and to replace it with free market reforms that Republicans have long advocated, Congress has instead chosen a too-clever-by-half manipulation of the rules that I believe will make repealing Obamacare harder and slower, while further disrupting an already faltering health care market. Worse, by misusing the budget and reconciliation process, Congress has squandered its most important tools to bring spending under control before we bankrupt our country.
November 30, 2016 Vote Notes on Legislation

H.R. 6 – 21st Century Cures ACT: YES.  This bill expedites FDA approvals for new medical drugs and devices and authorizes spending on major research into cancer and Alzheimer’s.  I voted against the original bill because it established multiple new mandatory spending programs outside of Congress’ annual appropriations review and depended primarily on budget gimmicks to pay for them.  This version replaces the mandatory spending aspects of the bill with discretionary spending that Congress must review and approve ever year, and greatly reduces the pay-for gimmicks.

September 16, 2016 Columns

Zika Funding

A recent letter writer asks my position on Zika funding and why Congress has not acted.

With my support, the House voted in June to appropriate $1.1 billion to combat Zika – the result of a bi-partisan conference agreement.  There was no debate on the measure, because it was taken up on the day House Democrats staged their sit-in, physically blocking access to the microphones and shouting down any who tried to speak from the well.  Nevertheless, the bill passed on a vote of 239-171, with most Democrats opposing.

June 14, 2016 Current Issues

Dear Neighbor:

I am hearing from many constituents who have received notices that their healthcare premiums are skyrocketing, or their plans are being dropped either by their employers or their insurers, or that they are having hours cut back, salaries reduced or positions eliminated at work as employers try to cope with these increased costs.

I need to know how this law is affecting you.  I invite you to share your experience with me so that I can get a clearer picture of how this program is unfolding and so that I can share your experiences with my colleagues.  

December 3, 2013 Speeches
A great tragedy is now unfolding across America as we prepare for the New Year. Millions of Americans are losing their health plans; millions more are facing staggering price increases; millions more are having hours cut or seeing their salaries pared back at work because of Obamacare. Sadly, this is just the beginning. In coming days, millions of employer-provided plans face cancellation, multiplying this disaster many fold.
November 19, 2013 Speeches
We are now seven weeks into the implementation of Obamacare. We know in the first four weeks, 106,000 Americans placed health plans in their shopping baskets, though it is not clear how many of them actually purchased plans. Meanwhile, it is now estimated that some FIVE AND A HALF MILLION Americans have lost the health insurance that they had, that they liked, and that they were promised they could keep. The inconvenient truth is that this law has dramatically INCREASED the ranks of the uninsured. Yesterday came word that college students are seeing their low-cost student plans cancelled - with replacement costs as much as 1,800 percent higher under Obamacare.
November 15, 2013 Speeches
Yesterday, we heard yet another empty promise from the President: that by fiat he can delay provisions of law under Obamacare that have already cost a staggering FIVE MILLION Americans their health insurance. Notice that he didn't say the law has changed. He simply said that he will ignore the law, and he invites health insurers to do the same. This is a constitutional abomination.
November 15, 2013 Press Release
HR 3350 - Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013: YES. It is important not to over-promise on this measure. It will not get back the five million health insurance policies that have already been cancelled due to Obamacare.
October 29, 2013 Speeches
It has become obvious over the past few weeks that we are now watching nothing less than the collapse of the American health care system. Millions of Americans are losing their health plans and are being set adrift into a dysfunctional system where they cannot find comparable affordable policies.
October 9, 2013 Speeches
This October crisis is punctuated by three developments that are becoming increasingly obvious and disturbing. The first is the refusal of the Senate and the President to resolve their differences with the House through negotiation and compromise on the one bill that would fund this government and end this shutdown.
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Contact Information

434 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2511
Fax 202-225-5444

Congressman Tom McClintock was elected in November 2008 to represent the 4th Congressional District in the United States Congress.

During 22 years in the California State Legislature, and as a candidate for governor in California’s historic recall election, Tom McClintock has become one of the most recognizable political leaders in California.

First elected to the California Assembly at the age of 26, McClintock quickly distinguished himself as an expert in parliamentary procedure and fiscal policy. He served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and again from 1996 to 2000. During these years, he authored California’s current lethal injection death penalty law, spearheaded the campaign to rebate $1.1 billion in tax over-collections to the people of California, and became the driving force in the legislature to abolish the car tax. He has proposed hundreds of specific reforms to streamline state government and reduce state spending.

In 2000, McClintock was elected to the California State Senate, where he developed innovative budget solutions such as the Bureaucracy Reduction and Closure Commission and performance-based budgeting, and advocated for restoring California’s public works.

From 1992-1994, McClintock served as Director of the Center for the California Taxpayer, a project of the National Tax Limitation Foundation. In 1995, he was named Director of Economic and Regulatory Affairs for the Claremont Institute’s Golden State Center for Policy Studies, a position he held until his return to the Assembly in 1996. In that capacity, he wrote and lectured extensively on state fiscal policy, privatization, bureaucratic reform and governmental streamlining.

McClintock’s commentaries on California public policy have appeared in every major newspaper in California and he is a frequent guest on radio and television broadcasts across the nation. Numerous taxpayer associations have honored him for his leadership on state budget issues.

McClintock has twice received the Republican nomination for the office of State Controller, narrowly missing election in 2002 by the closest margin in California history – 23/100ths of one percent of the votes cast.

McClintock is the Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the Budget Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.   He is also a member of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

Tom McClintock and his wife, Lori, have two children, Justin and Shannah.

Serving With

Doug LaMalfa


Paul Cook


Jeff Denham


David Valadao


Devin Nunes


Kevin McCarthy


Steve Knight


Ed Royce


Ken Calvert


Mimi Walters


Dana Rohrabacher


Darrell Issa


Duncan Hunter


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