Sunday, September 11, 2016
Today is the 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The images of bodies falling through the sky, collapsing towers, a plane wreck in an empty field, and a giant hole in the Pentagon are permanently seared into my memory.
In the wake of the attacks, our nation set out to lead the world in a campaign to eliminate al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups that seek to attack us, kill our citizens, and impose their twisted ideology on every country on Earth.
Fifteen years later, it's clear we have more work to do. Despite some initial successes against al Qaeda, the group is once again expanding its network throughout the Middle East and beyond. Meanwhile, their close allies, the Taliban, are resurgent in Afghanistan, seizing wide swathes of once-liberated territory from the Afghan government.
And then there is ISIS, an organization spun off from al Qaeda whose atrocities are beyond belief. Its members' bloodlust is known intimately not only by their legions of Middle Eastern victims, but throughout Europe and the United States, where the group has developed expertise at conducting or inspiring terror attacks on innocent civilians.
It is a heavy burden to lead this fight, but history has shown that when America withdraws from its leadership role, unstable forces and malign powers fill the resulting power vacuum. There is no quick and easy solution - we are engaged in a generational fight against ruthless enemies. We have already paid a high price in this war, but 9/11 demonstrated that in today's interconnected world, threats halfway across the globe cannot always be confined to a safe distance.
On this anniversary, I'd like to pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who perished on 9/11 and to the members of our military who died in the ensuing battles. I also hope you'll take a moment to thank the everyday heroes of today - the servicemen and women, first responders, and police officers who go about their jobs, often in dangerous circumstances, with little recognition or reward. On 9/11, when I saw these heroes run into burning buildings and get crushed in the carnage, their sacrifice stunned and humbled me - and filled me with pride to be an American.
Friday, September 2, 2016
I'd like to thank all my constituents who came to my water forum on Wednesday—with nearly a thousand people attending, the event was an extraordinary demonstration of our community's commitment to overcoming our government-made water crisis.
As I argued at the forum, our best hope for resolving our 2.5 million acre-foot water shortfall is for our elected officials, ag groups, and water districts to unify behind a common agenda of reforming the Endangered Species Act, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, and the San Joaquin River Settlement, as well as building myriad new water storage projects. Without this sort of concerted action, a million acres of farmland will be forced out of production.
Although the radical environmentalists believe they've already won this fight, the great turnout at the forum has renewed my conviction that it's not too late to turn things around—if we act fast and smart.
Special thanks to Rep. Valadao, Westlands' Johnny Amaral, Friant's Jason Phillips, Kole Upton, and KMJ's Ray Appleton for participating in the panel at the forum, and to all my constituents who submitted questions for the Q&A period. You can read about the forum here, here, here, and here.
Friday, August 26, 2016
I'd like to offer you a final reminder to register for my water forum taking place in Tulare on August 31. At the event KMJ's Ray Appleton, farmers, water district representatives, and I will discuss the likely consequences of the ongoing water crisis and possible solutions to the problem. It will be held at the Heritage Complex at 4500 S. Laspina St. from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm PST. The event is free and open to the public, but you must register at this link to attend. I look forward to seeing you there.
Friday, August 12, 2016
The 2015 Fresno County Crop Report found that Fresno’s crop value declined by $400 million last year. A Fresno Bee article on the report quotes Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner Les Wright as saying simply, “The lack of a reliable water supply continues to fallow productive land.” The story also quotes West side farmer Dan Errotabere: “The water shortage with the fallowing and cost of farming being much higher means the margins are even tighter yet for farming.”
For many Valley farmers and communities, the water crisis has reached an emergency phase. Accordingly, I’d like to invite you to a water forum I will be hosting on August 31 in Tulare. At this event, I will share my thoughts on the consequences facing the Valley if the crisis continues and outline possible solutions to this pressing problem. The forum will be held at the Heritage Complex at 4500 S. Laspina St. from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm PST. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. You can register at this link – I hope to see you there.
Friday, July 29, 2016
The economy grew by just 1.2 percent in the second quarter, the Commerce Department announced today, while first quarter growth was revised downward to 0.8 percent.
With our unrivalled workforce and abiding entrepreneurial spirit, America can do so much better than this. And the starting point for sparking economic growth is no secret – we need to radically reform our convoluted and unfair tax system that makes it so hard to start up a business, run a small business, and expand virtually any business. We also need to lower tax rates on working people so they can keep more of the money they earn and spend it however they wish.
The House Republican tax blueprint will make these drastic changes to finally kickstart an economic recovery. Bloomberg this week published an article on the blueprint and its inclusion of ideas that I've been developing for years. Please read the article here and email me at this link if you have suggestions for refining our tax reform plans.
Friday, June 24, 2016
Today, House Republicans published our blueprint for comprehensive tax reform. But in fact, the proposal is so bold and so innovative that it's probably more accurate to call it a tax system replacement plan than a reform plan.
Our current tax system is one of the main impediments to economic growth. It's punitive, impossible to understand, and easy to manipulate for the benefit of big business and special interests. It discourages entrepreneurs from starting new companies and drives existing businesses overseas. If we want to reverse the anemic economic growth rates of recent years, then we need a tax system that encourages investment, start-ups, and business expansions instead of one that suppresses entrepreneurial activity.
Our blueprint, which includes the key elements of my ABC Act, encourages business investment by allowing for 100 percent, immediate expensing of business investments. It stops the exodus of U.S. businesses overseas by adopting a territorial tax system. It levels the playing field for small businesses and start-ups by eliminating scores of loopholes and special deals. It simplifies and lowers tax rates across the board and effectively abolishes the IRS as it exists today.
If you're satisfied with our feeble economic growth, and if you like paying as much in taxes as you do now, and if don't mind spending countless hours every year deciphering your tax returns, and if you enjoy interacting with the IRS, then this plan might not be for you. But if you're interested in an aggressive, transformative plan that lets you keep more of what you earn, file your taxes on a postcard, and keep the tax man further away from your affairs, then I urge you to read about our plan by clicking on the "tax reform" icon at this link. We are now asking for feedback as we refine the plan, so if you'd like to share your thoughts or suggestions, please send me an email at this link. Finally, to read more about my ABC Act, click here.