Congressman Bill Flores Discusses Legislative Initiatives
by Bill Flores on August 23, 2019 at 4:15 PM
U.S. Representative Bill Flores issued the following statements discussing additional legislative initiatives introduced in the 116th Congress:
"Hardworking Texans in District 17 have made it abundantly clear to me that they are tired of the hyper-partisan politics and political gamesmanship that has engulfed the Democrat-led House. Continued divisive and political show votes and harassment of President Trump and his administration is getting us nowhere. Instead, Congress should be addressing the issues that Americans really care about – securing our border, fixing our broken immigration system, approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), addressing prescription drug prices, improving our health care system and continuing America’s energy dominance while improving the environment.
"A few weeks ago, I discussed several health care related initiatives that I have been working on to improve the lives and wellbeing of Texas families. In addition to those bills, I have also introduced initiatives to further grow our economy, maintain fiscal responsibility and promote 21st century energy solutions."
"In 2011, House Republicans passed the Budget Control Act (BCA), a comprehensive budget package to address growing deficits, curb reckless spending in Washington and require more responsible use of taxpayer dollars. As part of this legislation, Congress created caps to limit excessive discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is the funding that Congress authorizes each fiscal year on programs such as defense, education, infrastructure and other activities. This type of funding makes up roughly 30 percent of the annual federal budget.
"At the end of 2021, caps on discretionary programs established by the BCA will expire and Congress will lose important accountability over discretionary spending. To address this problem, I introduced the Stopping the Ever-growing Reckless Deficits (STEWARD) Act, which would require Congress to create discretionary spending caps for each fiscal year. This common-sense legislation would force Congress to keep our fiscal house in order and encourage responsible use of taxpayer dollars. It is important that we continue working to reform the federal government’s broken budget system so that we can fix the long-term drivers of the nation’s deficits, and ultimately, put the budget on a path to balance.”
Restoring Certain Tax Deductions
"Thanks to President Trump and the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we are seeing substantial economic gains, accelerated wage growth for lower and middle-income Americans, fewer loopholes that benefited mostly higher-income taxpayers and a simplified tax code. As part of the tax code simplification process, Congress repealed miscellaneous itemized deductions and instead doubled the standard deduction, which lowered effective tax rates for all taxpayers. Unfortunately, some taxpayers may find themselves in a unique situation concerning investment income or legal settlements and may face an unintended increased tax burden unless these deductions are restored.
"I introduced H.R. 3168 to place individual taxpayers at the same level as corporations, which are still able to deduct certain legal fees from taxes on settlements. Also, this bill would restore deductions for fees related to investment income for individuals. Many retirees and near-retirees rely on financial investments for retirement security and the tax code should not unduly add to their tax burden."
Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act
"Nuclear power is a proven, real-world solution to reduce emissions while providing 24/7 ‘baseload’ electric power for use in our homes, schools and businesses. It is the world’s most efficient and reliable source of zero-emissions energy. American innovators are currently working on the next generation of nuclear reactors to keep our country at the forefront of this important energy source. In order to power future generations of clean and safe nuclear reactors, we need to develop the next generation of nuclear fuels needed by these newer technologies.
"I introduced the bipartisan Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act to establish a public-private partnership to develop, manufacture and transport those next-generation nuclear fuels. These important advancements will aid in the development of next-generation advanced nuclear power. This bill unanimously passed the House last Congress and I hope that it will again be considered by the House so that we can further power our 21st century economy in an environmentally friendly way."
Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act
"Thanks to the shale energy revolution, America is the world’s top producer of clean-burning natural gas. While more of our nation’s families, industries and manufacturers are able to thrive from this abundant and low-cost fuel source, some areas of the country still lack the critical pipeline infrastructure needed to connect consumers with suppliers. This lack of infrastructure is often due to arbitrary and unreasonable permitting delays by political leaders like the governor of New York. As an example of this issue, his actions have stopped the construction of pipelines through New York state, which has blocked access to environmentally friendly natural gas for New England states. During one recent, harsh winter, the residents of Massachusetts had to pay hugely inflated rates for natural gas imports from Russia. Other consumers and businesses had to continue to use higher polluting fuel oil to heat their homes and operate their factories. These types of delays contribute to a continued lack of infrastructure, which leads to unnecessarily inflated costs for both consumers and job creators.
"To fully harness this environmentally friendly, affordable and abundant American energy resource, I introduced the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act. This bill strengthens the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) as the lead permitting agency and brings greater certainty, accountability and transparency to the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines. During the last Congress, this bill passed the House with bipartisan support. It is my hope that it will again be considered by the House so that we can develop a more robust and reliable pipeline system, which will deliver clean, affordable natural gas to hardworking American families. Additionally, this lower-cost fuel will help job creators continue growing well-paying American manufacturing jobs."
Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act
"The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a poorly designed Congressional statute that forces more ethanol into the gasoline market than our current infrastructure can handle. This unsustainable mandate increases food and fuel costs for hardworking American families, while damaging small engines, as well as the engines of recreational vehicle and older vehicles. Additionally, studies have shown that the RFS may negatively impact the environment more than conventional fuels by actually causing higher carbon emissions.
"I introduced the bipartisan Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act, which is a common-sense solution to limit the negative impacts of the RFS on hardworking American families. This bill limits the RFS mandate by capping the maximum volume of ethanol blended into the transportation fuel supply at 9.7 percent, which is the level that our nation’s cars, trucks, boats and other small engines can safely accommodate. This bill is a great step forward to helping protect American households and businesses from harmful regulations that stifle economic growth and prosperity."
"These initiatives, along with the health care related initiatives I previously discussed, focus on improving economic opportunities for hardworking American families and keeping America prosperous, safe, secure and great. I am working to move our country forward with real legislative solutions - not hyper-partisan, political gamesmanship and harassment of the president. Hopefully, when the House reconvenes in September, we can put aside the Democrat majority’s flawed strategy and get back to working on the issues important to hardworking American families."