January 7, 2017 View Online
Congressman Mark Sanford's Weekly Review
January 3:

Important Win for Government Oversight: The changes weakening the Office of Congressional Ethics were removed from the congressional rules package. This is an important victory for the kind of independent review that is vital to good government. What occurred around lunchtime today is a reminder to all of us of the importance of making our voice heard. Our office received lots of calls, and in speaking to other Members on the floor, I heard their offices did too. It’s indeed the squeaky wheels that get grease in politics, and this was the effect of those calls and emails this morning.

As I said in an earlier statement, self-policing and enforcement on ethics matters does not work. I fought to this end for eight years during my governorship in South Carolina, given the legislative body there depends on self enforcement on ethics matters. Had this provision been a part of today’s rules package, it would have represented a step backward on ethics reform in Washington.


January 4
:


115th Congress Sworn In: Would you allow me a thank you? The start of each new Congress represents much hope and the opportunities that come with it. Yesterday, the first day, was a real mix of awe and bewilderment by new Members - and reflection by those of us who have been around a term or two. As we’re sworn in en masse, there is a blend of faces that you never see for the remaining two years of the Congress, given Members can bring with them their children to the House floor on this one day. 

As we were sworn in yesterday afternoon, I was struck by the honor it represents to try the best I can to represent the 750,000 people that make up the First District of South Carolina. Accordingly, I just wanted to say thank you. It’s an honor indeed. The times have never been more significant. We really are at a tipping point with regard to the debt, deficit, and government spending and what will come next in how these things shape the trajectory of our civilization. I appreciate the chance to work on these issues and others.

It’s also a big deal because this miracle of self governance is perpetuated by solemn votes cast and belief in the system that the Founding Fathers created. To stand as a part of the body that greeted people like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or who had as a Member someone like Abraham Lincoln or John Quincy Adams is indeed a blessing that I thought about on the House floor yesterday. So, the bottom line is thank you. I will continue to try hard.


Official Swearing In to the 115th Congress

House Passes Midnight Rules Relief ActEarlier today, the House passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act by a vote of 238 to 184, and I voted for it. It would allow Congress to review and cancel regulations approved in the final months of the Obama administration all in one fell swoop...instead of one by one.

Since November, the Obama administration has put out dozens of regulations costing an estimated $44.1 billion, which doesn't even include the cost of regulations that are still in the works. Given this rapid output of regulations touching everything from ceiling fans to gas furnaces, there is an obvious need for this legislation from both a financial and a constitutional standpoint. This legislation is an attempt to cut costs and restore the power that properly belongs to the legislative branch. Continue reading.


January 5
:

House Passes Statement of Support for IsraelThis evening, the House of Representatives passed a measure expressing opposition to a December 23rd UN Security Council Resolution that condemned Israel’s policy on settlements in the West Bank. The House measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 342 to 80, and I voted in favor of it.

Israel’s policy with regard to settlements on the West Bank is worthy of debate, but that is not what we got with the UN resolution and the Obama administration’s unilateral and unprecedented lame duck action.

To me, this is what this vote was all about: should an outgoing administration make major reversals in U.S. policy during the lame duck session when there is no voter accountability with regard to their actions - and the voters have clearly signaled they want a change of course? Yet President Obama did just that when the United States abstained - rather than vetoed - for the first time since 1995 a Security Council resolution of this nature. Continue reading.



January 6
:

House Passes the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act: Last night, the House voted on H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny or the REINS Act. I am a cosponsor of this bill, and it passed 237 to 187 with my vote. The bill would require all new, “major rules” - meaning those rules that have an annual, estimated impact of $100 million or more - to be voted on by Congress and signed into law by the president before they go into effect. If Congress does not approve a proposed rule within 70 days, then it would be automatically rejected.

This was how the Founding Fathers intended the branches to work. They gave Congress the power to make laws and the executive branch the power to enforce them, but today I’d argue that the Founding Fathers would hardly recognize our federal government. The recent creation and expansion of executive agencies, commonly called the “fourth branch,” is astounding. For most of the first hundred years of the United States’ existence, the only executive agencies were the Departments of War, State, Navy, and Treasury and the Office of the Attorney General. Today, there are over one hundred agencies writing rules and regulations that have the effect of law. Continue reading.


Annual Shareholder's Review
: As a new year begins, we wanted to share with you our Annual Shareholder’s Review highlighting some of our work in 2016 and the 114th Congress. While there are many other activities from this year and the 114th Congress, the report gives you a glimpse of what we have been able to do on your behalf. Click here to read the report.
 

     

 
Washington, DC Office
2211 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4001
Phone: (202) 225-3176
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Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-3083
Phone: (843) 352-7572
Fax: (843) 352-7620
Beaufort Office
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P.O. Box 1538
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 521-2530
Fax: (843) 521-2535

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