Congressman Mark Sanford
December 9, 2017 View Online
Weekly Review

December 2

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Transportation Hearing on Drones: Last Wednesday, in a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, I learned that pilots are reporting an average of about 200 drone sighting per month near manned planes. That’s double what it was just two years ago….

What this leads to is more in the way of push for government oversight and control, and yet overwhelming amounts of government oversight and control are not exactly key ingredients to innovation. If we want to see continued innovation with drones, I believe it will be important to limit the federal government’s measure of control. As it relates to safety on commercial or individual flights, there’s a clear role for the FAA - when it comes to managing Peeping Toms and privacy, maybe that’s best handled at a more local level of government.

My point here is that a one-size-always-fits-all response is rarely the best approach.

I asked the panel about possible ways to mitigate the possibility of government encroachment in this field. Give it a listen.

December 4

I Recently Cosponsored the USA Rights Act...Too many in Washington often forget the ways in which civil liberty is a cornerstone to liberty. For that reason, I have pushed with others hard against Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The bill would reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expires on December 31, 2017. This law currently allows the government to compel American companies to assist in the warrantless surveillance of foreigners. This results in the collections of an unknown number of Americans’ private communications. The goal is to end warrantless, backdoor searches of Americans’ communications that are routinely swept up under a program designed to spy on foreign targets.
Specifically, the bill would make several reforms, including those listed below:

1. End the backdoor searches: Under current law, the government can conduct unlimited, warrantless searches through the data collected under Section 702 for private communications to, from, and about Americans. The bill requires a warrant for those searches.

2. End reverse targeting: With no limits to the warrantless, backdoor searches of Americans, there are no checks in place to prevent “reverse targeting” of Americans communicating with foreign targets. The bill requires a warrant when a significant purpose of targeting foreigners is to collect the communications of Americans.

3. Prohibit the collection of domestic communications: Section 702 is intended to collect foreign communications. The bill clarifies that it should not authorize the collection of communications known to be entirely domestic.

4. Establish a four-year sunset: The bill requires congressional reauthorization in 4 years.

December 5

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December 6

Next Steps on the Tax Bill:
A final tax bill came one step closer to reality on Monday evening. This is getting to the point of important, given its hypothetical impact in your life. Many bills don’t matter because they never make it across the finish line and to the president’s desk for signature...this one will.

In fact, with the Senate passing their version of the tax bill early Saturday morning, the House voted Monday evening to continue the process of getting to a tax bill that can be passed into law. The vote passed 222 to 192, and I voted yes.

The next step is a merging of the House and Senate bills for a final tax bill. In some cases, they may take the House version; in other cases, they may take the Senate version. In still other cases, they may come up with something entirely different...though that happens much less than a pick between House and Senate versions. 

I have included a link to a comparison that breaks out the differences between the current House and Senate bills, and I would ask that you take a look here....

December 7

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I joined Fox Business for a quick update on tax reform: In between taking votes, I spoke on Fox Business about the continuing debate over the tax bill.

You may have noticed that there’s now talk about the corporate tax cut going to 22% instead of 20%. In my view, this would be a mistake...but it’s probably the direction things are headed. It was the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman who noted years ago that the best way to affect economic activity came by lowering marginal rates. Not only does it give worker and investor alike added inducement to indeed work and invest, it gets government out of the business of social engineering and picking winners and losers in the commercial marketplace.

The reason there is such a strong lobbying community in and around Washington is in large measure tied to the tax code. Seemingly small exemptions and carve-outs can mean millions of dollars in windfall. The ability to pick winners and losers here gives people in politics more power than they should have and sets in motion a lot of the very dynamics that people detest about Washington and its operations.

So, if you want to take power and authority out of Washington, lower the rate.

But given the tug-of-war that is now taking place between House and Senate versions, and what to leave in and take out, it’s important to remember that for each percentage point that is added back to the corporate rate over 20%, about $100 billion in revenue over 10 years. Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax costs about $40 billion on the corporate side and about $132 billion on the individual side.Some of the money in question is about this. Another debate point is on the deductibility of interest cost with business. Still another is on the deductibility of state and local taxes at the individual level...and so forth….
The tug-of-war is just beginning and will certainly go through next week...and maybe into the week following. I will keep you posted.

December 8

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act & Fix NICS Act of 2017 :
 There are few issues out there that generate as much political energy as guns do. On the one hand, I would argue the Second Amendment is the teeth behind every other right promised to us in the Bill of Rights. It’s something that I and many others feel strongly about when we talk about freedom and its sustainability. On the other hand, crazy people have been doing a lot of crazy things with guns of late, and it sickens all of us to see the way that guns are used in this instance.

That’s one thought.

The other thought is that everyone talks about finding common ground and compromise and getting things done in Washington...but you know what happens oftentimes when these things are done? It seems that everyone ends up frustrated.

Such, it seems to me, is the case with H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which was combined with H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017, a bill to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

In defining this in political terms, many on the left have long wanted better control of who gets a gun, so that crazy people - or many other categories of people who are currently not allowed to purchase a gun - don’t end up with one. H.R. 4477 attempts to do this.... To read more, click here.


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