Congressman Mark Sanford
November 18, 2017 View Online
Weekly Review
November 13

Changes Coming at Internal Revenue Service: As we all know, change comes far too slowly in Washington...on all too many fronts.

Under the category of a small change that is meaningful, I wanted to circle around to President Trump’s announcement of an interim IRS commissioner.

As you may know, I voted about a year ago to advance Jim Jordan’s resolution to force the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, to resign. We were not successful in that endeavor, and the president decided not to force the issue as he came into office - but the president did decide not to renew Koskinen’s appointment.

It ends today, and as a consequence, John Koskinen’s term has finally come to an end.

As you may remember, it was under his watch that the IRS began targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny in March of 2010. The applications of organizations for tax-exempt status with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names were placed on hold for the next two years. During the same period, the agency approved around two dozen more liberal-leaning groups’ applications. The overall effect of these actions was to arguably create a partisan advantage in the 2012 election.

After the targeting of conservatives came to light, Lois Lerner, the head of the unit responsible, took the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify in her own defense. Under a subpoena, and legally required to produce all documents, the IRS deleted as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails. With the full knowledge that the emails had been deleted, Commissioner Koskinen lied under oath to Congress when he said, “since the start of the investigation, every email has been preserved. Nothing has been lost. Nothing has been destroyed.”

I get it that people from both sides of the political divide will have different stories of frustration or want with regard to what people in office have done under oath...but I think the video below lays out a pretty compelling case of why all of us should have found Koskinen’s actions concerning...again, regardless of which side of the political divide we may stand on. Because indeed we can’t function as a republic when left of center administrations will target right of center advocacy groups...and vice versa.


November 14


NDAA Conference Report: Today, the House voted on the finalized version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and it passed 356 to 70. I voted yes.

This bill was the conference report, which is the negotiated version between the House and Senate bills.

From a funding standpoint, it essentially stayed the same with a topline figure of $700 billion, which would authorize $634.2 billion for national security activities and $66 billion for war operations, called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund. This was about $3 billion more than what was requested in the House version.

I’ve long and repeatedly expressed my concerns with regard to the NDAA on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), OCO’s use in normal operations, and the significance of the budget caps. Those concerns seem as if they will be perpetual; therefore, the most notable changes were as follows:

The bill withdrew the creation of the new Space Corps in the Department of Defense.

It made improvement on my concerns with regard to OCO. War funding accounts have been used as something of a slush fund to cover normal operations. This bill tightened up the budget categories in defense so that war funding would be for war funding and normal operations would be for normal operations.

This bill included a modified version of Congressman Tom Cole’s provision that would require the president to send Congress a report and plan for defeating terrorists in the Middle East. This provision was built around my concern on the Authorization of Force question. For too long, presidents have been able to act unilaterally with amazingly little oversight from Congress in getting us into foreign conflicts. Without an update to the current AUMF, we have continued operations in the Middle East for the last 16 years.

I think that each of these three more major changes was an improvement to where the House bill ended and, accordingly, supported the conference report. For further detail on my thinking of the House bill, I’ve included my Facebook post from July of this year if you click here...




I also met with members of Oceana, SODA (Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic), and SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce to talk about offshore drilling...



And discussed the Jones Act with Puerto Rico Rep. Tatito Hernández...



November 15


Letter Urging Administration to Protect American Workers: Right now, South Carolina is one of the top ten states in the country for auto supplier jobs with close to 40,000 jobs...and about 140,000 jobs in the automaking industry proper. With Volvo spending $1 billion dollars to open its operations in Berkeley County next year, those numbers will only increase.

What this means, in short form, is that altering the automotive supply chain could have real effects on job throughout the state...and the whole county.

It’s for this reason that today I sent a bipartisan letter to the administration - along with Congressman Steve Cohen, Rep. Mike Bishop, and Rep. Terri A. Sewell – signed by 72 House members….

What do you think?


Click above to enlarge and read signatures


November 16

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A few moments ago, the House passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It passed by a vote of 227 to 205, and with mixed feelings, I voted yes. In some measure, I did so as a vote to continue the process because many Republicans from Northeastern states want to keep the tax exemptions currently favorable to high tax states - and for the process to continue, my vote was needed. At another level, I did so because I believe I was elected to limit the size and scope of government - and limiting taxes and spending are close proxies in efforts to do so.

It was indeed because I believe in limited government that I voted no on the budget a few weeks ago. This year’s budget proposed increased spending over the next year...and the 10 years contemplated in the budget itself. And that's hardly a formula for limited government and the individual freedom that comes with it.

So, the yes vote allows the process to continue and is consistent with the fact that I have always voted to reduce taxes when given the choice. It’s my hope that the Senate measure - and the Conference report that will follow - refines and improves this bill passed today. I will make a decision on that Conference report as it comes our way, likely in December.

The bill is a mixed bag, and it’s for that reason groups like the Realtors, Homebuilders, and others back home have come out against it. But even with its detractors, I believe the bill does more good than bad and for this reason voted to support it.

Let me list the things I liked and those I did not... Click here to read more...

 
November 17


     

 
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