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Freedom Works
Wednesday April 26, 2017 @ 06:17:51 PM mt

FreedomWorks Statement on FCC Title II Rollback



During a speech at an event co-hosted by FreedomWorks and SBE Council, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the Commission is reconsidering President Obamas internet regulations. FreedomWorks applauds Chairman Pais efforts, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement:

The internet has been an engine of growth and innovation. President Obamas Open Internet Order is a direct threat to future of the internet, transforming the internet from a world or permissionless innovation to a world of mother-may-I regulation, with the FCC as the new power broker. Chairman Pai is right to be concerned about the dangers of excessive regulation. We need to return to the light touch regulation that will allow entrepreneurs and investors to create the next generation internet capable of supporting more users and the next generation of applications.

In just over 20 years, the internet evolved from a small network connecting universities and research institutions to a global enterprise connecting more than 3 billion people. All of this was done without heavy-handed regulation or government intervention. And consumers have benefited greatly, with the world now at their fingertips, and new tools and applications that have fundamentally changed our day-to-day lives. It is encouraging that Chairman Pai is working to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens to allow continued growth and innovation for the internet.

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Freedom Works
Wednesday April 26, 2017 @ 12:23:13 PM mt

A Reasonable Path Forward for the American Health Care Act



The text of the amendment negotiated by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), a co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has been published by The Hill. As expected, the amendment would allow states to submit a waiver application to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the community rating and the essential health benefits provisions of ObamaCare.

Community Rating: Under ObamaCare, the age-rating is 3-to-1, which means that a health insurer can charge older enrollees only three times more than younger enrollees. The American Health Care Act proposes changing the age-rating to 5-to-1. The amendment would allow a state to seek a waiver to expand the 5-to-1 age-rating ratio. The waiver for age-rating would apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.

A state would be allowed to seek a waiver to allow insurance companies to take the health status of enrollees into account, which was prohibited under the Affordable Care Act, provided that a state meets certain requirements to protect high-risk consumers. The waiver for health status would apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, or, in the case of a special enrollment period, for plans in the 2018 plan year.

Insurance companies would still be prohibited from taking the gender of an enrollee into account when determining premiums for an enrollee. This is a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will remain in place under the MacArthur amendment and the American Health Care Act.

Essential Health Benefits: A state would be allowed to seek a waiver to define its own essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The waiver would apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2020.

Default Approval: The waiver would automatically be approved after 60 days after the date of submission unless the state receives notification of rejection from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Requirements States Must Meet to Receive Waiver: The Secretary of Health and Human Services would have latitude to determine the time and manner in which the waiver application may be submitted. A state seeking a waiver would be required to justify it based off of one of five criteria:

  • Reducing average premiums
  • Increasing enrollment
  • Stabilizing the insurance market
  • Stabilizing premiums for individuals with preexisting conditions
  • Increasing choices for health plans offered

The application must state the period for which the waiver will be in effect. If the state is seeking a waiver or waivers for age-rating and essential health benefits, the state must specify the higher ratio desired and/or its defined essential health benefits.

If the state is seeking a waiver to allow insurance companies to take the health status of enrollees into account, the state must either have an established high-risk pool/risk-sharing program, or participate in the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program established by the American Health Care Act. The Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program would be created by the amendment offered by Reps. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.).

Length of the Waiver: Any waiver granted to a state can last up to ten years. States could seek a continuation of the waiver, which would be automatically approved after 90 days unless the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services rejects the request. A waiver for health status can be rescinded if the state no longer has an established high-risk pool/risk-sharing program, or participate in the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program.

There are concerns with the text of the amendment, which, ostensibly, functions as an amendment to the Affordable Care Act, and, therefore, cannot be considered repeal of the community rating and essential health benefits.

The amendment represents a perverse form of federalism that continues to perpetuate federal health insurance regulation. But the question is, does this approach represent a better policy option than current law? Yes, provided the process for which a state may apply for a waiver is not burdensome. It is unclear, however, who would be responsible for seeking a waiver. Some states may leave the ability to seek a waiver up to a governor. Others, though, may require state lawmakers to act.

The waiver for essential health benefits, should states take this avenue, could create a flurry of activity in state legislatures, as lobbyists seek to ensure that special interests favored health insurance mandates are included. Additionally, the latitude afforded to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to determine the time and manner in which the waiver application may be submitted could create burdens for states in an unfriendly administration.

Still, the amendment is a step forward in the negotiations over the American Health Care Act and could bring the bill closer to the votes needed to send the bill to the Senate.

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Freedom Works
Wednesday April 26, 2017 @ 12:23:12 PM mt

FreedomWorks Urges House to Adopt MacArthur-Meadows Amendment to AHCA



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement about the amendment to the American Health Care Act, H.R. 1628, proposed by Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.):

Weve maintained that the American Health Care Act must do more to reduce cost of health insurance. The House Freedom Caucus realized that the bill failed to address premium costs, which have skyrocketed under ObamaCare. The MacArthur-Meadows amendment addresses two costly parts of ObamaCare, community rating and the essential health benefits, providing states with much-needed flexibility to stabilize the market, enroll more people in health plans, and bring down the cost of premiums.

We thank Reps. MacArthur and Meadows for their work on this amendment, which represents a path forward on health care in House. If the MacArthur-Meadows amendment were adopted, we would immediately withdraw our key vote against the American Health Care Act.

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Freedom Works
Wednesday April 26, 2017 @ 12:23:10 PM mt

FreedomWorks Statement on President Trumps Tax Reform Plan



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement following Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchins speech on tax reform, coming one day after FreedomWorks released its Six Principles for Fundamental Tax Reform:

The tax reform plan sketched out by Secretary Mnuchin rekindles the spirit of supply-side economics. It is a big step in the right direction and would spur economic growth. It provides a tax cut to Americans, accomplishes the needed goal of tax simplification, and lowers the United States excessive corporate tax rate.

We support President Trumps goal of pro-growth tax reform, and look forward to working with the administration and congressional leadership to pass a tax reform bill for the first time in more than 30 years.

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Freedom Works
Wednesday April 26, 2017 @ 01:20:04 AM mt

FreedomWorks on Pulling the AHCA



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement on the second delay of the American Health Care Act:

The talk about Plan A being the only plan is wrong. This is Plan B, and it left too much of ObamaCares core structure in place. Plan A is the 2015 reconciliation bill repealing ObamaCare, and Speaker Paul Ryan said it was the clear path to repeal ObamaCare under a Republican president.

Instead of trying to twist the arms of principled conservatives, Paul Ryan should pressure moderates who were just grandstanding last time. We urge him to bring up that bill again and add Medicaid reform, HSA expansion, and pursue repeal or sunset of ObamaCare regulations that are driving up the cost of health insurance. We urge our activists to give him a call and suggest he keep his word.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday April 25, 2017 @ 04:12:11 PM mt

Regulatory Action Center: End of April 2017 Update



Upcoming Event: RAC Training with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10 am 12 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, Martinsburg, West Virginia

This event will feature a keynote address by Attorney General Morrisey, a panel discussion with Dr. Wayne Brough, FreedomWorks Foundations Chief Economist and other regulatory policy experts (confirmations pending), and an activist training on how to effectively engage in the regulatory process by RAC Manager Patrick Hedger.

Campaigns: In late March the RAC launched two campaigns and is preparing to launch a third this week. All target rules that are both economically harmful and demonstrate abuse of bureaucratic power.

IRS: First, the RAC targeted an existing IRS regulation creating further corruption at the troubled agency. In 2014, the IRS began hiring outside firms to conduct principle functions of audits. Realizing this likely violated the law, the IRS unilaterally passed a new regulation to justify the practice. In the first example of the IRS outsourcing audits, the agency hired a law firm with deep ties to Apple, Oracle, and Google to audit Microsofta clear conflict of interest. This regulation is an example of both poor public policy and an abuse of the rule-making process. In less than a month, FreedomWorks Foundation generated roughly 11,000 signatures on a petition to rescind this regulation, which will be delivered directly to the Treasury Department next week. An opinion editorial on this topic by RAC General Council Ken Cuccinelli was also published in The Hill.

FDA: The second campaign involves another abuse of the rule-making process. On January 19th, in the very last hours of the Obama administration, the FDA announced a regulation on smokeless tobacco products without any advanced notice of rule-makinga departure from past rules of this type. The proposed rule would amount to a de-facto ban on smokeless tobacco products produced by American farmers and firms. Again, this is an improper way to formulate new rules. The FDA clearly sought to skirt public scrutiny by hiding behind the inauguration and long-weekend for many in Washington. FreedomWorks Foundation, through a RAC email marketing campaign, has foiled the FDAs secrecy, driving between 1500 and 2000 comments (and climbing) on Regulations.gov opposing this rule. The rule is now trending on the front page of Regulations.gov. FreedomWorks Foundation will continue to drive comments through July 10th, the close of the public comment period. Formal comments from FreedomWorks Foundation policy experts are being researched and drafted at this time.

FCC: Finally, the RAC is launching a campaign in support of expected FCC rules aimed at rolling back the Obama administrations effort to reclassify the internet as a public utility. The RAC will be directing comments from FreedomWorks Foundation activists in support of this rule-making, hosting multiple events with FCC Chairman Ajit Pais office, submitting formal comments from multiple Foundation policy experts, conducting a media campaign involving live appearances and op-eds, and producing a policy whitepaper to better educate activists on this very technical issue.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday April 25, 2017 @ 01:24:50 PM mt

President Donald Trumps First 100 Days



While the first 100 days is fairly arbitrary time of reckoning for a new president, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon commented on the Trump administrations progress to this point:

When you dont elect a career swamp politician to be president, he might take a little time to get his bearings. I think thats what weve seen with President Trump; it is perfectly understandable.

That has not kept him from pressing forward on keeping his campaign promises.

One of the biggest concerns for many of our activists was the future of the Supreme Court. President Trump nominated a fantastic constitutionalist to fill the vacancy, and he saw it through to Justice Gorsuchs confirmation. Thats a huge win for the grassroots who held out for a nominee who resembled Justice Antonin Scalia.

President Trump also nominated HHS Secretary Tom Price, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. FreedomWorks supported all three because we believe they are good fits for rolling back ObamaCare administratively, reforming the EPA to work responsibly to protect our environment, and crafting a sustainable budget.

He has signed into law or taken other executive action to roll back the regulatory state that needlessly burdens businesses of all sizes. Through the Congressional Review Act, several regulations from the last minutes of President Obamas presidency have been overturned, and President Trump has signed in safeguards like requiring agencies to eliminate two regulations for every one enacted.

This is just the first 100 days, and it looks like the second 100 days will be even bigger and better.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday April 25, 2017 @ 01:24:49 PM mt

FreedomWorks Releases Principles for Fundamental Tax Reform



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement about FreedomWorks' Six Principles for Fundamental Tax Reform:

Congress has an opportunity to pass fundamental, pro-growth tax reform this year. We do not expect a tax reform bill that gives us everything we want, but we do have some basic principles for tax reform that will guide our support in the tax reform debate. Tax reform should be budget-neutral, not revenue-neutral. What will help our economy to thrive is a simpler structure, a broader tax base, lower rates, and fewer loopholes and deductions. This will put money in the pockets of all Americans, allowing businesses, large and small, to expand and innovate, and create opportunities that are needed after eight years of heavy tax and regulatory burdens that have prevented meaningful economic growth.

Six Principles for Fundamental Tax Reform

Nearly ten years after the end of the Great Recession, Americas economy is still struggling to gain momentum. The heavy-handed tax and regulatory of policies of the past eight years have harmed entrepreneurs ability to innovate, expand, and hire new workers.

The United States has not seen annual economic growth of 3 percent or higher since 2005. While the unemployment rate is finally back to pre-recession levels, wage growth isnt keeping up with inflation because of the lack of meaningful economic growth.

The 115th Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an economic atmosphere in which American workers and businesses, large and small, can thrive. Since 1986, when Congress passed the Tax Reform Act, the tax code has become more complex. Tax increases passed at the end of the 112th Congress in so-called American Tax Relief Act have only worsened tax complexity and stifled economic growth.

President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can bring the tax code into the 21st Century, restore Americas competitiveness in the world, and achieve economic growth above 3 percent by, among other policy priorities, lowering tax rates and broadening the tax base. This includes lowering individual tax rates, reducing the corporate income tax burden, and simplifying the tax code. The policies below are the starting point for fundamental tax reform, which FreedomWorks hopes to see Congress accomplish this year.

Broaden the Tax Base: The approach Congress should take is: drain the swamp. The tax code is riddled with special interest tax breaks, deductions, and credits that reek of cronyism and put more of the tax burden on hardworking Americans and entrepreneurs. The foundation for a good and fair tax policy is a broad base, with as few deductions and tax credits as possible.

Ideally, Congress would increase the standard deduction for all taxpayers and keep in place few deductions, such as the charitable tax deduction, but eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, the federal deduction for paid state and local tax, and most other deductions.

Lower and Consolidate Individual Tax Rates: The goal should be to take the projected revenue from broadening the tax base and use it to create a tax structure with as few brackets as possible, scrapping the current seven-tier tax bracket system created under the American Tax Relief Act in January 2013. Consolidating tax brackets will make the system easier to administer and promote fairness.

Provided rates are kept reasonably low, fewer burdensome tax brackets would also boost household incomes, putting more of the money that they earned into their pockets. This will give Americans more purchasing power, as well as more money to save, and create more opportunities for businesses to invest and expand, which will, in turn, create more jobs.

Reduce Corporate Tax and Investment Tax Rates: The United States corporate income tax is among the highest in the world, and, along with Washingtons proclivity for regulation, is driving businesses overseas through offshoring and inversions. Congress should simplify the corporate tax code and reduce rates to encourage investment at home. Additionally, Congress must reduce the capital gains tax to encourage Americans to invest their dollars in the economy.

Simplify the Tax Code: Today, there are nearly 75,000 pages in the tax code, up from 26,300 in 1984. In 2016, Americans spent nearly 9 billion hours complying with the onerous tax code, at a cost of $409 billion to the economy, which is greater than the gross domestic product of the state of Maryland.

Because Congress has failed to reform the tax code, pages have continued to be added, making tax season a dreaded time for Americans. Simplification of the tax code and reducing compliance burdens should be a top priority of any tax reform effort the 115th Congress undertakes. The tax system should be so easy to understand that Americans can file their return on the back of a postcard.

Repatriation of Overseas Cash: By some estimates, there is nearly $2.5 trillion in profits overseas, money that could be invested right here in America. Because the United States corporate income tax is so burdensome, companies are holding these profits in friendlier climates. Even as Congress takes the important step of corporate income tax reform, lawmakers should incentivize the repatriation of these overseas profits to the United States with a special, low-rate tax holiday.

Budget-Neutrality, Not Revenue-Neutrality: Making tax reform revenue-neutral is the answer to the wrong question. If tax reform is attempted under budget reconciliation, Congress should seek to make the proposal budget-neutral. This ensures that tax reform will not increase the budget deficit. If changes to the tax code will lower revenues to the Treasury, Congress should seek to lower the deficit through cuts to outlays over the ten-year budget window.

After eight years of struggling to fully recover from the Great Recession, Congress must take a new approach, one that fundamentally reforms the tax code and promotes economic growth. In addition to the six principles above, Congress should also repeal the estate tax and gift tax, which discourage investment and job growth, and the individual and corporate alternative minimum tax, which add to tax complexity.

With this generational opportunity before us, FreedomWorks is committed to work on advancing fundamental tax reform in Congress in 2017.

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Freedom Works
Tuesday April 25, 2017 @ 01:24:49 PM mt

FreedomWorks and SBE Council Host FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: The Future of Internet Regulation



FreedomWorks and SBE Council Host Speech by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: The Future of Internet Regulation

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will give a speech at an event hosted by FreedomWorks and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council on Wednesday, April 26. Other speakers, including FCC Commissioner Mike ORielly, will give remarks on the importance of the reforms Chairman Pai is already implementing at the FCC.

Chairman Pai will deliver remarks on the future of Internet regulation. The Internet represents one-sixth of Americas economy. The FCCs approach in this new era of leadership should encourage innovation and opportunity for all Americans, including lower-income residents in urban and rural areas, where infrastructure investment and entrepreneurship are increasingly critical.

Who: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner Mike ORielly, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, and SBE Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan

What: The Future of Internet Regulation

When: Wednesday, April 26th, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Live stream at FreedomWorks' Facebook Page

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Freedom Works
Tuesday April 25, 2017 @ 03:26:54 AM mt

FreedomWorks on Delayed AHCA Vote



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement on the delayed vote on the American Health Care Act:

We had hoped that there would be a deal today that would address House conservatives concerns with the American Health Care Act. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached. The last few weeks of drama could have been avoided if Speaker Paul Ryan and House leadership had provided a more open process and sought feedback early on from House conservatives, including the members of the Freedom Caucus.

Obviously, this was not a clear path to do anything. Speaker Ryan said the reconciliation bill from last term was the clear path for repealing ObamaCare under a Republican president. Virtually all Republicans voted for it. If Paul Ryan will push that bill, our activists will be behind him 100 percent to pressure Republicans to vote for it again.

Were ready to move on other issues on the legislative agenda, including fundamental tax reform, but we have to get this done.

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