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Oregon U. S. Congressman Greg Walden newsletter 3/4/11


This week in the nation’s capital we were focused on keeping the federal government open while saving taxpayer money, and removing burdensome paperwork burdens on small businesses. Folks from all over the Second District came through my office for meetings, including constituents from Prineville, Nyssa, Burns, Bend, Hermiston, Ashland, Grants Pass, Gilchrist, Warm Springs, and The Dalles.

Avoiding a government shutdown

This week, the House again took the lead to reduce deficit spending while funding the federal government.  Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a short-term, two-week funding resolution that cuts about $4 billion. The Senate agreed to the measure and by week’s end, the President had signed it into law. The bill attracted the support of nearly all the Republicans and more than half the Democrats in the House.

This short-term extension gives the Senate another two weeks to take up the long-term bill the House passed two weeks ago that keeps the government running through September, while cutting spending and removing barriers to job creation.

The American people have responded to the economic downturn by making tough decisions and prioritizing spending in their household budgets. It’s time for the federal government to do the same. And remember, while the Congress and the President are debating over cutting $57 billion, the deficit for this year is $1.6 TRILLION! 

A small business nightmare

Thursday, the House of Representatives by a 314 to 112 margin voted to repeal the onerous, job-killing, expensive, 1099 tax-reporting requirement that was stuffed into the health care bill last year. Some 175 small business organizations had begged Congress to repeal it.

Buried deep in section 9006 of last year’s sweeping health care reform law is a requirement for businesses to complete 1099 tax forms for most business-to-business transactions above $600 in a calendar year.

For many businesses, this means hundreds of additional IRS forms to file, costly new record-keeping and, according to the Small Business Administration, the cost of complying with the new tax code is 66 percent higher for small business than for large business.

As a small business owner for nearly 22 years, I know the frustration at having to comply with yet another costly mandate from Washington. Small businesses should be focused on business expansion and job creation, not devoting precious limited resources to additional tax filing.

In fact, the 1099 reporting mandate is so overbearing that the IRS ombudsman has determined that the agency is ill-equipped to handle all the resulting paperwork.

Repealing the 1099 requirement removes a huge new tax compliance burden on small businesses and reduces the deficit by $166 million over the next ten years.

Exhibit A for why taxpayers demanded reform

The 1099 provision was slipped into the health care reform law, which was infamously written behind closed doors and rushed to a vote with little public scrutiny.

It’s the kind of junk that makes it into a bill when you write it behind closed doors and rush it to a vote. It’s Exhibit A for why taxpayers demanded a reform to the way Congress does business and more transparency in the nation’s capital.

Through the Transition Team that I led, we were able to deliver on our promises in the Pledge to America to add more transparency and openness to the legislative process. Damaging provisions like this wasteful 1099 reporting requirement are exactly what we can avoid with a careful, open, and transparent process.

You can click here to read the full letterfrom the small business groups asking for the commonsense repeal.

Here’s what the Oregon Farm Bureau had to say:

“The new requirements will dramatically increase these costs, pulling capital out of the business that could be better used to reinvest in the business and create jobs. It is also feasible that this requirement will force a business to streamline its vendor relationships and not seek competitive prices best for their businesses and ultimately the consumer.”

The bill repealing the 1099 mandate is H.R. 4, the “Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act.” I hope the Senate acts quickly to send this commonsense legislation to the President.

Town halls in Baker City and Ontario – and quilts for the troops

I held town halls in Baker City and Ontario last week – both well attended by folks who wanted to talk about the budget issues in the nation’s capital. We had about 70 people show up in Baker City and about another 50 in Ontario.

You can read more about the Baker City town hall here, and read about the Ontario town hall here.

When I was in Ontario for the dedication of the John W. Brown Armory, I met with some of the volunteers from the Veteran’s Advocates of Ore-Ida.

This is really an amazing group of volunteers — they have logged over 25,000 volunteer hours to-date. They serve our veterans, active military, and families.

One of their current projects is called “Operation Quilts.” The goal is to provide a homemade quilt to each one of the 500 soldiers of the 116thCavalry. They are close to 300 quilts – that leaves about 200 quilts (and soldiers) to go.

My wife and I were honored to be able to present a homemade quilt (ok ok…she made it!) to representatives of Operation Quilts at the Ontario town hall.

GAO: $100 billion to $200 billion in duplicative federal spending

A new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on overlapping programs identified an estimated $100 billion to $200 Billion in duplicative spending.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal story, titled “Billions In Bloat Uncovered In Beltway”:

“These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office. A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending.

You can find the full GAO Report here.

Here’s a look at just some of the numbers in GAO report:


56 Number of programs across 20 agencies dedicated to financial literacy
$6.5 billion Annual cost of the 80 economic development programs across four agencies
$58 billion Annual cost of 100 highway programs run by five agencies
15 Number of federal agencies that administer more than 30 food-related laws
$6.48 billion Amount allocated to bioterrorism, overseen by five departments, eight agencies and more than two dozen presidential appointees.

Sgt. Matthew DeYoung – A Marine’s Marine

Southern Oregon lost a hero on Feb. 18 when Marine Sgt. Matthew DeYoung, a native of Medford, gave his life in service of the country in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

I attended the memorial service at Central Medford High School to honor Sgt. DeYoung – there were probably 600 members of the community that came to pay their respects.

Sgt. DeYoung was a young man who signed up for the Marine Corps because he wanted to be the “best of the best.” He was. His deployment to Afghanistan was as a member of the elite 2ndReconnaissance Battalion. His mother described him as being “born a Marine.” When he suffered a concussion on patrol and was forced to spend more than two weeks in a Camp Leatherneck hospital, he was impatient to get back with his comrades in the field. He said he was worried that his buddies were going to give him a hard time because he was “taking showers and eating candy bars.”

Sgt. DeYoung was a Marine’s Marine.

We owe our freedom and our way of life to men like Sgt. DeYoung, and let us never forget it. Please keep his family in your prayers. 

Best regards,
Greg Walden 

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