Contacting legislators  2013

(Please direct feedback to wwhipple3@verizon.net)  

SAFE periodically contacts members of Congress, primarily those from Delaware, with timely comments re subjects on our agenda.  We typically send one-page letters, with references to the SAFE Website for further details. See the recap of letters below.

Individual SAFE members also contact legislators on their own, e.g., by e-mail (through their respective Websites) or telephone.  For convenient reference, here is some contact information for members of Congress from Delaware.

  102813
Secure America’s Future Economy

http://www.s-a-f-e.org/ 

October 28, 2013 

Representatives Ryan, Van Hollen, Black, Clyburn, Cole, Lowey, Price

Senators  Murray, Sessions, Ayotte, Baldwin, Coons, Crapo, Enzi, Graham, Grassley, Johnson, Kaine, King, Merkley, Nelson, Portman, Sanders, Stabenow, Toomey, Warner, Whitehouse, Wicker, Wyden

Congratulations on being named to the budget conference committee.  We hope the BCC will be able to reach a constructive agreement, and to that end here are three suggestions.

Don’t aim too high - Most people, ourselves included, believe that current circumstances are not favorable for a “grand bargain” to cut the deficit.  Accordingly, the BCC should settle for a more modest deal that would get things moving in the right direction. 

Seek common ground – It seems possible that the two sides could agree on a mutually agreeable replacement for sequestration – although the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to do so in 2011.  We believe Americans would see that as a constructive step.

Don’t overreach – Side A’s demand for tax increases and Side B’s preoccupation with trimming entitlements are the obvious sticking points, and we think both sides should reevaluate their positions. 

Side A’s view on tax increases may be politically expedient, but it does not seem meritorious.  The basic driver of the fiscal problem has been spending growth.  Tax increases typically raise less revenue than expected due to the associated economic drag and can be  a convenient excuse for new spending.  There has been a flurry of tax increases since 2009, with little apparent benefit.  Insisting on immediate revenue increases would kill the incentive for tax reform, which is a delicate flower at best.

Side B’s suggestion of “modest reforms to entitlement programs” is a closer call, but on balance we believe it would be well to consider a broader menu of spending cuts to “pay” for lifting the sequester.  The Prime Cuts list maintained by Citizens Against Government Waste might provide a useful starting point in a search for more options.

For further discussion and references, see “Let’s make a deal: some thoughts for the budget conference committee,” 10/28/13

Please advise if you have questions or we can help further.

Respectfully,

SAFE


090913
Secure America’s Future Economy

http://www.s-a-f-e.org/ 

September 9, 2013

Senators Reid, McConnell, Baucus, Carper, Coons, Corker, Cruz, Flake, Hatch, Inhofe, Johanns, Johnson, Leahy, Lee, Levin, McCain, Menendez, Mikulski, Murkowski, Murray, Paul, Sessions, Shelby, Toomey, Wyden

Representatives Boehner, Pelosi, Becerra, Camp, Cantor, Carney, Clyburn, Engel, Hoyer, Lankford, Levin, Lowey, McCarthy, McKeon, Rodgers, Rogers (KY), Royce, Ryan, Smith (WA), Upton, Van Hollen, Waxman

Two deadlines loom as the members of Congress return to Washington, spending authority to keep the government going after September 30 and a debt limit increase (but for Treasury’s “extraordinary measures,” the current $16.7 trillion limit would have been exceeded already).

You and your colleagues will no doubt take action to avert a “government shutdown,” but we see no signs of the fiscal problem being effectively addressed. 

True, the deficit for the current fiscal year is expected to be lower than the $1 trillion+ deficits of the preceding four years, but a $750 billion deficit is still unacceptable and the improving trend will not necessarily continue.  Economic recovery remains slow and uncertain – government debt and commitments are still rising – current interest expense could soar if inflation speeded up.

None of the budgets that have been proposed are satisfactory. The House plan would take ten years to eliminate the deficit, which is far too slow, while the Senate plan and the president’s budget proposal appear to envision deficits forever.  

If you are serious about dealing with the fiscal problem, both sides should agree on a clear-cut goal: balancing the budget over the next three years and keeping it that way.  We made this point in a 6/3/13 letter sent to all members of Congress and are expanding on it today. (No more excuses, it’s time to fix the fiscal problem, 9/9/13)    

Some may suggest that fixing the economy should take precedence, but our analysis indicates otherwise.  The best way to reboot the economy is not to embark on costly new initiatives; it is to abandon government policies that have not worked.  To this end, we have proposed a 10-step economic plan that would harmonize with, rather than work against, action to fix the fiscal problem.  (Less is more: a 10-step plan to reboot the economy, 9/2/13

Please advise if you have questions or we can help further.

Respectfully,

SAFE


090113
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

September 1, 2013

Dear Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Carney:

In case you are counting comments re the coming vote on a Syrian air strike, here’s our input:

Delaware member comments re proposed air strike in Syria evade the real issues. http://bit.ly/TztF0L (Sept. 1)

And here are two other posts that you might find of interest:

Ted Kaufman characterizes coming budget fight as a “Republicans vs. Republicans” battle.  Not quite! http://bit.ly/TztF0L (Sept. 1)

Heritage team visits Delaware, makes the case for defunding GovCare implementation. http://bit.ly/TztF0L

(August 30)

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy
(302) 464-2688

PS. If the links don’t come through on your website, just visit the Delaware Chatter page on our website and scroll down as necessary.  Or better yet, follow us on Twitter.


062513 

Secure America’s            

Future Economy

Advocating smaller, more focused,

less costly government since 1996

 


 

                                                       June 25, 3013

Via Fax

Senators Reid, McConnell, Ayotte, Bennet, Carper, Coons, Cornyn, Corker, Cruz, Durbin, Feinstein, Flake, Graham, Grassley, Hoeven, Johanns, Johnson, Leahy, Lee,  McCain, Menendez, Murray, Paul, Rubio, Schumer, Sessions, Thune, Toomey, Wyden

Representatives Boehner, Pelosi, Amodei, Bachman, Bachus, Bass, Becerra, Cantor,  Carney, Chabot, Chaffetz, Coble, Cohen, Collins, Conyers, DelBene, DeSantis, Deutch, Farenthold, Franks, Forbes, Garcia, Gohmert, Goodlatte, Gowdy, Gutierrez, Holding,  Hoyer, Issa, Jeffries, Johnson (GA), Jordan, King, Labrador, Lee (TX), Lofgren,  Mccarthy, Marino, Nadler, Poe, Richmond, Ryan, Scott (VA), Sensenbrenner, Smith  (TX), Van Hollen, Watt

Based on our understanding of the pending immigration reform proposal, we are

convinced that this bill – including the Corker-Hoeven amendments – would not stop illegal immigration.

This problem cannot be solved by militarizing the southern border. The solution is to decommission the jobs magnet and stop tolerating lawless behavior. Unless Congress is willing to do these things, the reform effort should be put back on the shelf.

SAFE’s analysis is posted on the Political System page of our website. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/immigration_reform.htm Please advise if we can help further.

Sincerely,

William Whipple III

Middletown, DE 19709

(302) 464-2688

wwhipple3@verizon.net


061813
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

June 18, 2013

Dear Senator Carper,

In response to your 6/18/13 message, "I want to hear from you on immigration," we would like to make these points.

1. We are convinced that the immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.

6/10/13 – Fixing a broken immigration system – don’t expect to do it on the cheap. http://bit.ly/f3oa9Z

2. We are equally clear that S. 744 is not properly designed to fix the problem.

6/17/13 – Marco Rubio soothingly defends Senate immigration reform bill, but the Cruz missile is on target. http://bit.ly/f3oa9Z

3. We are planning to complete our analysis by posting what we think should be done instead.  This concluding installment will be posted on 6/24/13.

If the links in this e-mail don't work, just go to the "Secure America's Future Economy" website on your browser, click to the blog page, and scroll down as required.

Also, we will be sending our completed Immigration Reform analysis to a number of members of Congress. When we do, you (and the other Delaware members) will be included on the distribution list.

Thank you for requesting input on this subject.  We find this refreshing after the manner in which some other important legislative issues have been handled in recent years.

Please advise if you have questions or we can help further.

William Whipple III, President
Secure America's Future Economy
060513
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

June 5, 2013

Dear Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Carney:

SAFE’s June 3 letter on the fiscal problem, signed by 11 SAFE members, has been individually faxed to all members of Congress.  It’s the latest in a series of letters that began during the Bush Administration. Our latest blog entry, (6/3/13) recaps the several letters, provides some background information, and ends with the text of the letter for convenient reference.

We would greatly appreciate your support in this matter.  If you have any questions or we can help with the follow-up, please let us know.

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy

060313
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

June 3, 2013

MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

[Individually addressed, e.g., Senator Tom Carper, Delaware]

SAFE is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization, with members in Delaware and over 20 other states, which has been advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996.

We are appalled by the relentless rise in government spending and debt, and can see little indication that Congress is trying to set things right.  Even the House budget plan projects deficits until 2023; the Senate budget plan (and likewise the president’s plan) is not designed to achieve budget balance at all. 

House v. Senate budget plans, 2014-23, $ in trillions

 

Outlays

Revenues

Deficit

2023 Total Debt

House

41.5

40.2

1.2

20.4 (79% of GDP)

Senate

46.4

41.2

5.2

24.4 (94% of GDP)

SAFE has proposed an 8-step strategy to address the fiscal problem. Blog page of our website, 5/6/13 entry.  What we would stress in this letter, however, is not the points in our plan as such but rather the goal the plan is aimed at – balancing the budget within say three years and keeping it that way.

Some may advocate reducing the deficit to a “sustainable” 3% of Gross Domestic Product, but a balanced budget policy would offer three advantages: (1) Reserve government borrowing capacity for true emergencies, e.g., a major war.  (2) Control borrowing costs, which over time threaten to crowd out desired programs.  Net interest expense, is currently running over $200 billion per year; it is projected to more than triple over the next 10 years. (3) Minimize the temptation for government leaders to make spending commitments now that will not be affordable later.

SAFE would welcome the opportunity to provide further input.  Please let us know how we can help.

Respectfully,

A. H. Betley Suzie Dickson Barry Dorsch
Edgar Fasig Daniel Kerrick Jerry Martin
Steve McClain Bill Morris John Nichols
rycK Stout Bill Whipple  

115 Dungarvan Drive, Middletown, DE 19709

wwhipple3@verizon.net

6/17/13 response from Senator Rand Paul:

Thank you for taking the time to share with me your suggestions for reining in spending in Washington, D.C.  I appreciate your recommendations on this issue.

As you know, the size of the national debt has grown considerably over the past few years.  Our deficit has grown to the point that we have exceeded the government’s debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion, yet President Obama responded by proposing a budget that adds another $6.4 trillion in overspending.

In August 2011, Congress passed and I opposed the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25).  This act does not provide a stable solution to the our nation’s debt crisis and the time has come for Congress to end the irresponsible practice of spending money the country does not have.  We have seen currencies and countries fall under their unsustainable debt, and it is the duty of lawmakers to prevent such catastrophes.

On the first day I could introduce a bill in the 112th Congress, I proposed S. 162, which would cut $500 billion from the federal budget within one year.  However, the cuts outlined in S. 162 represent a mere down-payment on the cuts that need to be made.  During my time in the Senate, I have returned $1.1 million to the U.S. Treasury from my office’s operating budget.  I hope my ability to return over a million dollars of unspent office funds sets an example for the rest of government at all levels.

Since then I have introduced a budget plan that would bring spending below the historical average in the first year.  My 2014 budget plan, A Clear Vision to Revitalize America, would restore the fiscal sanity we so desperately need by reducing our debt burden, cutting wasteful and duplicative spending, eliminating unnecessary regulations, replacing the tax code with a fair and viable flat tax, and halting the growth of America’s massive unfunded liabilities.  You can view my budget proposal in greater detail at the following link: http://www.paul.senate.gov/files/documents/FY2014Budget.pdf

It appears that several of your suggestions are in line with my proposal, and I will consider your ideas further as I introduce further legislation.  Again, thank you for taking the time to share your suggestions in this matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office regarding future federal matters.

Sincerely,
Rand Paul, MD
United States Senate

051313
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

May 13, 2013

Dear Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Carney:

Hate to say “we told you so,” but SAFE pointed out major flaws in the “Affordable Care Act” and the Dodd-Frank bill before these ill-advised packages were enacted in 2010.

Too late now, the problems that have been spawned will have to be dealt with as best they can be, but we would respectfully suggest that Congress should start doing its job in a more systematic and thoughtful way. 

In this vein, see our analysis of the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (Internet sales tax bill). http://www.s-a-f-e.org/, on the Blog page.  The discussion notes, among other things, the rationale that Senators Carper and Coons gave for supporting the bill.

We would urge that you publicize and support the changes that we recommend in the MFA.  Thank you.

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy

041813
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

April 18, 2013

Dear Senator Carper [also Sen. Coons, Rep. Carney]

We hope that you and/or members of your staff are keeping up with the SAFE website, which provides solid and well-documented commentary of national and local interest.  To keep current, search for “Secure America’s Future Economy” in your web browser and click the Twitter logo towards the bottom of SAFE’s home page.

Given that Congress needs and must soon agree on a budget for fiscal year 2014, and the two houses are worlds apart at the moment, you might find the following items of particular interest.

•4/15/13 – Although some observers claim otherwise, the president’s overdue budget plan is hardly a compromise. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/blog.htm

•SAFE critiques the president’s budget plan in two Delaware newspapers. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/letters.htm  (April 17 & 18)

If you have questions or would like further information, please let us know.  We would be glad to try and help.

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy

032413
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996

March 24, 2013

Dear Senator Carper [also Sen. Coons, Rep. Carney]

We hope that you and/or members of your staff are keeping up with the SAFE website, which provides a lot of solid and well-documented commentary of national and local interest.  Just search for “Secure America’s Future Economy” in your browser.

Our Twitter feed does not cover all of the new content posted, but it does hit the highlights.  Just click the Twitter logo on our home page (also on the Blog and Delaware Chatter pages).

As an example, here are some March 2013 “tweets” that we think you might find of particular interest because they relate to Delaware political leaders and/or issues:

DE senator calls GovCare a rudder to turn healthcare system around; we think it will sink the ship.  http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/23/13)

Two First State miscues (minimum wage, national park): visions of a “free lunch” spring eternal.  http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/22/13)

Scientists explain “the truth about climate change” while debunking the alarmist view.  http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/18/13)

SAFE does not agree there will be a “grand bargain” on the fiscal problem.  http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/17/13)

Delaware senator’s rhetoric on addressing fiscal problem not backed up by his actions.  http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/14/13)

While going overboard on dubious “green energy” projects, Delaware has let Wilmington port slide. http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/10/13)

Contrary to DE public employees union official, government cannot tax its way out of the fiscal problem.   http://bit.ly/TztF0L (3/1/13)

Please advise if you have any questions or we can help further. 

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy


021113
SECURE AMERICA’S FUTURE ECONOMY, advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996 

February 11, 2013 

Dear Senator Carper [also Sen. Coons, Rep. Carney]

It has been and remains our position that the most effective way to address the fiscal problem would be to cut spending (e.g., eliminate wasteful government programs and practices, of which there are many, and restructure entitlement programs).  A revenue neutral tax overhaul and common sense regulatory reforms could also help. 

We are disappointed by the zeal of some political leaders for raising taxes, seemingly as an excuse to defer action on spending.  Granted that “more tax revenue would be nice,” we are convinced that raising taxes in an attempt to get it would be counterproductive. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/blog.htm, 2/11/13.  (Among other things, our referenced analysis critiques recently published views of former Senator Ted Kaufman and yourself).

Please advise if you have any questions or we can help further.

William Whipple III
Secure America's Future Economy
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