REFORM AMERICA 2015
A Legislative Roadmap
Americans for Prosperity is moving forward with the momentum of millions of grassroots activists. It’s time for Congress to listen to the voices of We the People, and work aggressively to advance real free-market reforms in the areas of healthcare, taxes and spending, and energy.
Repeal Medical Device Tax
The U.S. is the only country on earth that imposes a tax on the sale of medical devices like insulin pumps and heart valves. As a result, the businesses that make these products are subjected to one of the highest effective tax rates of any industry in the world, crippling medical innovation and increasing the cost of life-saving devices. The government often levies similar excise taxes on products deemed harmful — such as alcohol and tobacco to discourage their use. Should we really be using the same type of tax on medical devices? The medical-device tax threatens thousands of jobs as a result of this tax, disproportionally harms small businesses, and should be repealed.
Restore 40 Hour Workweek
Under the terms of the President’s health care law, medium-sized and larger scale employers, will be required to offer health care to those full-time workers over the next two years or face steep fines. With Obamacare’s current definition of a full-time workweek at 30 hours, many employers will be forced to reduce workers hours below the 30 hour threshold to avoid these fines. Redefining full-time work as 40 hours will help eliminate the perverse incentive that encourages employers to cut the work hours of their employees below 30 hours.
* A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted to restore the 40 hour workweek on January 8, 2015.
Supporters of the President’s healthcare law promised that people could “keep their health plans if they liked them,” and that the law would cut premiums for the average family by $2,500 per year. Six years later, we’re left with broken promises.
Americans have seen their premiums rise under the healthcare law, and millions have received cancellation letters for their insurance policies. The law has imposed new taxes and penalties on ordinary Americans and created disincentives to new job creation while encouraging employers to cut the hours of their existing full-time employees. Repealing this law is a key step on the road to economic recovery, and toward restoring patient flexibility and choice.
TAXES / SPENDING
Return to Regular Budget Order
The federal budget process has completely broken down in Washington. Rolling appropriations bills together into one massive package under the threat of government shut-down is concerning because it doesn’t allow for close scrutiny of where taxpayer dollars are going. Congress and the President should adhere to the budget deadlines they are legally required to follow, including submitting budgets on time and considering appropriations bills separately and fully.
Repeal Death Tax
The Death Tax is one of the most unpopular taxes in the code, and Congress has not voted on it in a decade. Repealing the Death Tax would encourage people to save and invest, knowing that the federal government would not seize nearly half of their estate when they die– and more importantly, it would prevent the government from treating death as a taxable event.
Bring American Profits Home
The United States is currently the only developed economy that uses a worldwide tax system. Under this system, income earned abroad is taxed at both the host-country rate, and then subjected to U.S. taxes as well when it is brought home. This uncompetitive tax system has led to two outcomes.
First U.S companies are sitting on nearly $2 trillion dollars of income “parked” overseas that they are unwilling to bring back to the U.S. because of the built-in tax disincentive. Second, many companies are seeking “inversions,” an approach where they acquire or are acquired by a foreign company in order to put their billions of dollars overseas to productive use rather than forfeiting a large chunk of it in taxes.
Allowing for tax-free repatriation of U.S. profits will help boost investment in U.S. jobs and growth, and reverse the perverse incentive of the current U.S. tax code that rewards companies for foreign job creation and mergers over investment in America and American workers.
No Gas Tax Hike
American taxpayers and small businesses have been struggling with a sputtering economy for years. Economic news has been almost universally bad: The labor participation rate is hovering at 1970s levels, median family incomes have dropped to their lowest point since the 1990s, and millions of Americans seeking full-time work are involuntarily stuck in part time jobs. The one recent bright spot has been a long overdue drop in gasoline prices – a drop that has occurred despite the raft of anti-energy policies and proposals coming out of Washington.
Yet almost as soon as this small glimmer of relief has appeared, the Washington political class moved to signal its openness to raising the gas tax. Instead of looking for new tax revenue, lawmakers should seek to spend the billions in gas tax revenues they already collect more efficiently. For example, around a third of gas tax revenues collected are spent on non-highway projects.
Fight Burdensome EPA Regulations
The President’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” is essentially a federal takeover of the electricity grid. The new rules proposed by the EPA will have a serious negative impact on job creation, economic growth, and energy affordability and reliability—with little environmental benefit. These new rules will force conventional power plants to close around the country, forcing states to adopt alternative fuel sources, like wind and solar, which are simply too expensive to use on a massive scale. Nonpartisan analysis of the President’s plan and other similar restrictions on emissions have found that such rules will reduce economic output by billions of dollars, boost utility bills, and kill tens of thousands of jobs.
Approve Keystone XL
The pipeline, which would deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the Gulf Coast, has been mired in bureaucratic federal planning and analysis requirements for more than six years. That means it has taken the federal government longer to review and approve the pipeline than it took the United States to defeat Germany and Japan in World War II. According to the Obama administration’s own studies, construction of the project would create tens of thousands of job and inject billions into the economy, the proposal has broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, and the latest legal challenge to the project has been struck down by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
* A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted to approve Keystone on January 9, 2015
Repeal Oil Export Ban
The U.S. retains an outdated ban on crude oil exports, a relic of the 1970s energy crisis. This anachronistic ban is restricting the expansion of the U.S. energy economy, which is booming and creating jobs while providing lower-cost energy to U.S. consumers. This obstacle to U.S. energy sector growth and greater participation in global energy markets should be removed. In addition, policymakers should move to remove obstacles to the development and export of liquid natural gas. Enabling U.S. producers of LNG to expand further into global markets will provide opportunities for growth and job creation.