For Immediate Release: September 30, 2009
From the office of Representative John R. Carter (R-TX)
(WASHINGTON, DC) – A month after House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) admitted failure to report nearly a million dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms, the lack of any action by the House Democratic Caucus on the new ethics violations or the continuing 15-month investigation of multiple ethics and tax violation charges against the man who oversees the Internal Revenue Service demands Rangel be removed.
Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter (R-TX) says he will give Chairman Rangel until next week to voluntarily resign the chairmanship of Ways and Means, or he will introduce a Privileged Resolution to force his removal. “To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as Chairman is the same as allowing a confessed bank robber to serve as Chairman of the Banking Committee during the trial.”
Carter, a former judge, says the lack of new enforcement action by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) or the Democratic Caucus demands Rangel relinquish the Chairmanship of the House Committee that oversees the IRS and the nation’s tax code. “The reputation and integrity of this body has suffered serious damage by the actions of the Chairman, and the inaction of the Speaker to meet her promise to make this the most honest and ethical House in history,” says Carter. “Mr. Rangel must step down as Chairman until these issues are resolved. If he refuses, the House must remove him by a recorded vote.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has blocked previous votes on Rangel’s chairmanship. Carter offered a privileged resolution to remove Rangel as Chairman in February, but Democrats under Pelosi voted to block consideration of the bill.
The Ethics Committee began investigation of Rangel on July 31, 2008. Pelosi publicly stated that the investigation would be complete before the end of 2008, but with the probe now well into its second year, the investigation has already been expanded twice to include new charges of tax and ethics violations by the Chairman.
“There remains the question of whether these latest disclosure violations may be coupled with similar tax reporting violations,” says Carter. “If so this case could bring further discredit to the House for its failure to act for months, and soon to be years on end.”
The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Buffalo News and numerous other publications have also called for Rangel to step down as Chairman of Ways and Means.
( WASHINGTON , DC ) – The 111th Congress could go down in American history as the “House of Hypocrisy” after Democrats today followed months of ignoring potentially criminal tax evasion by U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), while scheduling an immediate vote against Republican Congressman Joe Wilson for an inappropriate verbal outburst during last week’s Joint Session of Congress.
“We are witnessing perhaps the most blatant display of moral and legal hypocrisy in the history of this body,” says House Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter of Texas . “Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have allowed Democrats at the highest levels of the federal government to violate the tax laws of the United States with impunity, blocked all attempts by this body to hold them accountable, and have made a mockery of our system of justice and the Rule of Law. Yet they find it important to hold a vote against a Republican for two words blurted out during a speech by the President, for which he has already apologized. We are witnessing truly malignant partisanship of historic proportion.” Carter has joined other Members of the House in support of Wilson ’s apology being adequate to address any breach in House rules for his comment.
Carter introduced a privileged resolution earlier this year calling for removal of Rangel as Chairman of House Ways and Means, the House committee that oversees the IRS, while Rangel remained under investigation for tax violations, among other ethics charges. The resolution was blocked from consideration or debate on a party line vote by Democrats, in spite of the removal being supported by the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, and numerous other major daily newspapers historically favorable to Democrats.
Carter also introduced the Rangel Rule legislation that would provide the same waiver of penalties and interest on back taxes for all Americans as that enjoyed by Rangel. That measure has also been blocked by House Democrats.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that the only way this House will restore the Rule of Law is for the American people to overthrow it,” says Carter. “It is time for a revolution at the polls in November 2010.”
(WASHINGTON, DC) – While Democrats have jumped to criticize Republican Congressman Joe Wilson for an emotional outburst during the President’s speech last night, they continue to turn a blind eye to the ongoing House ethics crisis caused by the decade-long failure of House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel to report and pay federal taxes, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter.
Carter says the hubbub over Wilson yelling “he lies”, right after the President called Republican objections to his health bill “lies”, is indicative of he Democrats’ skewed priorities in leading the nation. “While the credibility of this body is being destroyed by the double standards of the Speaker and the Administration, and the confidence of the American people in the integrity of the House of Representatives is at an all-time low, Democrats jump through the ceiling over an inappropriate verbal outburst while ignoring blatant law-breaking by fellow Democrats.”
“The Speaker has failed to police the House,” Carter says. “The IRS has failed to enforce the tax code. The Administration has shown contempt for the rule of law itself by consciously ignoring the self-admitted law-breaking of Chairman Rangel and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, through refusing to hold them accountable to the same standards as ordinary taxpayers. The glaring conflict of interest of the IRS commissioner having to answer to a tax evader who would be ineligible to work at the IRS based on his tax violations is intolerable in any nation that respects the law. And the only response of the Democrats to this massive corruption is to jump on Joe Wilson for a floor comment.”
Carter says it is increasingly apparent the only way to preserve the integrity of the House during this session of Congress will be for individual Democratic House Members to vote against their own leadership to restore regular order and the Rules of the House.
(WASHINGTON, DC) – President Barack Obama last night all but eliminated any chance of a bipartisan healthcare reform bill in a disingenuous attack on critics of his attempt to push the United States into a single-payer healthcare system, according to House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (TX31).
“To say that honest criticism of the Democrat health care bill is a ‘partisan spectacle’, ‘scare tactics’, ‘games’, ‘bickering’, and ‘lies’ is an insult to the millions of patriotic Americans who turned out all across this country in August to make it absolutely clear they do not want the Democrat plan or to give up their health care freedom,” says Carter. “The President is obviously not aware the nation has rejected socialized medicine, and will not tolerate it.”
Carter says the President’s ongoing claims that Republicans have offered no alternatives, while stating that his plans have included Republicans is true “disinformation.” “Republicans have introduced 35 health care reform proposals so far this year alone, to which the President has not responded, nor has he agreed to meet key Republican health reformers in spite of his public offer to do so.”
Carter says last night’s speech appears to have been an attempt to set the stage for a pure partisan approach to passing a healthcare bill, by painting Republicans as obstructionists, justifying a Democrats-only bill in the House and Senate.
“If that is what the President and Speaker Pelosi contemplate, they are in for a rude surprise,” says Carter. “The objections to their attempt to takeover the healthcare industry is not coming from the Republican Party, it’s coming from the American people. If they ignore that and try to ram a bill through Congress with just liberal Democrat votes, we’re going to see a real political revolution in 2010 – and that may be the best way to handle this issue in the long run.”
OPINION: August 24, 2009
By Congressman John Carter
There was an old country judge that had the highest criminal conviction rate in the state. When a reporter from the state capital came down investigate this judicial phenomenon, the judge explained that he simply instructed the jury to listen very carefully to what the prosecutor had to say, then make their decision. The reporter cried indignantly, “don’t you also tell them to listen to the defense?” The judge replied, “well, I used to, but it just confused ‘em.”
20 years as a Texas judge taught me a few things about listening to both sides of an argument. In most cases, both sides truly think they’re right. Then they start presenting arguments and evidence to try to prove their case. Naturally, neither side will present anything remotely supportive of their opponent, even if they know it’s true. So as a judge, you sit there and weigh the evidence presented by all with a grain of salt, knowing that either side is capable of stretching the limits of veracity and withholding relevant information if not in their favor.
That’s precisely the kind of case that all Americans are having to judge right now concerning the healthcare reform proposals being pushed by Democrats in Washington.
We hear it everyday in the press – the President says anybody who likes their current health insurance will get to keep it, while opponents say all private health insurance will be gone by 2013. Democrats in the House say their plans will control rising healthcare costs, while opponents say it will drive costs even higher. Opponents say the new system will eventually start denying care to elderly, and encourage euthanasia, while supporters say it won’t.
Who’s right? With our very lives at stake, along with 19% of our gross domestic product, being wrong could be deadly for us personally as well as our free market economy.
Let’s examine the evidence together. In looking at the both sides of this case, let’s leave out the emotion and political rhetoric, and try to look at just the facts on each major point.
To begin, we can only examine the bill passed by Democrats in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in late August, HR 3200. That will not be the final bill, if there is a final bill. The current House version would first be voted on by the entire House, where changes would be made, then reconciled with whatever the Senate passes, changed again, then brought to a final vote in both Chambers. But this Committee version is all we have in writing, so that’s what we must judge.
Can You Keep Your Current Health Plan?
The bill contains no provision that would specifically abolish any health plan. But it would require all individuals and employers to purchase health plans approved by a new federal agency starting in 4 years, or pay a heavy tax penalty. It is not enough to require a health plan be purchased – it must be a federally approved plan to avoid paying an 8% payroll penalty by employers or a 2% income tax penalty by individuals. The bill allows the new federal agency to set any requirements they like on what constitutes an “approved” plan. Whether a current individual plan could survive and be approved by this new bureaucracy is suspect, as is whether an employer will continue to offer any current plan under these circumstances.
Verdict: PROBABLY Not
Will This Help Control Health Care Costs?
This issue is one of the most clear. After extensive research, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is currently overseen by the Democrat majority, officially reported to Congress that not only would it not hold down health costs, it would push them even higher than doing nothing. The number one problem with American health care is high cost, and this bill would make it worse.
Does The Bill Encourage Denial of Care and Euthanasia for the Elderly?
There is no language specifically calling for denial of care or euthanasia. But language was added requiring Medicare to pay for “end of life counseling” that will include educating senior citizens on the option of pre-authorizing the cessation of life-sustaining care, and in states which allow physician-assisted suicide, education on that option as well. President Obama has made repeated references to avoiding costly treatments for elderly patients, and other nations that have adopted this same style health system do in fact limit medical treatments and encourage euthanasia for elderly patients. These facts, coupled with the creation of a new federal agency that will unilaterally determine what benefits are included in “approved” health plans AFTER the bill passes, is heavy evidence that the bill may encourage denial of care and euthanasia. But in this issue there is even more – a proverbial “smoking gun.” The very advocacy groups like the now-defunct Hemlock Society that have historically lobbied for legalized suicide were instrumental in adding the “end-of-life” counseling section to the legislation.
Does the Bill Use Federal Funds to Pay for Abortions?
There is nothing specific in the bill to fund abortions. However, the yet unspecified new rules for all “approved” health plans – rules that will be written by Obama Administration appointees AFTER the bill passes – could include abortion coverage. Over concerns on this issue, an amendment prohibiting abortion funding was submitted in the House, and subsequently voted down by Democrat members of the Committee. This provides substantial evidence that the new federal health plan rules could require abortion coverage by all health plans in the country, while the final decision remains unknown.
Is This the Beginning of Single-Payer Healthcare?
Like most issues concerning this bill, there is no specific provision that would mandate single-payer socialized medicine and the shutdown of private sector healthcare. But as early as 2003 then-Senator Barack Obama was advocating single-payer healthcare publicly, and has recently stated along with key House Democrats that this bill would lead eventually to single-payer healthcare, over a period of 10-20 years. All of these comments are on tape and available to the public.
Verdict: Likely Over Time
Will the Bill Increase the Federal Deficit and Federal Taxes?
No argument here from either side. The bill will cost $1.28 trillion in the first 10 years according to CBO, and raise taxes $818 billion on those who cannot afford to buy insurance, not counting surcharges on small business income.
Will the Bill Cost American Jobs?
No argument here either. The Obama Administration’s own White House Council of Economic Advisors has estimated 4.7 million Americans will lose their jobs if the bill passes, as employers who cannot afford health insurance or the 8% payroll tax penalty will have to fire their employees, move overseas, or go out of business.
There are many more issues to this bill than seven, but in my opinion the answers to just these are enough to reach a final judgment on HR 3200: NO.
HR 3200 is fatally flawed, does not provide the health reforms we truly do need in this country, and should be buried. It is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have examined since being elected to the House. It would destroy the finest quality health care system in the world, undermine the free market, throw Americans out of work, and violate the moral principles of the majority of this country in the process.
Examining all the evidence is not just important in determining action on legislation, but in writing that legislation to begin with. Like the story of the old judge who only listened to one side of a case, this bill was written without any consideration of opinions from anyone other than the liberal Democrat faithful, with a resulting faulty outcome.
We can do better. We don’t need the federal government to take over the healthcare industry, we just need some commonsense bipartisan reforms.
First, we are already in bipartisan agreement to make affordable health insurance available to folks with pre-existing health conditions who are presently barred from buying a health plan.
We can let small businesses and organizations join together to purchase group insurance at the same affordable rates as big business, allowing more small employers to offer coverage.
We can remove restrictions on buying health insurance across state lines, letting families in prohibitively high-cost states purchase affordable plans in other states.
To pass these reforms will require a simple concession from the Democrat majority. That is to agree to work with Republicans in a bipartisan effort, and listen to both sides of the case before reaching a verdict.
U.S. Rep. John Carter (TX31)
Secretary, House Republican Conference