Congressman Bill Flores is a Fiscal Liberal

Today Congressman Bill Flores joined the liberal democrat of El Paso, Beto O'Rourke, in passing H.R.1625: Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.

This once again proves that Congressman Flores is a fiscal liberal.  This bill will fund our government until September, but it does so by spending more, not less.  It will drive up our national debt and deficit.  

I vow to never vote for omnibus spending.  We need to get back to passing 12 separate appropriation bills and we need to balance the budget. The budget will not balance as long as appropriations are passed in omnibus.

In November you will have three choices on your ballot.  It will be the fiscally liberal Incumbent, a Democrat, and myself.  If you think we need to stop government spending and act in a fiscally responsible manner, I am your only choice.

Wounded Warriors

Ben Kvanli has spent an enormous amount of time helping our wounded warriors.  He has done this on a volunteer basis, with no help from the government.

Mr. Kvanli takes the wounded warriors kayaking, hunting, and on trips to Mexico and Oklahoma.   He works to make the warriors normal again, and to become part of a community. 

He has done this because he saw a need to help his community.  Instead of waiting around for the government to help he acted.  He has made our community better.  Ben is trying to make our community better now and in the future, and I believe that he is succeding.

His website is kayakinstruction.org

Campaign Finance

I will not accept any donation over $100 to my campaign for the 17th U.S. Congressional District of Texas.

We have a huge problem today with special interests and large campaign donors giving to our legislators so that they can get favorable legislation and government subsides.  I will not be part of this cycle.  I will not be bought.  I will not have a PAC and I will not accept donations from a bundler.  I will rely solely on the people of district 17 who support me to give me many small donations.

If we want to change the influence that special interests have over our government, we have to elect candidates who are not beholden to those special interests.  It's time for a change.

It is time to end the Drug War

I attended an event tonight where Judge Nick Chu described his pretrial diversion program for people who have been caught with a small amount of marijuana.    It is a good pragmatic step in the right direction.  The people who go through this pretrial diversion program end up with no criminal record for this infraction.  While it is a good first step it is a small one, much more needs to be done.

We should legalize marijuana and end the drug war.  For decades our justice department has used the drug war, especially the war on marijuana, in a manner that has created racial and socioeconomic inequality.  People should be free to choose what they put in their body, as long as it does no harm to another person.  There is no victim when someone smokes marijuana.  We need to reform our justice system so people who have committed victim-less crimes are not filling up our prisons.  

It's Time for a Change

High Speed Rail

I like infrastructure projects, especially infrastructure projects paid for by private companies.  We have one of these projects in Texas right now.  The "Texas Bullet Train" is a proposed project to link Dallas and Houston with a train that will travel at 205 mph and only take 90 minutes of travel time by a private company.

I cannot support this project for two reasons.

1.  The private company behind this project is seeking federal loans.  The government should not put tax payers' money at risk on this project.  There are only two HSR lines in the world that make money.  The rest are supported by government subsidies.  We know from experience that our government is not good at managing rail lines (Amtrak).  When this business fails to repay the loan, I fear that our government will subsidize this project forever.  

If our government wants to back a project linking two major economies, it should loan money to a project like the hyper-loop.  There is no reason to adapt European and Japanese technology from the 80's when new technology is almost ready to be deployed.

2.  In order to get the track straight enough to travel at 205 mph, eminent domain will have to be used.  I do not support the use of eminent domain.  If the land owners, many of whom have had the land in their families for generations, don't want to sell they should not be forced to.

I will be in Fairfield on January 31st to voice my opinion on this issue at the Texans Against High Speed Rail meeting.  There is also a meeting in Mexia on the same day, and one in Jewett on January 30th. I encourage everybody who can to attend.

The Flores Filter

I have been banned from Rep. Bill Flores Facebook site.  I passed it off because I am running against him.  It was brought to my attention by an alert follower that this is common place.  There is a Facebook page called "The Flores Filter" that compiles all of the messages that Congressman Flores deletes.

This is dereliction of duty by Congressman Flores.  He has a responsibility to not only listen to the people that approve of his fiscally irresponsible votes, but also listen to the people in his district that are unhappy with his choices.  

If I am elected, I will listen to all of the constituents. I promise not to delete or publicly censor comments.  

Congressman Bill Flores is a Fiscal Liberal who is Fiscally Irresponsible

Today Congressman Bill Flores voted to increase the national debt by more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.  This is in addition to the 10 trillion that is currently expected to be added under current law in that same time frame. The vote that Congressman Flores cast today coupled with the vote he cast a few weeks ago that increased federal spending will add up to over 30 trillion dollars in national debt by 2027.  The interest alone on this much debt will hurt our country, and most likely we will have to have massive tax increases, while gutting social security, Medicare, and other social safety net programs  We should be working today to fix our problem with deficit spending, not kicking it down the road.  There are many things we can do today that can stop deficit spending and at the same time make our country stronger. I have proposed over 170 billion in cuts to next years budget.  They are cuts that don't take things away from people, they don't harm anyone, and they will make our country stronger.  They are sound fiscally conservative policy.

These two votes that Congressman Flores cast prove that he is two things.  The vote he cast that made our government bigger and enabled our government to spend more proves he is a FISCAL LIBERAL. The vote he cast that will grow the national debt proves he is FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE.

In November there will be three candidates on the ballot for District 17.  Bill Flores, a Democrat (either Rick Kennedy or Dale Mantey) and Peter Churchman.  I am the only one that is both a fiscal conservative and fiscally responsible.   If you believe that we should end deficit spending and pay off the national debt without raising taxes, I am the only candidate who will make the choices that lead us that way.  It's time for a change.

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Amtrak Derailment

Yesterday I went over why I believed Amtrak should be privatized.  Today, the federal government is responsible for the lives lost on the inaugural run of an Amtrak train south of Seattle.  Local officials knew that the tracks were not able to have trains running at 80 mph, but it is not a local program run by a private business, it is not a state program run by local officials, it is a federal program run by bureaucrats 1000's of miles away in D.C. 

Fiscally conservative policy and safety can go hand in hand.  By removing the federal government from projects that are local in scope we will be better off as a nation.   A private business would have had a duty to its stakeholders and the ability to change without approval of a bureaucrat in D.C. that the federal government does not.  It's time for a change.

Amtrak

Amtrak should be privatized.  Amtrak could be a profitable private business, if the government would stop interfering.  They do very well in the northeast region of our country.  Everywhere else they do poorly. The trains are antiquated, they need billions of dollars of maintenance, and they are never on time.  If Amtrak was a private business it could maximize the areas where it is profitable, and minimize the areas where it operates at a loss.  Since it is a government program it has to do what the government says, regakrdless of whether it makes business sense or not.

I do not understand why our congressmen and congresswomen insist on giving billions to Amtrak.  In FY 2018 they are going to spend more than a billion dollars on Amtrak. It is time to end this fiscally irresponsible program.  Amtrak will be stronger and more efficient if they are privatized, and our nation will be better off.

I think our congresspeople are afraid of negative press that might come from prioritizing Amtrak.  It might cost them a few votes or some campaign donations in the next election, and it seems they only vote to secure their next term in Congress.  We need a congressman who will vote on every issue without influence from a political party, based on the facts of the issue at hand, and votes for the good of America.  It's time for a change.

CDC Language Ban

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There is no reason to ban what language the CDC uses or doesn't use. We have already realized a regulatory cost from a ban that is unnecessary. The CDC is required to reword their request for funding instead of continuing their work.

I will work to make sure that this sort of thing doesn't happen. If President Trump is still in office in 2018, however, I will recommend that all agencies use short words that he can understand.

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Overseas Contingency Operations

The Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which will receive 85.3 billion in FY 2018, is outdated and should be done away with.  It was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The BCA put spending caps on discretionary spending (among other things).  At the same time we had over one hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan and they needed, and deserved, funding unaffected by budgetary constraints, so the OCO was created as a way to finance the Afghan war.

Today the Overseas Contingency Operations fund is unnecessary.  It is a loophole that was created for a good reason, but that reason no longer is valid.  President Trumps budget chief Mick Mulvaney has correctly called the OCO a military slush fund, and in 2014 proposed a bipartisan amendment to the House defense bill limiting what the OCO could be used for.

The OCO is not being used as it was originally designed.  If the Department of Defense wants to fund a US military infrastructure overseas they should put it in national defense budget and have that budget approved by Congress.  When Congress approves funding for the OCO, they have no say on how it is spent.

I say it's time for a change.  We need to get back to being fiscally responsible.   We cannot keep walking towards the fiscal cliff.

Pro Sports Teams

Since 2000 36 pro sports teams have built or renovated their stadium with financing in the form of tax free municipal bonds.  Because these bonds were tax free the national debt has risen by 3.7 billion dollars.  We should not march down the road to fiscal insolvency so a billionaire in a highly profitable business can get a publicly financed stadium.  There are vehicles that cities, counties and states can use to finance these stadiums that don't raise the national debt. We as a nation need to be careful not only what we spend on, but on how our tax code is used.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

In 2017 our government subsidized the fossil fuel industry with 20.5 billion dollars.  The Federal Government spent 14.7 billion and the states contributed the rest.  This was given to a well established and profitable industry.  It is an industry that can do without corporate welfare. Our government should trust in the free market. The free market has proven time and time again to be the most efficient way to allocate our resources.

In the 2015 - 2016 election cycle the fossil fuel industry received an 8200% return on investment from campaign contributions and lobbying efforts.  We should really question whether our legislators are governing for the good of the country or only trying to get more campaign contributions.

We should end government handouts to profitable big businesses.  We cannot let corporate welfare or subsidies be the vehicle that drives us off the fiscal cliff.

 

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Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Our government spends almost 2 billion dollars a year on vacant federal property.  This is an example of wasteful spending that needs to be done away with.  The government has decided to take 6 years to come up with a plan of action on these properties.  We don't need 6 years to decide that we shouldn't engage in more deficit spending on vacant property.  We could easily pass legislation to sell the property or give it to the state that it is in. 

Unless we change our representatives in Washington who are only fiscally conservative on the campaign trail but then increase spending every year, we can expect more waste, fraud, abuse, and liberal spending that has led to our over 20 trillion dollar debt.

Tom Goynes is what Fiscal Conservatism and a desire to help people looks like.

Tom Goynes has for decades been a steward of the environment.  He cares deeply about Texas rivers and has done his best to protect them.  He has collected money to buy river access and parks for the public.  He has done this WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENT.  Many times he has had to fight the government to stop harmful things from happening to Texas water.  In the one instance that the government offered to help the T.R.P.A. with flood mitigation, the feds were suprised that Mr. Goynes and a few concerned people could do what needed to be done for the river without spending millions of taxpayer dollars.

This is what fiscal conservatism is in its finest form.  Tom helps the community preserve their natural assets without taxpayer dollars.  I believe that as a nation we should stop spending taxpayer dollars and empower concerned citizens like Tom to take charge.  There are a multitude of people from farmers to hunting organizations to Greenpeace that deeply care about and are motivated to save the environment.  They have the power and the necessity to do it more efficiently than the government.  We should let them, it's time for a change.

To find out more about the Texas River Protection Association, go to http://www.txrivers.org/