House Watch – January 3, 2023

Welcome to the first day of the 118th Congress and welcome to our first edition of our House Watch Newsletter for FreedomWorks activists and partners nationwide. We will give you an inside look into the legislation that your Representative is voting on, as well as updates on House Republicans’ oversight of the Biden administration. 

This week, the House will take votes on the following measures:

Election of the Speaker of the House 

  • FreedomWorks will oppose any Speaker nominee who does not support the full restoration of the Motion to Vacate the Chair or allow for members to amend major bills under an open rule.
  • FW view: Yesterday, FreedomWorks issued a key vote alert on the Speaker vote. 

Adopting the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred and Eighteenth Congress

  • Background: For months, the House Freedom Caucus has called for changes to House rules to ensure the institution is accountable to American taxpayers.
  • Major changes to House Rules for the 118th Congress include:
    • A Mandate that legislation be made available for 72 hours before a vote,
    • The reinstatement of the Holman Rule, which allows Congress to effectively zero-out the pay of incompetent federal bureaucrats,
    • A requirement of single-subject bills,
    • A Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and 
    • Reforms to the budget and debt limit process. 
    • For a more detailed analysis on the House Rules, click here
  • FW view: This rules package is a step in the right direction and represents an acknowledgment that Congress is broken. However, strong implementation of the new Rules will be the most important aspect of making Congress work for the people again. 

Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act 

  • Background: President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) gave billions to the Internal Revenue Service to enhance the agency’s tax collection resources. Specifically, the IRA gives: 
    • $45.6 billion for tax enforcement 
    • $25.3 billion for operations support 
    • $15 million for a Task Force to Design an IRS-Run Free “Direct EFile” Tax Return System 
    • $403 million for the Inspector General for Tax Administration 
    • $104.5 million for the Office of Tax Policy
    • $153 million for the U.S. Tax Court 
    • $50 million for Treasury Departmental Offices
  • The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act: would rescind the funds made available to the IRS for the activities highlighted above.
  • FW view: This bill sends a strong message to the Biden administration and an out-of-control agency that is in the process of hiring 87,000 agents to go after Americans’ hard-earned income. 

Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act

  • Background: President Biden depleted our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve stockpiles to its lowest levels since 1983 in attempts to bring down the cost of gasoline. Reports indicate that the Biden administration sold 95,000 barrels from the SPR to a company that is owned by the Chinese government.
  • This bill would prohibit the sales of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve “to any entity that is under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party…”

Establishing a Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party

  • This resolution would create a 16-Member panel (9 majority, 7 minority) to oversee issues concerning U.S.-China competition. 
  • The Committee would have no legislative authority to take action on any bill or resolution, but would have power to investigate the CCP’s “economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States.”
  • Note: Semafor wrote that the House GOP’s China oversight will go beyond this Select Committee. Investigations will include the COVID-19 outbreak, export controls targeting industries in China, foreign investment by U.S. companies in China, intellectual property theft by China, U.S. policy on Taiwan, among other issues.  

Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act 

  • Background: Like many aspects of American society, the “woke” movement made its way into the justice system. There is a disturbing practice nationwide among leftist District Attorneys who are prosecuting violent and non-violent criminals in the name of social justice. 
  • This bill requires prosecutors serving  jurisdictions that receive Byrne Grants and are larger than 380,000 persons, to submit an annual report to the Attorney General on the prosecution of individuals who committed a covered offense, including murder, forcible rape, arson, illegal use or possession of a firearm. 
  • FW view: The reports required under this bill will hopefully shame “woke” prosecutors into doing their job of keeping communities safe and criminals off the streets. 

Expressing support for the Nation’s law enforcement agencies and condemning any efforts to defund or dismantle law enforcement agencies 

  • By passing this resolution, Congress:
    • “offers its sincere gratitude and appreciation for law enforcement officers who protect and serve our communities”;
    • “recognizes the great sacrifice our law enforcement officers make to keep the Nation safe”; and
    • “rejects the misguided and dangerous efforts to defund and dismantle the Nation’s law enforcement agencies.”
  • FW view: This resolution should get unanimous support from the House, but keep an eye out for any radical leftists who want to continue going on record against law enforcement.

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