Recently, I was emailed this challenge: “Floyd, can’t you find any good news coming from Capitol Hill?”
I must admit, I’m pretty jaded about what’s happening in America’s capitol building. And lately, there’s been a relentless stream of negativity from D.C.
But because I enjoy a good challenge, I’ve searched far and wide for some legislation that might actually help. And this is what I found… three bills that merit attention and support.
Putting an End to Government Abuse
In response to the IRS scandal, Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee introduced a very worthwhile bill. It’s appropriately named the Stopping Government Abuse of Taxpayer Information Act.
This bill forbids every last federal agency with access to taxpayer information from carrying out or enforcing Obamacare until that agency can attest, under penalty of perjury, that no abuse of taxpayer information has occurred.
It also requires agencies to certify that they’ve terminated any employee discovered to have violated the constitutional rights of any taxpayer.
Congresswoman Black explained her proposal this way: “The IRS targeting scandal exposes the serious potential for widespread abuse of taxpayer information at all government agencies involved with implementing the President’s healthcare law.”
And Americans have reason to fear that the political targeting is just beginning. The same IRS official in charge during the IRS scandal is now being given control of the IRS Obamacare office. Scary thought indeed.
And that’s not all. You see, stopping the IRS alone doesn’t provide adequate protection. Obamacare gives a bevy of bureaucrats at the Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the Social Security Administration unlimited access to your most sensitive health and financial information. Congresswoman Black’s bill will help guarantee that any federal agency with access to Obamacare’s Federal Data Services Hub is not targeting, nor will it ever target, Americans based on their politics.
Filling in the Internet’s Privacy Holes
Another important pending bill is the Email Privacy Act. This bill guarantees that e-mail has the same privacy rights as physical mail. Currently, a host of government agencies scan and read your email almost at will. Not surprisingly, the IRS is again the biggest offender in this gross invasion of privacy.
The pending legislation extends the protections to privacy found in the Constitutional Fourth Amendment to electronic correspondence and other content stored in “the cloud.”
“Government agencies should never be able to read our private emails without a warrant,” said Congressman Graves when he explained his reasons for sponsoring the bill. “It is ridiculous for the IRS or any other federal agency to believe it is above our fundamental right to privacy, but it’s important that we update the law to keep up with modern communication and protect against government intrusion.”
The final bill I want to share today is the Safety Net Abuse Prevention (SNAP) Act of 2013. Currently, the Department of Agriculture works in partnership with Mexico to promote the Food Stamp Program. But the SNAP Act seeks to end these promotion campaigns abroad.
Normally, Mexican immigrants take time to learn about the welfare benefits afforded residents of the United States. The Obama administration justifies these programs by getting as many people as possible on the government dole. And by promoting the benefits in Mexico, the government can speed up applications and participation in the giveaways.
But if you’re like me, and you think that begging people to get on the welfare plantation is a bad way to introduce immigrants to America, then this bill’s for you.
The only problem with all three of these bills?
They’re all likely dead on arrival if they make it to Barack Obama’s desk.
Despite their good intentions, I predict he would veto all three of these common sense ideas for reform.
This article originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: Jessie Owen (Creative Commons)