Capitol Connection: April 29 to May 5,
Weekly Update from Congress
May 5, 2006
Debates Gas Prices with Mixed Results
House failed to pass a bill Wednesday that would have streamlined
the permit process for new or rebuilt refineries in an effort
to increase domestic gasoline production. The problem: The United
States has not built a new refinery since the 1970s and must rely
on expensive gasoline imports to meet current demand. Congressman
Miller supported this measure, which garnered a majority of votes,
237 to 188, but failed to reach the two-thirds needed for passage.
A second bill that punishes individuals and companies who illegally
manipulate oil and gas prices passed the House, but if signed
into law its enforcement could be delayed by months, even years.
Instead of defining the term “price gouging,” the bill directs
bureaucrats to decide what constitutes fraud at the pump, a process
that can take years to complete. Congressman Miller, demanding
immediate enforcement, voted against the measure, which passed
anyway 389 to 34.
Approves Cargo Screening at Ports
House approved a plan on Thursday to screen nearly all cargo entering
the United States for nuclear and biological hazards by next year.
The Homeland Security Department currently inspects six percent
of the 11 million cargo containers that enter U.S. seaports annually.
Congressman Miller supported the measure, which passed 421 to
Agencies Headed to Bankruptcy. The trustees for the government's
two biggest benefit programs said Monday that the trust fund for
Social Security will be depleted by 2040, a year earlier than
expected, while Medicare will exhaust its trust fund just 12 years
from now. To keep both systems afloat, the federal government
must borrow more money, raise taxes or cut benefits. Federal
Fact of the Week. For the average taxpayer, April 26
is Tax Freedom Day—everything earned before this day represents
their total annual tax bill.
of the Week
Monday, many illegal immigrants participated in the “National
Day of Action,” boycotting work and U.S. businesses to draw attention
to the role of undocumented workers on the U.S. economy. Too bad
their protest didn't include giving up government-paid social
services—because a day without illegal aliens would be a boon
to U.S. taxpayers. Consider their daily costs to the government:
million to educate illegal immigrant children, not
including the cost of free school lunches.
million in lost tax revenue because of the growing size of
the underground labor market using illegal workers in the
to reimburse states for emergency medical services provided
to illegal aliens, which is less than 10 percent of the true
cost of those services.
million charged to Medicaid to care for illegal aliens and
their U.S.-born children.
million in court and incarceration expenses. Illegal aliens
account for less than five percent of the U.S. adult population,
but were 17 percent of the federal prison population in 2004.
Americans have seen through the protestors' half-truths. A recent
poll showed widespread disfavor of recent immigration protests,
with 26 percent holding a favorable opinion and 54 percent holding
an unfavorable opinion.
more Outrages at the Outrage
of the Week Archive