Congressman Hunter's March Newsletter
As your representative in Congress, I want to keep you up to date on the most important issues facing our community and nation, so I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at hunter.house.gov to receive regular email updates on what’s happening in Washington.
It’s been three months since the 116th Congress convened, and the budget debate is in full swing for Fiscal Year 2020. The month of March was a busy one in Washington, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of San Diego businesses and non-profits, attend AIPAC, and introduce legislation. This includes, most recently, the Students Right to Know Before You Go Act, which would ensure future students and their families can make well-informed decisions by having access to information before they invest thousands of dollars and years of their lives.
The Mueller Report – No Collusion
After two years of countless headlines and bogus reporting, the Special Counsel's report showed what many Americans knew all along – No collusion.
"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
The Attorney General also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will go down in history as one of the widest ranging, longest, and most expensive investigations ever.
Here's the investigation by the numbers:
- The investigation went on for 675 days.
- The total reported cost of the Mueller investigation through September 2018 was over $25 million.
- The cost per day was $50,230.00 – the second most expensive in history.
- There were 19 attorneys on Robert Mueller’s staff – 12 more than the Starr investigation.
- Approximately 500 individuals testified or interviewed with the Special Counsel’s team.
- In addition to the Special Counsel’s investigation, there were 3 separate Congressional investigations by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee.
- Since May 2017, 28 hearings were held, and more than 100 individuals were interviewed by the committees.
- A combined 31 lawyers serve on the committees who conducted the investigations.
- The total combined cost of the Mueller investigation and the funding those committees received for the 115th Congress totals a jarring $67 million.
- The mainstream media published more than 4000 stories regarding the supposed collusion between Trump and Russia.
It’s time to move on.
For years, I have been a strong proponent of restoring U.S. manufacturing – particularly America’s commercial and defense industrial bases, which have lost millions of jobs in recent years due to America’s imbalanced trade policy with China and other global partners. Since President Trump took office, the United States has added 479,000 manufacturing jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has added another 4,000 manufacturing jobs in February. In fact, America’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in fifty years, the U.S. leads the world in carbon emission reductions, and our economy and GDP continue to flourish.
2019 Tax Season
Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, more than 6 million people have received bonuses, higher wages and better benefits. They join 90% of Americans who are seeing more money in their paychecks. Those are tangible results that are making a real difference in the lives of everyday Americans. I have no doubt that this legislation will continue to help expand our economy and create new opportunities for millions across our nation.
While some say Californians won’t see the benefits of the tax cuts, the truth is that a typical family of four in California’s 50th District earning the median annual income of $73,000 will see a tax cut of $2,059 in its pocket this year, and more taxpayers will use the newly doubled standard deduction—reducing the cost and time of tax preparation and tedious itemized deductions. Further, the increased Child Tax Credit allows parents to receive $2,000 per child – double the tax credit from 2017. According to the IRS, tax refunds are up from where they were this time last year by 1.3 percent.
If you do not receive you tax refund check in a timely manner, you can visit https://www.irs.gov/ to check on the status of a missing refund, initiate refund tracers or change an address. A telephone version of "Where’s My Refund?" can be accessed by calling 1-800-829-1954. In addition, you may be eligible to file your taxes for free by visiting the IRS website.
Further, I want you to be aware that there exists a potential for scams and fraud during tax season. There have been reports of individuals posing as IRS agents asking for personal and financial information. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. I encourage you to report unsolicited or suspicious emails to email@example.com as well as unsolicited calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. By following a few simple steps, you can protect yourself from fraud.
Green New Deal
Earlier this year, House Democrats introduced H. Res. 109, commonly referred to as the Green New Deal (GND). This legislation is a series of proposals with the mandated goal of transitioning the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy in the next ten years. This proposal would affect every sector of the American economy, from energy, agriculture, and manufacturing to transportation, housing and health care.
The Green New Deal could cost taxpayers up to $93 trillion over ten years. To put that in perspective, it could cost taxpayers $65,000 per household, per year. This includes expensive government mandates that would raise the cost of transportation, housing and food. Entire industries would also be eliminated.
In my new op-ed, I explain that the Green New Deal is the Old Socialist Steal and deserves to be rejected. I believe that a much more productive use of time is finding more ways to encourage the private sector and the free market involved in innovative energy science to do what it does best, invest in America.
The Students Right to Know Before You Go Act
To continue my First 100-Day Initiative, I reintroduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1565, the Students Right to Know Before You Go Act, alongside a Senate version (S. 681), led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). With the cost of higher education rapidly rising, this bill would allow students and their families to have more access to more data to base their decision on where to pursue a high education. The legislation establishes new metrics to be published by the Department of Education to focus on data that provides future students and their families with information post-graduation average annual earnings, rate/amount of federal loan debt, rates of remedial enrollment, credit accumulations, and graduation rates among other data sets.
Specifically, the legislation will:
- Empower students and families with the tools needed for a more complete picture of the value of their education;
- Make accurate, easy to understand data available online for prospective students and their families;
- Authorize the release of information that currently exists, but not currently accessible;
- Match student records with employment and earnings data;
- Ensure results will be highly accurate and informative.
A critical provision of the legislation is the requirement for the use of secure multi-party computation (MPC), an advanced encryption technique, to generate statistical data based on student information from colleges and universities as well as loan and income information from government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Education. The process ensures the protection of the underlying data, so no entity is forced to “give up” sensitive information in a form that is accessible to others.
Congressional Art Competition
Every Spring, Congress sponsors a nationwide high school art competition to recognize and celebrate young artists from each Congressional District. With this year’s competition around the corner, I’m honored to ask students once again to submit their artwork. The winner will have his or her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year and will receive airfare to attend the national reception in Washington, D.C., at no cost.
For complete details on this year's competition, including information about how to submit a piece of artwork, please click here or contact Angelica Rodriguez in my El Cajon District Office at 619-448-5201 or by email at Angelica.Rodriguez@mail.house.gov. All entries must be submitted to one of my District offices by Friday, April 19th at 5:00 p.m. Good luck to all the participants!
Visiting Washington, D.C.
If you’re planning a trip to our Nation’s capital, my Washington, D.C. office can help in scheduling Congressional Tours at some of the city’s most beloved historical sites. I recommend that you submit your tour request 3-6 months in advance of your visit. While you are in Washington, D.C., I encourage you and your family to stop by my office. If you have any questions, please contact my staff at (202) 225-5672. We will be happy to help you with any further requests you may have.
Are you a college student interested in getting an internship in politics or public service? Interns play an important role in constituent service, research projects, and more. To apply for full or part-time internships at my El Cajon and DC offices, please visit my website: https://hunter.house.gov.
Hearing from You!
As always, I hope to hear from you throughout the course of the year as Congress does its legislative work, in addition to providing effective oversight. Please contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here, like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to keep track of upcoming legislation and events.