Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Congressman BEN QUAYLE: A look back at 2011

Dear Friends,

As we begin a new year, I wanted to update you on the work I’ve been doing as your representative in Washington. Since taking office last January, my main focus has been promoting an economic environment where job creators and innovators can thrive. Despite some modest signs of improvement in recent weeks, America continues to face an unemployment crisis that demands action by leaders in Washington.

Throughout 2011, I visited with Arizona business owners to find out what is holding them back from hiring new employees and growing their businesses. One of the most frequent complaints I hear is that Washington’s misguided policies are spreading a deep sense of uncertainty that is preventing companies from putting their capital to work.

As your representative, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle these enormous challenges, and I have led by example. I recently made the decision that I would not be participating in the congressional pension plan. Currently, Members of Congress enjoy a pension plan that is far more generous than the majority of private-sector retirement plans. As we work to reduce America’s out-of-control debt, one of the areas in need of reform is the federal pension system. It would be the height of hypocrisy if Members of Congress proposed those reforms without first eliminating our own pensions. It addition to opting out, I also signed on to two similar bills by Reps. Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) that abolish the congressional pension plans.

Eliminating congressional pensions won’t significantly reduce the national debt, but if leaders in Washington are going to make the tough decisions to turn this country around, it’s critical that we have the credibility to do so.


Normally this time of year, there are certain greetings I would offer you. However, as you may have heard—just when you thought political correctness couldn’t go any further— Congressional rules forbid House Members from sending holiday good wishes to constituents. Upon hearing of this absurd rule before the Christmas holiday, I signed on to a resolution authored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) which resolves the that the House of Representatives recognizes the importance of symbols and traditions of Christmas and strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to the holiday. So please forgive if me If I sound rude for not offering you a Happy ____ _____ today. It's not my rule!


Since taking office, I have authored a number of bills with one common goal in mind: getting the federal government out of the way of the private sector so our job creators can do what they do best.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • I introduced HR 2833, The Employee Workplace Freedom Act, which reverses an onerous new mandate by the National Labor Relations Board that forces private sector employers to post notices outlining the National Labor Relations Act.

  • I introduced H.R. 3326, a bill that allows states to opt-out of the incredibly onerous Medicaid-expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act.

  • I authored an amendment to H.R. 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act that indexed for inflation the amount an individual can invest in a startup company. My amendment passed unanimously in the House. HR 2930’s author, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), praised the amendment in a statement: “Congressman Quayle’s amendment ensures that a small business’ ability to raise funds is not limited by inflationary pressures.”

As a member of the Homeland Security Committee and the vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, securing America’s southern border is an issue I spend a great deal of time on. Earlier this year, I introduced HR1922, a bill that gives U.S. border patrol agents unrestricted access to federal lands along the border. The legislation frees up the border patrol to operate without getting approval from the federal government to pursue illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.


It's hard to believe that 2011 has come and gone. A lot happened last year. We had our share of hardships: the horrible day in Tucson on January 8, and the wildfires that destroyed thousands of acres and many homes in our state. There were also signs of hope and progress: revolutionaries in the Middle East rising up for the cause of freedom and democracy, and the heroic U.S. mission that brought justice to Osama bin Laden.

Our state and the rest of the country continue to face significant economic challenges and a stubborn unemployment crisis. Despite these challenges, I’m confident that our best days are ahead and that we will emerge as a stronger nation.

Thanks for reading.

Ben Quayle

No comments: