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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Congresswoman: Tax credit legislation, improved energy policies will bolster economy

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  • We have a nation struggling to make ends meet. The families I talk to across Eastern Kansas are fed up with paying more for everything, while taking home less.
    While the costs for raising children are increasing every year, the current law for child tax credits is outdated and fails to recognize how difficult it can be to have a family.
    Last week, I introduced the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act, which will index the credit and its limitations to inflation to help parents keep more of their hard-earned money to use for the mounting expenses of parenting.
    The legislation also removes a marriage penalty embedded in the current tax credit. Those who choose to get married before they have kids should not be forced to pay more than those who do not.
    The bill also passed favorably out of the Ways and Means Committee last week.
    Unleashing the benefits of American energy
    During a press conference last week, I highlighted the House’s all-of-the-above energy plan to lessen our dependence on foreign energy, lower prices at the pump, stimulate economic growth, and create good paying jobs.
    President Barack Obama once said energy prices will "necessarily skyrocket" under his cap and tax plan, driving up electricity costs. Unfortunately, his energy policies have also resulted in skyrocketing prices at the pump.
    In 2009, gas was as low as $1.67 in Kansas. As we marked the first day of summer, we also marked the fourth summer in a row when the average price of gas at home is $3.50 per gallon. Every family is hit hard by prices at the pump, the rising electricity bills, and even the rising cost of food at the grocery store. It’s getting harder to make ends meet, much less get ahead.
    This does not have to be the new normal.
    We must unleash the benefits of American energy through this all-of-the-above energy plan. And, with the uncertainty in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, we don’t have time to wait any longer.
    We have the potential right here at home.
    Legislation to modernize North American energy
    Last week, we learned that our economy declined at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2014. This is a steeper decline than previously reported, and is the sharpest contraction since the recession.
    Our economy is clearly getting worse and the president’s policies are not working. Rising costs for energy are certainly not helping our economy. High gas prices drive up the costs of just about everything, and are a drain on every family’s checkbook.
    The House of Representatives dubbed this week "energy week" and passed a number of bills that will unleash the benefits of American energy. This legislation will cut through red tape to get energy flowing right here at home, and more importantly lessen our dependence on foreign energy.
    Page 2 of 2 - We have an abundance of energy in North America that will be a global game-changer if we develop the infrastructure to support it. The North American Energy Infrastructure Act modernizes and creates a more efficient cross-border approval process for pipelines and other energy infrastructure to encourage energy investment.
    The Department of Energy is currently sitting on 26 Liquid Natural Gas export applications that, if approved, would help strengthen our hand against Russia and lessen our European allies’ energy dependence that the Kremlin has used as leverage in conflicts like Ukraine. The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act will expedite the approval of these LNG export applications currently stalled at the Department of Energy.
    And finally, the House passed legislation to bring down gas prices, which have hit $4 in some parts of the country. The Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act expands offshore and onshore energy production. Estimates by the Congressional Budget Office show this bill could generate more than $1 billion in revenue, and create up to 1.2 million jobs in the next 10 years.
    U.S. Capitol tour
    If you and your family are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., I invite you to stop by my office for a tour of the U.S. Capitol. These tours are an excellent way to see all that the nation's capital has to offer and all of these tours are of no charge to you.
    Please contact my office for tickets, and also let us know if you are interested in seeing other sites, including the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the Supreme Court, the National Archives, or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. We are happy to help.
    To secure a tour, submit an online form or call my D.C. office at (202) 225-6601.

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