This Week in Congress

The big event this week is the passage of a $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill, which follows on the heels of an announcement that the national debt has topped $21 trillion for the first time in history. The biggest source of controversy over the bill has not been over the spending levels but over some controversial riders.

Two riders of particular interest to Campaign for Liberty members that will not be in the Omnibus bill are an internet sales tax and a bailout for insurance companies who lost money on the Obamacare exchanges, although there maybe an effort to add the Obamacare bailout in the Senate.

Campaign for Liberty staff are keeping an eye out for any attempt to sneak gun control into the Omnibus.

Here is a letter co-signed by Campaign for Liberty against including the insurance company bailout:


Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of our organizations and the millions of American taxpayers we represent, we write to express our strong opposition to taxpayer bailouts for private health insurance companies. We especially oppose including such bailouts in any upcoming spending bills.

Proposed “solutions” to Obamacare’s rising costs, such as providing new federal funding for risk mitigation programs (like “reinsurance” and “invisible high-risk pools”) or cost-sharing reduction subsidies are bad ideas. These proposals are costly, likely to become permanent, and unnecessary. Worst of all, bailout payments keep the failed Obamacare infrastructure in place and do nothing to address the real reasons premiums and deductibles are rising–the law’s regulations, mandates, and subsidy structure.

Lawmakers should not be fooled by ludicrous claims that spending new federal money on Obamacare bailouts will save the federal government money. Creating a new Obamacare corporate welfare program will increase government spending. Nor should lawmakers fall for the argument that bailouts are only temporary. The same insurers who are lobbying for bailout money this year will be back again when funding expires, threatening to withdraw from the exchanges or raise premiums if bailouts aren’t extended.

Bailouts are unnecessary. States can already establish risk mitigation programs by obtaining federal waivers. Alaska’s “reinsurance” waiver reduced premiums in its first year without requiring a single new dime in federal spending. Instead of creating new Obamacare spending, Congress should make it easier for states to obtain budget-neutral waivers.

Americans deserve relief from Obamacare’s damage and rising premiums through real reform, not ill-conceived policies like bailouts that simply paper over the underlying causes.

Lawmakers should fulfill their longstanding promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, not setting the dangerous precedent of bailing it out. President Trump’s budget endorsed a fresh approach to jumpstart this process. This proposal provides a path towards providing much-needed relief from many of Obamacare’s cost-raising mandates and instituting consumer-friendly reforms.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge all members of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare and to reject taxpayer bailouts for Obamacare and private health insurance companies, particularly in upcoming government spending bills.


Michael A. Needham, CEO
Heritage Action for America

Adam Brandon, President

David McIntosh, President
Club for Growth

Brent Gardner, Vice President of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

Nathan Nascimento, Executive Vice President
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

David Williams, President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Heather R. Higgins, CEO
Independent Women’s Voice

Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Allen Johnson, Director of Government Affairs
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Dan Caldwell, Executive Director
Concerned Veterans for America

Jonathan Bydlak, President
Coalition to Reduce Spending

David Barnes, Policy Director
Generation Opportunity

Daniel Garza, President
The LIBRE Initiative

Phil Kerpen, President
American Commitment

Norm Singleton, President
Campaign for Liberty


Here is a coalition letter against the latest version of the O Trent Sales Tax, H.R. 2193:


Dear Representative,

On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned organizations, we write in strong opposition to H.R. 2193, the so-called Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA), and any other bill intended to dismantle proper limits on state tax-collection authority. This legislation is bad policy, bad politics, and bad precedent.

The Remote Transactions Parity Act would enable an enormous expansion in state tax-collection authority by wiping away the “physical presence standard,” a baseline protection that shields taxpayers from harassment by out-of-state collectors. Current law dictates that a state can only require a business to collect its sales tax if it is physically present within its boundaries. Dismantling the physical presence protection for remote retail sales could throw open the floodgates for states to aggressively attempt enforcement of not just their sales tax laws, but also business and individual income tax rules, and even activist regulatory obligations on out-of-state entities.

Furthermore, claims of the supposed “harm” being done to state budgets by this basic taxpayer protection are misleading. While remote commerce is growing, more than $0.90 of every retail dollar is still spent in brick-and-mortar establishments, and a huge portion of online sales already have tax collected because so many are made by businesses like Amazon and Walmart that have widespread physical presence.

That’s why the Government Accountability Office’s estimates of potential state revenue only amounts to between one-half and one percent of current state receipts. Additionally, GAO estimated that 80 percent of this revenue is already collectible under current law. But rather than enforcing their existing laws, states are asking Congress to bless a dangerous expansion in their power allowing them to force out-of-state businesses to collect tax for them.

It is no surprise that Americans have shown strong opposition to such schemes. A September 2017 poll by Rasmussen found that Americans oppose internet sales tax legislation by a 45-point margin, and earlier polling of Republican voters found that they preferred candidates that oppose such laws by a 54-point margin.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, which deals with a state law forcing certain out-of-state retailers to collect South Dakota tax. Proponents of RTPA claim that this strengthens the case for passage of their bill, when in fact it weakens it. If the Court acts to dismantle limits on state power, Congress must act to rebuild them. RTPA does the opposite by granting states new tax powers over interstate commerce. Congress should oppose this unwise legislation and instead work to preserve federalism, strengthen geographical limits to tax authority, and encourage tax competition.




Andrew Moylan

National Taxpayers Union

Lisa B. Nelson ALEC Action

Phil Kerpen

American Commitment

Brent Gardner Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist Americans for Tax Reform

Norm Singleton Campaign for Liberty

Andrew F. Quinlan

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeff Mazzella

Center for Individual Freedom

Jessica Melugin

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Tom Schatz

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Katie McAuliffe Digital Liberty

Nathan Nascimento

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

Jason Pye FreedomWorks

David Barnes Generation Opportunity

Tim Huelskamp

The Heartland Institute

Michael Needham

Heritage Action for America

Tom Giovanetti

Institute for Policy Innovation

Daniel Garza

The LIBRE Initiative

Clark Packard

R Street Institute

David Williams

Taxpayers Protection Alliance


The Senate will also be voting on H.R. 1865, legislation holding internet companies liable for the criminal acts committed by those who use their platforms. Read about that bill here and here.

The Senate will also vote on the resolution invoking the war powers resolution to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen Civil War. Senator Rand Paul is trying to amend the resolution to take out language allowing continued U.S. military action if the action is related to Al-Queda. Read about the resolution here.

The House may consider H.R. 5247, legislation giving terminally ill patients the right to try unapproved medications. This bill failed under suspension last week but should pass this week.

The House will also vote on legislation easing some of the stress tests and regulations of the Dodd-Frank law.

The House will also consider the following bills under suspension this week:


  1. S 2030– Changes the date for compliance with ceiling fan energy conservation standards

  1. H.R. 5094– Requires the Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity and interrogation center to create cyber hunt and incident response teams.

  2. H.R. 4176– Directs the TSA to to: (1) establish an air cargo security office, (2) conduct a pilot program to test the use of screening equipment using computed tomography technology, (3) report to Congress on actions to improve the Certified Cargo Screening Program, (4) develop standards for the use of third-party explosives detection canines for the primary screening of air cargo, and  (5) request a review and assessment of the known shipper program. The Government Accountability Office must review the TSA's screening processes and procedures for examining air cargo entering the United States and assess its risk-based strategy for examining such cargo.

  3. H.R. 5099– Creates a cushion center technical assistance program. Fusion centers are known for labeling Campaign for Liberty members potential terrorists. Read about fusion centers here and here.

  4. H.R. 4227– Directs the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a study on preventing vehicular terrorism.

  5. H.R. 5079– Requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop an “engagement strategy” with fusion centers so more Campaign for Liberty activists can be labeled terrorists.

  6. H.R. 5131– Directs comptroller to review national surface train station security strategy to make sure it is functioning properly and calls on Homeland Security to prepare risk scenarios to help set priorities for funding.

  7. H.R. 5089– Uses terrorism as an excuse to increased federal “assistance” to state and local law enforcement.

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