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Email Your Representative to Oppose the Rare Earth Mineral Bill (H.R. 1022)

Today, the House is scheduled to vote on the Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2013 (H.R. 1022), which is on the suspension calendar. Introduced by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the bill — which did not go through the committee process — would “create a number of taxpayer-supported government programs to extract and recycle domestic rare earth minerals” to “address price volatility for rare earths.” While Congress may be justified in gathering information through basic research on energy-critical elements, subsidizing mining, production, or refinement of rare earth elements is not justifiable and would have adverse effects on markets in the future.

The approach in H.R. 1022 is misguided.  The Heritage Foundation explains rather than creating a new government program and subsidizing “technologies the private sector won’t invest in without a handout, the government should open access to the 13 states where rare earths lie and establish an efficient regulatory pathway that provides companies the certainty needed to extract REEs.”

Rather than create an expensive new government program, Congress should deregulate the market for rare earth elements and energy-critical elements.

Use POPVOX to easily and directly email your Representative and ask him or her to oppose the Rare Earth Mineral bill:

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Small Biz Owner on Ex-Im Bank: “For Smaller Companies, It’s Useless”

A recurring theme among Export-Import Bank supporters is that, at its heart, it’s all about small business.

One Tallahassee small business owner was completely candid about his negative experience with the Export-Import Bank, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.  Ron Conroy of Verdicorp is more than happy to see the bank’s authorization expire on Sept. 30.

Tallahassee-based Verdicorp, which makes heating and air conditioning systems, used the program once — to insure sales to a foreign buyer in case the purchaser defaulted. That didn’t happen.

Verdicorp owner Ron Conroy says he has no plans to use the bank again because he said bank officials are more interested in helping larger companies.

“If you send them aircraft, they’re very good. (But) anything less than $10 million, they don’t want to (deal with) you. They say they do but they don’t,” he said. “For the country, it’s worth having. But for smaller companies, it’s useless.”

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immigration border security

The DACA Magnet

A recent memo from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirms that major “pull factors” for the current crop of illegal entries includes previously “successful migration attempts.” In other words, the President’s blatant refusal to enforce the law has, as anticipated, resulted in the more than 50,000 unlawful immigrants flooding the border.

Prominent among the administration’s lawless decrees is a program initiated in June 2012 known as DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under this policy, Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are instructed to practice “prosecutorial discretion” towards unlawful minors apprehended in the U.S., granting them de facto amnesty. It is this implied promise by the President that unaccompanied alien minors will not be returned home that has led to the current influx.

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immigration border security

Congress Can’t Ignore DACA

The influx of unaccompanied minors along the southwest border, mostly entering from Central America, is in large part the result of the Obama Administration’s selective enforcement of immigration law. If congressional action is to be more than a face-saving political gesture, it must address the President’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“DACA must go,” explains the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano:

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Harry Reid

Harry Reid: Taxing the Internet

When the House passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) earlier this week by voice vote, there was reason to hope (yes, hope!) that the Senate would do the same.  Nothing is ever easy in Harry Reid’s Senate, though.  CQ (sub. req’d) is reporting Reid is unlikely to take up the uncontroversial House-passed measure:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is supporting plans in a new bipartisan proposal that would package authorization for states to enforce online sales taxes together with another proposal to provide a 10-year extension of the ban on Internet access taxes that expires Nov. 1. 

The measure (S 2609) by Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., combines a continuation for 10 years of the soon-to-expire temporary ban (PL 110-108) on Internet service levies with provisions of a Senate-passed Enzi proposal (S 743) to authorize states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state online vendors. 

Enzi said in an interview that Reid made the case behind the scenes for including an extension for 10 years, instead of a permanent extension of the Internet service tax moratorium. “That’s what Sen. Reid put in,” Enzi said. 

Reid told reporters Wednesday, “We’ve had a number of meetings on that today, and … we’re trying to figure out a way to go forward. I think it’s fair to say that the two of them are going to be together. They’re not going to be separated.” 

Rather than pass a permanent ban on taxing Internet access, Reid wants to enact a temporary ban PAIRED with massive new taxing authority for state and local governments.

On Tuesday, Heritage Action’s Michael A. Needham warned against that strategy, saying, “The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act should not be held hostage to Washington special interests seeking to advance unpopular proposals such as an Internet sales tax.”

Reid’s approach is a non-starter in the House and likely with many of his Senate colleagues.  If Americans suddenly find their Internet access taxed later this year, they’ll know who to blame.

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