domingo, 2 de enero de 2011

Legislation Clarifying Red Flags Rule Signed into Law

After months of collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), small businesses, and industry stakeholders, Senator Thune was pleased to see his bipartisan Red Flags bill signed into law this month. Senator Thune and Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) authored the Red Flag Program Clarification Act, which will clarify a burdensome regulation by the FTC that would have otherwise required small businesses to undertake costly and unnecessary measures to prevent identity theft. 
The FTC issued the Red Flags regulations under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transition Act of 2003, which requires the establishment of guidelines for financial institutions and creditors regarding identity theft. If implemented as planned on January 1, 2011, the FTC’s overreaching definition of a creditor would have placed a significant burden on our nation’s small businesses. Recognizing this, the FTC delayed implementation of the rule multiple times to allow for Congressional clarification.
The Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama on Saturday, December 18, 2010, and will ensure that small businesses in South Dakota and across our country are protected from unnecessary and misdirected federal regulation.

Thune Praises Bipartisan Compromise
to Prevent Looming Tax Hikes

Senator Thune applauded the passage of the bipartisan tax compromise legislation that President Obama signed into law (H.R. 4853) on December 17, 2010. The new law includes a two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts, which will save South Dakota families an average of $1,700 over the next year. The legislation includes a provision to keep the death tax from impacting many farmers and small business owners who simply wish to pass their operation on to future generations. Additionally, this legislation includes an extension of the ethanol blenders tax credit, the biodiesel tax credit, and the state and local sales tax deduction, which are all very important to South Dakota.
Senator Thune believes that the 2001 and 2003 tax rate extension will protect all families, individuals, and job creators across our country from higher taxes. However, like most compromise legislation, he believes this new law is not perfect. During the Senate’s debate on the bipartisan tax compromise, Senator Thune offered an amendment that would have paid for the $56.6 billion in long-term unemployment insurance benefits. Americans sent a clear message to Washington in November: The government must start paying its bills. Unfortunately, Majority Leader Reid blocked this amendment from being considered during the floor debate on the bill.
Senator Thune believes that while there were elements of this tax deal that he did not like, failure to pass this bill would have sent a dangerous signal to our economy. As a result of this new law, the American people and the small businesses, which are the engines of our economy, will have a better idea of what their tax burden will be over the next two years.

Thune Honors Marine 
Corps Aviation Centennial

This month, Senator Thune introduced legislation with Senator James Webb (D-Va.) to authorize the minting and sale of a commemorative $10 gold coin honoring the history of Marine Corps Aviation which began in 1912. For the last 100 years, Marine Corps Aviation has served as a pivotal force in keeping our country safe at home and abroad. Through the creation of the centennial Marine Corps Aviation commemorative coin, Senator Thune intends to not only honor our expeditionary force, but also contribute to the preservation of the Corps’ incredible history at the Marine Corps Heritage Center.
Commemorative coin programs are self-funding and would represent no cost to taxpayers. A surcharge of $35 for the $10 coin will be collected from the coin sales and directed to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to help in continuing the construction of the Marine Corps Heritage Center on the National Museum of the Marine Corps campus in Quantico, Virginia. The coin would be minted and sold in 2015.
The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation reports that since November 2006, the Heritage Center has welcomed more than 2 million visitors. State-of-the-art exhibits allow visitors to vividly experience the history of the United States Marine Corps from 1775 through the end of the Vietnam War. More than 100,000 school children have benefitted from the museum’s exceptional education program. Funds from the Marine Corps Aviation commemorative coin will enable the museum to create exhibits depicting Marine operations up to the present day and will honor the proud service of all our nation’s service men and women.
Senator Thune is the ranking Republican member of the AirLand Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has oversight jurisdiction of the Marine Corps’ tactical aviation units.   

Thune Applauds Defeat of
Omnibus Spending Bill

Senator Thune was pleased to see Majority Leader Reid and Senate Democrats abandon a $1.27 trillion Omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government at the end of the month. Democrats crafted this bill behind closed doors and without regard for the strong message sent by the American people on Election Day to return to fiscal responsibility. Moving forward with an approximately 2,000 page bill that included unnecessary and irresponsible spending was yet another attempt to pass contentious legislation during the lame-duck session of Congress.
Fortunately, on December 21, 2010, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government until March 4, 2011, at 2010 government spending levels. This CR also provides for a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees, a measure strongly advocated for by Senator Thune.
By providing short-term funding through the beginning of the New Year, the new Congress will have the opportunity to take office before final spending decisions are made for the remainder of Fiscal Year of 2011, which ends in September. Senator Thune believes business as usual cannot continue in Washington, and Congress must get to the difficult, but necessary, work of cutting federal spending and shrinking the size of the government.

Thune Offers Amendment to
Improve START Treaty

With just a few days left of the Congressional session before the Christmas break, Senate Democrats jammed the flawed New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) through the Senate.
The original Russian arms treaty signed on July 31, 1991—following the dissolution of the Soviet Union—was not ratified by the Senate until October of 1992 and did not go into effect until 1994. In its original form, START was created to initiate transparency and nuclear arms reduction between Russia and the United States of America.
After the original START expired on December 5, 2009, New START was signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8, 2010. However, under the Constitutional duty of Advice and Consent, this treaty was still required to be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate and both houses of the Russian Duma.
Senator Thune believes New START, as negotiated by the Obama Administration, fails to protect America's right to pursue and implement vital missile defenses or address Russia's massive tactical nuclear weapons arsenal, giving Russia a ten-to-one advantage over the U.S. and our NATO allies.
In an attempt to alleviate flaws in the treaty’s language, Senator Thune offered an amendment to increase the number of deployed delivery vehicles—bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles—allowed under the agreement’s language. New START caps deployed delivery vehicles at 700, which is lower than the number called for by the Obama administration's nuclear force structure plan of 720 delivery vehicles and significantly lower than the close to 900 nuclear delivery vehicles currently held by the United States. Unfortunately, his amendment was defeated by a vote of 33 to 64.
Despite the treaty’s serious flaws, New START was ratified by the Senate on December 22, 2010.

Thune Opposes Government Control
of the Internet

Shortly before Christmas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), voted to enact so-called network neutrality regulations that would limit effective network management and jeopardize new broadband deployment, especially in rural states like South Dakota.
Senator Thune believes the FCC’s decision to adopt this burdensome federal regulation is simply another example of the heavy hand of government reaching into an industry that isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be fixed.  The FCC’s decision will undoubtedly discourage investment and innovation in broadband services, and will create uncertainty for consumers and providers.  In a time of near 10 percent unemployment nationally, Senator Thune does not believe the federal government should be enacting job-killing regulations, like network neutrality.
Senator Thune is committed to stopping this unnecessary and unwarranted government regulation and is prepared to do so by taking potential actions under the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress an expedited mechanism for overturning administrative regulations.
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Thune: START
 Consideration Should Wait
December 16, 2010 - Senator Thune delivered a floor speech urging his colleagues to avoid rushing New START in the lame-duck session.

December 14, 2010 - Senator Thune met with Dustina Gill and Robert Shepherd of the Sisseton Wapeton Oyate Tribe in his Washington office.

December 16, 2010 - Senator Thune posed with members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, including (left to right) Chairman Robert Cournoyer, Simone Cournoyer, Tribal Secretary Rachel Bernie, and Councilman Baptiste Cournoyer.

Thune Voices Support for Tax Deal
December 14, 2010 - Senator Thune voiced his support for the bipartisan tax deal on the Senate floor, saying Congress must prevent the looming tax hikes.

 December 16, 2010 - Senator Thune met with Chairman Charles Murphy of the Standing Rock Tribe in his Washington office.

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