Congressman McCaul talks about federal policy and the importance of history
Austin Chamber members heard directly from U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10) as he discussed homeland and national security from a business perspective. Sponsored by AT&T, the Pulse on Policy event was the fourth in a series of policy discussions lead by local, state, and federal lawmakers.
The event was held in the Red Bud Center of the Lower River Colorado Authority. Below are the highlights from the discussion.
Compassion of Humankind
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Congressman McCaul shared stories about what he experienced while helping local communities rebuild after the natural disaster.
“We saw how Hurricane Katrina didn’t work out so well and learned a lot from Sandy, so this is why a lot of federal, state, and local officials are on the same page,” said Congressman McCaul. “It was one of the best response recoveries that I have seen. It was all about saving lives.”
The category four hurricane devastated the South Texas Coast with nearly 50 inches of rainfall. Areas including Rockport, Ingleside, Aransas Pass, Corpus Christi, and Houston were heavily impacted by the storm. Now that the flood waters have receded, many Texans have united together to rebuild their homes and communities.
Early September, the U.S. House approved a disaster relief package under FEMA to help the thousands of homeowners who were impacted by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. In the next two weeks, the federal government is expected to give additional supplements, nearly $10 billion, to the Army Corps of Engineers to help mitigate future flood risks and rebuild damaged projects.
“The saying, ‘Texans helping Texans’ is very true, but I saw a lot of people from all over the country helping,” said Congressman McCaul. “It shows you how compassionate humankind can be and what acts of heroism can happen in a time of such great tragedy.”
Cutting taxes for small businesses
Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed its proposed budget. The Senate recently passed its proposed financial plan in an effort to address better tax reform in the country. Both groups plan to come to an agreement on the issue by Christmas.
U.S. Congressman McCaul talked about the era of Ronald Regan and noted that there has not been a tax cut since 1986.
“President Kennedy campaigned on cutting taxes to get the economy going again. I think Kennedy was right. I think Regan was right. I think when you do cut the tax on working Americans they can reinvest that money,” said McCaul. “They can put it in the economy and create more jobs. We need to take the burden off of small business.”
The proposed tax reform is composed of three tax brackets—12 percent, 20 percent, and 35 percent. The idea of repatriation tax breaks, according to McCaul will be beneficial for the Austin region. By allowing tax breaks for corporations that have offshore funding, the trillions of dollars that these corporations bring back will be reinvested in America through the economy by potentially creating jobs. “We don’t want our businesses leaving. We want them to stay in the United States,” said McCaul.
DACA and International Relations
According to the U.S. Constitution (article 1, section 8), the Congress shall have the power to collect taxes but to also establish uniform rule of naturalization and regulating commerce with foreign nations.
McCaul introduced H.R. 3548, also known as the Border Security for America Act of 2017. If passed, the bill will authorize $10 billion for the construction of tactical information and operational technology. An additional $5 billion would be used to improve ports of entry commonly used by drug trafficking and criminal immigration. The bill would also add 5,000 extra border patrol agents over the course of four years.
“We have a border where we don’t know about 50 percent of what’s coming in—the human trafficking the opioids, the drug trafficking, potential terrorists—that’s why we got to secure this border,” said Mccaul. “I have been talking about it for a long time but I think we have an opportunity to get this done.”
Moving forward, McCaul stated that the process to dealing with immigration will first consider his proposed border bill, interior enforcement, and then dealing with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“The president has asked for it. So the Speaker has assigned me and the Chairman of Judiciary to try to work out these issues and find a way to get both Republicans and Democrats to come together on security and DACA,” said McCaul. “I am all for deporting criminal aliens and drug cartel. But a kid with good grades in college, I think we as a country need to show some compassion with these kids.”
A flashback on history
In closing, Congressman McCaul talked about the importance of people uniting together for the greater good instead of the bad. He shared his story of a recent trip he took to Auschwitz and he experienced the worst side of humanity. While on his trip, he saw the gas chambers where the Nazis exterminated so many people; his children at the time thought it was ancient history until they met a survivor who was their age during the Holocaust.
“I tell them, for your father, its only one generation away. It’s a time that can happen again if we don’t stay strong as a country and project peace through strength,” said McCaul. “That is what Regan talked about. That’s what Churchill talked about—weakness invites aggression and appeasement invites aggression. These are principles I believe in from a foreign policy standpoint. I think they stood the test of time and we need to project strength using wisdom as well.”
Congressman McCaul serves Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fayette, Harris, Lee, Travis, Washington, and Waller counties. He is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, chairman of the U.S.-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Group (I.P.G), and serves of co-chair of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus.
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Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.