During a recent trip to Cleveland, 4th U.S. Congressional District Rep. Scott DesJarlais took time to give a legislative update.
He was on his way to meet with the local Farm Bureau.
Recently, DesJarlais has become a co-sponsor for the Fair Tax Act.
DesJarlais said he has always supported a flat tax. However, a bill proposing it was not seeing any movement, so he is supporting the fair tax bill.
“My problem with the fair tax was that it was going to take a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment which allows the government to have an income tax … which this particular legislation does do,” DesJarlais said.
The bill proposes eliminating federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, but creates a federal 23 percent sales tax.
If this bill were passed, the Internal Revenue Service would also be eliminated.
“If you don’t have an income tax or other taxes, you really don’t need the IRS,” DesJarlais said.
He said eliminating the IRS “might be a popular move at this point, given their lack of credibility in the IRS targeting issues,” during which it allegedly singled out conservative groups for undue scrutiny.
As a part of his work on the government reform and oversight committee, DesJarlais has been a part of IRS hearings.
He said many find it hard to believe the agency’s computer hard drives crashed and there are no copies of emails requested by the committee.
“We had hearings last week with the commissioner of the IRS,” DesJarlais said.
He said they asked the IRS commissioner why he told the committee it would get all the emails, when he knew the hard drives had crashed and the data was not available.
DesJarlais said he felt the department would have been able to upgrade its computer system if it had not given an employee raise last year.
As a part of this committee, DesJarlais has also been a part of drafting impeachment documents for Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder for allegedly being in contempt of Congress and not “doing his job when it comes to Lois Lerner and the IRS.”
He said although he doubts the impeachment would pass in the Senate, he felt just having a vote could bring beneficial results. He said the public could “put pressure on the president to have someone who will do their job.”
Illegal immigration of minors into the U.S. is another topic being discussed in Congress.
“It is a problem that has to be solved,” DesJarlais said.
He said there has not been legislation on the issue at this point.
He said currently “they are just trying to find a way to let the border agents get back to their jobs of securing the border rather than, in a sense, babysitting.”
DesJarlais said securing the U.S. border continues to be a need.
Whether to designate more funding to the federal highway fund is also being discussed in Congress.
“They spent all of the money in the first half of the year and now they are wanting more,” DesJarlais said. “My position is that there is a spending problem in Washington, not a revenue problem.”
DesJarlais said he thinks any additional funds needed should come from other areas of the budget, not by raising the gas tax. He said the fund needs to have a long-term plan and solution for meeting the demand.
The congressman also serves on the education and workforce committee. He said the committee has been looking at ways Congress can provide high school students with more dual enrollment opportunities to give them college credits.
The Legislature is also working on passing bills to help veterans get better care through Veterans Affairs medical facilities.
There has been little done by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture committee, of which DesJarlais is a member, since the passage of the farm bill.