Rep. Issa Now Opposes Republican Tax Reform Bill, Saying It’s Bad for California

After blaming Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown last week for high California taxes, Rep. Darrell Issa on Tuesday backed away from a Republican plan to end the exemption for state income taxes and large mortgages.

“I cannot endorse changes that may make the tremendous burden felt by California taxpayers even worse,” Issa said. “Tax reform should lower taxes for all taxpayers — regardless of where they live.”

He said he cannot support the Republican tax reform bill in its current form, which would limit the mortgage interest deduction to loans under $500,000 and end the deduction for state income taxes.

“My overriding concern with the current House tax reform proposal is that many Californians who need and deserve tax relief won’t benefit from the current framework, or at worse, may see their tax burden rise as a consequence of certain changes including, but not limited to, the elimination of the state and local income tax deduction,” he said. …

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Dems Launch 2018 Campaign Against 20 Republicans Including Ed Royce and Darrell Issa

130510_darrell_issa_mscott_328Democrats have launched an all-out offensive assault in Blue State California well ahead of the 2018 midterm elections with particular aim taken at increasingly vulnerable House Republicans Rep. Ed Royce, Rep. Darrell Issa, and Rep. Jeff Denham.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on Thursday that it was launching “March into ’18,” a program aimed at taking out Republican members of Congress in 20 districts across the country. Those districts are: CA-10, CA-39, CA-49, CO-06, FL-26, IA-01, IL-06, KS-03, MN-02, MN-03, NE-02, NY-22, NY-24, PA-06, PA-07, PA-08, TX-07, TX-23, TX-32, and VA-02.

Full-time local organizers will be hired in these districts, dedicated to unseating the Republicans. The hiring began on February 1st. The campaign will run ads on Twitter, the social media site that President Donald Trump has used consistently to communicate directly with Americans. The DCCC will target ads at “those that have followed or tweeted about local Women’s Marches, ACA rallies, and other events” according to their own statement. Those ads will direct recipients to local events where they can get involved in Democrat activism.

Issa, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2000, barely squeaked out a win over Democrat challenger Doug Applegate last November. Democrats focused intense effort on unseating the congressman and almost did as the election results-watch was drawn out for days. Ultimately Issa won 50.3 to 49.7 percent according to the California Secretary of State. Royce won over challenger Brett Murdock more comfortably last November, 57.2 to 42.8 percent.

Most DCCC targeted seats are in districts where failed 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the district according to the Orange County Register.

“This is an unprecedented early investment in key Republican-held House districts, in order to engage voters and help make their voices heard. So many people are looking for ways to tell their stories, channel their energy and organize for change, and this project will help do just that,” DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan said upon the announcement.

A dedicated “March into ’18” website and Facebook page have been established to field potential workers for training to “Build events such as house parties and phone banks,” “organize protests and days of action,” and promise events via live stream and social media.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

This piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

Contentious Visa Program Under the Spotlight

130510_darrell_issa_mscott_328With contending pieces of legislation now up for consideration in Congress, California has returned to the national spotlight on one of the most contentious immigration issues — special visas granted by the federal government to attract foreign talent.

Long critiqued by economic nationalists, including some Democrats, the H-1B visa program has been accused of undercutting qualified candidates in key industries who are U.S. citizens. “The H-1B program offers 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign workers who have advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities,” according to Ars Technica. “The visas are awarded by lottery each year. Last year, the government received more than 236,000 applications for those visas.”

With the prestige, economic importance and compensation level attached to those jobs, they have become a focus of reform for allies of President-elect Donald Trump. “Rep. Darrell Issa, one of the highest-profile Republicans in Congress and a supporter of Mr. Trump, said Wednesday in a statement on his website that he is reintroducing a bill designed to ‘stop the outsourcing of American jobs’ and ensure laws are not ‘abused to allow companies to outsource and hire cheap foreign labor from abroad,’” The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill would seek to achieve that outcome by hiking “required salaries for positions granted under the H-1B scheme that replace American workers from $60,000 to $100,000 per year,” according to the Journal.

Bipartisan frustration

In a sign of the cross-cutting partisan interests shaking up some established battle lines on immigration, Issa boasted a Democrat, fellow Californian Rep. Scott Peters, as the co-sponsor of the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act. Silicon Valley, where political allegiances at the end of the Obama era have begun to shift in new ways, has come under attack for its use of H-1Bs. “In 2013, the top nine companies acquiring H-1B visas were technology outsourcing firms, according to an analysis by a critic of the H-1B program,” Ars Technica recalled, noting that Microsoft rounded out the list’s top 10. “The thinking goes that if minimum H-1B salaries are brought closer to what high-skilled tech employment really pays, the economic incentive to use it as a worker-replacement program will drop off.”

But other big California corporations have not been left out of the criticism. “It’s specifically required that there be a shortage” in qualified candidates, Issa said of Southern California Edison, which he attacked for asking “employees being laid off to train their replacements,” as U-T San Diego noted.

“Edison said at the time of the layoffs that it was ‘not hiring H-1B workers to replace displaced employees. Any H-1B visa workers SCE does hire for its own workforce are paid a wage comparable to SCE’s domestic workforce. Disney and a handful of other California companies have been criticized in recent years for similar moves.”

Dueling drafts

Issa and Scott’s path forward has been complicated, however, by legislative competition from one of his fellow California delegates to Congress. “Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Santa Clara County Democrat, warned Thursday that she believes Issa’s bill could undermine Silicon Valley’s job market,” the San Jose Mercury News reported. “That’s because tech companies in a location such as Silicon Valley, where software engineers can command a starting wage of $140,000 a year, might still have incentives to use foreign workers for $100,000, Lofgren said.”

Casting her alternative as a return to the original intent of U.S. visa laws to attract the so-called best and brightest, Lofgen recently announced the details of a draft bill that will circulate formally in several weeks’ time. “Under her plan, employers who pay as much as 2.5 times to three times the prevailing wage in their metro area would get first preference to hire people through the H-1B visa program,” according to the Mercury News. Lofgren has suggested that Issa’s intended fix could leave some problems intact. “Raising the wage from $60,000 to $100,000 would do nothing to prevent the sort of outsourcing abuse we’ve seen under the H-1B visa program,” she warned, according to the paper.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Some big-name California Republicans among Trump delegates

As reported by the Associated Press:

Mitt Romney, John McCain and other prominent Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump, but the billionaire businessman’s list of delegates from California released Monday includes Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House.

Trump’s line-up of delegates also includes Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter and Dennis Revell, a son-in-law of Ronald Reagan.

In California, Republican presidential campaigns select delegates that are awarded in the June 7 primary, based on the outcome of voting in its 53 congressional districts and the statewide tally.

Trump’s list also includes Harmeet Dhillon, vice chair of the California GOP, state Senate GOP leader Jean Fuller, former congressman Doug Ose and former state Sen. Tony Strickland. …

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