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Monday, April 13, 2015

 10:32 AM 

Sensenbrenner to revive 'USA FREEDOM Act'; Ryan calls for new tax code

OCONOMOWOC -- U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls said he plans to revive his "USA FREEDOM Act" bill that would restrict the National Security Agency's ability to collect data and monitor Americans' phone calls and electronic communication, including social media posts.

Sensenbrenner faulted previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican, for "going too far" in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. "They say that by getting all of it, there might be something relevant that is found. What we should be doing is targeting those people for whom there is a reasonable suspicion that they are involved in terrorist activities, and then going after their phone records and the people they are talking to," he said Saturday at the Wisconsin Conservative Action Conference.

Sensenbrenner said "You're going to hear an awful lot of curious arguments on why we should even consider this law because of the terrorist attacks in Paris and in other places in the world. I will respond to that argument this way: By the admission of the NSA, of the trillions of phone records they have gotten, there has been only one potential terrorist attack against the United States that has been uncovered. While I know that trying to find out what terrorists are doing is somewhat like trying to find a needle in a haystack, the NSA has made the haystack so big, they can't see the forest for the trees."

He said he "hopes there won't be a partisan squabble" that would prevent support from both sides of the aisle for the legislation.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan spoke briefly as well. He repeated his belief that the United States' current tax code is "so thick and so complicated that it gives the Internal Revenue Service way too much subjective power." He said he hopes to "make sure that an IRS agent can never again target someone based on their political beliefs."

Ryan also said "it's an economic imperative that we lower tax rates" for businesses. He said American business tax rate is 35 percent -- "the highest in the world," compared with 15 percent in Canada, 12.5 percent in Ireland, 20 percent in Britain and 25 percent in China.

"We are in a global economy whether you like it or not," he said. "When you tax your businesses at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs, guess what? They win, we lose."

-- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com


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