House Passes Rep. Doggett's bill to Continue Full FDIC Protection for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts

For Immediate Release
December 1, 2010

Washington—Last night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 6398, a bill authored by U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) to continue full FDIC protection for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA). When an attorney receives funds for use on behalf of a client, those funds are normally placed in a trust account at a financial institution. Many years ago, leaders in the legal community determined that interest could be earned on such accounts and applied to finance legal services for those, who otherwise would have no access to our justice system. For decades, revenue from these Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, called IOLTAs for short, have provided a key funding source for legal assistance in all 50 states. This bill continues full FDIC protection for these trust accounts. This protection, which exists today, would otherwise have expired at the end of this year, when prior law is to be replaced by the extensive new Wall Street reform law. The bill extends existing FDIC protection into the future. The Senate must now act.

“It is these interest bearing trust accounts that currently finance legal services for those who need it most—veterans who have served honorably, domestic violence victims, and persons with disabilities,” said Rep. Doggett. “This bill is supported by a broad range of groups, including the Independent Community Bankers Association and the American Bar Association. This protection also ensures that small independent banks are on a level playing field with their larger competitors in securing trust fund deposits.”

Video of Rep. Doggett’s remarks on the floor of the House are available by clicking here.

U.S. Rep. Doggett Hopes to Reunite Taxpayers with Their IRS Refunds

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced that the IRS has more than 600 undeliverable tax refund checks belonging to taxpayers who filed their returns in Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, and Hays counties.  The checks total about $700,000 and could not be delivered because of mailing address errors.

Taxpayers who locate their name on the IRS Refund List below can use Where’s My Refund? on to check on the status of the missing refund, initiate refund tracers and update their addresses online, 24/7. Taxpayers without internet access can call 1-800-829-1954 to check on a missing refund.

Click here to see the list of individuals due a tax refund check.
U.S. Rep. Doggett Announces Open Enrollment Period for Medicare

Today, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett announced the beginning of the open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries, until December 31, 2010.  It is vital that Medicare beneficiaries use this opportunity to review and make changes to their Medicare plan as this opportunity is only available once each year.

More information on open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries is available at  Or, if you have questions, e-mail Rep. Doggett at

KVUE: Daughter of Late World War II POW Receives Her Father’s Medals

My office recently helped Linda Hutson of South Austin, the daughter of a World War II POW, receive the medals her father earned. I know that sometimes dealing with the federal bureaucracy is a challenge. My office can help when you run into problems on federal issues like Social Security, Medicare, VA claims, and more. Please click here to learn more about how we can help.


When Linda Hutson looks at photos of her late dad, Army Corporal William Earl Shults, the memories are there.

"I just thought my daddy was a skinny kid. I didn't know he had been in a prison camp when some of these pictures were made, just months before,” Linda said.

Corporal Shults was in that prison camp following the infamous Bataan Death March.

The memories were too painful and traumatic for him to share. "I never ever remember my dad speaking about it. I do remember my mother saying, 'Go back to bed. He's having a nightmare about the war'," she added.

Linda wanted to find out more about her dad, who died in 1998.

"People in my days, before the Internet, never had computers and we didn't have the money to hire a high-priced genealogist to study your family," Linda says.

Linda's home is in essence a treasure trove of history. She is kept photos and other reminders of her father so people will remember the sacrifices he made for our country.

A trip to the public library and some help from relatives shed light on Corporal Shults. He was a P.O.W. who was part of the Bataan Death March.

"They would make American soldiers, in order to live, just to be able to keep marching, they'd make you cut the head off of your fellow soldier who went down," said Linda of her dad’s Japanese captors.

Thousands died. Corporal Shults survived.

Further research by Linda revealed her dad received numerous military honors, and only now is Corporal William Earl Shults getting the recognition he deserves.

"She had requested these medals from our office for the first time just a few months ago and so we were fortunate to able to get them rather speedily. I think she had some of the medals in the past but over time he may not have been awarded all the medals," says U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, who presented Shults’ eight medals to Linda, including the Purple Heart.

Linda wants people to remember the past. "We need to know who we come from. We need to know where we've been. We need to know that we are not a free nation automatically. We need to know that people have suffered mightily," she said.

Finally knowing her dad's heroic past brings her closure.

Rep. Doggett Statement on Texas’ Legal Challenge Against U.S. Department of Education

“This is another act of political theatre, reflected in a press release longer than the accompanying legal petition.  Only Governor Perry’s purposeful alteration of the application is temporarily delaying these funds.  Yesterday the Secretary of Education indicated that these funds were being held for Texas, since the Governor has already told the Department that eventually ‘the State envisions submitting an application at a later date that does not contain the conditional assurances.’  He knows what needs to be done to secure this aid; just sign the application form as he did on July 1, 2009.  This struggle is about seeing that the State does not deny aid to education to local schools solely because they have received additional federal aid. The bottom line is this: Federal aid to education should actually aid education in our local Texas schools.  It is almost as if the Governor felt he was entitled to his own blank check federal bailout and now he has the lawsuit to prove it,” said Rep. Doggett.


Rep. Doggett: 6 Months After Health Insurance Reform, Consumers are Beginning to Get Back Control of Their Health Care

On the six-month anniversary of health insurance reform, consumers are beginning to be handed back control of their health care with their own ‘Bill of Rights,’ ending some of insurance companies’ most abusive practices – see excerpts from a recent USA Today article below.  For the Central Texans that I met with recently at the Austin CureSearch walk to support pediatric Cancer research, this means that no longer can an insurance company drop you if you become ill, no longer can children with pre-existing conditions be turned away, no longer can health insurance giants put caps on your lifetime coverage.


Health consumers to start feeling effects

By Alison Young

Page: 8A

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Several key consumer protections under the nation's new health law begin taking effect Thursday — six months after its enactment.

Insurers can no longer set a dollar limit on the amount of care they'll provide over a person's lifetime or deny coverage to sick children. Young adults can stay on their parents' health plans until age 26. And consumers get greater rights to appeal insurers' decisions.

"It's really putting in place long overdue consumer protections," Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with USA TODAY. "It's getting rid of some of the worst rules of the industry that prevented people from getting covered at all or, at a time they needed coverage the most, limited the coverage they had."

Many people, however, will have to wait until Jan. 1 for the changes to help them. That's because most of the new provisions apply to insurance policies that begin on or after Thursday. Many plans operate on a calendar year, and this fall will begin enrollment for next year.

"It's not like a switch gets flipped and everything gets changed on Sept. 23," said Jennifer Tolbert, an associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy group.

Steve Findlay, a senior health policy analyst at the non-profit watchdog group Consumers Union, said consumers need to focus on the law's benefits, "what it does for them and their loved ones — rather than listen to politically driven criticisms and attempts to undermine the law."

What's changing

USA TODAY's Alison Young looks at key provisions of the new health law starting to take effect Thursday. For more information, go to

Keeping young adults covered

  • The basics: Teens and young adults can stay on or be added to their parents' health insurance plan until age 26. They don't need to live with their parents or be financially dependent on them. They can even be married.

Be aware:

  • This right to coverage applies to all types of plans that offer dependent coverage. However, in "grandfathered" employer group plans -- policies that existed before the law and haven't changed substantially -- children are not eligible to go on parents' plans if the children have access to coverage through their own workplace.
  • The basics: Insurers must completely cover a wide range of recommended preventive services -- such as immunizations, mammograms and colonoscopies -- and can no longer charge co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles for them.

Free preventive care

Be aware:

  • This applies only to new plans, not to grandfathered plans.
  • For plans that had limited preventive services, this benefit may contribute to higher premium costs.
  • The basics: New rules prevent insurers from denying coverage to children under age 19 with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or cancer.

Coverage for sick children

Be aware:

  • Insurers may limit when children are signed up to certain open enrollment periods.
  • This does not apply to grandfathered individual plans.
  • Similar protections for adults with pre-existing medical conditions won't begin until 2014. In the meantime, adults with medical conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months can purchase coverage through federal high-risk pools created by the health law this summer.
  • The basics: Insurers no longer can use a mistake or technical error in a consumer's application to cut off their coverage after they get sick.

Protection against canceled coverage

Be aware:

  • Consumers are not protected if they make an intentional misrepresentation of important facts or engage in fraud.
  • In such cases, the insurer must give at least 30 days notice before the plan can be canceled.
  • The basics: The amount a plan will pay in a person's lifetime cannot be capped.

No lifetime coverage limits

Be aware:

  • This applies to all health plans.
  • Insurers must notify people who exceeded their lifetime limits before Sept. 23 that those limits no longer apply.
  • For plans that had lower premium costs because of lifetime limits, this benefit may contribute to higher premium costs.
  • The basics: Insurance companies with annual limits on essential health benefits must provide an increasing amount of coverage. Initially, their annual limit can be no less than $750,000, rising to $1.25 million in September 2011 and $2 million in 2012. Annual limits are prohibited in 2014.

Restrictions on annual coverage limits

Be aware:

  • This applies to new individual and group plans, as well as grandfathered group plans.
  • It does not apply to grandfathered individual plans.
  • It does not apply to "mini-med" plans that provide limited health benefits.
  • The basics: Consumers have the right to appeal insurers' decisions through their plans' internal review processes, as well as to an independent, third-party reviewer.

Greater consumer appeals rights

Be aware:

  • This does not apply to grandfathered plans.
  • Most states already have rules allowing some form of external appeal of insurance problems. The level of protection varies greatly, and states have until next summer to meet all federal standards, or the federal government will run the appeals programs in those states.
  • Residents of Alabama, Mississippi and Nebraska -- states that lack any external appeals law -- will have access to an interim external review process administered by the federal Office of Personnel Management. Consumers in these states who have questions about an external appeal can call 1-877-549-8152 beginning Sept. 23.


Rep. Doggett Defends Federal Student Support for our Students and Universities – the Sparkplugs of Economic Development and Job Growth
Today during a House Budget Committee hearing on the role of the Perkins Loan Program, a need-based student loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education to assist college students in funding their post-secondary education, Rep. Doggett discussed the importance of such student financial aid.  Rep. Doggett stated  “I represent the students and faculty members of Texas State University, UT, St. Eds, HT, and ACC—and whether it is this [Perkins Loan Program] or others, student financial assistance is really important to them,” he said.    

 During his questioning, he also made clear that while he shares the view that in this time of growing deficits, we must be ferreting out wasteful spending, this federal support for education is not where cuts should be made:.   “I have heard this view echoed loudly by some in Texas who seem not only interested in taking America back but taking it backward.  If parents [and states] could shoulder all of these responsibilities, these loan programs wouldn’t have been set up by President Eisenhower and others on a bipartisan basis back in the 1950s.”   

 The witnesses agreed that getting rid of these programs that make post-secondary education attainable for so many would be “disastrous.”


Smithville’s Mike Oldham Awards U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett Legislative White Hat Award on Behalf of Texas Farmers Union


Mike Oldham of Smithville [right] and Steve Maikell of Sweetwater [left] present U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett with the 2010 Legislative “White Hat” Award on behalf of the Texas Farmers Union for Rep. Doggett’s outstanding voting record on behalf of Texas farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. “Congressman Doggett has won this honor consistently through the years for his work on behalf of our families,” said Oldham.   “From plow to plate, it’s critical that we preserve our way of life in rural communities.  From pressing Agriculture Secretary Vilsack last year for timely drought relief  to supporting a strong Farm Bill, I will keep listening to and advancing their priorities,” said Rep. Doggett.

From the Hays Free Press: It takes a Village



Supporters of the ongoing effort to build a one-stop social services campus for Hays County residents gathered this week to review architectural plans for the Village Main building in San Marcos.

The stakeholders’ meeting coincided with an announcement from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett that the non-profit groups behind the village project are in line for a $450,000 federal appropriations grant to go toward construction of the main building, the first on the 22-acre campus at Hunter Road and Reimer Ave. The earmark still must be approved by the Senate.

“That will be money to ensure this project becomes a reality as soon as possible,” Doggett said. “Different organizations are out there doing their work now, but I think they will be even more effective when they are neighbors, being a one-stop service for Hays County citizens who need a little help.”

Hays County non-profit groups involved in the Village project include Community Action, Early Childhood Intervention – Homespun, the Hays County Family Justice Center and the Women,  Infants and Children program.

The Village Main is planned as a 22,000-square-foot complex and will include wings for each of the non-profits, a central common area with a multi-purpose meeting room and a courtyard. The building is expected to cost approximately $3 million of which $1 million has been raised or committed including the expected federal funds, said Nora Linares-Moeller, a Family Justice Center board member involved in the Village project.

The city of San Marcos contributed $500,000. Though times are rough economically, Mayor Susan Narvaiz said, the funding was justified because consolidating non-profits under one roof will save money in the long run.'


“When you have one (project) that is several agencies who would normally compete against each other come together for the sake of efficiency, it deserves our support, and that is what these agencies have done,” Narvaiz said.

Doggett said he takes personal interest in the project, especially in the Hays County Family Justice Center, which helps victims of domestic abuse. He said when he was a state senator he helped obtain funding for a battered women’s center, which eventually became Safe Place in Austin and spurred the creation of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Todd Bennett, principal of TrB Architecture, said Village Main will be built with sustainability in mind. The building will be oriented to maximize natural lighting using rows of windows above eye-level. Native plants will be used in landscaping to limit the need for irrigation and the courtyard will feature a rain garden, which will slow storm water runoff, he said.

Village Main will be the first building clients encounter at the entrance to the Village Campus. The campus will include a food bank, nature center, playground and the Christian Federation of Police Officers youth sports fields, which are already in place on the far east side of the campus.

Riemer Avenue will run through the center of the campus to the sports fields. Bennett said his company aimed to make the campus as friendly and welcoming as possible by utilizing the road.

“We looked at bringing the building to the street so it really has a presence,” Bennett said. “We acknowledged that a lot of people will come to this campus by car, but many will come by bus, so we envisioned Riemer being a main street that gives the campus its whole identity and feeling.”

Linares-Moeller said the project will be complete in about two years and is still in the fundraising stage. Stakeholders are currently sending requests for grants and asking individuals for donations, she said.


Rep. Lloyd Doggett Appears on Good Day Austin

Rep. Lloyd Doggett joins Good Day Austin to discuss his efforts to ensure more accountability for federal spending. He has been seeking to ensure that new federal aid to education be used to aid education and not simply to replace state resources that are then diverted to other purposes. Governor Rick Perry's deliberate alteration of an application for $830 million in new federal education funding recently caused the U.S. Department of Education to reject his improper request. As Rep. Doggett explains in an earlier statement, 'Texas still has the potential to access federal funds that the Department continues to hold for local Texas schools... This struggle is not about more spending; it is about ensuring that the federal spending we already have is used for the purpose for which it is intended—in this case strengthening public education. It is not about forcing the State to spend more, but only about seeing that the State does not deny aid to education to local schools solely because they have received additional federal aid.’

Rep. Doggett also notes that at this time of economic uncertainty, he supports extending the Bush Tax Cuts for middle class families and is eager for Congress to approve legislation to continue necessary government operations in a fiscally responsible manner before promptly concluding this Session.

Austin Chronicle Readers Name Lloyd Doggett “Best Elected Official” for 2010

In their annual “Best of Austin” ratings, Austin Chronicle readers have named Lloyd Doggett Best Elected Official for 2010 “As U.S. Representative for Central Texas, Doggett keeps actively connected to the community and personally invested in education, health care, and volunteer service,” they said. “No matter how hard the Republicans try to gerrymander his district or sideline him in Congress, our Democratic supercongressman has remained a firm voice for health care and education on Capitol Hill, and a constant presence at community events throughout his district.  His latest victory? Forcing Gov. Rick Perry to act like a real governor concerning education funding. Score one for the federal government.”

During four previous years, readers of the Austin Chronicle have named him “Best Elected Official,” and during another year he was named “Best Unsung Hero.”  “With a number of able officials in Central Texas, this is tough competition.  I am most appreciative,” said Doggett.

Congressman Doggett's Remarks at the 2010 Lockhart National Night Out

As I continue to listen and visit with families in Central Texas, I was pleased to participate in another town-hall meeting, this time at the National Night Out in Lockhart. As was evident by the great turnout this year down at City Park and then over to Bill and Dorothy Buckner’s annual gathering, there are many reasons to take prid...e in the Lockhart community and the rest of Caldwell County. And, certainly the security of our neighborhoods and the professionalism of the men and women in the Lockhart and Luling Police Departments, led by Chief Mike Lummus and Chief Bill Salas, are at the top of that list. While it is easy to be brave from a distance, our law enforcement officers know bravery up close. The spirit of National Night Out is to show that our police officers are not alone in fighting crime – that we all must work together – house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood, to keep our streets safe. I will continue working to ensure our police in small towns across Central Texas have state of the art technology to fight crime While most of my time was devoted to listening to residents, you can hear my remarks (over the sound of the cicadas!) after the introduction of Lockhart Chief of Police Mike Lummus by clicking here.

Congressman Doggett Visits With Capital Area Food Bank

This video is a great illustration of the good work that both the Capital Area Food Bank and Boys and Girls Club do helping many local children get good, nutritious meals over the summer while school is out of session. On a hot afternoon, I enjoyed visiting with the kids and the devoted staff working with them in this important endeavor.  It was another reminder of the importance of federal support for our local food banks, which are vital to the well being of thousands of our neighbors.  To watch a video of my visit, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Speaks at Austin’s Data Foundry Groundbreaking

(Note: The first minute of this video has no sound, but my introduction and remarks begin shortly thereafter.) Attending a Groundbreaking for the groundbreaking visionaries, Ron and Carolyn Yokubaitis. They dreamed of the potential of Data Foundry and now they are expanding to this Data Ranch with careful planning and the dynamic team working for them. The success achieved here in Central Texas is remarkable. In 1994, Data Foundry—as Texas-dot-net— imagined the Internet's potential to transform the way we work and live as few others did. With bold risk-taking and smart execution, this company has grown from a fledgling start-up to an international high-tech leader. I was happy to take part in the groundbreaking of the premier greenfield data center in Texas.  To see my remarks, please click here.

President Obama Discusses Congressman Doggett’s ‘More Education’ Tax Credit in Speech at University of Texas

When President Obama addressed thousands at UT this week, I appreciated his focus on making education more affordable for students and their families.  This is certainly a concern on which we have complete agreement, even though we have differing views on some other major national issues.  And I especially appreciated his comments on the near $14 billion “More Education” targeted tax cut, which I authored.  It encourages those, who want to further their education and gain more job skills.  Those who spend up to $2,500 for tuition, textbooks and course materials, can take $2,500 off their federal tax bill.  I look forward to working with him to ensure that this tax cut is expanded and continued. To see an excerpt of the President’s discussion of my “More Education” tax credit, please click here.  If you would like to hear President Obama’s remarks at the University of Texas in their entirety, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Statement on Senate-passed Education Language to Keep Federal Education Dollars in Texas Schools

We have listened to the needs of parents and school leaders across Texas, we overcame the opposition of the Obama Administration, and we are writing into federal law a requirement that federal education dollars not be diverted again from local schools.

There is no Constitutional limitation on doing right by our Texas schoolchildren.  The obligation that this amendment places on Texas is to spend new education dollars on education purposes.  Our schoolchildren deserve no less.  And that is why this approach has enjoyed the support of the Texas Association of School Boards and statewide groups representing teachers, principals, and school administrators from across the State.

Compliance is very easy, unless there remains a hidden Republican agenda to avoid accountability and to engage in more of the shenanigans of last year, which replaced state education dollars with federal dollars, leaving our schools no better off than if we had done nothing.  Instead of concocting phony legalistic arguments to deny our local schools the funds that they so desperately need, Governor Perry should join with us in support of public education.

To get a better understanding of what is happening, please read:

  • “Texas to Sue if Congress Restricts School Funds” in the San Antonio Express News by clicking here.
  • “Doggett Rejects GOP Leadership Arguments and Seems to Hold All the Cards” from The Quorum Report by clicking here.
  • “Doggett: Keep School Funds in Schools” from the Austin Chronicle by clicking here.
Congressman Doggett Targets Multinationals’ Tax Dodging “Shenanigans”

Today, in the Ways and Means Committee, we addressed a topic that tends to make even the most thoughtful citizens’ eyes glaze over. It’s a topic that is boring for the multitude, but it’s billions for those who exploit our complex tax system.  It concerned the way some multinationals avoid taxes and shift the burden of paying for our national security, our homeland security, and other public services on to the small businesses and family taxpayers who play by the rules and cannot engage in such international shenanigans.  To see my opening statement at today’s hearing, please click here.

To see one of the best examples of why we need today’s hearing, you can view a brief ABC News investigative report by Jesse Drucker for Bloomberg News, by clicking here.

Congressman Doggett Continuing Work to Make All Levels of Government More Accessible

Making all levels of government more accessible to the people they represent has been one of my number one concerns in Congress.  Specifically, I have worked hard to open-up the process for both federal direct and indirect spending.  My latest effort, working with the Sunlight Foundation and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Levin, has been to change the secretive process that has governed prior Miscellaneous Tariff Bills, known today as the Manufacturing Enhancement Act, by creating an official public database on Ways and Means’ website that identifies the Congressional sponsor of each provision, the provision’s beneficiaries, the lobbyists involved, and the cost to the taxpayer.   Now, any citizen can look up the details of the bill, learn who the losers and winners are, and see who pushed them over the finish line. To see my remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of such transparency, please click here.

Congressman Doggett has been a long-time advocate of open government—of making all levels of government more accessible to the people they represent.  As a Texas State Senator, he sought more public participation and open decision-making, as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court, his work to make some of the workings of our justice system more open, won him a James Madison Award by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, and the First Amendment Award from the National Society of Professional Journalists.

Congressman Doggett: Social Security at 75 years is More Important and More Necessary Now, Than Ever

There is every reason to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security, but unfortunately resistance from various forces to Social Security has lasted more than 75 years and continues to this day—it just changes forms and tactics.  Ensuring that our grandchildren have the same protection as our grandparents do today must remain a goal.  Today, I questioned Nancy Altman, the Co-Director of Social Security Works on how we can work together to maintain the essential role Social Security plays in the lives of American families as they face retirement, disability, or the death of a bread-winner not just today, but far into the future.  To listen to this questioning, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Speaks in Favor of Wall Street Reform and Its Important Protections for Families

Today I spoke in favor of the Wall Street Reform bill.  If you are mugged on the street, you’ll lose the contents of your wallet, but if you are mugged by Wall Street, you can lose the savings of a lifetime. This bill arms families with more ways to protect themselves.  In my speech, I did acknowledge that this bill should have done much more about those Wall Street interests that are paid too much, taxed too little, and whose immense power continues to threaten our economic stability.  But with stubborn opposition from both Senate Republicans and the Treasury Department to other, more complete reforms, we at least make significant strides forward in offering consumer protection that Americans deserve.  To watch my full remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett: We Want to Keep America the Best Democracy, Not the Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent in a misguided court case freeing corporations to engage directly in political activity that had long been prohibited, including financing their own campaign commercials.  In response, the House today will vote on legislation, the Disclose Act, which requires stricter disclosure requirements on such political activity.  I spoke in support of the bill, stating “This is a vote for a fully informed, fully empowered American people. We want to keep America the best democracy, not the best democracy money can buy. This bill stops a tobacco company from masquerading as a phony ‘healthcare coalition’; a Wall Street bank from promoting another bailout as a ‘consumer alliance’; and a polluter claiming it is ‘citizens for clean air and clean beaches’ while attacking those seeking to hold it accountable.” To listen to my full remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett: Solving the National Debt Crisis Must Include Rigorous Scrutiny of Tax Breaks

I have been trying to put a stop to the unchecked growth of tax breaks and to slow our growing National debt.  I am concerned about spending—whether through the Appropriations Act or the Tax Code. We need to closely examine both types of expenditures to ensure that each is effective, efficient and truly necessary. As we continue seeking ways to reduce the deficit, I look forward to hearing from you.  I believe that closing tax loopholes is an important way to protect the Treasury and better avoid raising taxes on working families.  You may view my exchange with Jeffrey Liebman, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Management and Budget by clicking here.

Congressman Doggett calls on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to Take Steps Necessary to Prevent Identity Theft

44 million Americans are carrying in their wallet or purse something that makes them more vulnerable to identity theft: their Medicare card.  Apart from the Social Security card itself, the Medicare card is the most frequently issued government document containing a person’s Social Security number and displaying such information on Medicare cards unnecessarily places millions of individuals at-risk for identity theft.  In 2008, the House of Representatives passed without objection my bill, the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act, which requires Medicare to take steps that private companies and other government agencies have already taken to protect the identities of seniors by removing the display of Social Security numbers on Medicare cards.  Unfortunately, this important step to protect America’s seniors has not been taken.  To see my questioning of the Director of Medicare Program Integrity at the CMS, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Questions Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke

Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified to our House Budget Committee regarding his views on the state of our economy.  One of the measures that we discussed was H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund bill.  I also raised the alarming fact, according to a New York Times article today, that “The Federal Reserve, six months into a compensation review of the country’s 28 largest financial companies, has found that many of the bonus and incentive programs that economists say contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression remain in place.”  I voted against the bank bailouts.  To see this questioning, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Developing More Effective Oversight of Tax Dollars

An important part of budget discipline is ensuring we are spending our precious tax dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible.  This means careful scrutiny of not only our spending programs, but also tax provisions to ensure we get the most “bang-for-the-buck.  As a small first step, I authored a study of expiring tax expenditures (“tax spending”) to ensure they are still necessary and are functioning as Congress intended.  This study was included in legislation that recently passed the House of Representatives. You can read more about this initiative by clicking here

Congressman Doggett on Judicial Vacancies in Texas

The Austin American-Statesman recently posted a letter to the Editor I wrote in response to an editorial about the judicial nomination process and alarming fact that one in eight federal trial courts, which consider 99 percent of cases never heard by the Supreme Court, are vacant—six in Texas. To read my letter to the editor, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Joins Students from Across Central Texas to Salute Historic Investments In Higher Education

As I discussed with students from across Central Texas at the downtown Austin campus of ACC (which was long the home of my old high school), the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act invests in our future through a historic commitment to students. The need is great with the number of those receiving financial aid today because of skyrocketing costs having grown by 34% at UT alone in less than a decade. While this investment won't solve all financial challenges, it is a major step forward. Texas students will receive almost $2.5 billion more this decade. To hear my remarks at ACC, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Calls for Approval of Measure to Create Jobs and Level the Playing Field for American Companies

Today, on the House floor, I spoke in favor of the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act, which includes provisions to spur investment in local rebuilding projects and to help our small businesses grow, fueling our Central Texas economy. Specifically, the bill includes a measure that I authored to crack down on foreign corporations using tax havens to dodge American taxes. I have been an outspoken opponent of offshore tax abuse. In addition to my bill, Fairness in International Taxation, on which this measure is based, I also introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (STOP Act), comprehensive legislation to curb abuse of offshore tax shelters that cost taxpayers nearly $100 billion a year. The STOP Act was incorporated in part into the HIRE Act, which was recently signed into law. To hear my remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett: A Jobs Bill Ought to Create Jobs

Today, the House of Representatives considered legislation intended to create jobs. In these difficult economic times, we should encourage the growth of American jobs, and it is also important that we get the most for every tax expenditure. But, as I noted in a House floor speech today, this provision does too little to create jobs and costs too much. I am very concerned that this credit will end up simply rewarding select companies for doing what they would have done anyway, and provide no help to their struggling competitors that are doing all they can simply to avoid laying off employees. Our economic recovery measures should be as effective and efficient as possible, and I do not believe this tax credit meets this test.

To see my full remarks, please click here. To see a visual aid showing who benefited the most from "worker" assistance legislation, please click here.

Congressman Doggett: “We Must Turn the Volume Down on Hate”

Today, I introduced a resolution strongly condemning the terror attack on IRS employees, recognizing Vernon Hunter, who was killed in the attack, and saluting the service of those first responders and employees who kept this event from becoming an even larger tragedy.

During my speech, I discussed the Facebook page opened in tribute to the attacker and the comments on the web and elsewhere that characterized his violence "heroic." Let us be clear: There is nothing noble about this terror. Any expression to the contrary deserves our condemnation. Like the larger-scale tragedy in Oklahoma City, this was a cowardly act of domestic terrorism.

We must turn the volume down on hate. In our country there is room for wide political discourse and vigorous disagreement. Our democracy thrives on it. But there is no room for violence or the dangerous incitement to violence. Change will come through ballot boxes, not bullets. Let us speak with a strong, unequivocal voice renouncing this attack. We reject the path of hate; and we reject the call to violence.

To see a video of Congressman Doggett's remarks on the floor on the need to reject the path of hate and the call to violence, please click here. To see a video of Congressman Doggett's opening remarks, please click here. 

Congressman Doggett Recognizes Life of Victim of Austin Suicide Attack, Vernon Hunter, During Questioning of Treasury Secretary Geithner

During a House Budget Hearing today, Congressman Lloyd Doggett recognized the life of Vernon Hunter, who was killed last Thursday in the suicide attack on IRS employees in Austin. Before beginning his questioning of U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner, Doggett observed, "Certainly the professionalism of the IRS employees there, the help of a good Samaritan and our first responders were vital in minimizing the loss of life [in Austin]. Some of the responses to that attack have been nothing short of appalling. The terror caused by a suicide attack on this public building certainly didn't involve any heroism by the attacker. Because terror knows no discrimination, it is, as you know from meeting with his widow, particularly tragic that Vern Hunter, who provided 48 years of public service, almost 30 at the IRS, and two tours of service with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, was killed."

To see Congressman Doggett's comments and Secretary Geithner's response, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Introduces Wall Street Bankers Bonus Tax Act

Every American knows about the speed limit. We proposed a Wall Street bankers tax for those exceeding the greed limit. In advance of President Obama's announcement of a fee on the nation's biggest banks, I announced a separate initiative that applies a 50-percent tax on Wall Street bank bonuses in excess of $50,000 paid by TARP-recipient firms: The Wall Street Bonus Tax Act. This measure would not apply to local community banks, since they did not cause the financial crisis. To see my full remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett: We Need a Cop on the Beat to Protect Working Families Who Are Too Important To Fail

On the floor of the House of Representatives, I expressed my strong support for the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, as envisioned by former U.T. Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. Today, we have the opportunity to create a new squad of financial cops who will work to protect those living on Main Street from the greed we've seen from Wall Street. Congress finally has the chance to stand up not for the banks they said were ‘too big to fail,' but for America's working families, who are far too important to fail, and that is exactly what I urged my colleagues to do. To see my full remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Calls for Tax Justice for Working Families, Level Playing Field for Small Businesses

On the floor of the House of Representatives, I voiced my strong belief that before Congress ask working families to pay more in taxes, we must question why Congress has done so little to crack down on special interests getting special treatment, and to prevent billions of dollars in corporate tax avoidance. Furthermore, I called on my colleagues to further scrutinize all tax expenditures, even the most popular, at least as closely as Congress looks at direct spending measures before it writes the check. Next year, America deserves a little more tax justice and a more level playing field for small businesses that cannot take advantage of all the dodges available to their multinational competitors. To see my remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett on the Medicare Physician Repayment Reform Act

Today on the House Floor, I spoke in strong support of the Medicare Physician Repayment Reform Act-a bill that is about more than the reasonable desire of physicians for reimbursement rates that cover their actual costs and fairly compensate their work; it is about access to quality health care and strengthening seniors' ability to choose the doctor best for them. Today is one time that the ‘just say no' party ought to say ‘yes' to this good policy, which is supported by the Texas Medical Association and medical associations across the country. To hear my full remarks, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Sounds the Horn at Austin Race for the Cure

I sounded the horn at Austin's Race for the Cure-and what an inspiring gathering it was. Each person who took part, each dollar raised, each step taken represents our collective response to the scourge of breast cancer. Since my wife Libby and I co-chaired this race nine years ago, the event has almost quadrupled in size and moved to this year's new location so that even more could participate. I was also pleased that my office ran this year as "Team Doggett." With our many small steps, we can make great strides. We're walking so that one day together we can finally defeat breast cancer-one step, one mile, one dollar, one team at a time.

Congressman Doggett Supports Single Largest Investment in College Aid in American History; Funds will Expand Access to Affordable Education for Central Texas Students

With families struggling in this difficult economy, it's more important than ever that we work hard to expand educational opportunities for Central Texas students. I spoke in support of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act-the single largest investment in college aid in American history, at no cost to taxpayers. This bill corrects both the budget deficit and the "opportunity deficit" - when students cannot reach their God-given potential because of financial barriers. By eliminating the unnecessary middleman role of private financial institutions, eliminating the red tape, and lending directly to students, the federal government will have more money for our students and more resources left over to reduce the national debt. Investing in our students is an investment in America's future. To see a video of my floor remarks, click here.

Congressman Doggett Urges Return to Fiscal Responsibility

On the House floor, I urged my colleagues to support the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act. This bill is an important step to restore the kind of fiscal discipline abandoned in 2002. If we have any hope to invest in the vital priorities that are critical to our economic future, including health care, education, and clean energy policies, we must make these tough choices and begin bringing down our crippling deficit. A vote for fiscal security is a vote for national security, and the quickest way back to American economic prosperity. To see a video of my floor statement, please click here.

Congressman Doggett Discusses Importance of Prioritizing Expenses and Fiscal Responsibility with OMB Director Peter Orzag at House Budget Committee Hearing

Addressing our nation's education, health care, and law enforcement needs is vitally important to our economy, to keeping America competitive in the 21st Century, and to keeping our citizens safe. Congress and the Administration should work together to ensure a more fiscally responsible pay-as-you-go government. To hear my discussion about prioritizing expenses and fiscal responsibility with Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag, click here.

House Passes Congressman Doggett’s Wounded Veteran Job Security Act

On June 8, the House passed my Wounded Veteran Job Security Act to ensure no wounded veteran ever has to make the decision between getting well and getting paid. The bill amends existing law to establish the right of veterans who receive treatment for illness, injuries, and disabilities incurred in, or aggravated by, uniformed service to the United States to be retained by their employers. This bill is important to our commitment to our nation's veterans because battlefield injuries often don't end on the battlefield, and neither should our commitment to wounded warriors. The legislation is supported by many organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fleet Reserve Association, and Disabled American Veterans. Click here for video of my remarks on the House Floor about the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act.

Congressman Doggett Questions Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on Fed’s Emergency Lending Powers, Calls for Accountability and Transparency

As a member of the Budget Committee, I questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on its emergency lending powers and expressed my concerns that the Fed is lending large amounts of public money, mostly through this power, with little transparency or accountability.

I understand that while independence and secrecy may be important to the Fed's normal operations, this use of expansive emergency powers relying on a vague statutory provision - not used in about seven decades - is not normal. To many observers, the Fed has sprung into action through the back door as a way to avoid another request to Congress for public funds through the front door. I will continue to press the Federal Reserve for safeguards for the taxpayer, and I will continue to insist on shining the bright light of transparency on this process. Click here for a video clip of my questions for Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke.

Doggett Bill to Help Wounded Vets Headed to House Floor

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs has approved the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act. This bill changes existing employment law to ensure that veterans are able to keep their jobs when they seek medical treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Congressman Doggett introduced the bill in response to concerns from veterans in his district that were in danger of losing their jobs because treatment for wounds suffered on active duty have exceeded the maximum number of absences allowed to all employees by the employer.

Praise for Efforts to Close Tax Havens

President Obama recently recognized the leadership of Congressman Lloyd Doggett for his work to close tax loopholes and end the use of tax havens. To view a video of the President's remarks click here.

In response to the President's remarks, Congressman Doggett said "Tax haven abuse ships both American jobs and tax dollars overseas. With White House leadership, we can finally win approval of our legislation to shut down offshore tax cheats. Restoring tax fairness means working Americans and small businesses won't have to cover for well-heeled tax dodgers. I am pleased that President Obama is making this a priority."

Congressman Doggett has introduced HR 1265, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, to curb efforts to evade taxes by hiding money in offshore tax havens. HR 1265 was previously endorsed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee. Click here to view a video of Congressman Doggett's exchange with Secretary Geithner.

Congressman Doggett Demands Tax Fairness from Corporations that Hide Income in Overseas Tax Shelters

As a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I questioned U.S Treasury officials and tax law experts about banking secrecy practices that allow the very wealthy to conceal more than $1.5 trillion in offshore tax havens.

These tax havens cost ordinary taxpayers up to $50 billion a year in lost revenue, roughly half of the total estimated tax gap caused by corporate and individual overseas tax evasion. It strikes at the fundamental fairness of the tax code for the very wealthy to dodge taxes being paid by every firefighter, police officer, and small business owner in Central Texas.

You can watch my discussion of these issues online by clicking here.

Appropriations Requests to Meet the Needs of Central Texans

Onion Creek Flood Control and Ecosystem Restoration
Lower Colorado River Authority
PO Box 220
Austin, TX 78767
Amount Requested: $10 million
This area continues to experience frequent flooding, and this project will help prevent future costly repairs and clean-ups. This request echoes President Obama's request in his budget this year for $10 million to provide the long-overdue support necessary to conclude the relocation of families out of this dangerous area.

Buda Police Department Technology and Equipment
City of Buda
PO Box 1218
Buda, TX 78610
Amount Requested: $50,000
This funding will allow the new Buda Police Department to purchase necessary communication, traffic, and law enforcement technology and equipment. These investments will enable the Department to more efficiently and effectively serve Buda's growing population.

Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC) Health Information Technology
Austin Travis County Integral Care
1430 Collier St
Austin, Texas 78704
Amount Requested: $250,000
These funds will allow ATCIC to upgrade its electronic health record technology and bring the system in line with emerging federal standards. These technology upgrades will improve the quality of services, and thereby improve the treatment and health of the thousands in Central Texas, who receive services from ATCIC.

ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training)
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $2 million
ALERRT offers a well-respected, proven program to train our National Guard troops by improving their response in active shooter situations. Officers that responded to the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting had been trained by ALERRT.

SafePlace Outreach and Service Provider Program
P. O. Box 19454
Austin, Texas, 78760
Amount Requested: $400,000
These funds will support Austin-based SafePlace's outreach efforts to educate persons with disabilities about their health and personal safety. SafePlace will also train service providers to supplement and reinforce these important efforts.

Austin Urban Rail Alternatives Analysis
City of Austin
PO Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767
Amount Requested: $500,000
The analysis provided by this funding will help determine the best way to improve transit mobility in the City's core and between its employment and activity centers.

St. Edwards University Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Equipment
St. Edward's University
3001 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704
Amount Requested: $1.1 million
St. Edwards University will use these funds to purchase laboratory equipment to enhance research and student learning in chemistry, biology, bioinformatics, mathematics, physics, and computer science.

Center for Hetero-Functional Materials
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $2 million
As conventional semiconductor manufacturing technology matures, new materials to create single-chip-devices are needed for a wide range of applications, including national security. The Center will combine federal funds with state funds to acquire additional research scientists, equipment, infrastructure improvements, technicians, and technical staff in the physics, chemistry, engineering and biology departments. In addition to defense uses, the Center's research offers potential health, energy, and environmental benefits.

City of Smithville Police Department Technology and Equipment
Smithville Police Department
105 NW Fourth Street
Smithville, TX 78957
Amount Requested: $50,000
This funding will enable the Smithville Police Department to better ensure community security by upgrading department patrol, communication, and information-sharing technology. The improvements will better protect Smithville officers and residents while enhancing law enforcement efficiency.

San Marcos Storm Water Abatement Project
City of San Marcos
630 East Hopkins
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $1.25 million
The spring-fed San Marcos River offers one of rarest aquatic ecosystems found in the United States, but it is in danger of contamination by storm water drains that dump water from city streets directly into the river. This project will provide water quality enhancement for storm water runoff, improving the water drainage system by replacing the aging infrastructure that allows untreated runoff to make its way to the river.

Hays Health, Wellness, and Domestic Violence Center
Hays County
110 E. MLK Dr.
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $500,000
The funds will support the planning, design, and construction of a one-stop center at the Village Main in San Marcos of a center to provide medical, counseling and other services to domestic violence victims.

Regional Tactical Operations Command Center
City of San Marcos
630 East Hopkins
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $500,000
These funds will be used to establish a Regional Tactical Operations Command Center, a mobile operations center capable of responding to critical, in-progress tactical situation in Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Blanco Counties. During such tactical operations, the center will serve as a place for tactical and strategic planning, intelligence gathering, monitoring of crisis negotiations, mapping, and tactical communications.

Texas State University Grosvenor Center
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $500,000
This funding, in coordination with the National Geographic Society, will support an innovative, technology-based, professional development series for teachers. The program has research and educational components, giving participants understanding of watershed issues and tools to help solve watershed problems.

University Math and Science Center
Huston-Tillotson University
900 Chicon Street
Austin, TX 78747
Amount Requested: $500,000
These funds will help develop the Math and Science Center at Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black institution. The program helps reverse the decline in scientists and mathematicians by focusing on matriculating undergraduates in these disciplines and supporting after school education programs for middle and high school students to help them pursue college training in these fields.

San Marcos Alternative Transit Project
City of San Marcos
630 East Hopkins
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $500,000
Funds will allow the City of San Marcos to conduct an alternatives analysis as part of City's efforts to serve downtown and Texas State University with the development of a Transportation Oriented District for mass transit, commuter rail and associated residential and commercial facilities.

Hays-Travis Trail Conservation
Hill Country Conservancy
PO Box 163125
Austin, TX 78716
Amount Requested: $750,000
Existing trails in the Austin area are often filled to capacity by neighbors seeking exercise and an opportunity to share the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. This project will create five miles of cycling and pedestrian trails in public lands in Hays and Travis Counties, providing new transportation options, attracting tourism, and encouraging opportunities for area small businesses.

Center for Entrepreneurial Action
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $300,000
This funding advances economic development by helping start-up companies and small businesses with assistance and training directed to regional entrepreneurs and inventors.

Luling Police Department Technology and Equipment
City of Luling Police Department
1800 E. Pierce St.
Luling, TX 78648
Amount Requested: $50,000
This funding will enable the Luling Police Department to enhance community security with improved patrol and dispatch equipment. With these tools, the Department will be better able to coordinate with nearby law enforcement agencies to serve the Luling community.

San Marcos Aquatic Education Center
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Amount Requested: $500,000
Funding will support the design, planning, and construction of an Aquatic Education Center in San Marcos. The Center will preserve and educate the community members about a unique natural and cultural resources in the United States, Spring Lake, located on the campus of Texas State University.

Transportation Requests to Meet the Needs of Central Texans

Capital Area Trail System -- $5,856,800
Design, plan, and construct a trail system in Travis and Hays Counties.

City of Lockhart State Highway 142 Improvement Project -- $800,000
Design, plan, and construct drainage and other improvements on State Highway 142 in Lockhart.

South East Travis County Onion Creek Trail Project -- $2,000,000
Design, plan, and construct trails along and near Onion Creek.

San Marcos Northern Corridor Project -- $2,000,000
Complete a trail near Texas State University.

San Marcos Loop 82 Rail Road Overpass Project -- $7,000,000
Construct railroad grade separation on Loop 82 at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing in San Marcos.

Bastrop Trail Expansion Project -- $1,000,000
Design, plan, and construct a trail system along the Colorado River in the City of Bastrop.

Downtown San Marcos Streetscape Improvement Project -- $2,000,000
Renovate, design, plan, and construct pedestrian and drainage improvements in the San Marcos business district.

Ladybird Lake Trail Improvement Project -- $15,000,000
Design, plan, and construct improvements to and expansion of the Lady Bird Lake trail in Austin. This project will help to complete and improve the trail around Lady Bird Lake and expand it along the Waller Creek tributary to the Lake.

Surfacing of Caldwell County Roads -- $840,000
Surface County Roads 159 and 179 in Caldwell County.

Water Project Requests to Meet the Needs of Central Texans

Onion Creek Flood Control

To allow the City of Austin to be reimbursed for spending local funds above and beyond what is required for local governments in order to relocate families out of the Onion Creek flood zone.

San Marcos Storm Water Abatement Project
To ensure that pollutants and sediment are removed and prevented from flowing into the San Marcos River.

San Marcos River Bank Stabilization
To stabilize the eroding San Marcos River bank and provide new entry and exit points that can be used for recreational purposes by swimmers and other visitors to the San Marcos River.

Redevelopment of Gills Branch Tributary
Redevelopment of the Gills Branch tributary of the Colorado River in the City of Bastrop, including planning, design, and construction of drainage improvements.

Surface Water Treatment Plant
Planning, design, and construction of a surface water treatment plant in the City of Bastrop to serve the community's growing water needs.

Simsboro Aquifer Water Source Feasibility
Study of the Simsboro Aquifer to assess the feasibility of using the aquifer as a new water source for Bastrop residents.