This Past Week
On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 4089 , the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012, which will protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. Passing family traditions down from generation to generation and enjoying the outdoors are two key components of our culture in South Louisiana. The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 defends the rights of America’s sportsmen to ensure the heritage of recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting live to see the next generation. The Act protects the right of sportsmen to fish and hunt on federal land without bureaucratic interference. It stops the Obama administration from banning or regulating specific types of ammunition and fishing tackle. The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 ensures some of our nation’s greatest traditions will continue to be passed down to future generations of Americans while keeping Louisiana the ‘Sportsman’s Paradise.’ I was proud to vote in favor of this bill.
On Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 4348 , the Highway Bill. The bill would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for the duration of 2012. Added to the Highway Bill was the Boustany Amendment. The Boustany Amendment is a modified version of H.R. 104, the Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act, bipartisan legislation I introduced. The Amendment ensures revenue coming into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is used and spent for its designated purposes: harbor maintenance and dredging. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, America’s arteries of commerce and job creation are blocked: almost 30 percent of our nation’s ports are hindered because of inadequate channel depths attributed to a lack of proper dredging. This amendment guarantees the total amount available for spending from the HMTF each fiscal year is equal to the HMTF receipts as estimated by the President’s budget for that year. Neglecting our nation’s infrastructure hurts American competitiveness and threatens the viability of our nation’s ports and harbors.
Bill Rase, Director of the Port of Lake Charles added, “Every year channel users pay more than enough money in federal Harbor Maintenance Taxes to pay for the dredging needs of our harbors, but every year the federal government fails to use those funds as they were intended. As a result, our ports are less efficient. The increased shipping costs are passed on to consumers and our products are less competitive in overseas markets. Rep. Boustany’s leadership on this issue is critical to the success of the Port of Lake Charles and the 31,000 jobs that the Port provides.”
On Thursday, the House approved H.R. 9 , the Small Business Tax Cut Act. The bill would allow small businesses with less than 500 employees to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their active business income. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, H.R. 9 would reduce taxes on small businesses by $45.9 billion over ten years. This valuable legislation reduces the tax burden on Louisiana small businesses that employ our friends, families and neighbors. I will continue to support similar legislation to foster a pro-growth environment for small businesses in South Louisiana while encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. As the backbone of our nation’s economy, small businesses drive American job creation and economic growth. The Small Business Tax Cut Act of 2012 provides tax relief to these critically important economic engines enabling them to hire more workers and invest capital toward expanding their enterprises.
Today marks the two year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. South Louisiana continues to remember the eleven lives lost. The difficult and strenuous work these men and women engage in each day is demanding and provides thousands of workers and their families with high paying jobs and benefits. Earlier this week, Deepwater Horizon’s Natural Resource Trustees announced major progress in the Gulf Coast restoration effort. As part of the “ Deepwater Horizon Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment,” an estimated $60 million in restoration projects will begin along the Gulf Coast.I remain committed to working closely with America’s energy producers to ensure safety measures are enhanced and up-to-date. I will continue to support legislation, like the RESTORE Act, aimed at ensuring South Louisiana’s Gulf Coast is returned to its pre-tragedy condition. Restoring the Gulf Coast will take time. However, these steps play a pivotal role in moving our state forward.
Cheniere Energy recently received approval to build a $5 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cameron Parish. This announcement means the first LNG export terminal in the entire country will call Louisiana home. This facility will enable companies to liquefy and export up to 2.2 billion cubic feet or 16 million tons per annum of domestically produced natural gas. I am proud Sabine Pass’ existing LNG terminal in Cameron Parish was chosen as the site to locate these facilities where tens of thousands of jobs, ranging from multi-year construction jobs to natural gas production jobs, will be created. The expansion represents billions of dollars of investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure. Congratulations to Cheniere and I look forward to hearing more positive news about this site and further energy-related economic development in South Louisiana.
I also wanted to inform you about the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s first annual Student Essay Contest on the topic of “Making Democracy Work.” The contest is open to any and all students in either grades 6-8 or 9-12 throughout the country. All entries must be postmarked or received no later than June 15, 2012. There are prizes that will be awarded for first, second, and third place for the winners of each group, the first place prize including a trip to Washington, DC. Click here for more information.
In an effort to spread awareness of issues important to constituents in South Louisiana, I encourage all of you to visit my Facebook page here . Also, I encourage all of you to check the website at: www.boustany.house.gov for the latest on press releases, opinions, and pictures. Please feel free to forward this e-news update to your friends and family!
Charles W. Boustany, Jr. M.D.
Member of Congress