Press Releases

Lee Statement on Failure of Super Committee

Nov 21, 2011

Even after the failure of the Super Committee, Congress still has an obligation to cut spending, balance the budget, and make the necessary reforms to restrain its ability to do significantly greater damage to our economy. I still believe the principles established in the Cut, Cap, and Balance legislation I introduced earlier this year provide the way forward for Congress to achieve these goals, get its fiscal house in order, and regain our triple-A credit rating.

Senators Demand Details On Kagan’s Health Law ‘Role’

Nov 18, 2011

Members of Congress have been trying to determine whether Justice Elena Kagan has a conflict of interest with respect to participating in litigation in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) due to her involvement with and support for this legislation while a member of the Justice Department.

Republicans Announce Welfare Reform Act of 2011

Nov 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced that he would soon introduce the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 with original cosponsors including U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), and David Vitter (R-Louisiana). Companion legislation has been offered in the U.S. House by U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Over the past two decades the growth in means-tested welfare spending (292%) has outpaced the combined growth of Medicare and Social Security spending (213%) as well as the growth in education (143%) and defense spending (126%). The Welfare Reform Act of 2011 would save $2.43 trillion by 2021 by gradually reducing the costs of the 77 existing welfare programs as unemployment decreases.
Senator DeMint said: “With record levels of federal spending and record levels of Americans in poverty and using food stamps, it’s hard not to conclude that federal welfare programs are failing,” said Senator DeMint. “We don’t help Americans by making them dependent on Washington for a handout, we need more Americans empowered to stand on their own with a job in a vibrant economy. We need to reform our welfare programs to encourage self-sufficiency.  We can also save taxpayers trillions of dollars that they can use to invest in our economy to create jobs and donate to local charities that have better success at lifting Americans out of poverty.”
Senator Vitter said: “One of the most significant substantive accomplishments coming out of the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was welfare reform. But as significant as this reform was, we are overdue to renew welfare reform efforts and make additional gains because the welfare state has grown enormously since then – even factoring out recessions.”
Senator Lee said: "Failure to reform these programs puts them at risk. The spending is unsustainable and it will affect our ability to afford other national priorities. Making reasonable changes today will allow us to avoid much more painful decisions in the future."
Senator Inhofe said: “Our nation’s welfare programs are in desperate need of reform, and this measure provides a good approach.  Welfare programs are costing American taxpayers far too much while providing little benefit beyond keeping individuals and families dependent.  These reforms will empower individuals to improve their situation by encouraging and promoting greater self sufficiency.  It also holds the federal government accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars.  I am pleased to join my colleagues in this effort to improve the situation many Americans have found themselves in during a difficult economy.”
In fiscal year 2011, total government spending on means-tested welfare spending will reach $909 billion per year. Federal spending comprises about three-quarters of this spending at $701 billion, with states contributing an additional $208 billion. This spending spans more than 70 means-tested programs for the poor including health programs like Medicaid and CHIP, housing programs, TANF, food stamps, and education programs, including HEAD Start.


The Welfare Reform Act of 2011 would:


·         Place an aggregate spending cap on all means-tested welfare spending at pre-stimulus 2007 levels (indexed for inflation) effective by 2015 or when unemployment falls below 7.5%.

·         Enforce a spending cap through the budget resolution, and saves $2.43 trillion over 10 years relative to President Obama’s Budget according to the Heritage Foundation.

·         Provide for transparency in our welfare state by requiring the President’s budget to disclose the total means-tested welfare expenditures contained in the 77 existing programs.

·         Require the Secretary of Agriculture to ensure that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) limits the use of food stamps to essential foods, ending the use of food stamps at fast food restaurants.

·         Remove the 13.6% increase in food stamp benefits created by the President’s 2009 Stimulus law.

·         Reallocate $300 million of current welfare spending towards grants to states that successfully reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency.

·         Prevent federal funding of abortion in any of the 77 means-tested welfare programs.

Lee Statement on New Wilderness Recommendations

Nov 14, 2011

Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recommended to Congress that three areas in Utah—Desolation Canyon, Westwater Canyon, and Mill Creek Canyon—be federally designated as "wilderness areas." In response, Senator Mike Lee is reiterating his position on federal land use.

Lee Cosponsors Legislation to Reverse Rule on 'Mini-Unions'

Nov 10, 2011

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today introduced legislation that would reverse the National Labor Relation Board’s recent decision allowing as few as two or three employees to form micro bargaining units, or “mini-unions,” to engage in collective bargaining with employers. Isakson’s legislation, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, has 28 cosponsors.

Lee Introduces Bill to Repatriate Overseas Earnings

Nov 9, 2011

Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced the Rebuilding America Act, legislation that will permanently increase incentives for American companies to invest oversea earnings back in to the U.S. economy. Under Lee’s legislation the effective repatriation tax rate would be set at 5% down from 35%, which is currently the highest in the developed world.

Lee’s Land Conveyance Bills Pass Senate

Nov 3, 2011

Last night, the Senate approved legislation introduced by Senator Mike Lee to authorize the transfer of vacant and virtually unused federal land in Utah to the growing cities of Mantua and Alta. The bills were approved by unanimous consent and represent the first pieces of legislation authored by Senator Lee to pass the full Senate.

Governor Herbert, Utah Congressional Delegation React to Announcement on Hill Air Force Base

Nov 2, 2011

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Utah’s entire congressional delegation, including Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Congressmen Rob Bishop, Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz, today expressed deep concerns with the Air Force’s decision to eliminate jobs at Hill Air Force Base. The Governor and Utah’s delegation sent a letter today to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley detailing their disappointment with the decision. Currently, there are approximately 24,000 employees that work at Hill Air Force Base in various roles.

Lee Co-Sponsors Reform to Eliminate Budget Gimmicks

Nov 2, 2011

Today, Senator Mike Lee will co-sponsor legislation that eliminates the most common budgetary gimmicks used by Congress to hide hundreds of billions of dollars in spending. In the past six years alone, the tricks addressed in the Honest Budget Act (S.1651) have enabled Congress to spend over $350 billion, money that the country simply doesn’t have.

Lee: Failed Motion Shows Commitment to Big Spending Remains

Nov 1, 2011

Today, Senator Mike Lee's motion to maintain certain 2012 spending appropriations at 2011 levels was voted down. The motion would have affected legislation that will authorize funding for several departments, including agriculture, commerce, and transportation.