Press Releases

Lee Introduces Free-Market Energy Reform

May 1, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill that restores free-market competition to America’s energy sector by eliminating all tax credits for both renewable and traditional energy sources.  The “Energy Freedom & Economic Prosperity Act” also reduces tax rates to ensure no new burdens are added to the responsible development of America’s energy resources.  Sen. Lee’s bill is a companion to legislation originally sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo in the House, which has 34 cosponsors. 

“Washington should not be using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers in the energy industry,” said Lee. “Consumer-driven, free-market competition provides a much better way to ensure Americans have access to reliable, affordable energy. The Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act would level the playing field for all energy producers, forcing them to compete for consumer dollars rather than political favors.”

Congressman Mike Pompeo said: “American families shouldn’t have to subsidize energy companies when they’re having trouble enough paying their utility bills. Companies should have customers, not political patrons. With Sen. Lee’s leadership in the Senate on this important measure, we can eliminate insider deals on energy policy and save money for families across the country.”

The “Energy Freedom & Economic Prosperity Act” has received support from the American Energy Alliance, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the Club for Growth, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Freedom Action, Heritage Action, National Taxpayers Union, 60 Plus Association, and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Lee’s Opening Statement at Comcast-Time Warner Hearing

Apr 9, 2014

Today Senator Mike Lee delivered the following opening statement in the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Hearing on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger.

Lee Plans to Offer Amendment to End Comp-Time Discrimination Against Private-Sector Employees

Apr 8, 2014

When the Senate moves to the Fair Pay Act, Senator Mike Lee plans to propose an amendment that would give private-sector employers the ability to offer their employees the option of compensation time or overtime pay.

Lee Files Amendments to Create Jobs, Make Higher-Ed More Accessible, and Improve Work-Life Balance

Apr 1, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee filed three amendments to a Senate bill being considered this week that would extend the time people have to collect unemployment insurance beyond six months.  The amendments continue Senator Lee’s push to enact solutions to problems in the Obama economy by focusing on job creation, accessibility of higher education and training, and improving work-life balance. 

The first amendment is modeled after Sen. Lee’s Transportation Empowerment Act (S. 1702) and would significantly reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens the federal government places on states’ use of transportation funding.  Under this proposal, states could respond more quickly to the needs of citizens, start and finish projects sooner, and spend less money to complete them – all while creating and maintaining good jobs. 

“Americans aren’t looking for unemployment insurance, they are looking for employment,” said Senator Lee. “The Democrats’ solution is to keep people tied to unemployment programs, rather than addressing the underlying problem.   My amendment would lift unnecessary burdens government imposes and give states and businesses the freedom to invest, grow, and hire more workers.”

The second amendment is built on Sen. Lee’s Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act (S. 1904), legislation that would open up new educational opportunities for many low-income and non-traditional students.  The bill allows states to set up a new and parallel system for accrediting educational institutions, curricula, apprenticeships, programs, and even individual courses, which are then available to receive federal student loan money. 

“In today’s economy, employers need individuals with specialized skills,” said Senator Lee.  “But the current accreditation system – which drives up costs and leaves behind many non-traditional students, like working parents – acts as a barrier for millions of Americans who need the education and training to fill those jobs.  This amendment would make higher education and training more accessible and affordable to those who need it most.”

The third amendment is based on Sen. Lee’s Working Family Flexibility Act (S. 1623), which allows private-sector employees the same choice between comp time and overtime pay currently enjoyed by government employees.  Currently, federal law unfairly discriminates against these employees by prohibiting the use of comp time, forcing them to sacrifice family time for the family budget. 

“For many families, especially with young children, their most precious commodity is time,” said Sen. Lee. “But today, federal labor laws restrict the way moms and dads and everyone else can use their time. This can lead to tough decisions about how many hours parents can work, or even if they’re able to work at all.  My amendment would make that choice easier and help working families achieve the right balance.”

Lee, Tester Introduce Bill to Ensure Proper Investigations at DOJ

Mar 13, 2014

Today, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation to increase transparency and accountability at the Department of Justice. The Inspector General Empowerment Act would eliminate a problem in the law that requires allegations of attorney misconduct at DOJ to be investigated by an agency that reports directly to the Attorney General rather than the autonomous Office of the Inspector General.

Lee Introduces Head Start Reform

Mar 12, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced legislation to reform the early childhood education program known as Head Start.  The Head Start Improvement Act is intended to produce better results by offering states and parents greater flexibility to tailor the program to meet the specific needs of low-income children.  A 2012 study by the Obama administration showed that, despite spending $8.6 billion per year on education, health, nutrition, and other services, the program produced no lasting benefits.

“Underprivileged children need access to good education, and the scientific evidence shows the federal government does a lousy job of providing it,” Senator Lee said. “Education reform should empower principals, teachers and parents, instead of centralizing power and money in political bureaucracies. This bill would allow states, communities, schools, and families to better tailor pre-K programs to the specific needs of each eligible child.”

Confronted with the obvious failures of government programs, many states are already looking at ways to better serve their low-income populations.  For example, the Utah state legislature has created a special task force to study the prospects of “charity care” – affordable medical services for poor families provided not by government but by individuals, businesses, non-profit groups, and local communities.

“The Utah Model might not work in every state, but every state should have the freedom to solve problems their own way, according to their own values and priorities,” Lee added.

 

How it Works:

  • Provides Head Start block grants directly to eligible grantees, which include states, territories and federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • Restores the responsibility to each recipient grantee to define what entities within their state would be eligible to receive sub-grants; award sub-grants to those eligible entities; establish rules and standards for the entities awarded sub-grants; and monitor compliance with state rules and standards
  • Eligible grantees receive an allotment of the Head Start funds in proportion to the number of children aged 5 and younger from families with incomes below 130% of the poverty line residing within their State.
  • Eligible grantees must provide a 20% match to all Federal Head Start funds granted, consistent with current law.
  • All funds must be used for prekindergarten education, administration of the programs, and to provide direct technical assistance, oversight, monitoring, research and training.

 

What it Does:

  • Puts more money in the classroom instead of the Washington bureaucracy
  • Gives states and local officials and parents greater control over improving the Head Start program
  • Ensures the program will better serve the interest of low-income families with young children

Lee: President’s Transportation Proposal is the Same Old Idea

Feb 26, 2014

Today, the president has offered the country the same old idea: send a more money to Washington where the special interests get their cut, the politicians get the credit, and future generations get the bill. Unfortunately, his proposal is more about preserving a dysfunctional system than improving our roads. It's a top-down, DC-knows-best approach to do to our transportation infrastructure what Obamacare has done to our health care.

Lee, Hatch, Bishop Applaud Approval for New F-35 Hangar at Hill Air Force Base

Feb 26, 2014

The arrival of the F-35 in Northern Utah next year begins a significant new chapter for the Air Force and our state, and having the facilities ready for this delivery is of upmost importance to protecting and maintaining the taxpayer's investment in this weapons system. We are excited that the future of military innovation and technological advancement is continuing to be forged in our state.

Sens. Cruz and Lee Introduce State Marriage Defense Act

Feb 13, 2014

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, today introduced S. 2024, the State Marriage Defense Act, which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government’s efforts to force any other definition upon them. The bill will ensure the federal government gives the same deference to the 33 states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman as it does to the 17 states that have chosen to recognize same-sex unions.

Lee Introduces Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act

Feb 12, 2014

Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill to address the deep problems in the federal government’s welfare programs that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to work their way into the middle class and stay there. The “Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act” would get existing federal welfare programs under control and would help the working poor transition from poverty to opportunity and security.