Revisions to complicated code planned
During the past year, many major events in the world have captured and held our attention.
The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the end of the regime of Saddam Hussein; the passage of major pieces of legislation by Congress, including the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act which includes -- for the first time -- a prescription drug benefit for seniors; and the ongoing primary races in this year's political season are just a few of the stories which have dominated the newspapers and broadcast news.
However, even with so many major occurrences that have filled the airwaves and stimulated massive debate, there are other important initiatives which are still being considered in the House of Representatives.
One of the major topics still being discussed on Capitol Hill is that of meaningful tax reform. Any one of you who prepares your own taxes must be frustrated reading through the tax form preparation instructions; in fact, since the 1930s the regulations have grown from 500 pages (with 16 pages on income tax) to over 45,000 pages currently.
Because of the complexity of today's tax code, Americans spend an average of 6.1 billion hours and $183 billion in filling out their annual tax forms. That may seem shocking, but it's true -- billions of hours and billions of dollars spent on federal income taxes.
Recently, Reps. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Ralph Hall of Texas introduced a bill establishing a timeline for major reform of the tax system.
This bill, the Tax Reform Action Commission (TRAC) Act (H.R. 3215), would accomplish several important goals in changing this system, and among other things calls for
I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important legislation and look forward to taking part in the debate over the best and most meaningful way to reform our current burdensome tax code. I will certainly be reporting more on this in the months ahead and hope you won't hesitate to contact my office if you would like more information on this bill. Or, you can visit the official legislative website, www.thomas.loc.gov.
Remembering heroes during Black History Month
During this month of February, Americans take time to remember the contributions and sacrifices of the thousands of African-American men and women who have played such an important role in the development of our country.
The horrors of slavery were without question a deplorable part of our nation's history, and even 141 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, there is no way we could ever -- nor any reason we should -- forget the treatment and atrocities committed against those condemned to live their lives in oppression.
Without question, everyone has heard of the tremendous accomplishments of such Americans as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, Clarence Thomas, and Harold Washington.
Even in the present day, such leaders as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice represent the success members of the African-American community have achieved.
It is important to note that in fact African-Americans have been taking part in the leadership of this country for the past century-and-a-half. Let me take just a minute to list some of the individuals who have played a major role in the course of our government over the past 100 years.
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