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D.C. Report: God Bless the USA! Stand Up for Freedom!

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D.C. Report: God Bless the USA!  Stand Up for Freedom!
Every time that I hear the song “God Bless the USA!” sung by the Texas Tenors, it touches me to my patriotic core.  In particular, the following lyrics below by Lee Greenwood remind me that we cannot take our country for granted and that we need to stand up for our freedom:  

I'd thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away

And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me

And I gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA


Being raised in an Air Force family around the world during most of my childhood, I thought that life was a great adventure, but I always knew that I could return to the United States of America and in particular to Texas where I was born.  Perhaps, that has given me the perspective to see what great opportunities that we have here, but also to recognize that there are public policy areas of improvement to benefit all Americans.  That is why I have spent over two years working as the volunteer Director of Government Relations for Americans for Fair Taxation, and traveling to D.C. to educate members of Congress and their staff that we are at a crossroads in history, that we are facing $9 trillion in tax evasion over the next decade, that a national sales tax is the answer, and that our freedom and our way of life are at stake!

It is time for all Americans to stand up for our freedoms!  As I talk to people wherever I travel, they express their disenchantment with the current political atmosphere, and feel that their members of Congress are caught up in their own self-interest and have left the needs of their constituents behind.  The powerful tax lobbyists, think tanks and big business have the money to sway politicians, but We the People have the biggest threat to entrenched politicians — OUR VOTE!

For me, the American flag symbolically stands for freedom, but we have to fight for those freedoms, just as the lyrics above indicated:  “I won’t forget the men [and women] who died who gave that right to me”.  My father John Green, Jr., served in World War II and for over 21 years in the Air Force, and my husband Raymond Ernst served for 5 years in the Marines.  Many others in my family have served our country:  Army — my brother John “Mac” Green III, and my husband’s father Raymond Ernst, Sr.; and Air Force — my nephew Justin Pate and his wife Abby Young Pate, and my uncles Bill Green and Bob Green.  As a result, I do not take lightly that they have served our country, and now I am fighting the only way that I know how — through political change!

HOW CAN YOU STAND UP FOR AMERICA?

Many Americans at the grassroots level have been carrying the torch for a national sales tax for decades, and we need them to continue those efforts.  However, I am also calling on all of the small business men and women who are active in their communities, who work on local elections, and who contribute money to political campaigns.  We need your help to leverage your professional business associations.  As I have met with national organizations, I have been told many times that national policy issues must come from their members.  As I have mentioned before in other articles, the National Small Business Association supports a national retail sales tax, the Fair Tax Act, H.R.25 and S.18.  Now is the opportunity for local farmers, manufacturers, firefighters, schoolteachers and others to work through their local and state trade and professional associations to push this issue to the national organization.  If you leverage your personal power through these organizations, then we can overcome the powerful entrenched political elites in Washington, D.C.!  In addition, if we can get the tax evasion message on the national news, we are closer to moving tax reform to the FAIRtax solution!!

NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION 



During our trip last week to D.C., we continued our outreach to national organizations to find common ground.  We met with Pete Sepp, President of the National Taxpayers Union, pictured above with Chairman Steve Hayes and me, and plans are to continue that conversation.  Over the past two years, I have met with the AFL-CIO and the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Steve and I have met with the National Association of Home Builders, the International Association of Firefighters, and other national organizations.  

SAYING GOODBYE!

I will continue to spread the message of the FAIRtax!  However, I am saying “goodbye” to our FAIRtax supporters across the country, and I am relinquishing my formal and official volunteer responsibilities in the Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT) organization as Director of Government Relations as well as serving on the Board of Directors and on the Marketing & Communications Committee, and editing the weekly FAIRtax Friday newsletter.  I want to spend more time with my family, especially my very active parents John (88) and Peggy Green (87) and our grandchildren, to travel with my husband, and to research and write.  

It has been my honor and my privilege to represent our FAIRtax supporters in Washington, D.C.  Over the past 2 years, I have scheduled meetings for Chairman Steve Hayes and I with the majority of Members of Congress and/or staff of the House Ways & Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and many on the Small Business Committee as well as with Republican and Democratic Committee staff.  This has been a great opportunity to utilize my many years of experience as a paid national lobbyist to work as a volunteer on behalf of a political issue that I believe can benefit all American working families.  The following lyrics express my parting sentiments:  

And I gladly stand up
Next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA


CONGRESSIONAL “GOODBYES”
Since this was my last trip to D.C. on behalf of the FAIRtax, I wanted to visit and say goodbye to some of the hardworking staff members on Capitol Hill with whom I have worked closely over the past two years.  



Pictured above with Steve and me are Tax Legislative Assistant Gerald Huang (left) and Chief of Staff Derrick Dickey with Senator David Perdue’s office. Thank you, Gerald and Derrick, for your constant support.



Pictured above with us, Senator David Perdue (GA) joined us briefly, and I had the opportunity to thank him for his vocal support as a S.18 Cosponsor  of the FAIRtax.  He serves on the following Senate Committees:  Armed Services; Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs; Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; and Budget Committee.



Senior Legislative Assistant Tom Bush with Senator Jerry Moran’s office is pictured above with us.  Thank you, Tom, for your continued efforts on behalf of the FAIRtax.  Senator Moran (KS) is our FAIRtax S.18 Sponsor, and serves on the following Senate Committees:  Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Environment and Public Works; Veterans' Affairs; and Indian Affairs.



Pictured above with me, FAIRtax H.R.25 Sponsor Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-7) was able to fit Steve and me into his very busy schedule for an informative meeting and an opportunity to say goodbye!  Thank you, Congressman Woodall, for continuing to champion the FAIRtax cause, and as I expressed in my last month’s “D.C. Report”, my sincere appreciation goes to your staff, especially Senior Policy Advisor Alex Poirot and Administrative Assistant & Scheduler Kelley Kurtz, pictured in last month’s article.

OTHER CAPITOL HILL MEETINGS

Other congressional office meetings were as follows in the Senate and the House:

SENATE:
— Chief Tax Counsel Tiffany Smith, Senior Tax & Economic Advisor Adam Carasso, and Senior Tax & ERISA Counsel Drew Couch with the Senate Finance Committee and with Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Ranking Member of Finance Committee.
— Economic Policy Advisor Chris Allen with the office of Senator Pat Roberts (KS); serves on the Finance Committee.
— Tax Legislative Assistant Jeremy D’Aloisio with the office of Senator Edward Markey (MA); serves on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
— Tax Legislative Correspondent Benjamin Khouri with the office of Senator Richard Burr (NC); serves on the following Committees:  Finance; Select Committee on Intelligence (Chairman); Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Aging.
— Tax Legislative Correspondent Ellen Brown with the office of Senator James Inhofe (OK); serves on the following Committees:  Small Business & Entrepreneurship; Commerce, Science, & Transportation; Armed Services; and Environment and Public Works (Chairman of Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure).  I was scheduled to meet with Senator Inhofe, but he was in markup in a Senate Committee when I arrived. 

HOUSE:
— Legislative Director Zach Marshall with the office of Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3); serves on the Budget Committee (Ranking Member).
— Tax Legislative Assistant Zachary Weber with the office of Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14); serves on the following Committees:  Small Business; and Oversight and Government.  The Congresswoman was scheduled to meet with us, but she was on the House floor for a vote when we arrived.

THANK YOU’S!!

Thank you to all the Members of Congress and staff who have met with me over the past few years, and thank you to our hardworking FAIRtax grassroots volunteers!  In particular, I extend a special thank you to our Chairman Steve Hayes and other FAIRtax Board of Directors (Jim Bennett, Dr. Karen Walby, John Grafer, Autry Pruitt, Randy Fischer, John Collet, and Steve Curtis), to the AFFT Marketing & Communications Committee members (Randy Fisher, John Steinberger, David Boone, Joseph Castiglia, Rob Rohrbough, Tony Leach, and Scott Petersen), and to all of our FAIRtax State Directors for their steadfast passion and commitment!!

God bless you, and God bless the USA!!!
 
 
Peggy Green-Ernst, MBA
Director of Government Relations
Board of Directors Americans For Fair Taxation
Peggy.Green-Ernst@FAIRtax.org
#FAIRtax

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