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Member Questions of the Week of May 10, 2010

Jerry Yarbrough from Fort Smith, AR asks: What was the date and extent of the Mexican Gulf oil blowout? Where is more info? OUR ANSWER: The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an unfortunate and terrible accident that poses economic and environmental challenges to the Gulf coast. The fact that the explosion on April 20 took eleven lives is regrettable and condolences to friends and families who lost their loved ones. Many questions are yet without answers; the most general and pressing being: what went wrong? Along with stopping the leak and containing the oil slick to minimize, the imperative concern is to figure out what went wrong. There will be lots of finger pointing and calls for action but Members of Congress and the White House should refrain from making any rash political decisions. Check back at Heritage.org as this issue develops for more information.

Charles Goforth from Springfield, MO tell us: We need a visible comparison of Clinton, Bush and Obama debt. People don’t know how much of an increase we are facing with Obamas spending! OUR ANSWER: We have a chart for you. Our Budget Chart Book features many charts on Americas spending, taxation, and debt, and our chart entitled Obamas Budget Would Create Unprecedented Deficits compares Obamas impact on the deficit to the deficit of former presidents.

Robert Turner of Rockaway Point, NY asks: Health care bill compliance: does the IRS have the same authority to freeze and impound assets as they do in tax cases? And does the [health care] bill include the employment of 14k new agents? OUR ANSWER: The recently-passed health care bill does not specify how the IRS would enforce the individual mandate that we all have health insurance and that businesses provide health insurance for employees. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the IRS may withhold tax refunds to enforce the health care law. The IRS is going to have to add more workers to enforce its new responsibilities, though the exact number is unclear.

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