Rep. Kelly Defends Free Speech Against New IRS Crackdown on House Floor

- Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Way and Means Subcommittee on Oversight – spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014, which would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing its proposed new regulation on tax-exempt organizations (which would effectively stifle the political activity of many critics of the Obama administration) for one year.

The bill was considered as part of “Stop Government Abuse Week 2.0” and was passed by the House by 243-176 with bipartisan support.

Highlights from floor speech:

“It’s rather chilling that 223 years ago our First Amendment rights were enshrined in our Bill of Rights … I’m hearing now dollar signs and dollar numbers [across the aisle] … saying, ‘Well we can’t afford to spend this kind of money [to stop discriminatory IRS rules].’ Never before in America have we ever worried about the cost of money when it comes to defending our freedoms and liberties under our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. It has no dollar attached to it. It is basically, fundamentally American.”

“And when we talk about the American citizens not being able to talk that way… the First Amendment, by the way, protects them and enshrines them — 45 words in the First Amendment that protect and enshrine our rights. This is not about a political issue. This is not about an ‘R’ or ‘D,’ it’s about a ‘we.’ This is about the entire country.”

“We cannot allow the voice of the people not to be heard in our town squares and when they need to speak out, they need to know that they can speak out without being threatened, without being worried about what’s going to happen to them. This is so basically who we are as Americans. It has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats, Independents and Libertarians. It has to do with who we are. If we cannot see that, and [instead] turn this into a political agenda and talking points, then, my gosh, how far we have fallen from what the Founders intended in the very beginning.”

“[H.R.] 3865 reconfirms what the American people need to know: they can speak out on anything, anytime, anywhere they want without having to be worried about anybody interfering with them — especially a government.”

“This is a government that serves the people. This is not a people that serve the government. … Again, the voice of the American people has got to be heard. I don’t care – conservative, liberal – I don’t care where you’re coming from. You have the right to speak out any time you want.”

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