Dan Innis for New Hampshire Congress

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Why I'm Running For Congress
By Dan Innis

The American Dream is at risk. It is with understandable concern that we all watch events unfold in our nation's capitol. Will our president and our representatives work together to solve the problems that are threatening our future? If the past few years are any guide, compromise will be hard to achieve.

But I believe in our nation and I am confident that with the right leadership in Washington we can see our way to a bright future. That is why I am running for Congress.

My background is humble. I was born in Ohio, the first of three children. It would not be an exaggeration to say we were poor. Making ends meet each month sometimes required my father to take a second job. My parents emphasized the importance of ethics, hard work, and the promise of education. And they taught us that if you did the right things, told the truth, and made good decisions, each of us could achieve the American Dream.

As a boy I developed a keen interest in business and looked forward to reading my grandfather's Forbes magazines after he was done with them. I was the first person in my family to attend college, which I was able to afford with the help of scholarships, a Pell Grant, and student loans. After spending some time working in the private sector, I returned to school, received my Ph.D., and became a college professor.

For almost seven years I've been leading the business school at the University of New Hampshire, preparing the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. As dean, I have helped grow undergraduate business enrollment from 1700 students to over 2200 students while working to raise private funds to construct a new, state-of-the art facility for our students and the business community.

Along with my work as an educator, I co-own and operate a successful small business in Portsmouth. We have worked hard and the business will expand later this year. I am proud to be a part of the New Hampshire economy.

I am not a politician. I have not lived my life making decisions based on running for elected office. Rather, I have built a business, helped to educate future leaders, and helped my children to become responsible adults.

The American Dream has been there for me. It is important to me that it is there for my three children and the generations that follow. I believe in American exceptionalism, and I firmly believe we need to change the course in Washington and get our nation back on track.

As New Hampshire's next representative in Congress I will have four priorities.

First, we must get our fiscal house in order. We have a spending problem in Washington and our growing national debt carries a huge cost. I believe we have a moral obligation to future generations to work together and finally get Washington spending under control.

Second, I believe our federal government is too big and is found in too many places. We know the uncertainty of government policies causes businesses and families to behave cautiously, which leads to fewer opportunities for working families to get good jobs. As Congressman, I will work to responsibly shrink the size of government and help get America back to work.

Third, I will work to reform our tax system. We need to make our individual tax rates sensible, simple, and fair. I also support cutting our corporate tax, which is currently the highest in the world. If we want to grow business at home, we have to act like we want business here.

Finally, we must invest in the future of our America. Smart infrastructure and education investments are critical. Without a solid transportation and communication backbone, we lose our competitive edge. In addition, our community colleges, universities, and vocational schools all play a key role in our future competitiveness and they must be made more affordable to all.

My goal is to go to Washington to represent the people of New Hampshire. We are the Live Free or Die state. It is not just a motto. It is part of who we are, and our values must be heard in Washington. I believe that I have the life experience, skills, and the values to make a difference and this is why I am running for Congress.

I hope I will have the opportunity to meet and talk with you on the campaign trail soon.

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Download Dan's Agenda on Health Care

Our national debate on health care has focused almost exclusively on reducing the number of uninsured Americans. However, the solution Congress crafted in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare, will actually make health insurance more expensive and harder to access. It's time to find solutions that will make health care more accessible, more affordable, and help make all Americans healthier.

1) Clean Up the ObamaCare Mess

ObamaCare should be repealed for the benefit of the American health care system and the American economy. While we won't be able to repeal and replace ObamaCare until a new President takes office in 2017, Congress should pass a series of reforms now to limit the damage being caused by ObamaCare:

Delay ObamaCare Employer Mandate until 2017.

The President has already waived the job-killing Employer Mandate for a year through Executive Order, but refuses to support legislation writing this decision into law. This burdensome regulation is costing Americans jobs, as companies lay off workers in anticipation of the Mandate next year, or cut hours in order to escape its reach. Congress should delay implementation of the Employer Mandate until July 1, 2017.

Delay ObamaCare Individual Mandate until 2017.

Individuals deserve to be treated with the same consideration as businesses. America is simply not ready for the burdensome coverage mandates in ObamaCare, and the Obama Administration is incapable of effectively implementing the law. Delaying the Individual Mandate until July 1, 2017 will give Congress time to consider better ways to decrease the number of Americans without insurance, and give the American economy time to recover.

Allow consumers to keep their current insurance if they want it.

Despite President Obama;s ironclad promise, millions of Americans have received cancellation notices as insurance companies find that their policies are not allowed under ObamaCare. Congress should allow consumers to keep and update their current coverage, for as long as they want to stay with their current insurance carriers. You should be able to keep your plan and your doctor.

Repeal the Medical Device Tax

One of the most short-sighted provisions of ObamaCare was a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, estimated to raise $29 billion over the next ten years. It's ridiculous to think that making everything from tongue depressors to pacemakers more expensive will do anything but drive up health care costs. Congress should repeal this job-killing tax on medical innovation, which will save money for hospitals and patients.

Restore $716 Billion in Medicare cuts used to prop up ObamaCare

Another way that Congress attempted to pay for ObamaCare was by short-changing Medicare by $716 billion, cutting reimbursements to hospitals, the Disproportionate Share Hospital Program, and Medicare Advantage. These backdoor cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates are a hidden tax on hospitals and patients, and we end up paying for them through higher insurance premiums.

2) Make Insurance More Affordable

We need to find better ways to bring down the cost of health insurance for all Americans. Simplifying the tax code and removing barriers to competition will go a long way to bending the cost curve for health insurance.

Full deductibility for individual health insurance

The tax code allows employers to deduct the cost of health insurance benefits, but does not allow similar deductions for individuals who buy their health insurance on the open market. This is why so much of the health insurance marketplace is dominated by employer-sponsored plans, and why there is so little competition in the individual market. Allowing full deductibility for health insurance premiums would boost the individual market, and increase choice and competition among health insurance providers, leading to lower healthcare costs.

Tax-free Medical Retirement Accounts

Anyone retiring at age 65 can expect to pay more than $100,000 in future medical expenses, and that bill will continue to rise as we live longer. End of life care is one of the largest drivers of increased health care expenditures. Medical Retirement Accounts will allow workers to save towards their own health care, reducing pressure on Medicare and Social Security, and preventing us from leaving our children with crippling medical bills. MRAs would be allowed to grow tax-free, and any surplus not spent on health care could be cashed out or passed on to survivors at prevailing income tax rates.

Expand Health Savings Accounts

Since 2003, Health Savings Accounts have allowed people to save money by purchasing high deductible insurance plans, and use pre-tax earnings in an HSA to cover both routine and unexpected medical costs. But ObamaCare has disallowed many of these high deductible plans. Congress should remove restrictions on HSAs.

Interstate Insurance Flexibility

State laws limits consumers to insurance policies licensed in their state, often with costly restrictions and coverage mandates. Congress should encourage interstate commerce by allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines. Alternatively, insurance companies should be allowed to seek an Optional Federal Charter, which would allow them to sell federally licensed insurance products nationwide.

Cap malpractice payments and sanction frivolous lawsuits

Skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates not only drive up health care costs, but they drive doctors out of business, often leaving rural residents without access to vital services. Capping non-economic damages would ensure that patients who suffer from medical errors would still be able to sue for compensation, while limiting doctors from being exposed to unlimited liabilities. Shifting to a "Loser Pays" model for lawsuits deemed frivolous would force lawyers to pay for bringing groundless lawsuits. President Obama has repeatedly called for reforms to our tort and class-action systems, but has refused to back any specific legislation. We need to come together to prevent junk lawsuits from driving up health care costs for all of us.

3) Improve Access

Getting costs under control is only one step towards health care reform. We also need to adopt common sense solutions to improve access to world-class medical care, regardless of where we live and how much we make.

Give states greater flexibility over Medicaid

Medicaid's 50-50 cost sharing arrangement between states and the federal government provides incentive for states to increase the amount of matching dollars they receive rather than look for ways reduce costs. In 2009, Rhode Island received unique flexibility to reform its delivery of Medicaid services in exchange for a cap on federal spending. Over the last four years, these reforms have cut the rate of Medicaid growth to half the national average while reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and improving access to health care for Medicaid patients. Congress should give every state the same flexibility that has already saved taxpayers $2.3 billion in Rhode Island alone.

Streamline FDA approval to bring life-saving prescription drugs to market faster

The Food and Drug Administration requires three stages of testing before a new drug can be offered, an arduous process that can take up to 12 years and $1.3 billion to bring a single new drug to market. Even after a new drug has been deemed safe by the FDA doctors must sometimes wait an additional three years before they can prescribe the drug to their chronically and terminally ill patients. In 2012, Congress came together to pass bipartisan FDA reform to make sure pharmaceutical companies rather than taxpayers were paying for drug testing. We can come together again to remove a layer of red tape that prevents tomorrow's miracle drugs from helping chronically and terminally ill patients today.

4) Improve Health Care Outcomes

Health insurance isn't the health care problem we face, and Congress doesn't have all the answers. We can encourage better doctors and hospitals to do the following:

Adopt Mayo Clinic approach to medical errors

The Institute of Medicine estimates that medical mistakes kill 100,000 a year. The Mayo Clinic has begun to track and study medical errors, in order to find ways to prevent them in the future.

Crowdsource diagnostic second opinions through Best Doctors

Diagnostic expenses are a key driver of higher health insurance costs, in part because doctors order unnecessary tests in order to avoid future liability. But diagnostic error also wastes an estimated $312 billion annually, and results in patients receiving improper treatment. Harvard physicians started the Best Doctors Program to improve second opinions. A recent trial of 60 patients found improved diagnoses and treatments in 85% of patients, leading to $500,000 in savings.

Risk Assessment Exams

Overtreatment increases costs and subjects patients to unnecessary tests and procedures. Yet preventative medicine for people at risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can catch deadly diseases when they are treatable. Hospitals should work to improve best practices for risk assessment to better determine which patients would benefit most from preventative care.

Institute Prize-Based Funding for medical research

Our current federal research programs are guided more by political connections than by scientific promise. Shifting to a prize-based funding would revolutionize the incentives for medical research, and ensure that taxpayers are paying for real results. This bipartisan solution will help keep America on the cutting edge of medical technology.

Download Dan's Agenda on Balancing the Budget

There are many pressing issues facing our federal government, and there are a large number of important bills that should be debated. But Congress's first job should be passing a balanced budget.

Congress must put aside the petty sniping and short-term thinking that have prevented it from tackling America's fiscal challenges. We are on a path to national bankruptcy. We must find the courage to change that direction. The Innis Agenda for Balancing the Budget relies on ideas from across the political spectrum to balance the budget, remove barriers to entrepreneurship, and encourage economic growth. Through free market reforms and fiscal restraint, we can restore economic opportunity for all Americans.

Budget

Budget process reform

The Congressional budget process is 40 years old, and it's completely broken. The budget itself is a non-binding resolution, and there are no consequences for the President, the House, or the Senate failing to do their part. Adopting a Joint Budget Resolution, with the force of law, would require Congress and the President to agree to binding spending levels early in the budget process, clearing the way for reasonable consideration of Appropriations.

Enforce real spending caps

Because Congress hasn't been able to adopt budgets on time, there is no limit to what it spends. The only thing that has ever imposed spending discipline on Congress is a binding budget cap, with across the board cuts when it's not met. Specific spending caps like Gramm-Rudman or those proposed by the Pew-Peterson Commission would force Congress to live within the means of American taxpayers.

Take spending off auto-pilot

Each year, so-called mandatory spending increases take place without Congress lifting a finger. For example, automatic increases to mandatory spending threaten to take over the entire federal budget within the next two decades. Congress should take these spending increases off auto-pilot, and require a vote to increase spending on any and all federal programs.

End Corporate Welfare

We can no longer afford to hand out subsidies to private businesses. The federal government should not pick winners and losers in the marketplace by handing out tax dollars or special treatment to favored firms, at the expense of their current and potential competitors. The best way for government to support business is to get out of its way; not by propping up politically connected corporations.

Biennial budgeting

New Hampshire's citizen legislature manages to write a two-year budget for the state, along with 20 other states. By passing a two-year budget every other year, Congress can remove the temptation to spend more money in an election year, and devote more time to oversight.

Vote on spending cuts

Congress avoids responsibility by avoiding votes on spending cuts. The Senate won't even consider Republican budget proposals, and the House routinely keeps Democratic amendments from coming to the floor. The Mercatus Center has proposed a model based on the BRAC process that would focus on outdated and inefficient federal programs, and force Congress to take up or down votes on specific spending cuts. It is time to hold Congress accountable.

Pay the debt first

During every debt limit showdown, the President and Congress threaten the nation with default on the nation's debt. Such brinksmanship does nothing to address our long-term fiscal challenges, and in fact forces Congress to adopt short-term stopgap measures to avoid default. But even when we reach the debt ceiling, incoming federal revenues are more than enough to pay the interest on the national debt. Congress should direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the debt first, removing the threat of default and allowing us to address the consequences of the $17 trillion national debt.

Reform the Tax Code

Fairer, flatter tax code

Congress last simplified the federal tax code in 1986, lowering rates by removing loopholes and deductions. Since then, we've had nearly 30 years of new loopholes written back into the law. We can broaden the tax base and remove special interest deductions without increasing the nation's tax burden. Senator Mike Lee is working on such a plan, and it should be considered alongside other fundamental tax reform proposals.

End "temporary" tax gimmicks

One of the many ways that Congress has complicated the tax code has been by passing temporary tax provisions that everyone knows will eventually be extended. This is partly because the Budget Reconciliation process only allows changes to stay in place for ten years, but many popular tax breaks are temporary in order to mask their long-term costs. While lobbyists appreciate the opportunity to endlessly push for their favored tax breaks, businesses are denied the tax certainty they need to make long term investment decisions. The tax code should be made permanent, allowing Congress to debate changes to the tax code without arbitrary deadlines.

International Tax Reform

Our current tax code punishes U.S. businesses that want to reinvest profits from overseas operations in the United States. By attempting to collect taxes on business conducted overseas, the federal government encourages companies to grow and invest offshore, rather than domestically. Senator Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp have been working on an international tax reform bill that would apply taxes to business activities conducted in the U.S. or foreign subsidiaries selling to American clients, but allow other profits to be repatriated without double taxation. This will encourage more business investment and economic growth in the US.

Corporate Tax Reform

The U.S. Corporate tax rate of 35% is among the least competitive in the world, yet the complex maze of tax regulation lets some corporations avoid tax liability entirely. By reducing deductions like the Section 199 domestic production deduction that favor some companies over others, we can reduce the overall corporate tax rate, and make America more competitive for businesses of all kinds.

Balancing the federal budget should be Congress's first responsibility. Only by standing up for fiscal responsibility can our federal government begin to rebuild the trust of the American people.

A balanced budget and fundamentally fairer tax code will also spur economic growth, making them the necessary first steps for any jobs plans. The Innis Agenda for Balancing the Budget will work in tandem with the upcoming Innis Agenda for Jobs and Economy, as well as the Innis Agenda for Health Care, published last month, and the Innis Agendas for Education and Energy, coming later this year.

Download Dan's Agenda on Jobs and the Economy

Politicians love to take credit for creating jobs, but never take responsibility for the job-killing big government policies that stifle American economic growth. The Innis Agenda for Jobs and the Economy will remove federal barriers to job creation, and allow American entrepreneurs to create the jobs we need.

Free market improvements to trade, transportation, and agriculture policy, as well as overdue regulatory and legal reforms will unleash the American economy. We build business one job at a time, and it's time for Congress to get out of the way so America can get back to work.

Approve the Keystone Pipeline

The Obama Administration has held up the final phase of the Keystone Pipeline for over five years, based on the false claim that blocking this popular project would somehow keep the oil from ever coming out of the ground. Now that the State Department has rejected this claim, it's past time for the White House to step aside and allow final construction of Keystone XL. This project will create thousands of jobs, and bring millions of gallons of affordable oil to the eastern United States.

Work Incentives

Restore the 40-Hour Work Week

ObamaCare defines part-time work as less than 30 hours per week, inaccurately redefining many part-time workers as full-time and mandating that employers provide benefits. This will force employers to cut hours for part-time workers even further. Congress should restore the 40-Hour standard for full-time employment.

Worker Training for Extended Unemployment

Federal Unemployment Insurance is paid for through premiums charged to employers, and lasts for 26 weeks. The extended Unemployment Benefits provided by Congress in recent years are not funded through insurance premiums, but by general tax dollars. Unemployed workers seeking an extension of Unemployment Benefits beyond six months should be required to improve their job skills through state or private worker training programs. Training will help workers to learn new skills and retool for a changing job market, which benefits the unemployed as well as America's companies.

Restore and Strengthen Welfare to Work

Since 1996, Welfare to Work has required at least half of able-bodied adults receiving federal welfare checks to be working or looking for work. This bipartisan reform, proposed by Congressional Republicans and championed as one of the signature accomplishments of the Clinton Administration, not only saved money for taxpayers but helped get welfare recipients on the job and off public assistance faster. In 2012, President Obama weakened Welfare to Work through Executive Order. Senator Mike Lee is leading an effort to restore and strengthen work requirements though the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act. This legislation would require able-bodied adults receiving federal welfare checks to look for work, give states incentives to find savings within their federally-funded welfare programs, and improve federal reporting requirements on means-test welfare programs.

Trade Reform

Remove Protectionist Agricultural Tariffs

The recently approved Farm Bill shows that even the most wasteful federal programs can always get worse, increasing pork-barrel subsidies by nearly 50% from the last Farm Bill five years ago. In addition to the nearly trillion dollars in spending tucked into the Farm Bill are a series of agricultural trade barriers designed to protect U.S. farmers from competition. Removing these protectionist schemes will reduce the price of food for all Americans, and bring needed competition to the agricultural industry.

Repeal the Jones Act

The century-old law preventing foreign cargo vessels from stopping at consecutive U.S. ports is a relic of antiquated protectionist policies that did little to prevent the decline of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Now, it serves no purpose but to prevent short-sea shipping along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts, driving up costs and forcing trucks onto our crowded highways. Repealing the Jones Act would open up America's coastal waterways to trade.

Repeal Davis-Bacon

Forcing government contractors to pay artificially high wages is a burden on taxpayers, and means that less work can get done for each dollar spent. On the books since 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act now adds billions to the cost of public works projects annually. Repealing Davis-Bacon would restore market competition to the construction industry, and stretch limited taxpayer resources farther.

Fast Track Trade Agreements

Misguided efforts to protect American businesses from competition ultimately end up harming American consumers by limiting choices and increasing prices. Bilateral Free Trade Agreements are useful to remove trade restrictions. Agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will open up markets for U.S. exports and provide more choices and lower prices for American consumers.

Tort Reform

Reinstate Sanctions for Frivolous Lawsuits

Frivolous lawsuits not only cost American businesses, they clog courtrooms and prevent people with real claims from getting a timely day in court. In 1993, Congress significantly weakened sanctions against junk lawsuits by allowing unscrupulous lawyers to easily avoid penalties. By removing this loophole, and forcing lawyers to bear the costs of groundless litigation, we can clear the docket for cases that deserve to be heard and put nuisance lawyers out of business.

Coupon Settlement Reform

Class action attorneys also abuse the legal system by extorting huge fees while delivering little or nothing to those they are supposedly representing. Plaintiffs in a class action may receive negligible refunds or coupons good only towards a future purchase, while the attorneys pocket millions. Federal courts need broader authority to reject bogus coupon settlements and sanction lawyers who use them to victimize plaintiffs a second time.

Loser Pays for "Sue and Settle" Lawsuits

Environmental organizations have increasingly turned to the Federal Register to stall legitimate public projects, such as expansion of I-93. They file endless lawsuits based on specious violations of arcane administrative rules, often forcing state and local governments to accept costly conditions just to stop this legal harassment. Making these extreme groups pay the cost of their groundless lawsuits would force more responsible behavior, and allow beneficial projects to be completed faster and cheaper.

Transportation Infrastructure Reform

Transportation Trust Fund

The U.S. Interstate Highway System was vital to America's economic explosion over the last century, and continues to be an important economic resource. But the Highway Trust Fund is now underwater as Congress played favorites with project funding and diverted billions. It has also unfairly subsidized automobile travel at the expense of other modes of transportation. Congress should not be deciding how Americans travel. We must establish a Transportation Trust Fund that supports all forms of transportation. We must also insist on accountability, so that increased investment in our transportation infrastructure isn't wasted like the "shovel ready" projects of the recent Stimulus Package.

Prioritize Repair and Maintenance

In addition to construction, federal highway aid should assist states in repairing and maintaining existing highways, saving billions in long-term reconstruction costs.

Auction Runway Slots to Fund Air Traffic Control Upgrades

One of the most persistent forms of corporate welfare is the antiquated practice of handing out prime take-off and landing times at busy airports to legacy airlines. Auctioning of these valuable runway slots will not only inject much needed competition in the dormant airline industry, but generate billions of dollars to fund an overdue upgrade of our nation's air traffic control system.

Monetary Restraint

Over the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve has served as a lender of last resort to the nation's banking system. Over that century, it has also taken on a larger role in attempting to regulate the business cycle, with quite underwhelming results. Congress should reign in the Fed's misguided attempts to plan the nation's economy. And we should provide transparency for this important public institution with a long-overdue audit.

Strengthen Oversight of Federal Rulemaking

The Obama Administration has abused both Executive Orders and federal rulemaking to pass job-killing policies that it failed to get through Congress. Much like New Hampshire's Administrative Rules Process, Congress should have 60 days to block federal rules that are contrary to federal law.

Retirement Security

The unfunded liabilities facing the Social Security Administration don't just threaten the federal budget, and our nation's long-term fiscal stability. They also threaten the retirement of millions of Americans who are counting on Congress to keep its promises. Congress should provide accountability to the Social Security Disabilities system, which has seen costs skyrocket as people make unverified medical claims. It should also allow workers to own their Social Security Retirement benefits, safe from political meddling, in a secure account that could be invested much like a 401(k) plan.

Our nation's economy is too large and complex for any group to manage, no matter how wise or well-meaning. Let alone Congress. Reducing trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory obstacles, and instituting free market programs and reforms will help unleash the power of America's economy. The Innis Agenda for Jobs and Economy also includes the pro-growth policies of the Innis Agendas for Health Care and for Balancing the Budget, and the Innis Agendas for Education and Energy, coming later this year.

Download Dan's Agenda on Privacy and Security

Limiting the scope and authority of government is a central tenet of representative democracy. We can never entrust any government, no matter how well meaning, with unlimited power. The misuse of such unchecked authority leads to mistakes that are hard to correct. Ultimately, government agencies shielded from public view are subject to corruption and abuse. I reject the premise that granting the federal government unbridled surveillance powers does anything to improve our national security. We need not sacrifice either our security, our liberty, or our constitutional protection from unreasonable search.

Rein in the NSA

The National Security Agency has been running "The Program" under both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Details of this shockingly broad surveillance program are just now coming to light, and would still be secret except for the actions of Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor willing to leak the details of the operation to the press, while also turning over unknown national security secrets to foreign governments. Snowden is no hero, but his leaks have exposed an ongoing surveillance operation resting on highly questionable legal justification.

President Obama has proposed a series of small steps to curb NSA's data collection activities, but has allowed the program to continue as Congress debates the issue. Congress must pass real reform that stops the NSA's ability to collect unlimited data on innocent American citizens.

No Obama Loopholes

The President's proposal limits the NSA's bulk data collection authority outside of judicial approval, but with a mile-wide exception that allow the government to bypass the court in an unspecified "emergency situation." Limits on government that can be waived at the discretion of the government are no limits at all. All of the NSA's data collection activities, if they are ever to be used in court, must be approved by a judge, and such approval must be timely, temporary, and based on probable cause.

PRISM

The President's proposal also leaves untouched the highly controversial PRISM system, under which the NSA has collected untold numbers of emails and social networking information from companies such as Google and Facebook. Federal authorities have used techniques such as "National Security Letters" to force companies to turn over confidential client information without warrants, probable cause, or public notice. It has even prevented these companies from letting their users know that their data has been subject to search. Such unchecked abuses must end, and PRISM must be brought under legislative oversight.

End "Backdoor" Surveillance

The Patriot Act was passed, and reauthorized, as Congress sought to improve the federal government's ability to eavesdrop on foreign targets. Yet innocent Americans are subject to these same surveillance programs through "backdoor searches". In fact, the NSA can "hop" three times from legitimate target to people who have never met or heard of the target. Such a wide net could literally capture every single American, and can't possibly be justified as a reasonable search under our Constitution.

Deadlines for Destruction of Records

The NSA's collection of metadata, which includes who we call, when we call, our GPS locations when we call, and more, was meant to be temporary. But no binding rules exist for when the NSA must get rid of this data. Current legislation requires the prompt destruction of unneeded records, but leaves it the NSA to define what is unneeded, and doesn't say how long it means by "prompt". Real NSA reform would set a hard headline for the destruction of records not connected to ongoing investigations. The NSA, nor any government agency, should not be allowed to collect unlimited data on innocent Americans just in case such data might eventually prove useful.

Protect Americans from Warrantless Surveillance

The core argument for proponents of the Patriot Act and other broad surveillance authorizations is that U.S. intelligence services need such unchecked authority in order to combat the threat of international terrorism. We should not prevent the U.S. intelligence community from tracking terrorist organizations and preventing future attacks. But there is no reason that information gained through such foreign counter-terrorism programs needs to be used to prosecute American citizens. Guaranteeing that this data shall not be admissible in American courts will not interfere with the ability of our military and intelligence services to combat and prevent terrorism.

Protect the Internet for government control

Sweeping government control over the Internet, whether in the name of national security or fighting online piracy, stifles communication and competition. Such legislation, whether it's SOPA, PIPA, or CISPA, threaten Internet privacy and our civil liberties. Huge technology companies support such bills in order to prevent competition from smaller, nimbler firms. The U.S. government should not be allowed to interfere with our online activities at the request of foreign governments or big corporations. The First Amendment does not expire when we log onto the Internet