[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 58 (Tuesday, April 21, 2015)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E543]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          PERSONAL EXPLANATION


                             HON. RAUL RUIZ

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, April 21, 2015

  Mr. RUIZ. Mr. Speaker, due to the recent birth of my twin daughters, 
I was unable to be present for votes on the House floor the week of 
April 13, 2015. Below is an explanation of how I would have voted and 
  I would have voted for H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending 
Practices in Rural Communities Act, which creates a process for areas 
to be considered rural to allow otherwise prohibited balloon payments 
in qualified mortgages. This bill aims to improve access to financing 
for borrowers in rural, underserved areas, which will help families 
nationwide achieve the dream of home ownership.
  I would have voted for H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission 
Transparency Act, which requires advisory committees established by the 
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to adhere to federal ethics and 
conflict-of-interest laws. Government transparency is essential to 
holding administration officials accountable, and this bill will help 
ensure that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau conducts their 
crucial work out in the open.
  I would have voted for H.R. 1480, the SAFE Act Confidentiality and 
Privilege Enhancement Act, which would provide confidentiality 
protections to financial services regulators when they access 
information in the national mortgage licensing and registry system. 
This bill will provide financial regulators the confidentiality 
protections they need to protect consumers and eliminate fraud in the 
mortgage industry.
  I would have voted against H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to 
Manufactured Housing Act, which reduces regulatory restrictions on 
high-cost mortgages in the manufactured housing industry to increase 
the maximum interest rates manufactured housing vendors can charge. 
This bill would hamstring Dodd-Frank regulations designed to protect 
consumers from predatory lending practices in the manufactured housing 
industry. The bill seeks to reduce the regulatory restrictions on high-
cost mortgages in the manufactured housing industry by increasing the 
maximum interest rates manufactured housing vendors can charge.
  I would have voted for H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2015, 
which seeks to clarify conflicting definitions under current law 
concerning affiliated and unaffiliated title companies, and could help 
keep interest rates on mortgage loans affordable.
  I would have voted for Rep. Van Hollen's Motion to Instruct Conferees 
on S. Con. Res. 11, which would instruct conferees to recede to the 
Senate budget resolution accommodation for legislation to improve 
workplace benefits, including paid sick leave. The motion would also 
instruct budget conferees to reject the House-passed budget's provision 
to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Our seniors depend on 
Medicare, and I will reject any attempt to end the Medicare guarantee 
and increase out-of-pocket health costs for seniors.
  I would have voted for H.R. 1562, the Contracting and Tax 
Accountability Act of 2015, and H.R. 1563, the Federal Employee Tax 
Accountability Act of 2015. H.R. 1562 would generally prohibit 
individuals and companies with seriously delinquent tax debts from 
receiving federal contracts and grants, and H.R. 1563 would make 
individuals with seriously delinquent tax debt ineligible for federal 
employment if they fail to accept a payment plan within nine months of 
enactment. Corporations and individuals with serious tax delinquencies 
should not receive taxpayer-subsidized benefits over those who fulfill 
their tax obligations.
  I would have voted against H.R. 622, the State and Local Sales Tax 
Deduction Fairness Act, which would permanently allow taxpayers to 
deduct state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income 
taxes, without offsetting the cost. This bill would increase the 
deficit by $42 billion and encourages states to raise taxes, pressuring 
the federal government to increase taxes to account for the difference. 
California does not benefit from the state and local sales tax 
deduction, so this bill would push more of the nation's tax burden onto 
hardworking taxpayers in my district.
  Finally, I would have voted against H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal 
Act. This bill repeals the federal estate tax, which currently affects 
only estates valued at $5.4 million or above ($10.8 million for 
couples). This bill would add $269 billion to the federal deficit, and 
the entirety of those benefits would go to the wealthiest 0.2 percent 
of estates. The federal tax code should expand opportunity for 
everyone, rather than stacking the deck against middle-class families.