News

Allen American: Rep. Van Taylor to host small business webinar, telephone town hall

April 6, 2020

To provide local small businesses with guidance during these uncertain times, Congressman Van Taylor (TX-03) will be hosting an online webinar with the United States Chamber of Commerce at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 7.

The United States Chamber is working closely with the White House and federal agencies to inform and equip businesses with the most important and current information so that they may prepare their business for the near and long-term impact resulting from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Those interested in participating in the webinar must register at https://vantaylor.house.gov/forms/form/?ID=20. Registered participants will receive an email prior to the event with details and instructions on how to access the webinar.

Instructions will be provided via email to registered participants before the event.

Additionally, to provide information to his constituents and answer their questions, United States Congressman Van Taylor will host a free telephone town hall event at 3 p.m. April 9.

Open to residents of Texas’ Third Congressional District, Congressman Taylor will be joined by local experts and officials. Together, they will provide information and take questions on federal, state, and local efforts to keep Collin County residents safe and healthy.

Residents who wish to participate can sign up online.

Link: https://starlocalmedia.com/allenamerican/news/rep-van-taylor-to-host-small-business-webinar-telephone-town-hall/article_26f0a222-7842-11ea-a7d7-b370f332b67a.html

Allen American: Rep. Van Taylor to host coronavirus telephone town hall

March 23, 2020

To provide information to constituents and answer their questions, Congressman Van Taylor will host a free, telephone town hall event at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow, March 24.

Open to residents of Texas’ Third Congressional District, Congressman Taylor will be joined by Collin County Judge Chris Hill, State Representatives Jeff Leach and Matt Shaheen, and officials from the Collin County Department of Public Health.

Together, they will provide information and take questions on federal, state, and local efforts to keep Collin County residents safe and healthy.

Collin County residents who wish to participate can sign up online at https://bit.ly/COVID19TTH

Link: https://starlocalmedia.com/allenamerican/news/rep-van-taylor-to-host-coronavirus-telephone-town-hall/article_c0b4beac-6d3e-11ea-b0dc-7bb45b745d87.html

Princeton Herald: Coffee with your Congressman Set for Tomorrow

February 19, 2020

By Morgan Howard

Princeton’s representative in the U.S. House will visit the area tomorrow.

Van Taylor, a Republican from District 3, will stop by Country Burger in Murphy from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. He invites his constituents to drop by for a chat or to ask questions.

He’s held “Coffee with Your Congressman” events in the past and stated that he wants to get to know people from the area in a casual atmosphere.

Country Burger is located at 104 North Murphy Road, Suite 210.

Link: https://princetonherald.com/2020/02/19/coffee-with-your-congressman-set-for-tomorrow/

Men’s Health: The Right and Left Way to Disagree

January 23, 2020

How two Texas congressmen from opposite sides of the aisle make things work.

COLIN ALLRED AND VAN TAYLOR have a lot in common. They’re both freshman lawmakers in the U. S. House of Representatives. They’re both from Texas. They’re both used to being part of a team: Allred spent four seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans; Taylor was in the Marines for nine years. But there’s one major difference: Allred is a Democrat and Taylor a Republican, and at a time when our government (and seemingly every aspect of life) is intensely polarized, you’d have every reason to believe these two aren’t friends and don’t get along. But they are, and they do, and Men’s Health caught up with them during an early-morning workout to learn how they manage it.

Looking over the policy sections on your websites, we don’t see a whole lot that you guys agree on. So how exactly does being friends work?

Taylor: Colin was the first person I called to congratulate on election night in 2018. Our districts are intertwined—we have water issues together and transportation issues together—and I knew I was gonna have to work with him. I came to Congress to get things done for my district, and building relationships is the first step. A relationship begins with a phone call.

Allred: And it does help that we’re friends. You could spend all your time focused on where you disagree with someone. You could have a good argument every day if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t get much done. And anytime you don’t have a relationship with somebody, it’s gonna be easier to demonize them.

Taylor: You want to focus on what you can work on together. You have to accept the arguments on the other side as valid when they are. You don’t want to dismiss them—at least understand what they are so that you are able to converse. Because if you don’t know anything about what the other side is talking about, you’re not going to be able to understand their perspective.

Since your districts are next to each other, you guys automatically have something in common. What’s the best way to talk with a colleague you either don’t know or don’t particularly like?

Taylor: Start with family.

Allred: Always ask about their families. Then: “How’s life treating you?” Especially with the new members: “How are you settling into D. C.?” The older members: “How did you settle in?” Once you start talking to each other along those lines, you pretty quickly realize how many similarities you have.

Taylor: The other key to talking with people is to know where they are. Whenever I’m talking to anyone of Congress, I say, “Hey, this is what I think. This is why I think you should do this. But you need to do what’s good for you in your district.” It’s important to have those conversations and be honest with each other.

Allred: I always have a harder time when I feel like somebody’s repeating talking points. It’s like: I’m trying to have a conversation with you; you don’t need to lobby me. You’re also probably not going to change my mind just with talking points that we’ve all heard on the news.

How much of the bickering and vitriol that we see on TV is real and how much of it is just for show?

Allred: I don’t think that it’s as pervasive as it might seem on TV, but there are certainly people in D. C. who don’t like each other.

Taylor: And TV gravitates toward those people. “Hey, wanna go on TV and bash the other side?”

Allred: Also, it’s not like “Allred and Taylor Come Together to Work on Moderate Bill” is raging news.

More and more, it seems like that divisiveness is seeping into our everyday lives. What’s a solution to that? Other than working out together.

Taylor: You can’t just watch cable news to get your information. You have to get out of your ideological bubble.

Allred: Same with social media. We’ve got algorithms that enforce your existing worldview. All of us now have to be more proactive about getting outside of our little bubble and have an understanding of all sides of the issues.

Taylor: We need to think about these conversations as an opportunity to educate ourselves and learn from other people. It’s a smart thing to have a diversity of perspectives. No two people agree with each other all the time. If you don’t believe me, ask your significant other.

Allred: And there are important differences! Don’t get me wrong. And that’s what our elections are about. That’s democracy. That’s healthy. What isn’t healthy is when you assume that the person who disagrees with you is also a bad person. Because if you can’t disagree without thinking someone else is bad or evil, then you start pulling apart the seams of our country, and we have to be very careful about that.

Link: https://www.menshealth.com/health/a30567632/allred-taylor-disagree-agreeably/

McKinney Courier-Gazette: Taylor introduces cybersecurity legislation

December 16, 2019

United States Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX-03) last week introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to help protect state and local governments against cyber attacks.

State and local governments often house sensitive data on their systems including financial information of utility customers, medical records, election data, and criminal records. The same is true for associations, small businesses, and the general public. However, these local entities are falling victim to ransomware and other cyber-attacks at an increasing rate, oftentimes, with limited resources to safeguard their systems.

H.R. 5394, the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act aims to address growing cybersecurity threats, by requiring the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in coordination with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), to increase engagement with smaller units of government.

State and local government bodies such as the Texas Department of Information Resources, the cities of Plano and Frisco, and the McKinney Independent School District have also voiced strong support for Taylor’s legislation.

“Public school districts are data-rich targets that cybercriminals are targeting more and more frequently,” McKinney ISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel said. “Unfortunately, most districts do not have the resources to effectively combat these attacks on their own. As such, it is legislation like Congressman Taylor’s Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act that promotes sharing of resources between local, state, and federal entities. I certainly believe this act is critical to protecting our district data.”

“As cyberattacks become increasingly common and threaten the well-being of millions of Americans, it’s imperative we develop effective strategies to prevent and stop these attacks. Just this year in Texas alone, more than fifty local governments and school districts were hit by ransomware attacks,” Taylor said. “My commonsense bill will ensure smaller units of government will have knowledge of and access to the tools and resources available to protect their digital systems.”

Original cosponsors of the Strengthening State and Local Cybersecurity Defenses Act include Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Mike Rogers (R-AL-03), and Representatives Al Green (D-TX-09), Will Hurd (R-TX-23), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08).

More information on H.R. 5394 can be found at vantaylor.house.gov.

Link: https://starlocalmedia.com/mckinneycouriergazette/news/taylor-introduces-cybersecurity-legislation/article_c229eaa6-2035-11ea-8728-af2357fde852.html

WFAA: Conservative Republican in Collin County Isn’t Like His Peers

July 7, 2019

U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, sat down with host Jason Whitely and Bud Kennedy from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to discuss the latest reports coming out the border. They also talked about Taylor’s ability to work across the aisle. There is a lot of talk in Washington, D.C. about the conservative Republican from Plano working with Democrats in the House.

Link: https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/inside-texas-politics/287-6f7554ca-02b1-41f9-8124-df18ae6b91f1

Dallas Morning News: Opinion: Grateful for Van Taylor

June 8, 2019

Re: “Plano rep is ‘Mr. Bipartisan’ — Conservative Van Taylor liberally makes the rounds on House floor,” May 22 news story.

What a wonderful man, and I am proud he is one of our Dallas Fort-Worth members of Congress. That is what went through my mind when I read this article on Van Taylor. What we need is more congressmen/congresswomen like Taylor to move the country forward.

As a Taiwanese American, I had the honor to meet Taylor twice during the past six months. During both meetings, the congressman listened to us with great interest, and decided right away to co-sponsor legislation that is of concern to us — his Taiwanese American constituents. Taylor also voted for legislation commemorating 40 years of close U.S.-Taiwan relations. We are grateful.

We therefore wish him Godspeed and look forward to a long and close relationship with him and his talented staff.

John Hsieh, Frisco, president, North Texas chapter, Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Link: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2019/06/08/letters-plano-elections-philip-kingston-scott-griggs-van-taylor/

Dallas Morning News: A tax glitch dinged this Gold Star family in Wylie, along with many others. Congress is working on a fix.

June 3, 2019

By Tom Benning

WASHINGTON — Becky Welch, a Wylie mother of two, walked into her accountant’s office in early April only to be greeted by the startling news that she owed nearly $1,800 more in federal taxes this year than usual.

The reason why stung more than any dollar amount could.

A component of the tax overhaul Congress passed in 2017, as it turned out, had produced the unintended effect of hiking taxes on survivor benefits she and her two boys have received ever since her husband, Army 1st Lt. Rob Welch, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2011.

Becky Welch learned of the tax increase just days after she had hosted an annual charity run to commemorate her husband’s death.

“It felt like a real slap in the face,” said Welch, 34, recalling how her accountant consoled her over the unexpected hit.

Relief may be coming for the Welches and other Gold Star families, which are those who’ve seen loved ones die while serving in the military. The same could be true for others, such as relatives of first responders killed in the line of duty, dinged by what’s been dubbed the “kiddie tax.”

That’s because Congress has undertaken the rare course of legislating quickly and in a bipartisan manner.

The GOP-run Senate has passed a retroactive fix for Gold Star families. The Democratic-run House, in turn, has approved a broader correction via a bill focused on retirement legislation. The two chambers just need to settle on one option or the other to rectify the matter.

Lawmakers in both parties are confident a deal is forthcoming, even amid some continued partisan wrangling.

“This tax penalty for Gold Star families is something that there should be wide bipartisan agreement that we should fix and fix right away,” said Houston Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, a Democrat who co-sponsored a House bill to resolve the problem for Gold Star families.

The “kiddie tax” highlights the wide reach of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that Congress passed in late 2017 with only Republican support.

The revamp cut taxes for most individuals and businesses in Texas and beyond, marking the signature legislative achievement of President Donald Trump’s time in Washington. But it’s also produced some curious results, and not always by design.

An effective penalty on Gold Star families is among the unintended consequences.

Tax writers included in the overhaul a tweak aimed at preventing wealthy parents from essentially hiding money in their children’s name. In doing so, they inadvertently hit at the unusual way military survivors’ benefits are doled out.

Surviving spouses are eligible for an untaxed benefit through the Veterans Affairs Department and then also a taxable benefit through the Defense Department.

Federal law requires a dollar-for-dollar offset if a surviving spouse receives both benefits — a setup dubbed by some as the “widows tax.” To collect the full amount available, some surviving spouses chose to direct the Defense Department benefit to their children.

There has long been a push to eliminate the need for a work-around in the first place. And advocates are hopeful there might be a breakthrough in this Congress, given that such legislation has overwhelming bipartisan support, including from a majority of the Texas delegation.

But the 2017 tax overhaul presented a more immediate problem.

Survivor benefits designated toward children had previously been taxed at an average rate of 12% to 15%, according to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a group that’s been tracking the issue. Under the changes in the new tax code, that rate increased to as high as 37%.

For Welch, the taxes on the benefit for her family jumped to $2,200 this year from $400 in years past — an unexpected increase that eats into vital income.

“I tell the boys that this is money their dad would be bringing in if he were still alive,” she said, explaining that every dollar goes toward food, clothing and other care for her children, ages 11 and 9. “We’ve been blessed to be able to survive on this.”

Welch, whose story was first reported by KXAS-TV (Channel 5), soon learned that many other Gold Star families were in a similar situation. She then decided to attend a community coffee meeting held by Rep. Van Taylor, R- Plano, to press for a solution.

Taylor, a Marine veteran, listened to Welch’s predicament and asked what he could do to help, Welch recalled.

The congressman signed on as a co-sponsor to the same legislative correction to the “kiddie tax” that was ultimately co-sponsored by Fletcher and several other Texans, including Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell; Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan; and Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas.

“While nothing can make up for the incredible loss these heroic families have suffered, we can show a small token of our appreciation by ensuring Gold Star Families receive the benefits promised by our nation,” Taylor said in a news release.

The fix, which works by simply treating the benefit as earned income, appears all but certain to pass, providing Welch and others retroactive relief. But some politics have still come into play.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for instance, sought to ding Texas Sen. John Cornyn — a Republican up for re-election next year — for having “helped pass a reckless law forcing Gold Star families to pay higher taxes on their survivor benefits.”

Cornyn campaign manager John Jackson said, “D.C. Democrats using Gold Star families for political gain is as unsurprising as it is disgusting.” Cornyn, meanwhile, co-sponsored the Senate version of the fix, citing the need to “act swiftly” to correct an “unacceptable” error.

The House’s decision to fold the “kiddie tax” fix into broader retirement legislation added another complication.

Some Republicans were miffed that Democrats excluded an unrelated provision that would’ve expanded 529 savings accounts to cover things like homeschooling expenses. That’s partly why Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, was one of three House lawmakers to vote against the bill — a decision that drew outrage from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Then in the Senate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz helped hold up speedy passage of the House bill over those same 529 concerns, according to CNN.

Cruz, a Republican, told CNN that the “kiddie tax” fix is the “right thing to do” and pointed out that he also co-sponsored the narrow Senate version of the correction. But he told CNN that lawmakers should still “act for the benefit of school kids all across the country.”

A Cruz spokesman reiterated the senator’s co-sponsorship of the Senate bill, adding that Cruz “strongly supports its passage.” But he said Cruz also wants approval of the 529 expansion to cover tutoring services, standardized testing fees and other expenses.

“The Senate should act for the benefit of school kids all across the country and help Gold Star families at the same time,” the Cruz spokesman said.

Link: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2019/06/03/a-tax-glitch-dinged-this-gold-star-family-in-wylie-along-with-many-others-congress-is-working-on-a-fix/

“Rep. Van Taylor of Plano is not like other Congress members as he works to be ‘Mr. Bipartisan'” – Dallas Morning News

May 21, 2019

WASHINGTON — Freshman Rep. Van Taylor of Plano is without question a conservative Republican. But watching him work the House floor, you might not know it, because he spends much of his time working the other side of the aisle.

That’s not uncommon in Austin, where Taylor served in the state House and Senate for eight years before heading to Congress. In the Legislature, lawmakers in both parties routinely work together.

But in Washington, the two tribes mostly stick to their own kind.

“When you turn on the TV and you see a lot of both extremes — extreme right and extreme left. What you don’t see are the Democrats and Republicans who are working together … who actually like each other,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., a fellow military veteran. “It helps when you have somebody like Van, not only someone you like professionally but someone you like personally.”    

Before entering politics, Taylor served as an officer in the Marine Corps for about 10 years and was deployed to Iraq.

“You did not get to pick who your lieutenants or commanders were,” Taylor said. “You’re not there asking what their political party is or what they believe. You are simply there to do a job.”   

After a failed run for a U.S. House seat in 2006, Taylor won a state House seat in 2010. In 2014, he won a seat in the Texas Senate, where he served four years. Then Sam Johnson, now 88, announced his retirement after nearly three decades in Congress. Taylor coasted to victory in the GOP primary, assuring a win in the heavily Republican Collin County-based district.

In Austin, lawmakers are assigned desks on the floor of each chamber based on seniority, regardless of party. Taylor’s first Democratic deskmate was Beaumont Rep. Joe Deshotel in 2013.  

In the U.S. House, there are no assigned seats or desks, and the center aisle marks a clear border.

Republicans spend their time to the left, looking out from the rostrum, with Democrats mingling among themselves across the aisle.

“The fact that there is a Republican side and a Democrat side on the House floor is something I still can’t quite wrap my head around,” Taylor said about Washington.

On each side, though, freshmen and veterans alike tend to claim favorite spots. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, the senior Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee, sits toward the back of the GOP side with other Texans. Across the aisle, Dallas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson can usually be found in one of the first few rows.

Taylor is all over the place.

One minute he could be talking with Rep. Greg Pence, brother of Vice President Mike Pence, or sitting next to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a top ally of President Donald Trump.  

The next he could be on the Democratic side talking with Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state about Medicare for All, or New York Rep. Joseph Morelle, a colleague on the Education and Labor Committee.

For Taylor, this is part friendly outreach, part calculation.

He understands to get things done you need to work with both sides, especially for Republicans in the House, with Democrats in control. He makes it a point, he says, to spend half his time on the House floor on the Republican side and the other half with Democrats.

To keep track, he carries a schedule card in his coat pocket. On the back he list bills that he has co-sponsored with names of the authors. He uses that as a reminder, to help spark a conversation.

“If you want to fix Washington, you have to build relationships. It took a lot of time to build the distrust that exists in Washington and it will take time to fix it,” Taylor said. “It’s one handshake, one conversation, one phone call at a time.”

It’s so unconventional, lawmakers are caught off guard.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., was visibly surprised when Taylor came over during evening votes in early April.

House members cast votes on any of the machines distributed around the floor, but most stick to the ones on their party’s side. On any given day, Taylor can be seen casting his votes on legislation on the Democrats’ side, voting in step with fellow Republicans even as he’s chatting up their adversaries.

Airborne diplomacy

Taylor’s outreach isn’t confined to Capitol Hill.

Traveling home to Plano at the end of February, he and Rep. Colin Allred, a fellow freshman from Dallas, ended up on the same plane. Allred, a Democrat, was hoping for an aisle seat but couldn’t get one. Taylor offered his — then promptly took the adjacent middle seat.

In Taylor’s version, Allred seemed a little surprised, and Taylor explained that he was “getting the full Taylor” as they flew back to North Texas.

“Colin and I are working on water issues and road issues. They are important things for our districts,” he said, pointing out that U.S. 75 runs through both of their districts. Allred is also a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Sharing laughs

Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., is one member Taylor spends time with on the House floor talking business or sharing a laugh.

They met during freshman orientation in November and have gotten to know each other better by working on issues related to security and foreign policy. That led to them to introduce two pieces of legislation condemning Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and South Korea.

Malinowski said that watching Taylor work the floor “inspires” him.   

“In all honesty, it influences me to try and do the same thing and go over to the other side and find common ground,” Malinowski said. “It is something that is sorely needed.”

He’s not the only Democrat who has noticed Taylor’s efforts. Since taking office in January, the Texan has sponsored or co-sponsored 76 pieces of legislation — 48 introduced by Democrats. That’s unusual compared to other Texans.

Allred and Houston Republican Dan Crenshaw, for instance — freshmen with somewhat higher profiles than Taylor — have primarily co-sponsored legislation from members of their own parties.

But there’s no disputing Taylor’s conservative bona fides. He is an anti-abortion Texan who wants to reduce the nation’s growing debt and prevent Washington from over-regulating routine aspects of people’s lives.

Taylor also works out with a group of congressman each morning that includes members of both parties, including Panetta, the two-term Democrat from California.

Taylor served in Iraq. Panetta, son of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, served in Afghanistan as a Navy reservist. Taylor and Panetta were some of the founding members of the veterans caucus, For Country.

Panetta also served as a deputy district attorney in Monterey County. His father served nine terms in Congress and the congressman said he understands that emotions can get the best of people in Washington.

“Van is a guy that when you talk to him he gets right to the facts. That’s what is important to him,” Panetta said. “I think that’s why he’s willing to talk to anybody, to get to the truth, and that’s what he bases his policies on.”

As Panetta spoke, Taylor interrupted to let him know he had signed on to his veteran affairs bill as the lead Republican co-sponsor. Panetta said that asking Taylor to co-sponsor the bill was an easy choice, because he’ll be prepared to push for it.

Panetta noted the Lone Star pride that Taylor has brought to Washington, often sharing stories about his time in the Legislature.

“You can see that the lessons he learned there he is trying to bring to the United States Congress, not necessarily policy-wise but more mechanic-wise, and the relationships he built there and how things got done there.” Panetta said. “He is trying to implement that here.”

– Matthew Adams, Washington Correspondent

Read the article here: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2019/05/21/rep-van-taylor-not-like-congress-membersas-works-mr-bipartisan

Dallas Morning News: Opinion: Taylor Listens to Constituents

May 19, 2019

As a resident of the 3rd Congressional District, I’m elated to share my appreciation for newly elected congressman Van Taylor. Taylor believes that the best ideas come from the people he works for and has a 100% constituent meeting policy. I’ve met Taylor three times already since his election. First with an organization I volunteer in called Results (working to end global poverty and alleviate the issues that contribute to it) and twice at coffee meet-ups that he holds regularly for his constituents.

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, which still has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. HIV/AIDS has affected my family in a personal way. Seven of my aunts and uncles contracted the virus, and two died. Today, through the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Zimbabwe has recorded a 30 percent increase in the number of people on anti-retroviral therapy, bringing that number to 1.1 million people.

I’d like to thank Taylor for listening to me as I’ve been educating him on the important role of the Global Fund. I hope that he will join his colleagues soon in supporting the Global Fund.

Bukekile Dube, McKinney

Link: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2019/05/19/letters-lewisville-high-school-voting-van-taylor-hb-4416-dallas-mayoral-race/