Congressman Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up 11/12/11

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it has been an intense week on Capitol Hill, even in the midst of our Hannukah and Christmas season.

However, the speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Osawatomie, Kansas should cause many Americans grave concern. Charles Krauthammer’s Friday Wall Street Journal does a fantastic job of dissecting the speech, read it here.

The fact that we have an American President who believes “supply-side economics” has failed, is rather disturbing. It is the free market and individual freedoms which have made America the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known in only 235 years.  I wonder if President Obama ever read these words from Thomas Jefferson:

“A wise and frugal Government… which shall leave [men] otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

The answer is not to blame those who seek to create jobs and opportunities in America, the answer involves accepting responsibility for failed big government schemes and policies, Mr. President.

President Ronald Reagan stated,“Man is not free unless government is limited.” As a comparative analysis, President Reagan’s policies were resulting in 7-8% GDP growth. This year we have seen 0.4%, 1.0%, and 2.0% GDP growth in the three quarters of 2011 under President Obama’s economic policies.

In his book, Private Rights and Public Illusions, Tibor Machan expresses, “The desire to ‘help’ others by directing their lives may be strong, but to yield to this desire is to undermine the very human dignity of the person who is being coerced. In a society that accords with the principles based upon political theory of natural human rights to life, liberty, and property (John Locke)… paternalism is not authorized.”

It is rather simple. Government policies that treat people as dependents of the State, undermine the independence and dignity of those they intend to help. President Obama’s vision of “economic fairness” is a misguided philosophy that is anathema to the founding principles of our beloved Constitutional Republic, America.  President Abraham Lincoln succinctly said, “You cannot make a poor man rich by making a rich man poor.”  The desire to promote the growth of a bureaucratic nanny-state, which becomes more intrusive and powerful, is not consistent with the values of good governance. As the scope and influence of a government expands, so does its ability to bestow “favors” on particular groups. Therefore, government can erect barriers to trade, pass specific tax breaks, and adopt regulations with a greater power to reward certain groups.

The greater the power of government to grant favors to established individuals, businesses, labor organizations, and other special interests, the more time, effort, and resources these interests devote to obtaining and maintaining special treatment.  This is why limited government, not President Obama’s vision of government, is the solution for moving our Country forward. When government’s responsibilities are limited, the potential for these established interests to receive special treatment is also limited.

Hence, the issue in America is not capitalism- it is crony capitalism- where the Federal Government is using hard- earned taxpayer dollars to pick the winners and losers in the free market. As well, we are consistently witnessing an Obama Administration which believes it is the new venture capitalist, using American taxpayer dollars to promote its ideological agenda… albeit a proven failure.

In conclusion, those who lauded President Obama’s speech in Kansas last week likely also subscribe to the liberal progressive vision that runs counter to American values and principles. I believe all Americans have the ladder of equal opportunity to climb to levels of achievement and success. Yes, there must be a safety net for when our fellow Americans slip off that ladder, however, that safety net must never become a comfortable hammock.

Mr. President, life isn’t fair, which is why the Green Bay Packers are 12-0 and the Indianapolis Colts are 0-12, but do not expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take wins from Green Bay and give them to the Colts. However, next year Indianapolis will get the first round draft pick and that is the difference in the American principle of equal opportunity and yours, Mr. President, of equal achievement and “fairness.”

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

REINS — This past Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011, by a vote of 241-184, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported the bill. The bill would restore congressional accountability for the regulatory process by requiring Congress to take an up-or-down, stand-alone vote, and for the President to sign off on all new major rules—those with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more—before they can be enforced on the American people, job-creating small businesses, or state and local governments. Last year, 100 major rules were finalized by the Executive Branch. The bill would require the approval resolution to move through Congress within 70 legislative days to ensure there is certainty in the process and regulations do not linger without approval. The REINS Act fosters better cooperation upfront between federal agencies and Congress, resulting in regulations that will more accurately reflect the impact on American businesses and families.

– Farm Dust — This past Thursday, the House approved H.R. 1633, The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011, by a vote of 268-150, I VOTED YES. Thirty-three Democrats supported the bill. The bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing any new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for coarse particulate matter for at least one year from the date of enactment of the legislation. The bill would also limit federal regulation of nuisance dust by EPA to areas in which it is not regulated under State, tribal, or local law, where the nuisance dust causes substantial adverse effects, and the benefits of federal regulation outweigh the costs. Nuisance dust is defined to mean particulate matter that is generated primarily from natural sources, unpaved roads, agricultural activities, earth moving, or other activities typically conducted in rural areas, and meets other specific criteria.

Upcoming Week:
– Defense Authorization — The House is expected to consider the Conference Report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The comprehensive bill would authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy, as well as a number of policy provisions relating to national security. The House approved its version of the bill, H.R. 1540, on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 322-96, I VOTED YES. The Senate approved its version, S. 1867, on December 1, 2011 by a vote of 93-7. In addition, the Leadership has asked me to serve on the Conference Committee. Please see the announcement here.

– Fiscal Year 2012 Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations
— The House is expected to consider legislation to provide full Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the nine remaining appropriations bills. The nine bills include funding for Defense, Energy & Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior & Environment, Labor/HHS/Education, Legislative Branch, Military/Veterans, and State/Foreign Operations. Under the Budget Control Act (BCA), the bill containing the nine bills must uphold the non-emergency base discretionary level of $1.043 trillion. The legislation would cut non-emergency discretionary spending by $98 billion compared to the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 request, and some $47 billion below the Fiscal Year 2010 level.

– Expiring Extensions — The House may consider legislation to extend certain provisions set to expire at the end of 2011. The bill would provide a fully-offset extension of the current payroll tax rates, a delay in the implementation of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (the so-called “Doc Fix”), and federally funded Unemployment Insurance benefits. The legislation would provide assistance to Americans suffering in the Obama economy, while ensuring that these policies will not increase the federal deficit or require more borrowing from the Social Security trust fund by freezing pay for members of Congress and federal workers, reforming Unemployment Insurance, reducing subsidies, and getting rid of waste, fraud and abuse in some Washington programs. Lastly, the legislation would include a provision taking action on the bipartisan Keystone XL energy project.

DC/District Highlights:

Monday, 5 December, Spoke with and took a picture with students from Tequesta Trace Middle School from Weston, FL, attended the White House Congressional Christmas Party.
– Tuesday, 6 December, visited by approximately 40 members of “Occupy Palm Beach.” The encounter was interesting when I met with five selected members of the group and discussed how I believed they needed to become more aware of issues and policy. Met with and was interviewed by Executive Director of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell.
– Wednesday, 7 December, 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Started the day with a call in the 8 o’clock hour to South Florida Pearl Harbor survivor Abe Stein and we had a fantastic 30-minute chat. The attack on Pearl Harbor began at 8:00 am in Hawaii seventy years ago. Please see my Press Release recognizing the Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines who served in World War II here. Participated in the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization Conferee meeting… a true honor to be one of three House freshmen invited to be a part of the Armed Services joint committee.
– Thursday, 8 December, Delivered my second House special order floor speech on “The Congressional Year in Review.” You can watch the Special Order here.  Had our Washington office staff Christmas/Hannukah party- see picture here.
Friday, 9 December, flew back to the District, worked in the office.
– Saturday, 10 December, Attended the Wreaths Across America event at the South Florida Veterans Administration National Cemetery- see pictures here.  Watched Army-Navy game, a hard fought game- congrats to Navy! Attended the Ft. Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
– Sunday, 11 December, Rode my motorcycle in the 24th Annual Christmas Toys in the Sun Run, along with some 30,000 riders, all for ensuring we provide a Merry Christmas to children here in South Florida.

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