Rep Allen West – Legislative Lowdown, District Highlights and Weekly Wrap Up 3/26/12

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is time again for our weekly update report to you all. As I have previously stated, the purpose of doing these weekly reports is to keep you, my commanders, informed and provide you complete insights into my activities, as well as political and policy assessments.

This past week, the House GOP unveiled something which we have not seen the United States Senate do in more than 1000 days: a budget resolution. Again, I must give accolades to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan for having the political will and courage to tackle this issue. We cannot continue to believe the military can be the bill payer for the fiscal irresponsibility of Washington, DC.

The true drivers of our debt and deficit are mandatory spending: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Last year the trustees of Medicaid and Social Security testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee admitting these programs are on the way to being insolvent. We must look to a future which protects and preserves Medicare for future American seniors, just as myself.

The sad aspect is that just as last year, our colleagues from across the aisle have adopted a policy of demagoguery instead of solutions. Please understand —- doing nothing is not an option! There are viable solutions which we have presented, and either our colleagues get on board or produce a plan.

Unfortunately, the only plan we continue to receive from the Democrats is to increase the debt, which is what President Barack Obama’s budget does, taking it from $15.4 trillion to $26 trillion by 2022. In addition, we hit another incredible Obama Administration milestone. In three years and three months, President Obama has added more to the debt of the United States than President George W. Bush did in eight years.

The rhetoric of class envy and divisiveness are not solutions to growing our economy, we need tax and regulatory policy changes. That is why we must applaud Chairman Ryan and Chairman Dave Camp of the Ways and Means Committee for the proposed new simplified tax proposal. The plan collapses six tax brackets into two, at the rates of 25 percent and 10 percent. We must expand our tax base, lower personal income rates, and close tax loopholes, thus enabling our small businesses to expand and hire Americans. This kind of a strategy will provide predictability and move us away from using the United States tax code as a weapon against producers.

The House of Representatives budget plan gives a clear choice of two very different futures for America. One secures a chance for our children and grandchildren to have economic opportunity — the other will relegate them to economic servitude.

Also, this past week, we voted to repeal the onerous and very dangerous Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats who will make the price control decisions on Medicare. This is not how we regain the trust of the American people and promote patient-centered healthcare. I now call upon the United States Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and President Obama to end the IPAB.

This past Friday represented the two-year anniversary of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), truly one of the greatest legislative horrors coming out of Washington, DC. Gone is the pomp and circumstance for which it was signed into law.  The reality for 2012 has been higher insurance premiums and trepidation among many as to what this law holds, especially after January 2013.

“Obamacare” has to be repealed and replaced.  Today, the Supreme Court begins hearing the case on the constitutionality of Obamacare.  I pray that our justices see this for what it really is.  In case you missed my Washington Times op-ed entitled, “Why Obamacare is bad for America’s health,” printed in Friday’s paper, clickhere.  I was also on Fox News talking about the issue, here.

In closing, I was honored to deliver an almost hour-long Special Order on the House floor addressing the 21st Century Battlefield, last Thursday. Please watch it here on CPAN at time code 3:25:25.   Among other things, I discussed the horrible tragedy in France, where a Rabbi and children were gunned down by a man believed to be a radical jihadist.  Even more frightening, this man was one of nearly 400 escapees from an Afghanistan prison.  It makes you wonder, where are the other 399? Here we once again witness the seriousness of coming to grips with this radical Islamic fundamentalist enemy. The fact that this Islamic jihadist was once held in a facility in Afghanistan and somehow made it to France is troubling. As well, this is an individual who was on a United States “no-travel” list.  It is essential that America step up tracking of these terrorists.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

– Healthcare Reform —Last Thursday, the House approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a vote of 223-181.  I voted Yes. The bill repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by the Democrats’ federal takeover of healthcare, and would enact medical liability reform, as outlined in the Pledge to America. The IPAB is a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers resulting in de facto rationing of care for seniors. The board’s decisions cannot be challenged in the courts, unlike other agency rules, and carry the full force of the law. Medical liability reform would reduce Medicare spending in a way that does not ration care; rather, it would ensure access to care while reducing liability insurance and the practice of defensive medicine. The bill would place a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages; limit contingency fees lawyers can charge; place guidelines on punitive damages; provide a safe harbor from punitive damages for products that meet FDA safety requirements; and preserve all state laws that place higher or lower limits on any form of damages. According to CBO estimates, H.R. 5 would reduce the deficit by $45.5 billion over the FY2013-2022 period—repealing IPAB would cost $3.1 billion, while the medical liability reform would save $48.6 billion (thus the additional savings from medical liability reform will go to deficit reduction).

This Week:

– FY2013 Budget — The House will consider the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2013, also known as the Path to Prosperity. Through a number of policy provisions the House Republican budget would cut spending by $5.3 trillion relative to President’s budget, reform our broken tax code to make it simple, fair, and competitive, put the federal budget on path to balance, prevent deep and indiscriminate cuts to defense, and protect and strengthen Medicare for current retirees and future generations. Since the president and Democrats in the Senate have refused to take responsibility for avoiding the debt-fueled crisis our nation faces, House Republicans are advancing a plan of action that will help lift our crushing burden of debt and spur job creation and economic opportunity while strengthening health and retirement security.

– FCC Reform — The House is expected to consider H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012. Among other reforms, the bill would establish procedural requirements for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning: (1) the issuance of proposed rulemaking notices, including the time periods for comments and replies and any necessary findings, background information, or performance measures that must be contained in such notices; (2) the circumstances under which the FCC is authorized to adopt or amend a rule; and (3) the disclosure of closed meetings held by a bipartisan majority of FCC Commissioners. According to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the bill would improve the way the FCC operates by increasing transparency, predictability, and consistency as part of House Republicans’ ongoing effort to ensure the commission’s work encourages job creation, investment, and innovation.

DC Weekly Highlights:

Monday, March 19th:  met with Kristina Butts, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, met with Tim Chapman, COO, Heritage Action for America, met with Bob Livingston, Jon Gluckman, and Dick Rodgers, The Livingston Group discussing Raptor Detection Technologies-now deployed by DOD that will detect trace amounts of a number of explosive compounds, met with LT. GEN Jack Klimp (USMC, Ret), President and CEO, National Association of Uniformed Services to discuss the nation’s defense and benefits that military has earned,  met with Dr. Robert McLaughlin, Chiropractic Physician from Lake Park, Florida and his young daughter to discuss role of chiropractic care in the future of healthcare, met with Former CIA Director James Woolsey to discuss Energy Security and the War on Terror.

Tuesday, March 20th: Started the morning with a House Armed Services (HASC) Full Committee Hearing to listen to the developments in Afghanistan with General John Allen. Informative, eye-opening testimony from General Allen, watch here this very important testimony by the Afghanistan Commander, afterwards I caught up with LT. GEN David Perkins, Commanding General, US Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth amd COL T.C. Williams to discuss an update on Combined Arms Center activities and Professional Military Education, met with COL Oliver North to discuss detailed Briefing on Africa and an Emerging Threat, attended another HASC hearing to discuss Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request for IT and Cyber Operations Programs, met with Troy Link, Owner of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky in Hillsboro Beach, met with CAPT Robert Hurd, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps to discuss Naval Sea Cadet Corps program, met with Mike Merrifield, Laurilee Thompson, John Potts, and Rick Marks, of the South Florida Fisheries.

Wednesday, March 21st: Spoke to Florida’s Class VII Gubernatorial Fellows, met with Coral Springs Middle School’s 8th Grade Class, met with League of Southeastern Credit Union Members to discuss Member Business Lending, and Exam Fairness for Financial Institutions, as well as Capital Access for Small Businesses, attended a Small Business Committee hearing on “Job Creation Roadmap: How America’s Entrepreneurs Can Lead Our Economic Recovery,”, met with Eric Silagy, attended another HASC and House Judiciary to discuss detention Policy and the NDAA, spoke at and attended the “Keep Fishermen Fishing” rally in Washington, D.C. An amazing success with an estimated 3,000 fisherman from around the country and South Florida to rally for a cause that is pushing to keep America’s fisheries open. Family businesses are being forced to close and people are losing their jobs due to over regulation by federal agencies. Pictures here.  The fishermen hoped to ignite elected officials to pass an amendment to the controversial Magnuson-Steven Act. The 36-year-old legislation sets regulations dealing with overfished stock. Now is the time to roll back on these regulations. H.R. 3061 will allow South Florida Fishermen to get back on the water.

Thursday, March 22nd:  Met with Luke Longhofer, a student at Sun Coast Community High School, as he interviewed me  for a paper about African American Republicans in the US House and Senate, met with Steve Cernak, Port Everglades Port Director to discuss port dredging and beach sand, gave an almost hour-long special order on the House Floor entitled to discuss in details the emerging threats of the “21st Century Battlefield” and why this Administration must wake up, Special Order on Floor.

Friday- Sunday:  Weekend with family, enjoying South Florida!



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