Published on July 23rd, 2012 | by Allen West Republic0
Rep Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up, Legislative Update, Highlights and the Week Ahead
Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and indeed all Americans. It is time once again for our weekly update.
This past week, we were once again reminded that evil exists amongst us all. In Aurora, Colorado we found out about a horrific shooting which left, at the time of me writing this, 12 dead and more than 50 wounded. At a time when these Americans just wanted to have a nice evening at a movie premiere, they found themselves the targets of a monster. The fact that the alleged suspect’s apartment was “booby-trapped” leads us to believe that even more carnage was desired from this deranged individual.
My deepest condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones and will forever be scarred by this terrible episode.
In another horrific attack, five Israeli tourists lost their lives to a terrorist in Bulgaria this week. This attack serves to remind us that there is an ever-present evil which continues to target and terrorize the Jewish people wherever they travel or reside. This evil must be confronted with resolve and determination wherever it exists, and defeated. I further expressed my commitment to Israel when meeting with Israeli Member of Parliament, Danny Danon, this week in our Congressional office. Preliminary reports suggest the perpetrator of this attack was released from the United States Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay. If that is confirmed, here we have two instances where radical Islamists have been released from facilities (the other being from Afghanistan) which resulted in deaths to Jewish people, one case in France, and then again this week in Bulgaria.
I will continue to strongly advocate for getting these non-state, non-uniform radical Islamic belligerents off the battlefield. As far as I am concerned, as long as they attack freedom-loving people and civilians, they can stay locked away.
The United States House of Representatives completed the seventh of the 12 required appropriations bills this past week. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reiterated his pledge to not complete or pass any appropriations bills this year. This means America will face either a long-term Continuing Resolution or some massive OMNIBUS spending bill. Senator Reid continues to lead a United States Senate which has not proposed or passed a constitutionally mandated budget in more than three years. In contrast, the GOP-led House of Representatives is run under regular order with spirited debate and amendments being offered, something not seen under the previous Congress led by Democrats.
In closing, let us never forget that it was and always shall be the rugged American individual industrialism and entrepreneurship that built this Constitutional Republic. It is the hardworking American operating within a free marketplace of ideas, and their dreams, which creates the investment, ingenuity, and innovation that has spurred on the economic growth of the greatest nation the world has ever known.
For anyone, especially a President, to insinuate anything other is just demeaning to the American people. For this very reason, Thomas Jefferson was very specific in articulating that the unalienable rights we enjoy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness do not emanate from man or government, they come from our Creator and His divine inspiration of us all.
Steadfast and Loyal,
- Sequestration — On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, by a vote of 414-2, I VOTED YES. The bill would require the President to submit to the United States Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act (BCA) and how the required spending cuts are to be implemented. Under the BCA, the spending authority of many federal departments and agencies will be reduced on January 2, 2013. After accounting for 18 percent in debt service savings, the required reductions amount to nearly $990 billion over 9 years – or $110 billion per year, with 50 percent of the cuts coming from defense. Thus, each year $55 billion in reductions will be necessary in both the defense and non-defense categories. Despite repeated requests by the U.S. Congress, the Obama Administration has yet to disclose in detail its plan for implementing the required spending reductions for fiscal year 2013. H.R. 5872 would require the President to submit a report to U.S. Congress within 30 days of enactment that includes an estimate of the sequestration cuts that will be made to achieve the required reduction for each spending category. The bill would require the report to identify each account to be sequestered and provide estimates of the level of budgetary resources subject to sequestration and resulting reductions at the program, project, and activity level. House Republicans have passed legislation (H.R. 5652) to replace these cuts with responsible savings through reform while the Senate has yet to act.
- Defense Appropriations — On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, by a vote of 326-90, I VOTED YES. In total, the bill would provide $519.2 billion in regular funding for the Department of Defense, an increase of $1.1 billion over the fiscal year 2012 level and $3.1 billion above the President’s request, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In addition, the bill contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror. The legislation would include $128.5 billion to provide for 1,401,560 active-duty troops and 843,400 reserves. This funding level is $2.6 billion below last year, due to the reduction in troop totals. This also includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military, which is in line with pending Defense authorization legislation. H.R. 5856 would contribute to an overall level of discretionary budget authority of $1.028 trillion for Fiscal Year 2013 as contained in H.Con.Res. 112, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013.
- Regulations — The United States House of Representatives is scheduled to consider the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, a package of bills to reduce the economic burdens facing job creators as a result of the Obama administration’s hyper-regulatory policies. Adding to the dozens of jobs bills already passed which cut the excessive red tape holding back small businesses, the bill would reform the regulatory process in a number of ways, such as preventing any federal agency from taking a “significant regulatory action” until unemployment has reached 6 percent or less, improving transparency of “sue and settle” transactions that compel regulatory action where it has been delayed, and streamlining permitting for environmental projects. In calendar year 2011, the federal government added over 71,000 pages of new regulations to the federal registry…the over-regulatory environment is strangling our economic growth and adding to the atmosphere of uncertainty and lack of predictability.
- Offshore Energy — The United States House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan. According to the Committee on Natural Resources, the bill would replace the Obama Administration’s final offshore drilling plan, which keeps 85 percent of America’s offshore areas off-limits to energy production, with a real plan that creates new American jobs by allowing offshore American energy production in those areas with the greatest known oil and natural gas resources. H.R. 6082 would implement a new schedule for 29 lease sales, protect national defense and military operations and provide for separate environmental reviews for each specific lease sale. As well, we know the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has commissioned a study to attack the practice of hydraulic fracking which has enabled a state like North Dakota to experience an incredible economic boom in oil and natural gas production, of course on state and private lands.
Highlights of the Week:
- Tuesday, 17 July; returned back to Capitol Hill
- Wednesday, 18 July; attended House Armed Service Committee full committee meeting on Sequestration Implementation and effects on National Defense Industry Perspectives, you can view my question of the panel,met with Abigail Jordan, constituent visiting to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law; met with constituents representing the organization Christians United for Israel who were visiting Capitol Hill; met with Dr. Yitzah Vangard, former Counsul General for Israel and Puerto Rico to discuss US-Israeli relations, and Iranian threat; attended Small Business Committee hearing on Expanding Broadband Access to Small Business, focused on expansion of these services into rural areas and the FCCs new Universal Service Funding (USF) funding reforms- hat tip to Mr. Jeff Leslie of Indiantown Telecommunications Service for his input; met with five interns from the Center for Christian Statesmanship to discuss how my faith enables my ability to serve our Nation (Isaiah 54:17); met with Mohammed Ghanem, Government Relations Director, Syrian-American Council to discuss the on-the-ground situation in Syria and possible courses of action for American assistance. It was a good meeting and enhanced my insights into the situation in Syria and the follow-on possibilities.
- Thursday, 19 July; addressed the Teenage Republican (TARs) Leadership Conference, enthusiastic gathering of over 150 young people on the subject of Constitutional Conservative principles; addressed Phyllis Schafly’s 19th Annual Eagle Forum Collegians Leadership Summit at the Heritage Foundation on the subject of American Military Superiority as a key to peace, you can view the speech and the follow up Q&A session here; attended a House Armed Services Committee classified briefing with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey on Disclosures of National Security Information and Impact on Military Operations; met with former Battalion Commander, Colonel (Ret) John Gingrich, Executive Assistant to Secretary Shinseki and Assistant Secretary Mooney, Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss upcoming joint HASC/VA committee hearing on Veterans Administration-Department of Defense collaboration/transition for Veterans and Service members healthcare programs; met with Israeli Member of Parliament Danny Danon and presented him with a letter for the Prime Minister and Knesset supporting the recent legal assessment regarding Judea and Samaria and pledging my support, you can view the letter here.
- Friday, 20 July; met with Qubad Talabani, Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government, who also has a home in Delray Beach. Mr. Talabani will be returning to Iraqi Kurdistan as an advisor to the Prime Minister at end of summer. We discussed the regional situation of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran and its effects upon the Iraqi Kurdistan government and their quest for recognized statehood, met with Mr. Melvin Bledsoe, father of Carlos Bledsoe, the young black man who was converted to radical Islam and shot two US Army soldiers, killing one, at a Little Rock, AK recruiting station. He is looking for support against homegrown Islamic radicalization among our nation’s youth, especially in the black community.
- Saturday, 21 July; participated in a reef clean up dive with local divers out of Stuart, Florida. Our team collected about 200 lbs of trash, including rope, nets and 4 anchors. This was the 5th annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup. Hat tip to Butch Nelson of the Port Salerno Commercial Fishing Dock Authority for a great event (and BBQ lunch). Great pictures here.
- Sunday, 22 July; Community Christian Church and family day.