Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. This weekend as I was travelling back from speaking in Orlando, my wife Angela called me and conveyed the news about the death of Whitney Houston. As I continued down Florida’s turnpike, I remembered coming back from Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. As we were dropping altitude to land in Philadelphia the crew played Whitney’s rendition of the National Anthem which she sang for the Super Bowl that year. There was not a dry eye on that plane, yours truly included. Many Americans will remember Houston as the “Queen of Pop,” however I will always remember her as the voice that welcomed me back to the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” Go with God, Whitney and we shall never forget the beauty of your voice.
Just as I returned home from that 1991 combat operation, let us not forget why some first came to these shores. Pilgrims came to America’s shores in search for religious freedom. They sought a land where they could freely worship without persecution from a State which endeavored to promote, and even impose, its ideals on religion and doctrines. Even the State of Maryland was established as a sanctuary for Catholics. Here in America, our revered first amendment expresses that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’
The Obama administration’s healthcare mandate is not about contraception, it is about a President and an administration that has repeatedly displayed their disregard and disrespect for the Rule of Law and the United States Constitution. The principle of Separation of Church and State is not specifically addressed in the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitution. It was codified in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (CT) Baptist convention. Jefferson simply articulated that we shall not have a government structure in America where the Head of State is also Head of Church. Unfortunately, this lesson is obviously not understood by the self-proclaimed “constitutional lecturer” President Barack Obama.
This week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC ), the focal point of the speech I delivered was, “We still hold these truths…..the Fundamental Difference.” We are experiencing a President and administration who believe that they have no limits on their infiltration into every realm of our personal life. This is the antithesis of what our Founding Fathers established the federal government to be. The Declaration of Independence clearly lists the grievances against the overreach of the British into the lives of the American Colonists. The principle of limited government is embodied in the U.S. Constitution as a response to that intrusion and explained in the Federalist Papers.
In 1991, I deployed to a foreign land to do what two previous generations in my family had done and to follow a legacy of men and women who had done likewise for our Republic. As I flew back home, I came to realize even more how great America is and all that it represents. Looking out the window and seeing my beloved America that day gave me such a sense of pride and honor. More than 20 years later, I still remain completely in awe of my country.
I do not know where President Obama was in 1991 or what he was doing. I hope he also remembers listening to Whitney Houston sing the National Anthem. I wonder if when hearing this song, he also closes his eyes and envisions Fort McHenry being shelled by the British and our Flag, the Standard of this Republic, flying. I would hope that tears would begin to flow from his eyes, just as they did for us combat warriors on that flight in 1991. I pray the President truly understands the sacrifice of what it means to live in the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” I fear he will continue to make decisions counter to who we are and never understand the ideals of American exceptionalism or a Constitutional Republic.
Elections always have consequences. President Obama’s obtuse manner toward We, the American people, is at times, in contempt of the very essence of everything American. He is not an imperial monarch and if he continues down this road is certainly not ‘deserving’ of reelection.
Steadfast and Loyal,
– Civilian Property Realignment Act — This past Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 1734, the Civilian Property Realignment Act, by a vote of 259-164, I VOTES YES. H.R. 1734 would establish an independent commission known as the Civilian Property Realignment Commission (CPRC) to provide recommendations on civilian federal properties that can be sold, transferred, exchanged, consolidated, or redeveloped, so as to reduce the civilian real property inventory, reduce the operating costs of the Government, and create the highest value and return for the taxpayer.
– Budget Transparency — Also on Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 3581, the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, by a vote of 245-180, I VOTED YES. Among other things, the bill would modify the budgetary treatment of federal credit programs so the cost of direct loans or loan guarantees (e.g. those of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) would be calculated on a “fair value” basis, which includes not only the borrowing costs of the federal government, but also the cost of the market risk the government is incurring by issuing a loan or loan guarantee.
– Line-Item Veto — On Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 3521, the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act, by a vote of 254-173, I VOTED YES. H.R. According to CBO, “enacting H.R. 3521, by itself, would not have a significant impact on the federal budget. Any impact on the budget would depend on the extent of the President’s use of the new cancellation procedure and on future Congressional actions.”
– STOCK Act — On Thursday, the House approved an amendment to S. 2038, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, by a vote of 417-2, I VOTED YES. The bill would make clear that Members of Congress, Congressional employees, and executive and judicial branch employees are prohibited from using nonpublic information for private profit. The bill also would amend the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and the Ethics in Government Act and would require the Senate and the House of Representatives to implement an electronic filing system for financial disclosure forms, as well as provide the public with on-line access to that information in a searchable database.
– Energy and Infrastructure — The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act would provide a five year extension of federal highway and transit programs without increasing current spending levels or adding to the deficit. The bill would eliminate all earmarks from the highway bill. The last surface transportation law approved by Congress in 2005 contained over 6,300 earmarks. The bill would cut red tape and streamline highway funding by consolidating or eliminating nearly 70 highway programs and eliminating mandates that prevent states from funding infrastructure needs.
– Payroll Tax Cut Extension — H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 was approved in the House on December 13, 2011 by a vote of 234–193, I VOTED YES. The House-passed version of H.R. 3630 provided an offset one-year extension of the current payroll tax rates, a delay in the implementation of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (the so-called “Doc Fix”), and an extension of reformed Unemployment Insurance benefits. Currently these programs are operating under two-month extension (H.R.3765) set to expire on February 29, 2012.
Highlights of the Week:
– Monday, 6, Participated in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry. Excited to learn the Chairman of the HASC panel and Committee on Small Business will be making a visit to South Florida’s CD-22 week of 20 February.
– Tuesday, 7 January, God blessed me with another year as I turned 51 years of age. Amazingly enough there are three others Members of the House GOP who share same birthday, Rep Hastings of Washington, Rep Grimm of New York, and Rep Fincher of Tennessee. Conducted a meeting with American Humane Society and United Egg Producers on HR 3798 Egg Products Inspection Act, I will cosponsor.
– Wednesday, 8 February, met with former Ambassador and Congressman David Funderburk and Board of Trustee Members of The Senior Citizens League. We discussed issues of concern for our American Seniors; MEDICARE and Social Security survival and solvency primarily. Met with Brigadier General Young, Deputy Chief of the US Army Reserve on military personnel issues. We are truly concerned about the proposed personnel cuts to our Army and how they will affect our Reserve forces as well as defining the role of the Operational Reserve force. Participated in Small Business Committee full hearing on Small Business Administration mismanagement of modernizing its information technology systems.
– Thursday, 9 February, attended a House GOP breakfast with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, a true Constitutional scholar. Participated in Small Business Contracting and Workforce subcommittee hearing on Construction Contracting barriers on small businesses. Met with brothers Earl and Les Phillips, both former military Servicemen (one Army Infantryman and the other Naval Aviator) representing the National Veterans for Republicans Association about reaching minority conservatives.
– Friday, 10 February, spent the day at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union. Honored to be a speaker for the 3rd straight year. Speech here.
– Saturday, 11 February, drove up to the Orlando area, Geneva and Oviedo, and spoke at two events supporting my Freshman colleague Sandy Adams. I recommend everyone visit the “Danville” bed and breakfast located in Geneva, it is quite a unique place.
– Sunday, 12 February, Family Day and after church did our first search for new residence in North Palm Beach and South Martin County.
– Monday, 13 February, meeting with British Consul General, Kevin McGurgan and South Florida Marine Industry Leaders.
FOR ALL CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST’S WEEKLY WRAP UPS & MORE: west.house.gov