Greetings to our Constituents, fellow Floridians, and as always, all Americans time for our weekly update and boy, howdy, what a week. First of all, let me take the time to apologize to my Constituents and the American people for the drama and failure you witnessed this week. At this critical point for our Constitutional Republic I believe the American people deserve far better than what we have provided. The demagogic emotional rhetoric and lack of principled visionary leadership you may have observed is not what is best for our Nation. You have my commitment that I shall always seek to give the highest standards of integrity and character in representing all the citizens of Florida’s Congressional District 22.
With that being said, I am sure you can understand that I was greatly disturbed on Friday when someone mailed an envelope of a white powdered substance to one of our offices in Boca Raton. The substance tested negative, and our staffer is fine… however, the derogatory remarks and threats contained in the letter are not conducive to having a civil political discourse.
This incident, is just another in several incidents that have occurred over the last couple of years and, have put me in quite a bad mood. Going back to last year, I have had to endure a Ft Lauderdale liberal blogger publicly stating that he wanted to “skin me alive,” a Florida Member of Congress organizing a protest outside of our office castigating me as a “misogynist,”, that was the same person who is slated to become the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Also, my private information was openly published by the Florida Democratic party and my opponent. If this is how liberal progressives deem themselves “civil” then the ideological divide which exists in America is not based upon intellectual debate, but rather on the insidious tactics of intimidation.
I find it interesting that in all of these instances, the media simply dismissed the incidents. One might wonder – is it open season on a principled black conservative? I wonder what the reaction would have been if I were a Democrat?
Let me be very clear to all reading this missive, but mostly to liberals who subscribe to this behavior, be careful of whom you are choosing to employ these tactics against. I consider myself an easy-going fella who will always engage in intense intellectual exchange. However, if you choose this path of personal attacks, intimidation, and threats you will encounter a very different Congressman (LTC. Ret) Allen B. West.
Now, let us get to the major legislative business from the week:
– On Monday, after a short stint opening and presiding over the Chamber of the House of Representatives, we brought forth our first piece of legislation to the House floor. As part of the “You Cut” program the House approved legislation to reduce by 10 percent the amounts authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Defense for FY2012 for printing and reproduction under Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and defense-wide operation and maintenance funds.
H.R. 1246 was passed by a vote of 393-0 and would result in an estimated $35.7 million in savings in FY2012, reaching nearly $180 million in savings through FY2016. There are those out there who would say, “so what, this was a small amount,” however, if every Member of Congress sought out one wasteful government program a month imagine the possibilities for our fiscal situation to be restored. I will continue to promote a change in the culture of Washington DC from one of spending to saving/cutting.
– On Thursday, the House approved the Energy Tax Prevention Act, H.R. 910, by a vote of 255-172, (19 Democrats voted Yea). H.R. 910 would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases (GHG) to address climate change under the Clean Air Act. More specifically, the bill would prohibit the EPA from regulating: water vapor; carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; sulfur hexafluoride; hydro-fluorocarbons; perfluorocarbons; and any other substance subject to regulation, action or consideration under the Clean Air Act to address climate change.
Because certain EPA activities associated with regulating GHGs would be prohibited under the bill, CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would save $57 million in 2012 and about $250 million over the 2012-2016 period, assuming that appropriations in those years were reduced accordingly. This legislation was considered in response to efforts by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and administratively implement a “cap-and-tax” system – a system similar to the one that Democrats failed to advance in the 111th Congress.
Also on Thursday the House voted on and approved by 247-181 (15 Dems votes Yea) on Department of Defense and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, H.R 1363. The bill provided appropriations for the Department of Defense for FY 2011, 30 Sept 2011. The legislation includes $515.8B in base funding for the DoD, 3% reduction from President’s FY 2011 request and a $7.6B, or 1.5%, increase over last year’s level. The legislation also provides for a one week (through April 15, 2011) extension of an existing CR for the remaining portions of the government, with a $12B in cuts from current levels.
I voted “Yea” on H.R. 1363 because we failed to submit a separate defense appropriations bill for FY 2011 in January or February in order to secure the funding for our Men and Women in uniform and our National Security. I released a Statement for the Congressional Record on this piece of legislation and my vote, posted here.
– On Friday, the House approved H.J. Res. 37 by a vote of 240-179, (6 Democrats voted Yea). The joint resolution would express Congress’ disapproval of the rule (aka “net neutrality”) adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 21, 2010, prohibits Internet providers from deliberately slowing or blocking legal websites or Internet services because of concerns over bandwidth.
In May 2010, seventy-four House Deomocrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski making the case that net-neutrality rules will “jeopardize jobs” and “should not be done without additional direction from Congress.” Thirty-seven Senate Republicans sent a similar letter accusing Chairman Genachowski of pushing “heavy-handed 19th century regulations ” that are illegal and “inconceivable.” H.J. Res. 37 would invoke a legislative process established by the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the FCC’s rule. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to undo a regulatory agency’s action within 60 days of its adoption by voting to approve a “motion of disapproval” that cannot be blocked by a filibuster in the Senate. According to CBO, if H.J. Res. 37 is enacted, the published rule would have no force or effect.
– In the early morning hours, April 9, 2011, the House passed H.R. 1363 to provide continuing appropriations for government operations by a vote of 348 – 70 (140 Dems voted Yea, 28 Reps voted Nea). The Continuing Resolution (CR) would provide discretionary funding for government operations through April 15, 2011. The bill would reduce spending by $2 billion from current spending levels and would provide a total of $1.075 trillion in discretionary budget authority for FY 2011. The bill will provide short-term bridge funding for continued government operations while a bill to provide funding for the remainder of FY 2011 is considered in the House and Senate. I voted “Yea” for this legislation which will keep our government functioning and provide the opportunity for Congress to craft the final legislation for full FY 2011 funding, vote to occur next week. I will review the final bill, but at the present time I will not support the final “deal” because we fell short.
Many are celebrating what is called, “the largest cut in discretionary spending in American history,”$38.5B. I see it in a different light, we have had record deficits of $1.42 trillion in FY 2009, $1.29 trillion in FY 2010, and forecasted to hit $1.6 trillion in FY 2011. We had a record deficit spending month of $223 billion in February 2011 and spend about $4 billion/day in America. Although we are altering the fiscal dialogue in Washington DC, we should not be dancing in the end zone… we still failed the American people.
Everyone keeps saying we can now move onto the “bigger” fiscal issues of the debt limit and the FY 2012 Budget Resolution… my point of contention is that if we could not confront the small issue of FY 2011, will the American people have trust and confidence in us to resolve these greater issues. I understand the small bites of the apple metaphor, but this piece of fruit, quite simply, is rotten.
Highlights of the Week;
– Monday, flew back from Florida and thoroughly enjoyed the ribs and sausage cooked by Texas Representative Louis Gohmert for dinner… I also met with the students from Ft Lauderdale’s Pinecrest School.
– Tuesday, live radio interview with San Diego California based host Rodger Hedgecock before an audience in the U.S. Capitol… this was part of the “Hold their Feet to the Fire” annual rally which occurred over Weds and Thurs. South Florida’s talk radio host, Joyce Kaufman, attended and we had an interview with her as part of our weekly radio update to Congressional District 22. Also, met with Army Lieutenant General Benjamin Freakley, Commanding General US Army Accessions Command, we discussed recruitment and getting me more involved with Army basic training of our enlisted and commissioned Soldiers.
– Wednesday, House Armed Services Committee held a full committee meeting with Commanding Generals of US Pacific Command and US Forces-Korea, HASC Subcommittee hearing on information network security, and full hearing of Small Business Committee. Met with and spoke to the 8th grade students of St Paul Lutheran Church of Boca Raton.
– Thursday, morning interview and meet and greet with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) who are the leading voice for our Small Business men and women. HASC full committee hearing with Service Chiefs on implementation of repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
– Friday, due to remaining in DC, taped a video address to the Stoneman Douglas HS Army ROTC Military Ball. HASC organization meeting to discuss the impending FY 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill mark up, we shall introduce (4) amendments as part of the National Defense Authorization Act submission.
We continue to serve to the utmost of our ability!
Steadfast and Loyal,