Greetings to our Constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, yet another week has passed and here we are for our regularly scheduled weekly update.
First of all, let me express my sincere wishes to all of you Moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day, and I pray it was a special day. I would like to give honor to my own Mom, Elizabeth Thomas West, affectionately nicknamed, “Snooks,” who passed away in January 1994. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me as you would say, “A man must stand for something or else he will fall for anything.” Also, an acknowledgement to the mother of our two daughters, Aubrey and Austen, Dr. Angela Graham-West… a phenomenal woman who has raised-up two strong young ladies.
What an incredible week, as I got the news last Sunday about the killing of the personification of evil, Osama bin Laden. A special salute to our US Navy SEALS and Special Operators who executed a flawless, zero illumination, cross-border raid to kill the embodiment of the radical Islamist ideology and terrorist movement. This is truly indicative of the level of training, expertise, and professionalism of the men and women who man the ramparts of freedom’s frontier.
This former soldier is damn proud of y’all!
What is disturbing is the fact that this maniacal individual was residing for the past five years in a compound within 1000 meters of the Pakistan Army version of West Point. The town of Abbottabad is home to the Pakistan Army’s 2d Division. What we have here is a case of either ignorance, incompetence, or complicity… any one of these possible situations causes grave concern. The sum of all three is reason for great consternation.
We are the United States of America, we don’t need to be disrespected and played for fools by any nation. We must send an immediate message to Pakistan. No more funding. Return the UH-60 tail boom.
All this week I heard insidious excuses of “we do not seek to incite.” I suppose there are those who fail to realize the Islamic jihadists are already incited, and have been for quite some time. One only has to remember the murder of Leon Klinghoffer to understand the level of depraved humanity against which we contend.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Now let us look to the next phase: killing Mullah Omar, Alawi, al Zarawhiri, and any other head of the hydra that rises-up. We are engaged in the definitive struggle of individual freedom and liberty against the dark ideology of Islamism which promotes a 7th century tribal ideology of subservience, subjugation, and submission to the mystics, mullahs, clerics, and imams.
And for you fearful souls who would criticize the aforementioned words, do not bother… refer back to the admonition of my Mom. Let us end the appeasement of murderous ideologues and the mindless lemmings who subscribe to their prescription of terror.
There will be retaliatory attacks because these Islamic terrorist groups must prove their relevance and viability. While there is a sense of disarray, we should press forward the attack and maintain the initiative. The last thing we should believe is that the death of Osama bin Laden changes the game, quite the opposite, it intensifies it.
As a former combat Commander, I know what it is like to send American men out on missions, and accompany them. It is a responsibility I never took lightly. However, the mantle of leadership is heavy and not all are able to carry it… .but the true leader looks past the current and visualizes the coming fight.
– On Tuesday, 3 May the House approved H.R. 1213 by a vote of 238-183, and I voted “YEA”. The bill would repeal section 1311(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a provision appropriating funds to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to states for activities related to establishing state health insurance exchanges. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates, the bill would reduce deficits by almost $13 billion over the 2012-2016 period and by about $14 billion over the 2016-2021 period. The bill would reduce direct spending by an estimated $14.6 billion over the next 10 years.
– On Wednesday, 4 May the House approved H.R. 1214 by a vote of 235-191, and I voted “NAY.” The bill would repeal section 4101(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision appropriating funds to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the purpose of providing grants to eligible entities to establish health centers in school-based settings. The assumption was that H.R. 1214 would ensure federal dollars are not wasted to build centers that may never provide care.
I voted “NAY” because school based health care centers should not be a priority when we have 100-200 Billion in duplicative federal programs that have already been identified by a recent GAO report.
We need to stop making empty gestures and get on to what we really must do for the sake of our great nation. I had made my position quite clear when I voted in the very first days of the 112th Congress to repeal the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This bill, H.R. 1214, was not going to be considered in the United States Senate and was just going to die on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk. The best approach to completely ending Obamacare is through the Appropriations process by removing funding for this program. There is no doubt in my mind Obamacare needs to be completely repealed or defunded. We need to be focused, not on empty legislative gestures, but on the critical issues that confront our great nation: decreasing the debt, addressing the ever-increasing gas prices by establishing a viable energy policy, providing oversight about the foreign aid sent to Pakistan, a country that may have been harboring Osama bin Laden, and focusing on creating jobs to reduce unemployment, which is at nine percent and even higher in South Florida.
– On Wednesday, 4 May the House approved H.R. 3 by a vote of 251-175, and I voted “YEA.” The bill codifies the Hyde Amendment by establishing a government wide permanent prohibition on federal funding for elective abortions and insurance coverage which includes elective abortions. The bill would also prohibit federal subsidies for abortion coverage currently allowed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and would prohibit tax-preferred status for abortion through health savings accounts and itemized deductions.
– On Thursday, 5 May the House approved H.R. 1230 by a vote of 264-149, and I voted “YEA”. The bill would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill expands America’s energy production, creates jobs, and generates revenue for taxpayers. According to CBO estimates, the bill would reduce net direct spending by $25 million over the 2011-2016 period and about $40 million over the 2011-2021 period.
Highlights of the Week:
– Monday, 2 May… visited the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Army Hospital and handed out some of our Congressional coins. I was accompanied by my Cousin Nina who works there along with Army Congressional Liaison officers.
– Tuesday, 3 May… Conducted pre-mark meetings for House Armed Services subcommittees on Military Personnel and Emerging Threats. This is all in preparation for the development of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will be completed this week. Filmed two Congressional public service announcements on healthy lifestyle and emergency preparedness. Conducted a meeting with my Army buddy and close friend, Colonel Peter Newell who is now the Director of the Rapid Equipping Force. We discussed how we can better leverage small businesses to produce off the shelf emerging technology for our Warfighters. Attended the bipartisan classified briefing on the US Navy SEAL raid.
– Wednesday, 4 May… Attended the Conservative Opportunity breakfast with featured speaker the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld. Met with National Limousine Association representatives from South Florida on some interesting concerns affecting their service industry. Participated in the two HASC subcommittee mark-up meetings completing our subcommittee recommendations to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Attended a private reception and discussion with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, very good session. Attended the National Day of Prayer reception hosted by Dr. James and Mrs. Shirley Dobson.
– Thursday, 5 May… Met with Taryn Guariglia of Coral Springs who was a finalist for the 2011 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medal. Taryn was instrumental in the investigation ledding to the arrest of Scott Rothstein, local Ft. Lauderdale Ponzi schemer. I was the Legislative Branch speaker for the National Day of Prayer; theme was “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” I was deeply honored to have been selected by Dr. Dobson to deliver the address. Met with local Deerfield Beach businessman and inventor, David Eller. Ended the day with a run on the Capitol mall and squaring away some office work.
– Friday, 6 May… Morning flight back to Ft Lauderdale and did some district catch-up paperwork. Attended the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department Memorial Service in honor of fallen officers killed in the line of duty. Addressed local small and medium business owners at the grand opening of the US Commercial Services International Trade Assistance office at Port Everglades. The event was attended by Undersecretary of the Department of Commerce Francisco J. Sanchez. As well, there were three members of the Broward County Commission in attendance.
– Saturday, 7 May… Nice morning nine mile run along Ft. Lauderdale beach, awesome sunrise. Commencement speaker for Keiser University, some 413 graduates, spectacular event and hats off to the faculty and staff. Attended the ASIS International Ft. Lauderdale Chapter 10 Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation banquet. Congratulations to the Pembroke Pines Police Department for a clean sweep of Community Policing Officer of the Year, Police Officer of the Year, and Valor Award of the Year!
In conclusion, it was another great week to represent the people of Florida’s Congressional District 22. I just want to say thanks to all the people who come up to offer their encouragement wherever I may be. It is truly a boost in spirit to know so many are praying and being supportive of our noble efforts.
Steadfast and Loyal,