Greetings constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans.
This week the House Leadership came up with a solution for our debt ceiling issue called “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” It was a piece of legislation written by conservative Republican Representatives Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. It passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, 234-190, and yet when it reached the United States Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrat acolytes, to include Florida Senator Bill Nelson, voted to table the legislation.
That same Friday morning, a CNN poll was released showing 66% of the American people support the principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance. So, who then is out of touch with the will of the people?
The House gave the President what he asked for, a $2.4 trillion raising of the debt ceiling. However, in concert with the Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s assessment, the legislation is dealing with the long term spending problem of Washington D.C. by implementing spending control measures. The “Cap” portion of the legislation would have taken federal government spending down to 19.9% per GDP over the next ten years. It would have resulted in $5.8 trillion of savings over the next 10 years. The “Balance” would approve instituting a balanced budget amendment for the federal government.
The federal government is currently spending 24.4% of our GDP. Our debt is 70% of our GDP. These are astronomical figures and the problem requires real solutions, not more liberal spending, if we are to ensure a future for our children and grandchildren.
Yet, what do we get from President Obama and the Senate Democrats? We get the bully pulpit of grandstanding and blame, all for political gain, wanting a debt ceiling raise that lasts through next year’s election.
The President’s spending has brought America to this precipice of economic collapse. However, in alliance with a complicit media, he is stalling with no plan, in order to make the House GOP co-conspirators in his failure.
Embracing the “Gang of Six” proposal is not a plan, Mr. President.
Let me be clear, we will not have any tax hikes; we can broaden the tax base in order to increase revenues. That means we can reform the progressive tax code system in America, which is something the President stated in his 2011 State of the Union address.
We can eliminate all loopholes and subsidies by simplifying both our personal and corporate/business tax codes. That is how we can increase revenues and set the conditions for sustainable economic and job growth.
The credibility of the Senate Democrats, and especially Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is all but gone. Here is a body politic which has not passed a budget in some 815 days, a constitutional mandate. Now we have the same body politic which has failed the moral mandate to resolve this looming specter of defaulting on our debt obligations… ensuring our interest rates do not explode.
And why would Leader Harry Reid and his accomplices do this? To protect a weak and fragile President from having to make any decision, just allow him to give more speeches- words which cannot be assessed by the Congressional Budget Office.
To my House Democrat colleagues, please let us use more energy to create viable solutions, not just rhetorical talking points.
To my GOP colleagues, we must stand firm and not fall into the ambush of fear and political rhetoric. We are not to blame. We did our duty to the American people and sent a very principled plan to the United States Senate.
To many in the media, shall I say, how long will you surrender your integrity on the altar of a failing President and his economic policies? The facts are explicitly clear. The amount of our debt is clear, the unemployment rate is clear, Americans are concerned about the economic future – that is explicitly clear. Can you be so blind as to not care about the truth and the future of your country?
The House GOP under the guidance and vision of Speaker John Boehner will lead, and as stated by General Patton- all others can follow or get the heck out of the way.
In conclusion, there is an incredible ideological chasm growing in America. It pits liberal progressivism against American conservatism. One ideology has never succeeded anywhere in the world, the other has been instrumental in developing the exceptionalism of America. This is a philosophical battle which will decide the legacy of America.
I for one shall take up my position on this battlefield and make this simple pledge: no retreat, no surrender, and no apologies.
Steadfast and Loyal,
Cut, Cap, and Balance — On Tuesday, July 19, the House approved H.R. 2560 by a vote of 234-190, I votes YES. The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011 would limit discretionary budget authority to $1.019 trillion in Fiscal Year 2012, a reduction of $30.38 billion below the Fiscal Year 2011 amount. The bill would limit total Fiscal Year 2012 outlays to $1.224 trillion. Excluding funding for Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, discretionary budget authority for Fiscal Year 2012 would be reduced below Fiscal Year 2008 levels. However, these levels would serve as discretionary spending ceilings, not floors. Thus, Congress would still have the authority to lower discretionary spending further. H.R. 2560 would provide for discretionary budget authority to be adjusted by $126 billion in Fiscal Year 2012 for spending related to the global war on terrorism. The bill would also place caps on total spending after Fiscal Year 2012 as a percentage of GDP, as estimated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reaching 19.9 percent by Fiscal Year 2021. Lastly, the bill would prohibit the Secretary of Treasury from increasing the debt limit until the Archivist of the United States transmits to the states a qualifying Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution that has been approved in both chambers of Congress and is ready to be presented to the states for ratification. Under the legislation, a qualifying BBA would include a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, contain a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and require that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote by both chambers of Congress.
– FAA Reauthorization — On Wednesday, July 20, the House approved H.R. 2553 by a vote of 243-177, I voted YES. The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011 Part IV would extend, through September 16, 2011, the authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which are currently set to expire on July 22, 2011. The bill would extend the authority to expend funds from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund through September 17, 2011. The bill would also extend taxes on aviation fuel, domestic and international ticket taxes, and taxes on cargo shipped by air. Currently, these taxes are set to expire July 22, 2011. Additionally, the bill would authorize to be appropriated $3.38 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for the period beginning on October 1, 2010, and ending September 16, 2011. On an annualized basis, the bill would authorize approximately $3.5 billion in AIP contract authority for Fiscal Year 2011. The House recently approved H.R. 2279, a short-term extension of FAA authorization, by unanimous consent on June 24, 2011. On February 27, 2011, the Senate approved S.232, a full FAA authorization bill by a vote of 87-8. The House approved an alternative version, H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011, by a vote of 223-196 on April 1, 2011. A conference committee is expected to report a final agreement soon.
– Consumer Financial Protection Reforms — On Thursday, July 21, the House approved H.R. 1315 by a vote of 241-173, I voted YES. The Consumer Financial Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 would establish a bi-partisan, five-member Commission (consisting of a Chairman and four additional members) to carry out all of the duties that would otherwise fall to the Director of the CFPB. The bill would make structural changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and would improve the Financial Stability Oversight Council review process of the CFPB’s rulemaking. The bill would also amend Section 1062 of the Dodd-Frank Act to delay any further transfer of powers to the CFPB until the date on which the Chair of the Commission of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate. The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Act as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve but was designed in a way to escape oversight and accountability. The CFPB will be a large and powerful agency with more than 1,000 federal employees. Under current law, the Bureau’s Director will have the sole authority to spend hundreds of millions of dollars without Congressional approval, and the ability to decide which financial products and services are available to American consumers.
– Fiscal Year 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations — On Friday, July 22, the House approved H.R. 2551 by a vote of 252-159, I voted YES. The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2012 would provide a total of $3.32 billion in discretionary budget authority for all non-Senate Legislative Branch activities, which is $227 million or 6.4 percent below Fiscal Year 2011 levels and $471.7 million or 12.4 percent below the president’s requested level. The House and Senate traditionally determine their own funding separately and concur with each other’s bill in a conference committee. According to House Report 112-148, which accompanies the legislation, the Senate appropriations estimate is $1.058 billion. Thus, when the Senate portion of the appropriation of the bill is included, the total amount of discretionary budget authority for all Legislative Branch activity would be approximately $4.38 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. The bill would cut the spending in this title by 9 percent from Fiscal Year 2010 spending levels, returning this Subcommittee’s spending levels to $111 million below Fiscal Year 2009 levels. This marks the largest-ever, two-year reduction for this bill, $329 million in total.
– Tuesday, 19 July, conducted a one-minute House floor speech in support of “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” Met with RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day, who is also our constituent.
– Wednesday, 20 July, attended a House Armed Services Committee classified briefing on Pakistan. Met with Governor Elizabeth Duke of the Federal Reserve. Attended national security briefing with former Senator Jim Talent.
– Thursday, 21 met with Ms. Joan Moody, Department of Veteran Affairs Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs. Met with former FAA Administrator Marion Blakely, CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. Met with Adam Arguelles, Special Assistant to the President for White House Legislative Affairs.
– Friday, 22 July, met with constituent John Ropes and brought him to the House gallery to watch Friday last votes, Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. I flew back to South Florida.
– Saturday, 23 July, traveled to Tampa to visit US Special Operations Command (I sit on the subcommittee with oversight on Special Operations) and bid farewell to outgoing Commander General Eric Olson, US Navy SEAL. Briefing was highly informative and confirmed some of my concerns. I will be sending a letter to the HASC Chairman on a critical issue.
Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Interior Appropriations – This week, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2584, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012. The bill includes a total of $19.9 billion in funding for the agencies, which is nearly $2 billion or 9 percent below last year’s level, nearly $6 billion below the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 request, and more than $700 million below the level enacted in 2008. The bill provides funding for a number of agencies, including the Department of Interior (DOI), the EPA, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Indian Health Service, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian. The bill would contribute to an overall level of discretionary budget authority of $1.019 trillion for Fiscal Year 2012, a reduction of $30.3 billion below Fiscal Year 2011.
– Energy Security – Also this week, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act. The bill would expedite a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would allow millions of barrels of Canadian oil supplies to flow into U.S. markets. Specifically, the legislation would require the President to issue a final Presidential Permit decision by November 1, 2011. Completion of the pipeline extension would increase America’s access to safe and secure energy supplies. The project would more than double the current pipeline’s capacity, bringing more than 1.2 million barrels per day into U.S. markets and creating more than 100,000 American jobs.
– Protecting Jobs from Government – The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act. The bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering an employer to restore or reinstate any work or employee, or from requiring investment in a particular plant or facility. The bill is in response to a complaint filed in April of this year by the NLRB against the Boeing Company for its decision to locate a production facility in South Carolina, a “right-to-work” state. The NLRB is seeking to force the company to keep its production in Washington, where the workforce is unionized. Regarding the bill, House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said “Republicans refuse to allow federal bureaucrats to reverse the business decisions of employers. The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act takes a critical step to provide employers with the certainty they need to put Americans back to work, right here at home.”