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Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is once again time for our weekly update. Truly it has been a humdinger of a week. How often does an adult get to have a field trip to the White House?
The week began with a vote on a clean raising of the debt limit which had been requested from the President, Secretary of the Treasury, and some 100 House Democrats. The measure failed considerably and did not even garner 100 House Democrats to support it. The following day we had our House GOP Conference “field trip” to the White House, because that is exactly what it ended up being. What I witnessed was quite disturbing: a rigid ideological President who does not realize his fiscal policies are failing — and he has no plan.
I am very concerned about the carbon footprint of having five buses of 240 House GOP members going to the White House. Seems to me the opposite would have been far more prudent, with the President instead coming to Capitol Hill.
The following day, the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, came to visit the House GOP Freshman and indeed it was yet another wasted trip. In just eight short minutes, the Treasury Secretary assured me that he does not have a clue when it comes to enacting spending cuts and spending control measures as part of the revitalization of our fiscal and economic policies, including mandatory spending reforms, which the President stated he agreed on Wednesday.
It would seem that after Friday’s abysmal jobs report numbers, which included half of the reported job growth coming from McDonald’s (a recipient of an Obamacare waiver, by the way), one would think there would be a change in course. Nah, just dig in your heels, and follow the same failed policies. We have seen a 40% increase in Americans on food stamps since the President took the oath of office. Gasoline prices have gone from around $1.89 a gallon to close to $4 on average for regular unleaded.
There are three critical aspects which we must rectify. First, we must restore confidence with our job creators and consumers. Second, we must ensure the proper amount of regulation, providing access to capital for our small business owners. Lastly, we must provide certainty for the private sector and investors to create long term viable and sustainable economic and job growth.
The other point of order I wish to address is the so-called “Arab Spring” – truly a “Muslim Brotherhood Nightmare.” Those who view the events across North Africa and the Middle East with Western rose-colored glasses are completely misreading the situation. The goal of the Brotherhood has always been to restore an Islamic Caliphate, a borderless empire which shall be ruled by one leader. They have no respect for the secular leadership, autocratic, despotic dictators which permeate this region. However, under the guise of “Democracy” and dare I say it, “Change” they are toppling these regimes one by one – and we have no competent understanding of who shall fill the void.
One need only look back in history when the same occurred in Iran and we all witnessed, and continue to witness, the revitalization of the 7th century radical Islamic state model under the guidance of theocrats. Under this guidance we have seen the resurgence of Islamic terrorism, state sponsored from this very same Iran.
There is no Arab Spring, but there is an Islamic mystery as to who shall not only fill the void in these countries, but where shall the seat of power for this 21st Century Caliphate be established? Iran or Turkey?
Libya is falling apart, and I shall not support our President’s violation of our law, the War Powers Act of 1973. The leader of Yemen has departed and we know that is where al-Alawi has found refuge.
Most troubling, thanks to the President’s foreign policy faux pas statement, is that we now see the “Palestinians” threatening a direct move to the United Nations for declaration of a state, as they confront Israel along the 1967 borders. Please read my Extension of Remarks here.
Let us never forget that the armies of several Arab nations, were the belligerents in 1967 – and they lost. Israel shall not return to those borders which shall result in their demise. If we want peace in that region, we need a willing peace partner. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah entering into a reconciliation pact with Hamas, facilitated by Egypt, is not what I call a willing gesture for peace and recognition of the modern day State of Israel.
– Debt Limit Increase – On Tuesday, May 31, the House rejected H.R. 1954, a “clean” debt limit bill by a vote of 97-318. All House Republicans voted against the measure, including me. Over the past two years, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have overseen the largest budget deficits in the history of the United States: $1.42T, $1.29T, and $1.65T. They’ve maxed out our nation’s credit cards and are asking us to increase their credit limit without making any commitment to stop this dangerous level of spending, or present a plan. If the President and Washington Democrats want us to pay their bills, they are going to have to cut up the credit cards. Any increase in the debt limit must be accompanied by substantial spending cuts and spending control measures to ensure we never have to revisit this failure in leadership again. The Obama Administration and more than 100 congressional Democrats repeatedly called on Congress to quickly consider a “clean” debt limit bill that will raise the limit without any spending cuts or reforms. This vote demonstrated to President Obama, Secretary Geithner, and House Democrats that they should abandon this unreasonable position because it is so far out of step with the rest of America.
– FY 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations – On Thursday, June 2, the House approved H.R. 2017 by a vote of 231-188, I voted yes. The bill would fully fund all frontline personnel such as the Border Patrol, Customs and Border Patrol officers, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, Coast Guard military personnel, and Secret Service agents as well as fully fund all intelligence, watch-listing, and threat targeting functions. The bill would provide funding where the Administration and Department of Homeland Security have failed. The bill would also address the inadequate request for disaster relief funding and would provide the resources to help our communities recover from natural disasters. The bill would reduce funding for programs that have been underperforming and failing to execute their budgets or which have repeatedly thwarted congressional directives to measure their results. The bill would prioritize the taxpayers’ limited dollars towards the security programs that will have an immediate impact upon our nation’s security and responsibly reduces spending wherever possible. The Committee has constructed the bill around three core priorities: fiscal discipline, targeted investments in security operations and disaster relief, and meaningful, hard-hitting oversight.
– FY 2012 Military Construction – Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) Appropriations – On Thursday, June 2, the House, by voice vote, approved a motion to consider H.R. 2055 as unfinished business. The House will conclude debate on H.R. 2055 on June 13. The bill would include a total of $72.5 billion in discretionary funding, which is $615 million below last year’s level and $1.2 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2012 request. Much of the savings in the bill are the result of the expected decline in funding requirements to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, as well as significant reductions from construction cost savings.
– Speaker Boehner Resolution on Libya – On Friday, June 3, the House approved H. Res. 292 by a vote of 268-145-1, I was one of 10 Republicans who voted “No.” The resolution would establish that the President has not asked for congressional authorization, and the Congress has not granted it. H. Res. 292 would reassert Congress’ constitutional role on funding, would require the President to provide within 14 days information on the mission that should have been provided from the start, and would reaffirm the vote Congress took last week that says there should be no troops on the ground. I voted “No” because we are all aware of these facts as we have seen the Libya operation reach Day 74, as of this vote. By law the President was to come to Congress at or near Day 60, which he did not do. The time for requesting more reports is long past. I shall not see us commit our most precious resources, the American fighting men and women, into another undefined combat theater of operations. Libya is becoming a classic “mission creep” operation.
– Kucinich War Powers Resolution – On Friday, June 3, H. Con. Res. 51 failed to pass the House by a vote of 148-265, I voted “Yes.” The bill would direct the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya within 15 days of adoption. This bill was in keeping with the letter of the law, the War Powers Act of 1973.
Highlights of the Week:
– Tuesday, 31 May: Addressed the Conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation, as part of their “Protect America” discussion series on the 21st Century Battlefield. The video of that presentation is linked here. Met with Senior Leadership from Publix Inc. to discuss the adverse affects of the current healthcare law, regulatory environment, and fuel prices are having upon their operations. Met with representatives from the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) to discuss their critical legislative issues.
– Wednesday, 1 June: Participated in the House Majority Conference visit to the White House to discuss debt/deficit and other budget issues with President. Spoke to the Jerusalem Day prayer breakfast group to emphasize my support for a unified Jerusalem under an Israeli flag. Participated in a Small Business Committee hearing on “Small Business Access to Capital” and since the President has just stated in our meeting that federal regulators were not pressuring community banks, this was very timely. Of course we know that was another bogus statement from our Chief Executive. Met with Mr. Donald Tong, the Ranking Government Official in the United States from Hong Kong. We discussed the comparative fiscal policies and their economic growth of over 7% as opposed to our anemic 1.8%. His desire is to expand trade with Florida and in particular South Florida and Port Everglades.
– Thursday, 2 June: Toured the Honeywell Tech Center on Capitol Hill and gleaned a better understanding of the broad and complex degree of products and services provided to our nation by Honeywell. We wrapped up discussing private sector challenges under the Obama Administration. Spoke at the 18th Annual Eagle Forum Collegians Leadership Summit hosted by Mrs. Phyllis Schafly. It is always an honor to address the next generation of Conservative thinkers and leaders. Had a phone conversation with Major General Rich Longo who commands the Army Basic Training for Enlisted and Officers. And wrapped up the day by giving the presentation speech for the Defender of America Award to Army Lieutenant General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, founder of the elite and preeminent counter-terrorism unit in the world, Delta Force. Truly an American treasure and warrior.
– Friday, 3 June: Kicked off the day by addressing the 2011 Faith and Freedom Coalition conference hosted by Mr. Ralph Reed.
– Saturday 4 June: Back to South Florida and attended a biker community appreciation event and unveiling of my new patriotic theme motorcycle at Bourgets Bike Works and Chopper Zoo in Ft. Lauderdale. Big hat tip to awesome small business owners Liz Hernandez and Eric Barash, and to all those who came out for the event — and it was some delicious BBQ. Pictures are linked here.
In closing, I’m looking forward to the two town hall meetings we’re hosting this week. It was reported in the media that some individuals plan to attend the meeting only to “yell, shout and be escorted out” in order to garner media attention. I hold these town hall meetings in order to inform my constituents of the important issues facing our country that I am addressing on Capitol Hill. Those who attempt to hijack these meetings simply for exposure do a disservice to all constituents of this congressional district.
And lets not forget, Monday- the 6th of June – 67 years ago, the greatest military operation the world would ever know took place, D-Day. This year we lost our last surviving WW I Soldier, Frank Buckles. Let us remember those who so many years ago had a “Rendezvous with Destiny,” those brave Americans who climbed Point du Hoc and landed on Omaha and Utah Beaches. Let us never forget them, and may God forever bless them.
Steadfast and Loyal,
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