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Posted by Randy Forbes | December 18, 2014
For over half a century, the United States has maintained a strict ban on the majority of trade with Cuba. The ban originated during the 1959 Cuban Revolution, as a U.S. response to the Cuban government’s takeover of privately owned American businesses.  Since that time, the United States has upheld the ban as long as the Cuban government continued to resist the establishment of a democracy and neglect human rights.

The United States has not had formal diplomatic relations with Cuba since 1961; however, that changed yesterday when President Obama announced the release of American citizen, Alan Gross, who was arrested for trying to increase Internet access in small communities across Cuba and was imprisoned there for 5 years; as well as the release of three Cubans who were part of the “Cuban Five” and imprisoned in Florida for 15 years on spying charges.

The President’s announcement is part of his plan to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States, and will also include reviewing the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, easing financial restrictions, easing travel restrictions, and beginning the effort to lift the 54-year-old ban on trade between the two countries. Additionally, the United States will begin looking to establish an embassy in Havana in the coming months.  In return, Cuba also agreed to allow greater Internet access for its citizens and easier telecommunications with the United States.


Question of the week:  Do you support the President’s announcement to reestablish diplomatic, economic, and travel ties with Cuba?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other. Share your thoughts on my blog here.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | December 10, 2014
Wanted to let you know that I just cosponsored a new anti-amnesty amendment to prevent funding to implement the Administration’s executive amnesty.  The amendment was filed with the House Rules Committee this morning, as they meet to discuss the spending bill for the federal government. 

It is crucial that Congress uses all tools available to rein in the President’s overreach, and uphold the rule of law. Giving the power of the purse to Congress was not an accident, and it is time the Administration understands that adhering to the Constitution is not optional.

Read more about my ongoing fight to oppose amnesty, secure the border, and enforce our current laws, here >>>

Posted by Randy | December 08, 2014
There was a time, not too long ago, when most everything we bought was made in factories here in the United States.  Our manufacturing industry was robust and thriving. It employed our families, our friends, and our neighbors, and produced just about everything we needed. Then U.S. manufacturing began to change, as overseas manufacturing became a cheaper option and burdensome regulations began to choke out our competitiveness and innovation.

In 1985, President Reagan proclaimed that December is “Made in America” Month. This year, I propose that we use this month as a time to refocus on what we need to do to revitalize and reinvigorate our manufacturing sector. The industry is ripe for global competitiveness, as well as national innovation and job creation. We need to take advantage of that potential by reducing unnecessary, unreasonable regulations, lowering tax burdens, and creating a national manufacturing strategy.  Instead of acting as a barrier, the government needs to be doing its very best to enable growth and competitiveness in this crucial component of our economy.

During “Made in America” Month, I would also like to say thank you to all who work in manufacturing, for helping to make the USA strong. You are part of the backbone of our economy, and your industry is responsible for employing thousands of people in steady, good paying jobs. You represent what America is all about: innovation, resourcefulness, growth, and hard work.

Keep up the good work, and know that I am fighting to support you.

This summer, I conducted a manufacturing tour around the 4th District of Virginia to visit various manufacturing sites and hear firsthand from employees and industry leaders what they needed in order to grow, create jobs, and expand opportunities. Learn more about my tour and my work on behalf of American manufacturing, here.
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2014

73 years ago on this day, approximately 2,000 Americans were killed and over 1,000 injured in the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

We will never forget that day. We will never forget the loss of those lives – the loss suffered by the heartbroken families, and the loss suffered by our nation as it missed the good that these patriotic, duty-driven servicemembers would have brought to our country. No matter how many years pass by, we will always remember and we will always be grateful for those who fought to protect our country,sacrificing so much that we might be here today.

This weekend, take a moment to pause and pay tribute to those who dedicate their lives to serving our country. Let us remember Pearl Harbor.

If you have worn our nation’s uniform, or have a family member who has served, I want to say a special thank you. Our country can never repay you for your service or sacrifice. We cannot repay you for the months spent far from home and far from loved ones, for the time and energy invested in protecting this nation. But we are grateful. And we will never forget. Fighting for you in Congress is not just a duty, it is a privilege.

Posted by Randy | December 05, 2014

I wanted to share with you some good news this week. The Colorado Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the Day of Prayer, rejecting a legal challenge to the Governor’s right to issue Day of Prayer proclamations.

Our country was founded on the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Little victories like this are how the battle is won.

This year, my friend and Co-Chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Rep Mike McIntyre, and I introduced H.Res. 547, a resolution affirming the National Day of Prayer and the role that prayer has played in our Nation’s history. Keep updated on more of our work, here.

Posted by Randy | December 03, 2014

Tomorrow, the House is expected to vote on the Executive Amnesty Prevention Act (H.R. 5759). This bill, which I am supporting, affirms that, except within strict constitutional limits, the President does not have the authority to exempt whole categories of persons unlawfully present in the U.S. from removal, or defer from removal, from this country. Any executive action to the contrary is a violation of the law and thus has no legal effect.

I also wanted to be sure you saw the Op-Ed that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte published today on why President Obama’s immigration power grab poses a danger to America. Weigh in with your thoughts on my blog.

December 3, 2014

Obama's immigration power grab a danger to America

By Rep. Bob Goodlatte

President Obama recently declared from the White House that he is effectively rewriting our immigration laws on his own terms. Under his sweeping executive edicts, President Obama has proclaimed that five million unlawful immigrants can live and work here legally, redefined who is a priority for immigration enforcement, and gutted the interior enforcement of our immigration laws. These unilateral actions have created an untold number of consequences, affecting our Republic, the American people, legal immigrants, and the integrity of our immigration system.

President Obama’s decision to recklessly forge ahead with a plan to unilaterally change our immigration laws creates a constitutional crisis.

The Constitution clearly states that it’s Congress’ job to write our laws and the President’s duty to enforce them. Moreover, the Constitution says that “the Congress shall have the Power to … establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”

By allowing five million unlawful immigrants to live and work here through executive action, President Obama ignores the limitations placed on his authority and claims legislative power for himself. These actions threaten to unravel our government’s system of checks and balances and imperil individual liberty.

Many of the president’s actions needlessly endanger our communities. President Obama claims he is taking executive action to prioritize immigration enforcement to focus on criminal aliens, yet the loopholes contained in the Obama administration’s new enforcement priority guidelines ensure that no one is actually a guaranteed priority for removal.

Due to the ambiguous and unworkable language in the administration’s guidelines, criminal aliens such as terrorists, gang members, drug traffickers, drunk drivers, sexual abusers, and other felons could stay here if there are “compelling or exceptional factors” – or in some instances, simply “factors” – warranting their release.

And the recklessness doesn’t just end there. President Obama has scrapped a congressionally-mandated tool that identifies criminal aliens booked in jails across the United States so that federal law enforcement officials can prioritize their removal.

Secure Communities, created in 2008, is a simple and successful program to identify criminal aliens once arrested and jailed. It protects Americans from public safety threats and those who could be a danger to their communities. Instead of continuing to utilize this successful existing system that is required and appropriated by Congress, the Obama administration will implement a new, untested program called the “Priorities Enforcement Program.”

Under the new screening program, the Obama administration ignores some of its own enforcement priorities for the purposes of processing aliens for removal and turns a blind eye to most unlawful immigrants booked in jails across the United States. Additionally, the Obama administration permits sanctuary city policies by effectively leaving states and localities with the choice of whether or not to comply with the federal government’s requests for notification about criminal aliens booked in their jails.

President Obama’s new legalization program for unlawful immigrants also unfairly punishes legal immigrants playing by the rules and seeking to come to the U.S. the right way.

As U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shifts attention and resources to the processing of applications for unlawful immigrants, legal immigrants will face longer wait times for their petitions to be processed. This was true under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed over 600,000 unlawful immigrants to stay here so far.

With over five million unlawful immigrants standing to benefit from President Obama’s new executive decree, legal immigrants will only face longer wait times, even though they’ve already paid the fees to have their applications processed.

Furthermore, President Obama’s actions open the floodgates to another wave of illegal immigration.

In the past, our nation has witnessed the surge in illegal immigration that comes when amnesty is promised and the enforcement of our immigration laws is ignored. This was true after the 1986 immigration overhaul and the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the summer of 2012, which encouraged hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors, family units, and adults to flood our borders.

Ironically, although President Obama has stated in the past that these individuals will be sent home, under his new enforcement priorities, if they came here before January 1, 2014 – which many of them did – they will likely be able to stay.

Additionally, since the Obama administration has not deemed immigration-related crimes a priority for enforcement – such as identity theft, document fraud, and refusing to comply with removal orders – this sends the message that breaking our immigration laws and committing crimes that often follow illegal entry are permissible. Collectively, the president’s actions undermine the integrity of our immigration system.

I, and many other members of Congress, want to reform our nation’s immigration system. But the president’s decision to act on his own and ignore the enforcement of our immigration laws is not the right way to do it.

These unilateral immigration actions are a danger to our Constitution, communities, and immigration system and must be stopped.

The House Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over our nation’s immigration laws, will fight President Obama’s unconstitutional actions and will shine light on and correct the Obama administration’s anti-enforcement policies.

Republican Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia's 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives. He is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/03/obama-immigration-power-grab-danger-to-america/

Posted by Randy | December 01, 2014
Currently, Congress is debating whether to extend dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, as well as those set to expire at the end of this year.  The House has previously voted to make some provisions permanent, while a proposal in the Senate would extend all provisions on a temporary basis.

Those provisions – affecting both individuals and businesses – include such things as premiums for mortgage insurance, expensing and depreciation, charitable contributions, and credits for the construction of energy efficient homes.

After a compromise to make some of the tax provisions permanent was derailed by a veto threat from the White House, the House has proposed a plan to temporarily extend more than 50 tax provisions, which would allow taxpayers to utilize these provisions when filing their 2014 tax returns.


Question of the week: Which comes closer to your view on taxes?


( ) All expiring tax provisions should be made permanent.
( ) All expiring tax provisions should be extended temporarily.
( ) Expiring tax provisions should only be extended if there’s an offset for the cost.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.


Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | November 27, 2014
This Thanksgiving, I hope you are gathering with family and friends over some turkey to celebrate the blessings in our lives. I am particularly grateful this year for the health and safety of my loved ones and the brave men and women of our armed services overseas protecting our freedoms and our nation.

I wanted to share this Thanksgiving Prayer by Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, delivered on the Senate floor on November 26, 1947. Despite national challenge and discord and the personal struggles that many Americans face this Thanksgiving, the spirit of this prayer still resonates today:

Our Father in Heaven,

 If ever we had a cause to offer unto Thee our fervent thanks, surely it is now, on the Eve of our Thanksgiving Day, when we, the people of this Nation, are comfortable, well fed, well clad, and blessed with good things beyond our deserving. May gratitude, the rarest of all virtues, be the spirit of our observance.

 Let not feasting, football, and festivity end in forgetfulness of God. May the desperate need of the rest of the world, and our own glorious heritage, remind us of the God who led our Fathers every step of the way by which they advanced to the character of an independent nation.

 May the faith and conviction of George Washington be renewed in us as we remember his words:

 ...there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exits in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained...

 For if we do not have the grace to thank Thee for all that we have and enjoy, how can we have the effrontery to seek Thy further blessings? God, give us grateful hearts.

 For Jesus' sake.

 Amen.

 
- Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain from the United States Senate - November 26, 1947
Posted by Randy | November 26, 2014
As we head into the holiday season and winter weather, I wanted to pass along these helpful tips and resources for staying safe during the colder weather and winter storms that will soon be headed our way. Make sure you keep a charged cell phone with you, make a note to check on elderly or disabled neighbors, and consider the following tips and resources:

•  Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart.  If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.  Extreme cold weather precautions: http://www.vaemergency.gov/news/news-releases/2014/cold-weather 

•  Frozen pipes occur most frequently in areas with temperate climates where pipes are more likely to be exposed or under insulated.  Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Preventing and thawing frozen pipes: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

•  Winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows. In addition, if you use woodstoves or fireplaces to heat your home, remember to have them professionally serviced and cleaned.

•  Bring pets inside, if possible, and move other animals to sheltered areas with access to non-frozen drinking water.  Protecting pets during cold weather:  http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/protent-pets-during-snowstorms

•  Have an emergency kit prepared with supplies such as an alternate fuel source for heating your home, flashlights and batteries in your home and car, blankets, food that needs no cooking or refrigeration, a 3 day supply of water, prescription medicines, snow shovel etc.

Learn more about creating a winter preparedness plan by visiting, www.readyvirginia.gov.
Posted by Randy | November 25, 2014
The First Amendment guarantees that we have freedom to live our lives according to our religious beliefs and moral convictions, free from government coercion. An individual does not abandon this freedom simply because he enters the military.

Faith, and the ability of individuals to exercise their religious beliefs, has been vital to the men and women who have served on behalf of this nation for generations. It’s what got them through war. It’s what kept them going when they wanted to give up.  It’s something that bonded them with each other.

Last week, the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing on religious accommodation in the Armed Services. Click here to watch the hearing as well as my questioning. Just because you wear a uniform, doesn’t mean you can no longer express your faith.

Servicemembers should not be forced to leave their faith at home when they volunteer to serve. As Founder and Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, I will continue working to protect and preserve religious freedom for those in the military and for all Americans.