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Posted by Randy | October 22, 2014
One of the core functions of government is to protect the citizens it serves: Given calls from world health leaders for an urgent response to contain this unprecedented Ebola outbreak, I believe that:

I have prepared this document to provide resources for citizens in the Fourth District regarding the Ebola outbreak.  I will continue to work to ensure that public health officials in the U.S. and in Africa exercise extreme caution and take every precaution to ensure their safety and the protection of the American people.

Click here to view or download. 

Posted by Randy | October 16, 2014
Dominating coverage this week is the news that two healthcare workers, who treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, have contracted the virus.

One of the individuals, Amber Vinson, recently flew from Cleveland to Dallas.  Before boarding the plane, Vinson contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alerting officials that she had a slightly elevated temperature; despite this, she was permitted to fly.

In response, the CDC said it is considering adding other healthcare workers from the Texas hospital to a no-fly list and also lowering the fever threshold indicating a possible sign of Ebola.

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing examining the public health response to the Ebola outbreak, with Dr. Frieden, Director of the CDC, as one of the witnesses.

Question of the week:  Given these developments, what is your confidence level in the CDC to contain the spread of Ebola in the United States?

( ) Confident.
( ) Somewhat confident.
( ) Not confident.
( ) I don’t know.
( ) Other.

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | October 15, 2014

As a friend of mine once said, it is no surprise that trust of government is at an all time low when the size of government is at an all time high.

Big government relies on the arrogance of powerful bureaucrats. Limited government is founded on the personal responsibility of its citizens, the cooperation and initiative of local government and community leaders, and direct accountability: the idea that those who are most directly impacted by the decisions being made should be the ones calling the shots. Abraham Lincoln called it “government of the people, by the people, for the people” and it relies on a simple idea that I believe we would do well to return to today: less power to bureaucrats in Washington, more power to the people.

Where do you stand? Join the conversation on my Facebook page, here.
Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | October 14, 2014

China Military Buildup Shifts Balance of Power in Asia in Beijing’s Favor. Congressional report warns the danger of U.S.-China conflict is rising. China’s decades-long buildup of strategic and conventional military forces is shifting the balance of power in Asia in Beijing’s favor and increasing the risk of a conflict, according to a forthcoming report by a congressional China commission. China’s military has greatly expanded its air and naval forces and is sharply increasing its missile forces, even while adopting a more hostile posture against the United States and regional allies in Asia, states a late draft of the annual report of the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. As a result, “the potential for security miscalculation in the region is rising,” the report said, using the euphemism for a conflict or shootout between Chinese forces and U.S. forces or those of its regional allies. The report paints an alarming picture of China’s growing aggressiveness and expanding power, including development of two new stealth jets, the first deployment of a naval expeditionary amphibious group to the Indian Ocean, and aerial bombing exercises held in Kazakhstan. China’s communist government also views the United States as its main adversary—despite strong trade and financial links between the two countries, the report says. The commission report—to be released in final form in November—concludes that the war-footing-like buildup by the People’s Liberation Army is increasing the risk that a conflict will break out between the United States and China. The report warns that China’s communist leaders are fueling nationalist tensions amid concerns about declining economic growth and increasing social unrest. “Promoting a sense of grievance among the Chinese people and creating diversionary tensions in the region would carry real risks of escalation and create the potential for the United States to be drawn into a regional conflict,” the report says. The high-technology weapons and other capabilities China is fielding also pose a growing threat to America’s ability to deter regional conflicts, defend allies and maintain open and secure air and sea-lanes. As China builds up its naval power, the U.S. Navy is declining, and the current American ability to defeat China in a conflict will be difficult to maintain, the report says. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-military-buildup-shifts-balance-of-power-in-asia-in-beijings-favor/

Army's Pacific Pathways: New Tactics, Lessons Learned. A US Army Stryker brigade with added engineering, logistics and aviation capabilities is currently in Japan on its third stop of the Army’s inaugural Pacific Pathways rotation. The brigade and its equipment boarded contractor-piloted ships in Washington State in August and have joined exercises with partner forces in Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan since then, including the massive RIMPAC exercise, marking the first time the US Army was involved. US Army helicopters performed “hundreds” of deck landings during the exercise, Gen. Vincent Brooks, head of US Army Pacific, said on Monday. As part of the strategic “rebalance” toward the Pacific region, and with the end of rotations of soldiers based there to Iraq and Afghanistan, Brooks said that the number of soldiers assigned to Asia has grown from 60,000 to 100,000 over the past two years. “We have begun to train our aviation units in over-water operations so we can interface very easily” with the Navy, he said during a press briefing. Overall, “we are increasing the amount of work we do with the joint team” in the region, he said. Performing more joint operations and partnering with allies is more important than ever given budget cuts and the shrinking size of the overall force, he said. “The smaller we are the more engagement we need in order to maintain our leadership in the region … because we will have to rely on our partners to carry the load.” The Stryker unit is merely the first of what the Army hopes to be more — and more frequent — Pacific Pathways deployments, which would ramp up to three separate brigades running three separate rotations in fiscal 2015 and each year after if the funding holds up. Over the past two months, “we have found that we can be more efficient in using assets [to] drive costs down to squeeze every dollar we can” out of the event, he said, but offered few other lessons learned. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141013/SHOWSCOUT04/310130028/Army-s-Pacific-Pathways-New-Tactics-Lessons-Learned

Army Steps Up Pacific Sea-Based Exercises. The Army plans to conduct more maritime exercises with Navy ships in the Pacific as part of the services’ rebalance to the region, service leaders said Monday at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington D.C. “We’ve begun to train our aviation units in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan and Korea to train them over water. We’ve done deck landing qualifications and participated in medical and logistical exercises. We are increasing the amount we are doing with the joint team,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, Pacific Commander. Brooks added that the Army participated in the Rim of the Pacific training exercise this past summer, performing deck landings and medical evacuations. “We were flying out to ships with Army helicopters integrating air, land and sea. As we bring domains together we find the Army is an active player,” he said. Overall, the Army has increased its presence in the Pacific from 60,000 soldiers up to 100,000, Brooks said. “The rebalance takes the form of a 60-percent increase in forces assigned to the Pacific. This is an important step as part of the Army’s regional alignment,” Brooks added. As part of its rebalance to the Pacific, the Army plans to build upon a program it refers to as Pacific Pathways. This involves an effort to move a battalion-sized element of approximately 700 soldiers from a Stryker Task Force and about 500 enabling troops from support units. The effort links a series of exercises with foreign militaries by deploying Army forces for longer periods of time than a traditional exercise. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/10/13/army-steps-up-pacific-sea-based-exercises/

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Reappears in Public, North’s Media Reports. The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose prolonged absence from public view generated speculation about his health and grip on power, has visited a housing project and was seen walking with a cane, according to the North’s state-run media on Tuesday. The report was the first time the state-run news media had mentioned a public appearance by Mr. Kim since Sept. 3, when he was reported to have attended a concert. The report was likely to help dissipate the recent flurry of rumors over Mr. Kim’s whereabouts, many of which speculated on whether he had lost out in a power struggle inside the notoriously opaque government. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Mr. Kim recently visited a district where his government had just finished a cluster of homes for satellite engineers. North Korea is particularly proud of its scientists who succeeded in putting a satellite into orbit on board a long-range rocket in December 2012. Washington considered the rocket program a cover for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. Mr. Kim “inspected various parts” of the housing district in Pyongyang, the news agency said, indicating that he had no trouble moving about. He expressed “great satisfaction” at the project and also posed for pictures with North Korean scientists who were to move into the new homes, the report added. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/world/asia/north-korean-leader-kim-jong-un-reported-to-have-appeared-in-public.html?_r=0

Hong Kong police clear barricades, open roads around protest site. Police used chain saws and sledgehammers to clear away barricades around protest sites and reopen several major roads in Hong Kong on Tuesday, appearing to gain the upper hand for the first time since pro-democracy protests began late last month. In two efficient operations, hundreds of police descended first on the Causeway Bay shopping area and then on Queensway, a wide road running through the heart of Hong Kong’s business district, on Tuesday morning. Forming lines around groups of protesters, other officers demolished barricades that had only been reinforced the night before, and cleaned the roads. Police left untouched the main protest area on Harcourt Road, just north of Queensway in Admiralty District, while some protesters continue to occupy one side of the road in Causeway Bay. But the police action should significantly ease traffic congestion and allow trams, buses and taxis to operate much more freely on Hong Kong island. By lunchtime, traffic was flowing freely down Queensway for the first time in more than two weeks, while police remained on the sidewalks, many carrying riot shields and helmets, to keep the protesters at bay. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hong-kong-police-clear-barricades-open-roads-around-protest-site/2014/10/14/36fe0463-a84b-471f-b39b-4fb2a2efac60_story.html

Posted by Randy | October 14, 2014
I want to know your thoughts on the transportation issues facing our nation. You can provide your feedback by taking this brief survey.

How important are transportation issues for the federal government to address?
o The most important issue
o One of the top five most important issues
o A somewhat important issue
o Not a very important issue
o Unsure

What are the most important transportation projects that we should invest in?

o Building and widening existing highways and roads to ease congestion
o Filling potholes, repaving, and maintaining existing roads
o Repairing and improving bridges
o Long distance high-speed rail
o Short-distance rail projects such as commuter trains and light rail
o Public transportation such as bus transit
o None of the above

In your opinion, what key factors prevent transportation projects from being completed in a timely manner?

o Bureaucratic red tape and lengthy permitting processes
o Limited budgets
o Wasteful management of transportation funds
o Political infighting
o Lack of local or regional consensus
o Growing costs of materials and/or labor
o None of the above

Would you favor temporarily repealing expensive and time-consuming regulations that do not pertain to safety or durability, if the result was less expensive projects built on a faster timeline?
o Yes
o No
o Unsure

Take the survey here.

Read about my work to prioritize necessary construction and improvements to our nation's roads and bridges.
Posted by Randy | October 14, 2014

I want to know your thoughts on the issues facing higher education in our nation. You can provide your feedback by taking this brief survey.

How important are higher education issues for the federal government to address?
o The most important issue
o One of the top five most important issues
o A somewhat important issue
o Not a very important issue
o Unsure

What are the most important issues facing our colleges and universities? 
o Ensuring maximum enrollment
o The cost of tuition
o Student loans
o Providing courses of study that translate into employment opportunities
o Having a high percentage of graduates get jobs
o Maintaining accreditation
o Ensuring federal and state funding
o Promoting a wide-range of learning opportunities at universities, community colleges, technical schools, and online education 
o Other. 

Take the survey here.

Posted by Randy | October 13, 2014
Since 2008, the housing market has been used as a marker for determining the overall strength of the economy.

Reports have shown that the economy is starting to improve; however, individuals haven’t personally seen or felt those improvements.

As the economy is picking up, do you see or feel a correlation in the housing industry?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments below.
Posted by Randy | October 13, 2014
In June, I joined my colleagues in the House to support a 1.8% raise for our servicemembers; however, in August, the President announced that he believed their pay should be reduced.

This cut comes at a time when we have troops deployed around the world, and the Administration has cut billions of dollars from our national defense and subjected our military to sequestration.  I oppose the President’s decision to reduce the pay of our servicemembers – they are not the cause of our nation’s fiscal problems and should not be forced to carry the weight of solving it.

I will continue my steadfast support for our nation’s heroes, ensuring they receive the benefits and compensation they have earned and deserve.

Posted by Randy | October 10, 2014

I’m sure you saw that on Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed lower court decisions to stand in five cases, overturning state same-sex marriage bans.

Here are my thoughts: In 2013, the Supreme Court left the task of defining marriage to the states. This week, by refusing to hear cases from five states – including Virginia – seeking to uphold their definition of marriage as one man and one woman, the Court has refused the citizens of these states the opportunity to defend democratically enacted laws defining traditional marriage.

Cases are still pending before several federal circuits and it is likely that the Supreme Court will be asked to consider this issue again.  It is my hope that the judicial process will be respected and that the Court allows the citizens of these states the opportunity to be heard.

Posted by Randy | October 09, 2014
I wanted to share this article with you. The Associated Press is reporting that the Homeland Security Department privately acknowledged roughly 70% of immigrant families who are caught illegally crossing the Mexican border and released into the United States with instructions to report back to immigration authorities have failed to report back to federal immigration agents.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is a direct consequence of the Administration’s failure to enforce our current immigration laws, and of prioritizing talks of amnesty over border security. My position remains clear: No amnesty. Period. You can learn more about my work opposing amnesty of any form, here.

Recently, the Department of Defense announced that illegal immigrants who have been granted deferral from deportation and also possess certain skills (like language expertise) will now be eligible to join the military. Do you support allowing select illegal immigrants to enlist in the military? Weigh in on our weekly poll, here.