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Posted by Randy | April 08, 2015
Currently, there are laws forbidding individuals from receiving Social Security payments if they are here illegally. However, their entire work history – even work done as an illegal immigrant – can still count towards Social Security benefits if the individual later becomes a legal U.S. resident.

In my opinion, that makes no sense. That’s why I’m championing the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716) to stop unauthorized work from counting towards Social Security credits. I will keep you updated on its progress as it moves through the House in the 114th Congress.
Posted by Randy | April 07, 2015

It has been our nation's motto for over five decades. We sing about it in our national anthem, and allude to it in our Pledge of Allegiance. It is inscribed on our coins and our currency, and engraved in both the House and Senate chambers, as well as in public buildings across our nation. It hangs in my office and in many other elected officials’ offices in Congress and across the country: In God We Trust.

I still believe these words and believe they still serve as hope for America.

Although it is increasingly under attack, religious liberty remains one of the foundational pillars this great nation was built upon. Read about the work I am doing to preserve Americans’ constitutionally protected faith freedoms: http://forbes.house.gov/prayercaucus

Posted by Randy | April 07, 2015

Daily, we are surrounded by heroes. There are men and women in our neighborhoods, sitting next to us in our churches, coaching our children's soccer teams, and standing next to us at the gas station, who have made selfless commitments, faced harrowing situations, and borne the weariness of battle.

On certain days, the nation rallies together to recognize these heroes – there is Veterans Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day, Memorial Day, to name a few. We say thank you, we shake their hand; there are speeches and parades and tributes. But what about the next day? And the day after that, and month after that? The reality of their service and the scars these men and women bear – whether physical, emotional, or mental – do not change. Our gratitude should not either.

Every day should be Memorial Day. Today, say thank you to a veteran, and take a moment to reflect on the ways in which our freedoms and liberties have been preserved by the dedicated service of the men and women in our Armed Forces.

Posted by Randy | April 06, 2015

It should never take 13 hours for you to figure out how much money the government is going to take away from you. And yet, according to the IRS, that is the approximate amount of time it takes the average American taxpayer to comply with the tax code -- including record-keeping, reading the rules, gathering receipts, and filling out the necessary forms.

No matter what your political beliefs, we can agree this doesn’t make sense. The complexity of the current tax code places an unnecessarily heavy time and cost burden on American families and small businesses, impacting their effectiveness and productivity. That’s why I’m pushing for a simpler, fairer tax code – including supporting an optional flat tax and pushing to reform the entire code. Read about my work, here.

Did you take my weekly poll last week on tax reform? Click here to weigh in with your opinion now.

Posted by Randy | April 06, 2015

Washington needs to be held directly accountable. That’s why I’m supporting a bill to freeze the pay for every Member of Congress during the entire 114th Congress. Click here to weigh in with your thoughts on my Facebook page.

Posted by Randy | April 02, 2015
Do the names “Amy” and “Vicky” ring a bell? They are the victims of two of the most widely-distributed child pornography series in the world. When Amy’s case was reviewed by the Supreme Court in Paroline v. United States last year, it highlighted the need to reform the existing restitution statute in child sexual exploitation cases. Currently, the restitution statute doesn’t adequately accommodate child pornography cases, where the harm to the victim can sometimes be more difficult to quantify – although no less real – than other sexual exploitation cases.

The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act (H.R. 595), which I am cosponsoring, helps to fix that problem. It changes the restitution statute to consider the total harm to the victim, and requires real and timely restitution.

The fact that this is an issue – and that some of the most vulnerable members of our society are so exploited – breaks my heart. Our children are precious and deserve our protection. I will continue fighting for their safety.
Posted by Randy | April 01, 2015
It’s true there is a myriad of complex issues facing our nation, but there are also common sense action steps Congress can take right now, which shouldn’t be that difficult to agree on. Here are three things Washington needs to do to light up the economy and better support small businesses:

1)    Streamline and cut back on unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations.
2)    Create a tax system that is more fair, less complex, and allows American companies to stay competitive.
3)    Get out of the way. Allow entrepreneurs the freedom to innovate, grow their businesses, and create jobs.

I’m working to reintroduce sanity and accountability to the regulation process, require federal agencies to consider the impact their rules will have on small business growth and job creation, and create a simpler, fairer tax code.
Posted by Randy | April 01, 2015

The aircraft carrier remains the most visible and effective instrument of U.S. military power. Building a mixed and technologically-advanced Carrier Air Wing, including unmanned aircraft, is essential to preserving the carrier’s dominance in the decades ahead. I recently authored an Op-Ed in Defense News laying out my vision for unmanned carrier aviation.

Commentary: Where Is Unmanned Carrier Aviation Heading?
Defense News
By Congressman Randy Forbes
March 31, 2015 
                    

"What's going on with the Pentagon's longest-running drama, the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program?" Bill Sweetman recently asked in Aviation Week. In the absence of any updates from the Pentagon, it's a question that is on the minds of many interested parties.

Until last year, the Navy's efforts to add an unmanned aircraft to the carrier air wing appeared to be on track and close to delivering impressive results. And then, just when it seemed a brave new world of unmanned carrier aviation was dawning, Congress got involved.

Or so it might seem. Last December, Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act that constrained the Navy's use of funding for the UCLASS program in fiscal year 2015. In its markup, my subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces mandated that the secretary of defense review the requirements guiding the UCLASS program and report back to Congress before awarding any contracts for the "air vehicle segment" of the program, effectively putting aircraft development on hold.

Some commentators have alleged that this constituted just one of several instances of "politics, mainly in the form of ill-conceived spending constraints … making it harder for the joint force to tap the full potential" of unmanned technology. In the case of UCLASS, however, I strongly believe that the constraints imposed by Congress will help the joint force truly exploit the full potential of unmanned carrier aircraft.

I am convinced that where carrier aviation is concerned, unmanned aviation's greatest promise lies in its potential to fill the carrier air wing's most glaring capability gap: its lack of a sufficiently long-range penetrating strike capability. Although the carrier and its air wing are among the most versatile and effective military tools available to US commanders today, their value in the decades ahead will be determined in large part by how the carrier air wing evolves to meet anti-access challenges arising in the Western Pacific and around the world.

In order for the carrier to meet its full potential as a power-projection instrument, its air wing must include aircraft that can launch and recover from beyond the reach of prospective adversaries' sea-denial capabilities and penetrate sophisticated air defenses with a load of sensors and weapons. To do so, these aircraft will need a greater combat radius than key threats they face and current manned carrier fighters can achieve; air refueling capability; all-aspect, broadband stealth; and a sizable internal payload.

Armed with such an aircraft, the carrier and its air wing would be capable of meeting the full spectrum of foreseeable operational challenges.

As noted above, the Navy appeared for a while to be on track to develop such an aircraft. Building on joint research and development efforts, the sea service developed an Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft, the X-47B, that made unmanned aviation history in May 2013 by conducting the first unmanned catapult launch and arrested recovery aboard a carrier at sea. In April, the UCAS-D is poised to achieve another aviation milestone by conducting the first autonomous midair refueling from a manned tanker.

Although only a prototype, UCAS-D seemed like a steppingstone to the long-range penetrating strike capability envisioned above. All seemed well until the Navy circulated a draft request for proposals for a follow-on UCLASS aircraft in 2013, indicating that the Navy had decided to go in a different direction. Instead of a combat-capable evolution of the UCAS-D, the Navy was now expressing interest in a semi-stealthy and only lightly armed aircraft that could stay aloft for roughly 14 hours and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and light strike missions.

I recognize that a high-endurance ISR capability is needed by the carrier air wing, and that there is also a need for the air wing to refuel more efficiently. I also recognize that unmanned vehicles have the potential to effectively and efficiently carry out both of these missions.

But neither of these capability gaps in organic ISR and aerial refueling is as glaring as the air wing's lack of penetrating long-range strike capability. Manned carrier aircraft can (and currently do) mitigate these capability gaps in ISR and aerial refueling, as can "off-board" aircraft, including the many long-endurance maritime surveillance UAVs and tanker aircraft in the programmed Navy and Air Force fleets.

But more importantly, it will not matter whether on-board or off-board aircraft fulfill these important but ultimately supporting functions if the carrier does not have the long-range penetrating strike capability needed to carry the fight to future adversaries.

As is too often the case in this age of growing threats and scarce resources, the question that Congress faces with regard to UCLASS is one of prioritization. The ongoing debate over platform requirements is really about competing conceptual visions for unmanned carrier aviation, and making sure that the carrier air wing's "hierarchy of needs" is addressed in a strategic manner. That is why I fully support the Pentagon's decision to conduct a Strategic Portfolio Review that will inform the requirements for unmanned carrier aircraft.

Although there is no time to waste, it is imperative that the Navy "measure twice and cut once" on the first and only unmanned carrier aircraft in its program of record. Given prospective fiscal constraints, competition from other programs and the long timelines needed for aircraft development, the opportunity costs of proceeding with the wrong vision and the wrong requirements are simply too high for Congress to stand idly by. The aircraft we begin procuring today must be the aircraft we will need in 2025 and beyond. For all the reasons mentioned above, I believe that aircraft will be, and must be, a long-range, air-refuelable penetrating strike platform that can out-range the mounting threats to the carrier and play a major role in joint efforts to defeat anti-access networks.

Read the article here.

Posted by Randy | March 31, 2015
Wanted to highlight an important bill for you: The Firearm Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act (H.R. 1413), which was recently introduced, stops the Administration from using Operation Choke Point (or any similar programs) to target the firearm industry.

Under Operation Choke Point, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Department of Justice were permitted to place immense regulatory pressure on financial institutions doing business with firearms and ammunition manufacturers – thus essentially working to cripple the industry. While the FDIC is now claiming that it has stopped targeting firearms manufacturers under Operation Choke Point, I believe more must be done to ensure the Second Amendment is not infringed upon. That’s why I’m cosponsoring this bill to entirely defund any activities associated with Operation Choke Point, and forbid the U.S. Attorney General from restarting a similar program.

I will keep you posted on its progress.
Posted by Randy | March 31, 2015
13 hours. That is the approximate time it takes the average American taxpayer to comply with the tax code, including record-keeping, reading the rules, gathering receipts, and filling out the forms required by the Internal Revenue Service, according to the IRS.

According to a National Small Business Association 2014 Taxation Survey, nearly 50% of small businesses reported they spend more than 80 hours – the equivalent of two full work weeks – per year dealing with federal taxes. One in three businesses surveyed also said they spend more than $10,000 annually on just the administration alone of federal taxes.

The level of complexity in the tax code, and resulting time and cost burdens, have produced numerous calls for reform, including proposals to abolish the Internal Revenue Code and create a new federal tax system that is simpler, fairer, and less burdensome on American small businesses and families. Supporters argue that legislation terminating our current tax code is essential to force Congress to fully debate and address fundamental tax reform. They contend that the current code is unfair, discourages savings and investment, and is impossibly complex. Opponents to terminating the current tax code argue that the current code either is adequate or can be fixed, rendering a complete overhaul unnecessary.


Question of the Week: Do you support abolishing the current tax code and creating a new system?


(  ) Yes.
(  ) No.
(  ) I am unsure.
(  ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.