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Posted by Randy | February 12, 2015
This week, after over half a year of conflict with ISIS, the Administration sent Congress its proposal for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), for the purpose of degrading and defeating the brutal terrorist group.

Currently, the Administration is operating under a broad AUMF, which dates back to September 2001, and reacted to the 9/11 terror attacks. It authorized the President with all necessary and appropriate force, “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Now, the President is requesting formal authorization from Congress for the use of military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  The authorization would not authorize the conduct of long-term, large-scale ground combat operations.  But it would authorize the conduct of ground combat operations in limited circumstances, such as rescue operations or the use of special operations forces to take military actions against ISIS leadership. It also authorizes the use of U.S. forces in situations such as intelligence collecting, missions to enable strikes against terrorist targets, or the provision of operational planning and assistance to partner forces.

Proponents argue that the President’s proposal fulfills his constitutional and legal obligations, while striking the proper balance of demonstrating commitment towards destroying ISIS, yet limiting U.S. ground troops’ involvement. Those opposing the proposal cite concerns over the content of the request, including the lack of a concrete, comprehensive strategy, the limits it places on the flexibility and options of our military commanders, as well as the potential it creates for another endless conflict with no clearly articulated plan for achieving the stated objectives.


Question of the Week:
Do you support the President’s proposal to authorize the use of military force against ISIS?

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


Take the Poll here

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 06, 2015
Last week, I introduced a bill that does two important things: 1) it strategically cuts the legs out from under Obamacare and 2) it rolls back the massive overreach of the IRS. The Prevent IRS Overreach Act (H.R. 683), accomplishes these goals by prohibiting the expansion of the IRS to implement the President’s health care law – and stopping the IRS from using Obamacare as its next political bludgeon.

I will keep you posted on the bill’s progress.

What are your thoughts on this strategy for defeating Obamacare and reining in the IRS at the same time? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section below.
Posted by Randy | February 05, 2015
Recent reports of an outbreak of over 100 cases of the measles across the United States have sparked controversy over whether measles vaccines should be mandatory by law, or whether parents should retain the choice to vaccinate their young children against infectious diseases, like the measles.

During 2014, the United States experienced the greatest number of cases since the measles virus was declared to be eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. Many have linked the growing number of cases, as well as the current outbreak, to a decline in vaccination levels. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House have urged parents to vaccinate themselves and their children against the virus, renewing the debate over how much discretion parents should have over the vaccination of their children for highly contagious diseases.

Proponents argue that mandatory vaccinations against the measles or other infectious diseases are necessary for public health and safety, since unvaccinated children put others at risk. Currently, all 50 states have laws in place requiring certain vaccinations for students.  Those who oppose making vaccines mandatory believe that it is a parent’s prerogative to maintain a measure of discretion over the choice to vaccinate their child, and, under current law, many states grant certain religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccinations on the grounds of personal, moral, or other beliefs.

Question of the Week: Do you support mandatory vaccinations for infectious diseases like the measles?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 05, 2015
Wanted to provide you with a brief bill spotlight on H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, which is a positive piece of legislation for our small business community and the economy as a whole. The text of the legislation is available here, and below is a brief summary:
 
What it does: H.R. 527 requires federal agencies to consider the economic effects of regulations on small businesses before imposing overly burdensome mandates that prevent growth and job creation.
 
More detailed analysis will be required before implementing regulations, including describing the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements with which the proposed regulation will burden small businesses; as well as reporting on the number regulations which may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed rule; and estimating the cumulative economic impact of the proposed rule on small businesses, among other things.
 
Why it’s important: Requiring this level of analysis before imposing new regulations on our small businesses will help prevent unnecessary, duplicative, or overly burdensome mandates from being placed on the backs of our job creators. We will only be able to light up our economy and spur growth when our small businesses are free to expand, innovate, and add new jobs.

I’m pleased that House passed H.R. 527 today, with my support, and it’s now heading over to the Senate for consideration.
 
Posted by Randy | February 05, 2015

This week, I joined the Judiciary Committee to examine the Administration’s enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. Again and again, we have seen only arrogance and apathy on the part of the Administration in enforcing the laws passed by Congress.
                 

 

 
I will continue to work to hold the Administration accountable, because I believe that – as we address immigration –  the twin goals of stopping executive amnesty and securing our border must be our top priority. Period.
 
Last year, I strongly supported a bill Congressman Trey Gowdy introduced, called the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278), which would make securing our borders and enforcing our laws not just a priority, but a reality. As a senior member on the House Judiciary Committee, I’m working with Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Gowdy, and other Committee Members to build off the groundwork we laid last year. The bottom-line is: until our border is secure, the work is not done.
 
I will keep you posted.

Earlier this month, I cosponsored the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act (H.R. 38), which prohibits the executive branch from exempting or deferring from removal – by executive order, regulation, or any other means – anyone who is here illegally. This is important because it clarifies that the President’s executive orders are unconstitutional, and only Congress has the authority to alter our immigration laws. Read the text of the bill yourself, here.
Posted by Randy | January 30, 2015

In a meeting this week with House Republicans, Speaker Boehner told Members that he is working on a plan to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama, challenging Obama's executive action on immigration.

In November of last year, President Obama announced his plans to use executive action to change the immigration laws of this country and exempt from deportation millions of undocumented immigrants currently living here illegally. In January, the House passed legislation halting the President's executive action, including deferred action for childhood arrivals.  That legislation, however, faces challenge in the Senate where the measure may have difficulty garnering enough Democratic support for the three-fifths majority vote needed to overcome a filibuster.


Question of the Week: Do you support a House-led lawsuit designed to curtail the use of executive amnesty?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.

Posted by Randy | January 29, 2015

Military-to-military relations between the U.S. and China have too often been conducted without regard to a larger strategy. I believe that all engagements between the U.S. and Chinese militaries must advance American national security interests, a subject I recently laid out in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Today’s Wall Street Journal discusses the U.S. military relationship with China, including my efforts to encourage a comprehensive U.S. strategy.
 
            

Pentagon Puts China Military Exchange on Hold
Decision Delayed Until Washington and Beijing Can Agree on Rules for Encounters Between Warplanes
The Wall Street Journal
By Julian E. Barnes in Washington and Jeremy Page in Beijing

The Pentagon put on hold an effort to expand defense ties with China, saying it wouldn’t agree to a major new military exchange until the two countries can agree on rules for airborne encounters between their warplanes.

The delay, which doesn’t affect existing military-to-military exchanges, reflects concerns among some U.S. politicians and military officials that an expansion of defense ties with Beijing over the past 18 months hasn’t stopped China from trying to enforce its territorial claims in Asia.

Top U.S. and Chinese naval officials had proposed the U.S. send an aircraft carrier on a visit to China, but Pentagon officials have deferred any decision until work on an air-intercepts agreement is complete, officials said.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va), who leads a House subcommittee on sea power, has said the Pentagon has been pushing military exchanges without clearly stating what they hope to achieve with the exchanges.

“We think if you are going to do military-to-military exchanges, you should have strategic goals for why we are doing it,” he said.

Mr. Forbes added that military exchanges with China risk sharing too much information, potentially including critical elements of U.S. military strategy. “It gives them a better understanding how we might react in a situation and so it may embolden them more,” he said.

In a letter to Mr. Forbes this month, Pentagon officials defended their approach, saying it has “elements of cooperation and competition.”

“U.S. policy toward China is based on the premise that it is profoundly in both countries’ interest that we develop a cooperative relationship that brings a rising China into that system while constructively managing the differences between our two countries,” wrote Christine Wormuth, the undersecretary of Defense for policy, in the letter to Mr. Forbes.

Defense officials said they have a vetting process in place to ensure that sensitive information isn’t shared during military exchanges with China. One official said the delay in the carrier decision was an example of how the Pentagon is following the approach advocated by Mr. Forbes.

Leaders of both countries have pushed for expanded military ties and improved communications. That objective was a key part of the deal the administration reached with Beijing during President Barack Obama ’s trip to China in November.

During that visit, Chinese and U.S. officials announced an agreement designed to prevent confrontations at sea, with a new set of rules for maritime encounters. The agreement followed a 2013 incident when a Chinese ship came within 100 feet of the USS Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, in the South China Sea. China said its ship followed proper procedures.

Officials said at the time that the maritime agreement would be followed by one covering air-to-air engagements, which have been a source of friction, including an August encounter when the Pentagon said a Chinese fighter plane came within 50 feet of a Navy P-8 surveillance plane. China said its pilot kept a safe distance. It also demanded that the U.S. stop surveillance flights near its coastline.

U.S. officials remain hopeful a deal will be possible this year, but said that reaching an agreement on rules for air incidents is more complicated than the maritime agreement.

Some agree a better understanding of Washington’s China strategy is needed. “Everyone is accusing people of being off the reservation. But we need to know where the fence line for the reservation is,” said a defense official.

The Pentagon is beginning work on a new report mandated by Congress last month to lay out its military strategy in Asia. The defense official said that will amount to a clearly stated approach to China, and should address Mr. Forbes’s concerns.

Officials said that a continuation of military-to-military exchanges between China and the U.S. would remain a cornerstone of the American approach to maintaining stability in Asia.

“The option of ignoring each other is not a grown-up option,” the defense official said. “Everything has to be done for a reason, and is. We aren’t doing things just to do them.”

China’s defense ministry didn’t respond to a request to comment on planned exchanges this year, including the carrier visit and the air-encounter agreement.

Asked about the plans for a carrier visit for China, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool, a Pentagon spokesman, said he wouldn’t comment on internal decision-making but that the military would “publicize our decision in the established manner.”

While the decision on the aircraft carrier is on hold, other smaller exchanges are continuing, officials said. This month, 38 U.S. personnel and 50 Chinese service members participated in a humanitarian relief exercise in Hainan Island.

Hainan is where a Navy P-3 plane landed after it was disabled in a midair collision with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001.


Read the article here.
Posted by Randy | January 28, 2015
Getting defense right in the new Congress is absolutely essential. Doing that requires first developing a strategy, and then allocating the resources to make that strategy effective. For the last six years, we’ve been asking how much can be spent on defense and making the strategy fit that number. Instead, we should be asking how much is required to ensure the national security of the United States. See my recent interview with Federal News Radio to hear more.
 
Posted by Randy | January 23, 2015

This week, President Obama delivered his sixth official State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress.  As part of the speech, the President announced a series of tax hikes, totaling approximately $320 billion in increased taxes, according to White House estimates.

These provisions include raising the capital gains and dividend tax rates to 28 percent – almost double 2012 rates; imposing new fees on financial institutions; and broadening the scope of the unpopular death tax. The President’s plan leverages higher taxes on the backs of job creators and entrepreneurs to fund new federal programs.

Congressman Forbes has stood against raising taxes on the basis that tax increases stifle economic growth, hurt job creation, and fail to address the root issue of government spending. He has supported abolishing the code and starting over with a system that is simpler, fairer, and more stable.

Question of the Week: Do you support the President's proposals to increase taxes?

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

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here. 

Posted by Randy | January 22, 2015
Wanted to share this article with you from the Wall Street Journal on 5 key things to watch for as the Senate debates the Keystone XL Pipeline.

My take: We are in a global energy race. The United States regularly competes with growing economies like China for available energy resources around the world. As we enter an era of energy innovation, our nation’s ability to become energy independent will not only impact our position as a global leader, it will also directly impact job creation, manufacturing, and energy affordability for American families.

A presidential veto of the pipeline – which holds the potential for both great energy security and economic benefit for our nation – would mean that America loses out on this opportunity to begin breaking our dependency on foreign oil. It’s my hope that the Senate will join together in bipartisan support for this critical economic project, and pressure the President to consider the Keystone.

I’ll keep you posted. It’s time to build.