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Posted by Randy | July 02, 2014

I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting two job fairs in Chesapeake and Chesterfield in July and August.  As an employer or business leader, I would appreciate your participation and I am hopeful that these events will provide area businesses, government agencies, and individuals with a mutually beneficial opportunity to find the right job match.
 
I am inviting a variety of government agencies and departments, as well as private sector companies in all areas of business and industry, to participate. Details of the events can be found below:


Chesapeake Job Fair
Monday, July 28, 2014
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Greenbrier Middle School
1016 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23320
 
Employer Registration Page:  https://chesapeakeemployers.eventbrite.com
Contact: Curtis Byrd, District Director, Eastern Region, 757-382-0080, Curtis.Byrd@mail.house.gov   

 
Chesterfield Job Fair
Friday, August 8, 2014
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
L.C. Bird High School
10301 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield, VA 23237
                   
Employer Registration Page: http://chesterfieldemployers.eventbrite.com 
Contact: Ronald O. White, District Director, Western Region or Joan Fallon, Senior Constituent Services Representative, 804-318-1363, Ronald.White@mail.house.gov or Joan.Fallon@mail.house.gov  

Thank you for considering participating in this event.  

If you haven’t already, please sign up for my weekly e-mail newsletter.
Posted by Randy | July 01, 2014
In November 2013, the Supreme Court decided to hear the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Store, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, involving two family-owned businesses seeking to operate their companies in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs.

These cases were brought in response to a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act, known as the HHS mandate, which forced family business owners to choose between their convictions and their businesses by requiring all employee health plans to cover contraceptives that may cause abortions, at no cost to the patient.  The mandate offered a very limited “religious employer exemption,” and as a result, would have forced many religious hospitals, charities, and universities to choose between their faith or face crushing fines under the Affordable Care Act.  Employers who omit just one drug face fines of $36,500 per year per employee, but employers who offer no insurance whatsoever would only be fined $2,000 per employee per year.

This week, the Supreme Court held that the HHS mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law protecting religious freedom that was passed by Congress in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Question of the week:  Do you agree with the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that the government cannot force family businesses to provide a service that the owners of a company say violate their religious beliefs?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 30, 2014

Below is a recent article in the Virginian-Pilot that discusses my concerns that U.S. leaders are not speaking openly about the challenge China poses to U.S. security interests. I recently expressed my concerns on this subject in an op-ed entitled “China. There, I Said It. (Part II)”.


                   

Navy should talk openly about China, Forbes says
The Virginian-Pilot
June 28, 2014

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert was wrong in urging military officers not to speak openly about Chinese military threats during a recent speech.

"If we resign ourselves to a policy of self-censorship about China's assertive actions and growing military power for fear it will antagonize them, we will be granting Beijing a veto over what we can and cannot say," the Chesapeake Republican wrote in a column published Thursday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Forbes, the senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, started the House's China Caucus and has repeatedly warned about the Asian nation's growing military presence.

He was reacting to Greenert's comments June 17 at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island.

When an unidentified officer noted that there was a reluctance to publicly talk about operations, tactics and air strategy in responding to the Chinese military, Greenert agreed.

"If you talk openly, you cross the line and you unnecessarily antagonize diplomatically," he said. "You probably have a sense of how much we trade with that country, right? It's astounding."

The admiral said there are closed-door discussions of how to meet the Chinese threat.

"There are groups up here that do this full time. And they're talking strategies and all that," he said. "People say we need to talk about it more openly... We can't do that... It will unnecessarily muddy waters."

But a lack of open discussion hurts the Navy's argument that it needs a larger 313-ship fleet and new military capabilities, Forbes wrote.

He has said that he believes many in Congress who want to shrink the military do not have a deep understanding of the threats the U.S. faces.

If China wants to be a superpower, Forbes wrote, it has to develop a "thick skin" so that its leaders can respond to criticism "without simply resorting to retaliation."

"I am not implying we need to be abrasive or obstinate in how we discuss this policy issue," he wrote. "Instead, our leaders should speak with clarity when China bullies its neighbors, seeks to unilaterally revise the status quo, challenges freedom of navigation, directs economic espionage, and as it continues to build military capabilities that undermine U.S. security guarantees in the region."

The debate arises as Chinese navy ships are participating for the first time in a joint exercise - called the Rim of the Pacific - off the coast of Hawaii with ships from the U.S. and 20 other nations. Greenert and his wife plan to visit

China next month at the invitation of his counterpart, Adm. Wu Shengli.

Nonetheless, Greenert said, the U.S. is continuing to build its presence in the Pacific and Asia.

Other nations and U.S. trading partners who want to keep maritime shipping lanes open have expressed growing concern with China as its navy moves more aggressively to broaden its influence.

"People ask me: 'What are you going to do about the South China Sea?' " Greenert said. "I say we're going to manage it."

The U.S. has to be clear with the Chinese about the freedom of the seas, he said. "They understand that. They don't like it, but they understand it."

Read the article here: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/06/navy-should-talk-openly-about-china-forbes-says
Posted by Randy | June 27, 2014

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014, H.R. 4457, with my support. This bill makes Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code permanent, providing important tax relief to small U.S. companies. It helps small business streamline records, purchase equipment, and reduce uncertainty for planning. This legislation passed by a vote of 272 – 144.

Bottom-line: It’s simple. Washington needs to get out of the way. We need to eliminate burdensome regulations and reduce the crippling tax load on small businesses so that they have the freedom they need to work, earn, grow, and create jobs.    


Standing up to big government on behalf of small businesses is a duty I take very seriously. Read about my recent work to ease burdens, provide access to capital, and support small business growth, here.
Posted by Randy | June 26, 2014
This week, the Supreme Court ruled to limit the Administration’s regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from cars, which opponents said would cost billions to implement and cut thousands of jobs. However, the EPA’s new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants still need to be addressed as well.

Background
: On June 2nd, the EPA released its proposed rule cutting emissions from existing power plants. In January of this year, the EPA issued a proposed rule setting carbon emission standards for newly established natural gas and coal-fired power plants. Concerns have been raised that the new performance standards, which mandate the use of carbon capture technology which has yet to be successfully employed in commercial energy production, set an impractical benchmark, and will end up eliminating jobs and stunting economic growth. Last week, nine governors wrote to the President asking him to withdraw the proposed rule, saying it would cost millions of jobs and billions of dollars.

Action:
I am co-sponsoring the Protection and Accountability Regulatory Act, H.R. 4813. This bill does two important things:

·         Nullifies these EPA rules on emissions from power plants.
·         Prohibits the EPA from issuing anything similar unless specifically authorized to do so by Congress.

I also cosponsored the REINS Act (H.R. 367), which requires Congressional approval for regulations that cost over $100 million. It’s just common sense that we ought to have more than unelected bureaucrats writing rules that the businesses in our communities have to follow.

Posted by Randy | June 26, 2014
Recently, the IRS unveiled their new “taxpayer bill of rights,” as part of the IRS’ efforts to rebuild trust with the American people and demonstrate that the Agency is looking out for taxpayers. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said this bill of rights would become a “cornerstone document” for the nation’s taxpayers. 

I disagree. The ONLY way to begin restoring trust in the wake of abuses at the IRS is to immediately appoint an independent special counsel to the IRS investigation. If the IRS truly has nothing to hide, then it would seem they would be the first to agree to the appointment of a special counsel, since bringing in an independent party would be the fastest way to restore credibility and trust with the American people. And, if they do have something to hide, then an independent counsel is all the more critical.

Bottom-line: The American people don’t want a slick “taxpayer bill of rights” or public relations push, they want the truth.

I have called for the immediate appointment of an independent special counsel to the IRS investigation. Commissioner Koskinen, however, said that an independent counsel would be a “monumental waste of taxpayer funds.”
Posted by Randy | June 26, 2014
In May of this year, Lois Lerner, the former Director of the Internal Revenue Service's tax-exempt division, was held in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify regarding her role in an IRS scandal where government officials targeted politically active conservative groups for increased scrutiny on applications for tax-exempt status.

As a part of ongoing Congressional probes, a formal request for Lerner's email records was made.  However, the IRS - responding to these requests - claimed a crash of Lerner's computer hard drive and the recycling of backup tapes as reasons for their inability to provide the records to Congress.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen recently testified that he learned about a problem with Lerner’s computer in February and about the missing emails in April; however, the IRS did not notify Congress of the problem until June.

In response, Congressman Forbes called not only for an independent special counsel to lead the investigation, but also for independent computer forensics investigators to recover this critical information. 

Question of the week:  Do you believe an independent special counsel should be appointed to lead the IRS investigation?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 26, 2014
In May of this year, Lois Lerner, the former Director of the Internal Revenue Service's tax-exempt division, was held in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify regarding her role in an IRS scandal where government officials targeted politically active conservative groups for increased scrutiny on applications for tax-exempt status.

As a part of ongoing Congressional probes, a formal request for Lerner's email records was made.  However, the IRS - responding to these requests - claimed a crash of Lerner's computer hard drive and the recycling of backup tapes as reasons for their inability to provide the records to Congress.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen recently testified that he learned about a problem with Lerner’s computer in February and about the missing emails in April; however, the IRS did not notify Congress of the problem until June.

In response, Congressman Forbes called not only for an independent special counsel to lead the investigation, but also for independent computer forensics investigators to recover this critical information. 

Question of the week:  Do you believe an independent special counsel should be appointed to lead the IRS investigation?

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | June 25, 2014
Access to the Internet should never be taxed. And yet, many states and localities are looking to do just this. Pull out your most recent phone bill -- look closely, and you'll notice a list of access taxes tacked onto your bill each month. If you look at the bill from your Internet service provider, those same taxes are not there.

I am championing a bill to permanently ensure that citizens cannot be taxed for Internet access: the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. Take a look at H.R.3086. Let's keep access to the Internet tax-free.
Posted by Randy | June 24, 2014

Our message to gang members illegally in our country needs to be crystal clear: we want you out.

However, not only has this Administration allowed gang members to enter the country (read the powerful article below), the Administration is also releasing illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes back into our communities.  When I asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson if those released were gang members, he said he didn’t know. 

This has to stop.  That’s why I introduced legislation to deport any illegal alien in our nation who is a member of a violent criminal gang. 

It is a no-brainer -- we shouldn’t have to wait for a gang member to commit a crime, or worse, commit a violent crime, and simply be released.  Membership alone in a violent criminal gang must be grounds for deportation and inadmissibility into this country.  

     

Border agent laments gang members entering U.S.: ‘Why are we letting him in here?’
The Washington Times
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Border Patrol officials are swamped by the number of minors crossing illegally into the United States and frustrated that they can't turn away known Mexican gang members.

Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, said that confirmed gang members in Mexico — including those from Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) — are coming into the country to be reunited with their families, National Review reported Friday.

“If he’s a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here? ... I've heard people come in and say, 'You're going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You're going to let me go as well, and the government's going to take care of us,'" Mr. Cabrera told the magazine.

He said that the only way to solve the problem was to implement harsher restrictions on who can be allowed to cross.

"Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don't think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it's going to get worse," he said, National Review reported.

Other Border Patrol officials said that officers must treat minors with gang-affiliated tattoos the same as anybody else wishing to cross the border.

"It's upsetting that a lot of them are 16 or 17 years old and a lot of them are not going to face deportation," said Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, Ariz, National Review reported.

Mr. Cabrera told the news agency that the Rio Grande Valley location has nine stations. The largest facility is in McAllen, Texas, with a capacity of 275 people. Its agents see between 700 and 1,500 people daily.

Read the article here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/14/border-agents-lament-mexican-gang-members-entering/