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Posted by Randy | March 18, 2014
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, rescue workers found two intersecting beams in the shape of a cross in the wreckage at Ground Zero.

In 2011, the cross was moved to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and following a lawsuit in 2013, a federal judge ruled that the cross’s presence in the 9/11 Museum did not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

Today, debate has continued as to whether the cross should be included in the museum.

 Question of the week: Do you believe the Ground Zero cross should be part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy Forbes | March 18, 2014
Last week, the House considered a bill that I cosponsored, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, H.R.3979, to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees and are not forced to comply with the employer mandate provisions of the healthcare law.

Under the employer mandate, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or face penalties.  Thus, volunteer fire companies could be forced to provide health insurance to their volunteers or pay a fine, imposing additional financial burdens on them and ultimately threatening public safety.

Due to concerns raised by Members of Congress and the public, last month the Treasury Department issued final rules on the mandate, clarifying that hours spent performing services as a volunteer will not be treated as hours of service performed by employees for purposes of the employer shared-responsibility requirement.

The bill will reinforce these rules, protecting our nation’s first responders, and the public safety of our communities.
Posted by Randy Forbes | March 18, 2014

According to The Center for Regulatory Solutions, a project of the Small Business & Enterprise Council, the regulatory cost per U.S. household is $14,678.  In 2012, the median household income was $51,017.  That means the regulatory cost per household is nearly 29% of the average family income.  

 

 At the end of February, the House passed a package of bills, with my support, to address this over regulation, and instead focus on spurring job and economic growth.

The Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency Act,H.R.2804, requires the head of each federal agency to submit a monthly report for each rule they expect to propose or finalize during the upcoming year; requires agencies to choose the lowest cost rulemaking alternative that meets statutory objectives (while permitting costlier rules when needed to protect public health, safety, or welfare); requires advance notice of proposed major rulemakings to increase public input; and ensures that agencies fully analyze the effects of regulations on small businesses and consider ways to reduce unnecessarily burdensome rules.

It’s time to cut the red tape and foster an environment that allows businesses to thrive and grow. I will continue to work to reduce burdensome regulations on American families and small businesses.

Posted by Randy | March 13, 2014
Last month, I wrote to you about premium hikes and changes in flood zone mapping affecting homeowners and communities in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, as well as across the nation.  I wanted to let you know that last week, the House passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, H.R.3370, with my support, and it now awaits action in the Senate.

This bill reinstates grandfathered rates by decoupling rate increases from FEMA remapping. Removal of this provision ensures that policyholders who built to code and standards of existing Flood Insurance Rate Maps are not penalized.  The bill also repeals the home sale and new policy rate increase triggers, ensuring that both property owners and prospective buyers are treated equally.

I will continue working to protect homeowners in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, and I hope that the Senate will act quickly to pass this legislation.
Posted by Randy | March 10, 2014
Late last month, Russia sent troops across the border, taking military control of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. 

In coordination with our European allies, President Obama took actions to hold individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. 

President Obama issued an executive order authorizing sanctions, instructed the State Department to impose restrictions denying visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty, as well as those involved in human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine, and called on Congress to provide monetary resources to stabilize the Ukrainian economy.

Question of the week:  
Do you support such assistance to Ukraine from the United States in the face of Russian aggression?

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


Take the Poll here.
 
Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | March 03, 2014

According to the United Sates Constitution (Article II Section 3), the executive branch, headed by the president, has a duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Currently, when the Department of Justice stops enforcing a law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, the Attorney General is required to report to Congress. The Faithful Execution of the Law Act, H.R. 3973, which I cosponsored, strengthens this provision by requiring all federal officials (not just the Attorney General) who stop enforcing a law to report to Congress the exact reason for this non-enforcement, regardless of whether it is being done on constitutional or policy grounds.

Whether or not they fit with his agenda, the President of the United States has a duty to enforce our nation’s laws. It’s not optional. It’s Constitutional.

Read more about my work to provide oversight, prevent abuse, and rein in our bloated federal government.
Posted by Randy | February 28, 2014
This week, our carrier fleet was added to the list of programs to be cut from the military’s budget, continuing a troubling trend of applying a lowest-common-denominator approach to national security.

For the past 70 years, aircraft carriers have provided our nation with a powerful tool to project military power and an unrivaled means to demonstrate diplomatic resolve around the world. Given our global requirements, the Navy has frequently said we are an 11-carrier Navy living in a world that demands 15 carriers.

As part of the Defense Department’s budget preview for Fiscal Year 2015, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the USS George Washington (CVN-73) could be cut next year if sequestration continues, thereby reducing our nation’s fleet from eleven carriers to ten.

Question of the week:  Do you believe that reducing the carrier fleet will leave the United States less capable of meeting national security needs?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | February 28, 2014
This week, the House voted on a series of bills aimed at ending government abuse.  The House considered three bills to rein in the authority of the IRS and provide transparency regarding how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

The Taxpayer Transparency Act will require federal agencies to disclose if taxpayer dollars are spent for advertisements sponsored or materials provided. The Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Actbans the IRS from questioning taxpayers regarding religious, social, or political beliefs.  Finally, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act would block the IRS from finalizing rules that would limit the free speech of 501(c)(4) organizations. 

The IRS, whose mission statement pledges to “enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all,” has broken the American people’s trust by targeting conservative groups based solely on their political perspective. It’s not just common sense, it’s critical, that consequences ensue and that we ensure this does not happen again. 
 
This week, I also sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and submitted a public comment opposing the IRS proposed rule which would restrict the First Amendment rights of 501(c)(4) nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Learn more, here.
Posted by Randy | February 25, 2014
When it comes to medical research and working to find cures for some of today’s most debilitating diseases, all too often, politics trumps the needs of the patients. This is wrong.

I introduced the bipartisan Patients First Act (H.R. 1740) to intensify research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and that show evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for human patients. This bill recognizes that the twin goals of scientific advancement and the protection of human life are not mutually exclusive; rather, they should be one and the same. By setting aside divisive political battles and prioritizing research with proven clinical success, we can finally make long-awaited progress in beating dreaded diseases.

I strongly believe that the federal government should do all it can to encourage the forms of medical research that show the most promise for curing and treating patients so we can combat these diseases.

Currently, adult stem cells are being used to treat over 70 diseases.  I will continue to work to encourage conscientious medical research to ease the suffering of those afflicted by diseases that are yet to have a cure.   
Posted by Randy | February 20, 2014
While our Constitution permits the taking of property, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that no property shall be taken except for public use and with just compensation. 

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that eminent domain could be used for economic development, holding that such development qualified as a ‘public use.’  In response that year, the House passed the Private Property Rights Protection Act, with my support, to prohibit the federal government from exercising its power of eminent domain for economic development.

This week, Summit County, Colorado is seeking to use the power of eminent domain to seize a 10-acre parcel of land, owned by a couple, in order to preserve open space, and protect wildlife and the habitat. 

Question of the week:   Do you believe that preserving open space is a permissible use of eminent domain?

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


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.