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Posted by Randy | August 12, 2015
At the heart of human dignity is the freedom to live by one’s convictions. That is why I am supporting the First Amendment Defense Bill, H.R. 2802, to ensure no government entity is ever permitted to discriminate against the millions of Americans who believe marriage is between one man and one woman – not out of hate, but out of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The government should never force people to choose between their faith and their livelihood. Every American should be free to affirm the truth about marriage without being punished by the government.
Posted by Randy | August 12, 2015
Did you know that the U.S. is one of a relatively few number of countries around the world that does not have an official language? Many people are surprised when they learn that – even though over half of the 50 states have adopted English as their official language -- it has not been adopted as the official language of the United States as a whole. Even our fact-checking friends over at Politifact were surprised to learn this, although they had to rate the statement “true” after doing some research.

Our nation is undeniably unique because of the diversity of its people.  At the same time, there are things that unify our country, like the American flag and our national anthem.

For years, there has been a debate as to whether or not English should also be one of the things that unites our nation, by requiring official functions of the United States be conducted in English. Not too long ago, I cosponsored the English Language Unity Act to do just that and declare English as the official language of the United States. It’s a common sense step, and also serves to promote the idea of unifying our country around a common language. Take a look at the bill text for yourself, here.
Posted by Randy | August 11, 2015

Balance your budget. Don't spend more than you make. Following the law is not optional. Problem solving takes focus and team work.

These are lessons most of us were taught as children by our parents. They’re second nature to us, and part of the fabric of our lives. I don’t think it should be any different for Washington. It is indisputable that as a nation we face numerous complex issues with myriads of nuances and consequences to consider. Nevertheless, I believe there are many issues in our government – including the dysfunction we see in Washington and our government’s spending addiction – that could be solved by simply applying a little common sense.

Here are some of the no-brainer bills that I’ve been working on, and that I believe we should all be able to agree on:

  • Keeping the internet access tax-free through the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, (H.R. 235), which permanently ensures citizens cannot be taxed for Internet access.
  • Putting patients ahead of politics and prioritizing medical research with proven success through the bipartisan bill I introduced called The Patients First Act, (H.R. 2921).
  • Streamlining the way we build roads and bridges through my 414 Plan, which cuts useless red tape, accelerates important projects, and puts Americans back to work. Take a look at the bill text, here.
  • Cutting away at duplicative government programs through H.Res. 45, which requires that, when Congress proposes the creation of a new program or initiative, lawmakers have to justify to the American people why the program is necessary and how it adds value, ensuring that it's not duplicative to programs already in place.
  • Making Washington’s overspending personal by tying Members of Congress’ salaries to government spending through the CAP Act, (H.R. 775) – so the more they spend, the less they make.
Posted by Randy | August 11, 2015
At the end of June, reports surfaced highlighting the severe mismanagement of funds at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These reports re-ignited an ongoing national discussion over whether the President and his Administration are doing enough to support veterans and active duty servicemembers.

Those who applaud the Administration’s efforts point to the fact that last year, in response to similar reports of mismanagement within the VA, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act to provide better care for veterans and increase accountability at the VA. Veterans Affairs Secretary McDonald has also said the agency has made significant progress in the past year.

Those who believe the Administration has shown a lack of support for both our veterans and the men and women currently serving in the military, point to the fact that an enormous claims backlog still exists at the VA and many veterans continue to wait to receive the care they need and deserve. Additionally, the U.S. military has faced six years of drastic cuts under this Administration – in fact, a few weeks ago, the Army announced plans to shrink to 450,000 active soldiers, its smallest size since World War II. Just this year, the President has threatened to veto the national security budget unless domestic agencies like the IRS and EPA receive the funding levels desired by the Administration.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, Congressman Forbes has been a leading voice in the House of Representatives on the importance of adequately equipping servicemembers, caring for veterans, and strengthening national security.

Question of the Week:
In your view, is this Administration doing enough to support our military, veterans, and active duty servicemembers?

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

Take the Poll here

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | August 10, 2015

Identity theft can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone.  According to the Department of Justice, approximately 16 million Americans have their identity stolen every year resulting in damages estimated to be over $24 billion.  It is important to be proactive and take preventative measures to make your personal information more secure.

Here are some quick reminders of how you can help prevent yourself from being a victim:

  • Opt-out of pre-screened credit card offers at 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
  • Add your name to the National Do Not Call Registry: www.donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.
  • Build better passwords by using a combination of at least 12 letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Password protect both your Smartphone and computer.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you initiated the contact or are sure you know who you’re dealing with.
  • Don’t respond to texts, Facebook messages, or emails unless you initiated contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with.

Did you ever take the time to download and print out the tool-kit my staff and I prepared? If not, I’d encourage you to do so, and to spend some time this summer organizing and safeguarding your personal information.

Posted by Randy | August 10, 2015

Although Veterans Day only comes around once a year, we cannot forget the daily sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform -- or the families left behind with an empty seat at the dinner table, who feel like they are holding their breath until their father, sister, son or mother is safely back home.

As the men and women of the U.S. military take on the duty of protecting and defending this nation on the frontlines, so we take on not just the duty – but the honor  -- of having their backs here at home.

That’s why ensuring our servicemembers are properly equipped to carry out their mission and return safely home is a priority of mine. That’s why fighting to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve and earned is a priority of mine. And that’s why caring for and supporting all of our military families, who sacrifice so much for this nation, is a priority of mine. Click here for a quick round up of some of my other recent work on behalf of those who have served this nation.

Our servicemembers are the true American idols. Every day should be Veterans Day.

Do you believe the Administration is doing enough to support our military, veterans, and active duty servicemembers? Weigh in via my recent poll, here, and let me know your thoughts.

Posted by Randy | August 07, 2015

Whether it’s flipping on a light switch or driving a car to work, each of us interacts with energy every day. With that in mind, I want to hear your thoughts on energy policy and what you believe the federal government needs to be focusing on. Take this quick, two question survey to let me know where you stand:

Rate the importance of energy 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 do you believe are the most important steps for the federal government to take? 

o Decrease dependency on foreign oil
o Encourage the development of alternative energy
o Lower gas prices
o Reduce pollution
o Pursue offshore energy sources
o Lower energy costs for individuals and businesses
o Other

Your opinion is valuable to me as I make decisions -- take the survey, here.
Posted by Randy | August 05, 2015

The average American pays an estimated tax rate of 17% in combined federal, state, and local taxes and fees each month on wireless services, according to the Tax Foundation’s Wireless Taxation in the United States, 2014 report. The impact of these taxes and fees are widespread for many Americans, as cell phones are increasingly their sole means of communication and connectivity. According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, 90% of American adults have cell phones and about two-in-five U.S. households were “wireless-only” households.

Recently, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to attempt to address this issue. The Wireless Telecommunications Tax and Fee Collection Fairness Act, H.R. 1087, prohibits state and local governments from tacking on any new taxes and fees on specific communications services, such as wireless, for five years.  During this freeze, state and local governments are afforded time to restructure and simplify their communications tax structures, modernizing them to reflect current usage patterns moving forward.

Congressman Forbes is a co-sponsor of this bill.

Question of the Week:
Do you support H.R. 1087 to put a freeze on any new wireless taxes and fees?

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

Take the Poll here

 Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | August 05, 2015

You and I both know securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws needs to not just be a priority – but a reality. Here are two bills I’ve been working on to that end:

  • H.R. 3009. This bipartisan bill cuts off certain federal grant funding for “sanctuary cities” – cities that do not comply with current federal immigration law. This bill passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. Take a look at the bill, here.
  • H.R. 1148. This bill is critical – it removes the ability of the President to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement, strengthens the interior enforcement of our immigration laws by allowing state and local governments to enforce federal immigration law, and immediately deports any illegal alien in our nation who is a member of a violent criminal gang. Read the text for yourself, here. The bill has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee, with my support, and now awaits consideration before the full House of Representatives -- I’ll keep you posted.
Our nation’s message to the world needs to be crystal clear: our borders are secure. Our laws will be enforced. Our citizens will be protected.
Posted by Randy | August 05, 2015
Wanted to pass along some quick resources I thought you might be interested in. There’s a wealth of educational programs and resources available for educators through the Library of Congress -- like webcasts, interactive student activities, over 85 free lesson plans, and access to more than 19 million primary source documents. If you’re interested, there are also resources in professional development and for continuing education requirements for personal career development that could be helpful to you. Take a look at the “Teachers Page” for more information, here.

I am grateful for all that you do. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of my offices if we can be of assistance.