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Posted by Randy | July 24, 2014

Approximately 16 million people fall victim to identity theft each year, totaling more than $24 billion dollars in damages annually, according to statistics by the U.S. Department of Justice.  That is why I support the STOP Identity Theft Act, H.R. 744, which calls for the Department of Justice to bring more perpetrators of identity theft to justice. 

Identity theft has become all too common.  It is important to take precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Here are five simple ways to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Guard your information online by clearing logins and passwords, instead of allowing websites to “remember” them and store the information.
  • Opt out of pre-screened credit card offers at 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card statements and your credit report, and order a free annual credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or 1-877-322-8228.
  • Verify your mailing address with the post office and financial institutions to ensure that mailers with your information on them are sent to the right address.
  • Secure or shred your mail.

For more information on identity theft and how you can protect yourself, click here to take a look at the toolkit my staff and I put together for your use.

Posted by Randy | July 24, 2014

Recently, the House passed H.R. 657, which I cosponsored, expressing support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization, and calling on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket fire and other attacks on Israel. 

I stand with Israel.

Additionally, I supported the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act, H.R. 938, affirming the House’s support for Israel’s security and the shared values between the United States and Israel.
Posted by Randy | July 18, 2014
I wanted to update you on the bill I wrote to you about last month to ban state and local governments from taxing Internet access. 

I am pleased to tell you that the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act passed the House this week by voice vote.

Posted by Randy | July 17, 2014
Earlier this month, hostilities between Hamas – a Palestinian militant group – and Israel escalated following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.

Hamas fired rockets from the Gaza Strip, a Hamas-controlled territory, toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and Israel struck back with a series of air strikes

In an effort to end the violence, Egypt proposed a cease-fire agreement; however, it failed to gain support from Hamas.  As a result, Israel resumed air strikes to combat the continual firing of rockets.  

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution by unanimous consent, condemning the attack on Israel and reaffirming support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

Question of the week:  Should the U.S. affirm the right of Israel to defend itself? 

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

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.           
Posted by Randy | July 16, 2014
Last month, a Veterans Affairs hospital in Michigan was ordered to conceal all Christian symbols inside of its chapel due to a VA policy handbook published in 2008, which states, “When VA Chaplains are not providing or facilitating a religious service for a particular faith group, the chapel must be maintained as religiously neutral, reflecting no particular faith tradition.”

In response, I joined 22 of my colleagues in sending a letter to the VA inquiring about the policy implementation in 2008 and urging the VA not to scrub its chapels of all religious symbols.

We are a nation founded on the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Over time, this important concept has been distorted, and its misapplication has led the public to believe that the Constitution’s intent was to confine religion to the four walls of the church.  But the Constitution does not require the elimination of religious symbols from the public square – rather, it protects the free exercise of religion for every American. 

The 101 members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, that I founded, are in the thick of the fight for religious liberty every day. Learn more about our most recent efforts, here
Posted by Randy | July 15, 2014
I believe that we should work to reduce the federal footprint in education by eliminating strict standards and penalties, and putting control back in the hands of state and local leaders.  The responsibility for student achievement is best handled by the states and individual school districts, thereby enhancing local flexibility, protecting taxpayers’ investments in education, and strengthening state and local autonomy.

I’m supporting a bill, H.Res.476, which strongly denounces the President's coercion of states into adopting the Common Core standards, and restores and protects state authority and flexibility in establishing and defining student academic standards and assessments.  
Posted by Randy | July 14, 2014
According to the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland Security – the third largest federal agency – has failed to properly manage the systems and programs used to secure our borders, protect our shores, and monitor goods coming into the U.S.

The federal government must be accountable to the American people for how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. An oversized, wasteful government is a serious threat to the stability and success of our nation. That’s why I supported the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, H.R. 4228, which requires the DHS to streamline its acquisition process and hold its programs accountable.

When it comes to national security, our federal agencies have a responsibility to keep our nation safe from those who would wish us harm, whether they are from within the United States or from other countries seeking to get into our country. However, national security must not come at the cost of the fiscal integrity of our country. 

Posted by Randy | July 14, 2014
I wanted to share with you a new bill I introduced.  The Independent Research and Repurposing Act, H.R.4287, encourages the development of new medical treatments by repurposing existing drugs to address new ailments, conditions, or diseases. 

Drug repurposing research is already underway in many disease areas, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, depression, sleep disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress. 

Whether it is a servicemember suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, or a relative recently diagnosed with cancer, discovering treatments and cures for the diseases afflicting many Americans is a priority that transcends politics. Encouraging drug repurposing is a critical avenue for discovering ground-breaking ways to combat - and ultimately cure - these devastating diseases.

I have also introduced the 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 in the same.
Posted by Randy | July 11, 2014
In 2009, two organizations representing the heads of state education departments and the nation’s governors developed the Common Core State Standards to provide consistent learning goals across states for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

Currently, all but seven states – Virginia, Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana – have adopted the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English.  As an incentive, states that implement the standards have an increased chance of receiving federal grant money.  

The goal of the academic benchmark is a focus on comprehension and critical thinking; however, critics believe that tying tests to these standards will actually harm this goal because teachers will teach to the tests rather than working to ensure their students receive a well-rounded education.

Question of the week:  Do you support the Common Core State Standards or other universal sets of academic benchmarks to measure learning?

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

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | July 11, 2014
Since 1998, the Department of Commerce has exercised control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, non-profit organization that manages basic functions of the Internet.  Earlier this year, however, the Administration announced its intent to relinquish control of ICANN to the global Internet community. 

In response, I sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Pritzker to request important information about the Department’s plans to relinquish United States oversight of the Internet. It is vitally important that we put policies in place that are in the best interest of the American people - a free Internet is one I will continue fighting to protect. 

During floor consideration of the annual funding bill for the Department of Justice (H.R. 4660), I also supported an amendment to prohibit funding for the transfer of ICANN. The bill passed the House and is now awaiting action in the Senate.