Posted by Randy | December 30, 2009
As we head into 2010, I am looking forward to keeping you updated on what’s happening here in Washington. Occasionally, I send out special email updates to select groups of individuals who are specifically concerned about certain issues. Here are some other areas I frequently send updates on:
- Budget and Government Spending
Posted by Randy | December 23, 2009
Across the United States, there has been a growing effort to reinterpret American history at the expense of our religious heritage. Perhaps one of the strongest times we notice this effort is during the Christmas season. Each year, the push to celebrate a "politically correct" Christmas season grows stronger. The politically correct Christmas season does not allow nativity scenes to be displayed, discourages “Merry Christmas” to be used as a greeting, suggests that trees be advertised as "Holiday" trees, and prohibits the word Christmas on signs and billboards.
But Americans have a right to celebrate the national holiday in accordance to their faith. As such, I've cosponsored a bill, H.RES.951, that recognizes the historical significance of Christmas symbols and traditions and expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate this holiday. The resolution also expresses disapproval of all attempts to ban or limit references to Christmas.
This Christmas, I hope you and your family are able to freely enjoy your own traditions as you celebrate this national holiday. Merry Christmas.
Posted by Randy | December 21, 2009
For our men and women in uniform, the sheer difficulty of separation is often felt the hardest during the holidays. This Christmas for each soldier who is serving abroad, there is a family at home with an empty seat at the dinner table; a father, a mother, a son, a daughter – half way around the world not only missing their family, but being missed.
While nothing can fill the void of being separated from family, technology does provide us as American citizens a unique opportunity to share our gratitude with those who are serving overseas.
The Stars and Stripes Holiday Message program allows individuals from across the country to login and send an email message directly to our troops stationed overseas. Some of the messages may be printed for our troops in the U.S. military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. Click the photo below to send an email message now.
These individuals deserve more gratitude than we can give. This Christmas season, we thank the members of our Armed Forces for choosing service over self and the great blessing that they protect – freedom.
Posted by Jessica Mancari | December 16, 2009
In case you missed it, Congressman Forbes’ recent editorial laying out a plan for the fiscal future of our country was featured in today’s issue of the Virginian-Pilot:
Taking control of our fiscal future
STIMULUS 3” sounds like a bad sequel to a string of never-ending movies. Instead, it’s the moniker being used to describe the new economic proposal announced by President Barack Obama last week. This new stimulus is aimed at accelerating job growth and laying a foundation for economic growth and funding “shovel-ready” projects.
You may ask, isn’t that what the first two economic stimulus packages passed under President George W. Bush and Obama were for? The answer is yes.
Americans are not buying into the “third stimulus is a charm” mentality. Despite repeated stimulus and bailout attempts, unemployment has climbed to 10 percent in the past several months. Our national debt hit another record high — $12 trillion — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will seek legislation this week to increase our federal debt limit.
Divided among the U.S. population, the debt amounts to $38,974.34 for every man, woman and child. The federal government will borrow 43 cents for every dollar that it spends this fiscal year. And just a few weeks ago, Americans discovered that the U.S. government’s official Web site that tracks stimulus spending included phantom congressional districts and proved to have little oversight or accountability over where the money is going.
Americans know that more stimulus spending means more deficit spending and another contribution to a ballooning federal debt. That debt will be placed on the backs of our grandchildren and financed by countries like China.
Because of that, Americans have spent the past several months raising their voices against a job threatening and deficit-bloating government takeover of health care, a “cap and trade” national energy tax and an increasing limit on the national credit card.
Yet Congress and the administration keep spending money without setting priorities or reducing waste.
We need a paradigm shift in Washington. Our economy can recover, but not without a fundamental shift in how Washington views and manages taxpayer dollars.
Here’s a simple three-step plan that would help us take control of our fiscal future:
1. Cut the waste. Slash funding for wasteful, abusive and duplicative spending.
2. Balance the budget. Constitutionally require Congress to balance the federal budget each year. The Balanced Budget Amendment, H.J. Res 1, would force Congress to enact fiscally responsible spending measures, reduce the deficit and ensure that the tax dollars aren’t spent on wasteful spending and programs.
The bill requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenues, requires the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress and requires a 3/5 majority vote to increase the debt limit. This common-sense solution is already implemented in many states, including Virginia.
3. Reform the system. Institute process and entitlement reforms that take a long-range budget view.
Creating fiscal discipline in Washington is a first and necessary step on the road to economic recovery. Americans should demand nothing less from their government.
Thoughts on this editorial? Email Congressman Forbes with your comments here.
Posted by Randy | December 15, 2009
It was late on a hot July evening this summer when I arrived back from Guantanamo Bay. I remember going directly to the computer to pen my impressions on closing the detention facility and transferring terrorists to the United States. "A monumental mistake for our nation," is what I wrote.
Today, the Administration is expected to announce that it will send 9/11 terrorism detainees from Guantanamo Bay to be housed in Illinois. This follows an announcement a few weeks ago that several detainees, including self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be prosecuted just blocks away from Ground Zero in NYC before a civilian federal court. I wrote about that in a blog entry here.
The 9/11 conspirators are enemies of war, not common criminals. Moving terrorists in close proximity to American citizens can in no way make us safer. It is a security risk we cannot afford to take, and I am taking every action available to me to stop it.
I recently signed a discharge petition for the Keep Terrorists Out of America Act, which would force the bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. If we are successful in collecting the 218 signature necessary, the House would be forced to vote on stopping the transfer or release of detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility into the United States.
I've also joined with fellow members of the House Judiciary Committee and Armed Services Committee in cosponsoring resolutions of inquiry (H.Res.920 and H.Res. 924) to force Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Defense, separately, to release documents related to the Administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators in federal court in New York City – the American public deserves to know the potential ramifications of relocating and trying them in the United States.
This afternoon, I will attend a House Armed Service Committee markup on H.Res. 924. I am hopeful that we can bring this bill out of committee and onto the Floor for a vote, so we can make it known that the protection of American citizens and justice for the families who have lost loved ones as a result of 9/11 and terrorism abroad is our number one priority.
Posted by Randy | December 10, 2009
Just a few weeks ago, we saw that the official government website that tracks current stimulus spending included phantom congressional districts, like the 00th Congressional District of Virginia, and proved to have little oversight or accountability over where stimulus money is actually going. A report last month by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office found one in 10 jobs reportedly created by the stimulus is fake and that “significant reporting and processing (stimulus) problems that need to be addressed.”
What’s interesting is that the stimulus bill signed into law in February actually authorizes the creation of a five-member commission to monitor its operation and results. But the Administration has yet to establish the oversight board.
Americans deserve to understand where the billions and billions of their taxpayer dollars are being spent. I’ve cosponsored the National Commission on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that would create a commission to audit the stimulus. It would create a ten member panel, appointed by the President and Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate, to:
Following the investigation, the Commission would make recommendations on what changes could be made to save or create more jobs and what steps can be taken to prevent the improper allocation of taxpayer dollars.
It’s time we demand answers one of the largest spending bills in American history.
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2009
Have you had a chance to take my survey on legislation you think should be a priority next year? Nearly 5,000 individuals have already sent me their opinion. If you haven't yet, take a few moments to tell me which of my three bills you would most like to see passed in 2010.
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2009
It was sixty-eight years ago today that the Greatest Generation experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack would become one of the most defining moments in our nation’s history. More than 2,400 Americans died that day - a day that President Roosevelt said would “live in infamy.”
And the memory of the day does live on. But as time passes, it is becoming more unusual to hear first-hand accounts from individuals who lived through the experience if Pearl Harbor. Today even the youngest veterans of World War II are in their 80s and 90s. Pearl Harbor survivors admit they are struggling to keep the memories alive.
As American citizens, it is our privilege to remember those who lived these historical moments that form the chapters of our nation’s story. It is our privilege to celebrate their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for our country. And as the Greatest Generation begins to leave us and slowly close the pages on that chapter in our nation’s history, it is our responsibility to see that the memories of that day live on. I encourage you to take a look at storytelling sites like the Veterans History Project that capture the stories of America’s heroes through memoirs, artifacts, videos, and letters. Read historical documents and see photographs from the Library of Congress website. Or view a photographic journal of the day on the Naval History and Heritage site.
Our generations have an opportunity to make historical days like Pearl Harbor more than just a day marked on the calendar. Let us remember the fallen through their stories and in the valued memories of their families. Let us take the time to listen and share the individual stories of our own loved ones from the Greatest Generation.
To the heroes of Pearl Harbor that are still among us, thank you for your service and may God bless and protect you always.
Posted by Randy | December 04, 2009
You can read the transcript of our exchange here.
Also, I sent a letter to Secretary Gates outlining some specific questions I have with regards to Afghanistan. You can read that letter here.
Posted by Randy | December 03, 2009
The death tax is damaging and unfair. Here’s why:
It’s bad economics. The death tax discourages business growth and prevents our economy from achieving investment potential. A study by the former non-partisan Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin shows that eliminating the death tax would allow small business investment to rise 3% annually and add 1.5 million jobs to our economy.
It discourages American principles of hard work and long-term investment. The core of the American Dream says that every citizen has a right to work hard to provide for their family and to pass on that foundation to future generations. The death tax flies in the face of the American Dream and says that it is appropriate for the federal government to take half of everything a person owns as a punishment for success. Instead, it encourages meaningless consumption.
Hardworking families already pay a disproportionate amount of taxes to the federal government during their living years; it is simply wrong to tax them again when they die. In such difficult times, families not only cope with the loss of a loved one, but many are forced to sell their businesses or farms to pay the death tax.
Death is not a taxable event. Instead of making the death tax permanent, we need to put it to rest for good. I’ve cosponsored H.R. 1960, which would permanently repeal the death tax.
You can read more about my work on tax issues here.
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