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Posted by Randy | December 13, 2011
I have long said that individuals, business owners, and entrepreneurs will be the ones that will create, innovate, and lead our way to a more prosperous America. I also believe the federal government has a responsibility to work as a partner in fostering a “job-creating” environment.

Over the past several months, I have worked with my colleagues to make every effort to get our economy back on track and help spur job creation for Americans. As result, the House has passed 27 job-creating measures. These bills are awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Read about each of those pieces of legislation and find out what you can do to help move them along here:  http://www.gop.gov/indepth/jobs/tracker
Posted by Randy | December 12, 2011

Here’s a look at the legislative calendar for the week ahead:

H.R. 3060 - Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee / Energy and Commerce Committee / Financial Services Committee / Foreign Affairs Committee / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee / Agriculture Committee / Oversight and Government Reform Committee / House Admiration Committee / Budget Committee / Natural Resources Committee / Rules Committee / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee

H.R. 2845 - Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.R. 2668
- A bill to designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the “Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'”(Sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.R. 1264
- To designate the property between the United States Federal Courthouse and the Ed Jones Building located at 109 South Highland Avenue in Jackson, Tennessee, as the "M.D. Anderson Plaza" and to authorize the placement of a historical/identification marker on the grounds recognizing the achievements and philanthropy of M.D. Anderson, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.R. 3421 - Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Financial Services Committee) 

H.R. 886 - United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Womack / Financial Services Committee)

H.R. 1905 - Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.R. 2105 - Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.Res. 306 - Urging the Republic of Turkey to Safeguard Its Christian Heritage and to Return Confiscated Church Properties (Sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.Res. 376 - Calling for the repatriation of POW/MIAs and abductees from the Korean War (Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Rangel / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.R. 2719 - Rattlesnake Mountain Public Access Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings / Natural Resources Committee)

H.R. 443 - To provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

S. 278 - Sugar Loaf Fire Protection District Land Exchange Act (Sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall / Natural Resources Committee)

H.R. 313 - Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee) 

S. 384 - A bill to amend title 39, United States Code, to extend the authority of the United States Postal Service to issue a semipostal to raise funds for breast cancer research (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

H.R. 3220 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 Evergreen Square SW in Pine City, Minnesota, as the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

H.R. 3246 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 15455 Manchester Road in Ballwin, Missouri, as the “Specialist Peter J. Navarro Post Office Building" (Sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

H.R. 2158 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14901 Adelfa Drive in La Mirada, California, as the “Wayne Grisham Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanchez / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

H.R. 2767
- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 8 West Silver Street in Westfield, Massachusetts, as the “William T. Trant Post Office Building”
(Sponsored by Rep. John Olver / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

Conference Report on H.R. 2055 - Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers / Appropriations Committee) 

Conference Report on H.R. 1540 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Buck McKeon / Armed Services Committee)

Posted by Randy | December 12, 2011

A new report from Dean Cheng and Bruce Klingner from the Heritage Foundation asserts that defense budget cuts will devastate America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

Here are some key points from the report:

  • Control of Asia by a hostile power would rattle the very foundations of American economic, technological, and military strength. Thus, preventing the Asian region from being dominated by any single power is even more pressing today than it was at the turn of the 19th century.
  • The United States is the key to regional stability in Asia, a designation that serves America’s own strategic interests while also benefiting the region.
  • The United States is the only nation with both the capabilities and the historical record needed to assume the role of regional balancer and “honest broker.”

Despite these facts, we face the possibility of a total of $1 trillion in cuts to national defense as a result of the Congressional “Super Committee’s” failure to reach an agreement on the federal deficit. I share the concerns outlined in this report - if these drastic defense cuts were to take place, it would cripple our commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and place China on a dangerous trajectory.

Read the full report here.

View a fact sheet I have compiled comparing the trajectories of the U.S. and China here.

Posted by Randy | December 09, 2011

I want to share with you details on legislations I have recently cosponsored to strengthen U.S. commitment to Israel.

Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, H.R. 1006

This legislation states that it is U.S. policy to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem not later than January 1, 2013. The bill also authorizes the necessary funds to acquire and maintain the buildings necessary to carry out this task.

Palestinian Accountability Act, H.R. 2457

This legislation would halt open-ended commitment to Palestinians by prohibiting U.S. aid and preventing any U.S. government document from referring to any region under the Palestinian Authority (PA) control until the PA meets a number of standards:

  • Recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state;
  • That it end corruption, promote democracy, and stop influencing elections in Palestinian territories;
  • Strongly condemn terrorism, bring terrorists to justice, and end the incitement to violence and hatred;
  • And either exclude Hamas from government or publicly bind it to this Act’s requirements.

This bill would also prohibit U.S. contributions to the United Nations (UN) if the UN or any UN entity recognizes statehood for the Palestinian territories.

 

At such a time of increasing regional instability, I believe it is critical that the U.S. make clear our long-standing commitment to Israel.

 

Share your feedback on these bills by leaving a comment below.

Posted by Randy | December 09, 2011
"No religious items (ie: Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."

Those words were included in a memo issued September 14 by Walter Reed Medical Center, one of our nation’s primary medical facilities for thousands of wounded military men and women.  

The policy was brought to the attention of my colleagues and me, along with valid concerns that family members or pastors would not be able to bring Bibles or other religious materials to visit their wounded sons or daughters or husbands and wives. My colleague Rep. Steve King pointed out that “It means a priest that might be coming in to visit someone on their death bed couldn’t bring in the Eucharist, couldn’t offer Last Rites. This is the most outrageous affront.”

Our troops have risked their lives for our freedoms and liberties - including our religious liberties. To deny them this freedom when they return home is deplorable.

This week, I hosted a meeting with officials from Walter Reed regarding the policy. The officials said that the policy was not properly vetted and has been rescinded. The following apology has been posted on their website:

We are in the process of rewriting our policy and would like to offer the following statement:

Bibles and other religious materials have always been and will remain available for patient use at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The visitation policy as written was incorrect and should have been more thoroughly reviewed before its release. It has been rescinded. We apologize for any confusion the policy may have caused.

Please know that at admission, all patients are asked for their religious preference and a chaplain associated with their preference visits them regularly to provide spiritual services. In addition, their families may also bring religious material and we will not refuse any religious group entrance.

WRNMMC provides multiple venues at WRMNMC for religious expression and worship. There is daily Catholic Mass as well as Protestant, Hindu, and Muslim services. Eucharist is also available at the bedside. There are weekly Torah studies, multiple weekly Christian bible studies, as well as weekly Qur'an study. Furthermore, chaplains coordinate spiritual needs for those whose faith groups are not represented by staff chaplains (such as Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, and Christian Scientist).

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center remains committed to supporting the religious preferences of all our patients and we will continue to ensure their spiritual needs are met.

I have requested background information about the policy, how it was implemented without proper vetting, and what forces were behind its implementation. Additionally, Rep. Steve King was featured on Fox and Friends this week to discuss the situation. You can view his comments here.
Posted by Randy | December 08, 2011

Last December, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in a firefight with drug runners using rifles that were traced to an ATF-led operation called “Fast and Furious”. In the operation, ATF officials told gun-store owners to sell weapons to “strawbuyers,” individuals who legally bought the weapons with the intention of transferring them to criminals destined for Mexico.  Once the weapons were in Mexico, the idea of Operation Fast and Furious was to trace the weapons back to the strawbuyers and bring down the entire smuggling network. Over 2,000 semiautomatic guns – valued at over one million dollars – were placed into the hands of known criminal organizations. In March, I joined Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and other members of the Committee in writing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for answers to questions surrounding the operation; the stonewalled response we received provided little to no details.  At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Senator Chuck Grassley pointed to a Department of Justice letter the senator received last February incorrectly stating that federal agents were making "every effort" to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.  In response, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed regret that the Department of Justice had provided Senator Grassley with misleading information.  In addition, Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote Attorney General Holder on Tuesday regarding Congress' intention to start an investigation into undercover operations in which agents possibly laundered and smuggled millions of dollars in drug money as part of their effort to confront Mexican organized crime.

 

Question of the Week: Do you support holding the Attorney General accountable for the Department of Justice's pattern of deception and misleading information surrounding Operation Fast and Furious?

 

(  )  Yes, the Attorney General must be held accountable for Department of Justice mismanagement.
(  )  No, the Attorney General has acted properly in responding the Operation Fast and Furious controversy.
(  )  I am unsure.
(  )  Other.

Take the instaPoll here.

 

Find the results of last week's instaPoll here.

Posted by Randy | December 08, 2011
U.S. Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson released a new analysis of China's new aircraft carrier. In the report, he states, “This is not the beginning of the end; it is the end of the beginning.  To realize its ambitious for the future, China had to start somewhere.”  Also, from the report:

While ex-Varyag’s capabilities clearly represent a “work in progress,” it is not just a “training carrier” per se, as USS Lexington (AVT 16) was in the last decades of its storied career. Its hardware does not need to be upgraded radically for operational service; it already possesses a Dragon Eye phased-array radar, a new point-defense missile system, and a new close-in weapon system. The Dragon Eye can reportedly track up to a hundred targets while engaging fifty simultaneously, detect targets out to sixty-five nautical miles (120 kilometers), and track targets out to 48.6 nautical miles (ninety kilometers). Together, no matter how it is portrayed officially, these factors make it more than a training ship and rather a modestly capable warship.

Read the full report here.
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2011
It is a marker that defines the Greatest Generation. It is one of the darkest days in the pages of our nation’s history book.  It has indeed become a day that “live[s] in infamy.”   

70 years have passed since the message rang across the Oahu naval base: “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Today, the first-hand experiences from the day are becoming increasingly rare (the youngest survivors are in their late 80s). But as our immediate connection to the day flickers, we are resolved to remember. We are resolved to pay tribute to the members of the Armed Forces and those civilians who died in the attacks, and the subsequent 320,000 Americans who sacrificed their lives in World War II for freedom across the globe. 

As we remember the attacks on Pearl Harbor, I want to share with you some online resources that help tell the story of the day:

Timeline, Videos, Interactive Maps, and Photos
History.com

The USS Arizona Memorial
National Park Service

United States Naval Base, Pearl Harbor
National Park Service

After the Day of Infamy - "Man on the Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Library of Congress

The Pearl Harbor Radiogram
National Archives

“Day of Infamy” Speech
National Archives

Stories from the Veterans History Project
Library of Congress
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2011

“The more we understand how complicated things are, the better off we’ll be…This is not a world where the uninformed are going to survive for very long.”

Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command speaking to the San Diego Military Advisory Council in December of 2011.


Dear Colleague,

I am writing to bring your attention to recent comments made by Chinese President Hu Jintao, who while speaking to China’s Central Military Commission, urged the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy to accelerate its modernization in order to prepare for combat.  His comments have been reported by the AFP:

The PLA Navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernization in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security," he (President Hu) said...In a translation of Hu’s comments, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the president as saying China’s navy should ‘make extended preparations for warfare.’

You can find the entire AFP piece here.

In the last decade we have seen China make double-digit increases in its annual defense budget while asserting to the international community that their intentions have been inherently peaceful and their efforts merely defensive.  In stark contrast, we now see China’s president urging military leadership to prepare for “warfare.”  Not since the Soviet Union has a nation aspiring to be a peer competitor of the United States publicly used such strong, targeted rhetoric.  Considering this and other statements from Chinese officials, we must be wary of the true intent of China’s military buildup and modernization.  As Admiral Willard, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command recently said publicly “this is not a world where the uninformed are going to survive for very long.”

If you would like to be a part of the discussion on these and other China issues, I invite you to join the bipartisan Congressional China Caucus. The purpose of the China Caucus is to examine and raise awareness of the emergence of China as a political, economic, and military actor on the regional and global stage. Only by gaining a fuller understanding of China's growing influence will we be able to begin the long-term planning that the future international strategic environment requires. For more information or to join the Congressional China Caucus, please contact Reed Eckhold in my office (Reed.Eckhold@mail.house.gov).

Sincerely,



J. Randy Forbes

Member of Congress

 

Posted by Randy | December 06, 2011
This week, the House will vote on legislation that I have cosponsored that would help bring certainty to job creators and restore accountability to the government regulatory process. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 10) requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on government regulations before they can be enforced on the American people and businesses.

What would the REINS Act mean for small businesses and Americans across the country?

- A consistent economic environment that makes it easier for businesses to invest and grow.
Even a small 5% reduction in the federal regulatory budget (about $2.8 billion) would result in about $75 billion in expanded private-sector GDP each year, with an increase in employment by 1.2 million jobs annually, according to a study by the Phoenix Center.

- Job growth
. Small businesses are especially hard-hit by costly regulations, incurring 36% in additional costs per employee relative to larger firms in order to comply with them, when averaged across all business sectors.

- More accountability in Washington.
In 2010, unelected bureaucrats in Washington imposed 95 new “major” regulatory rules on businesses, local governments and families, each of which carried an economic burden of over $100 million, according to the Small Business Association.

- Increased competitiveness.
Certainty for small businesses allows them to focus on what they do best - driving innovation and increasing U.S. competitiveness.

I’d like to hear your opinion - do you support the REINS Act?