Supported increased conservation of regional habitats. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2188 to provide assistance to support regional migratory bird conservation partnerships and implement plans for the protection and enhancement of migratory bird populations. Migratory birds are of great ecological and economic value to the Nation, contributing to biological diversity and advancing the well-being of human communities through pollination, seed dispersal, and other ecosystem services.
This bill passed the House unanimously.
Opposed relocation of National Guard Headquarters from Ft. Pickett. Congressman Forbes met with General Newman and members of the Virginia National Guard to discuss his opposition to a plan that would move the Headquarters from Fort Picket to Sandston, Virginia. The House Armed Services Committee expressed its concern about the move in this year’s annual defense policy bill.
Supported increased funding for missile defense programs in the 2010 federal budget. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to leaders of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to express concerns about the lack of proper explanations for budget cuts for the Missile Defense Agency. The decrease in funding for these protective systems comes as the threats from Iranian and North Korean long range ballistic missiles to the American homeland has intensified.
Supported research and development of submarine programs. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to leaders of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee requesting that research of Strategic Sea-Based Deterrent (SSBN) submarines be maintained in the 2010 federal budget. For more than three decades the Ohio-class SSBN has served as the cornerstone of the nation’s strategic triads. Development efforts in 2010 will help provide a vital bridge to maintain our nation’s unique submarine engineering and design industrial base.
Received testimony on military commissions for prosecuting law of war violations. Congressman Forbes, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, questioned Senior Military Lawyers on gathering information from suspected terrorist captured on the battlefield and the subsequent use in prosecution. The hearing was aimed to examine the Military Commissions Act of 2006, amid concerns that the due process clause of the Constitution would apply to the prosecution of suspected terrorists.
Supported funding for energy and water projects. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 3183, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which funds the Department of Energy, urban and rural water projects, Army Corps of Engineer projects, and Department of Defense nuclear weapons and storage. The $33.3 billion cost was less than a 1% increase from last year’s funding level.
The bill passed by a vote of 320-97.
Interviewed with Fox News to discuss adult stem cell research. Congressman Forbes discussed his bill H.R. 877, the Patients First Act, which prioritizes stem cell research toward those that show the most evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for human patients and are ethically obtained. Scientific advances show that research on human embryonic stem cells may become unnecessary and may pose a more costly route to patient treatment.
Opposed increasing spending for government agencies. Congressman Forbes voted against H.R. 3170, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act which provides $1.8 billion for 2010, 4 percent more than regular 2009 funding. The legislation reduces the District of Columbia’s school voucher program by funding vouchers only for those students already receiving vouchers. The bill also eliminates the current ban on using local D.C. funds for abortions and for domestic partnership benefits.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 219-208.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Congressman Forbes secured the following projects in the Energy and Water spending bill:
- $100,000 for Deep Creek Bridge in Chesapeake. This project will begin the process of replacing the existing 2-lane Deep Creek AIW Bridge with a 5-lane, dual bascule bridge, thus providing a new structurally sound bridge and reducing traffic congestion along the corridor. AIW Deep Creek Bridge (owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers) was built in 1934 and is functionally obsolete.
- $2.62 million for Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. This project will help protect the navigation route between the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and the VA-NC state line in the North Landing River, a distance of 27 miles. The ACC is of critical importance to transportation, especially to the U.S. Navy which transports over 55 million gallons of jet fuel yearly from the Craney Island to Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Failure to fund the ACC will result in the Navy being unable to meet the fuel demand of the Oceana Naval Station. The Navy has stated that trucking this much fuel would not be feasible on a long-term basis.
- $100,000 for Chowan River Basin Study. This project will investigate federal flood control projects in the Chowan River Basin. In many locations within the basin, six of the top 10 historical high water marks have occurred from 1998 forward, including the flood of record (Hurricane Floyd in 1999), October 2006 cold core upper level low (second highest), and Hurricane Isabel in 2003 (5th highest). Damages from these storm events have ranged from $10M to over $100M (February 2008 dollars). The reconnaissance study will evaluate the Federal interest in ways to protect the water resources of this highly productive basin with particular emphasis on restoring wetlands and forested buffers lost from erosion and flooding, reducing flood damages throughout the basin, and improving navigation and to determine the Federal interest in conducting a more detailed feasibility study.
- $600,000 for Appomattox River. This project will fund the maintenance dredge of the Appomattox River. The dredging of the Appomattox River will be of benefit to the region by: (1) restoring the Appomattox River to the free-flowing, fully navigable river that it was until the late 1970's; (2) reconnecting the City of Hopewell to the navigable portions of the Appomattox River; (3) serving as a catalyst for the commercial and residential revitalization; (4) enhancing local and regional tourism and recreational opportunities; and (5) improving the environmental condition of the Appomattox River.
Met with senior Coast Guard officials to investigate rules and regulations concerning the construction of a New Jordan Bridge. Congressman Forbes met with Rear Admiral Kevin Cook and other officials from the United States Coast Guard to review the permit application process for construction of a New Jordan Bridge. Since the decommission and closure of the Jordan Bridge on November 8, 2008 due to structural deficiencies, the southern branch of the Elizabeth River has been without a vital connection for mobility, regional economic development and commerce, and life-saving emergency evacuation and response.
Remembered the victims of a Metrorail accident and their families. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 612 to express his profound sympathies for the victims of the tragic Washington, D.C. Metrorail accident on Monday, June 22, 2009, and their families, friends, and associates.
Opposed expansions of the federal government and excessive government spending. Congressman Forbes opposed H.R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act. Among other things, this bill would establish a horse census every two years, provide "enhanced contraception" and birth control for horses, and mandate that government bureaucrats perform home inspections before Americans can adopt these animals. While the national debt is skyrocketing and unemployment is nearing double digits, this bill creates a $700 million wild horse and burro program. Congressman Forbes supported a substitute amendment which would have solely made it illegal to sell wild horses and burros for processing into commercial products and would have cost $2.5 million over five years. The bill passed the House by a vote of 239-185.