Congressman Randy Forbes | Washington Update
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Week of February 14 - February 17, 2012 Twitter Facebook YouTube Digg RSS

Listening to the Citizens of Virginia's Fourth Congressional District

 

Congressman Forbes conducted a live tele-town hall event from his office Thursday evening with citizens from across Virginia's Fourth Congressional District.  Over 700 people joined the free phone call conversation and numerous constituents asked questions on a range of topics, from energy independence, to welfare reform and protecting sensitive U.S. technology from China.  Congressman Forbes also launched a weeklong listening tour in the Chesterfield area from February 21-24 to hear from citizens, business leaders, and seniors and have a fact-based discussion on the problems confronting our nation.  More details on the listening tour are available here.


Cutting Red Tape to Tap American Energy Resources

 

Congressman Forbes supported House passage of the PIONEERS Act, H.R. 3408, to move forward with new offshore energy exploration, new energy lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge following an environmental impact study, and new development of shale oil in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.  This bill also transfers authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and directs the Commission to make a decision on the pipeline within 30 days.  As the American people are again facing the prospect of $4 dollar per gallon gasoline, Congressman Forbes continues to support measures that will create American jobs and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. 
This bill passed the House by a vote of 237-187.


Calling on Navy Leader to Fight for Ships Rather than Focusing on a Green Energy

 

Congressman Forbes questioned Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in regard to the Navy’s mismatched priorities during an era of extreme budgetary constraints.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that in a time of fiscal uncertainty and shifting priorities to the Asia-Pacific, the Navy appears to be prioritizing alternative energy investment rather than concentrating on building and sustaining its fleet. Video of Congressman Forbes' exchange with Secretary Mabus is available here.

Taxes

Reduced burdens on small businesses. Congressman Forbes supported the IRS Overreach Prevention Act, H.R.3877, to prevent the IRS from requiring new calculations by businesses on their tax returns based on the 1099-K reports.  The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, requires the IRS to collect a new document known as a 1099-K from third party payment entities, like credit card companies.  The IRS could use the 1099-K to add additional burdens on small business by requiring them to reconcile this report with the merchants own internal numbers to calculate gross receipts.

Opposed increased spending and short-term solutions.  Congressman Forbes voted against the conference report to the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, H.R.3630.  Although the bill extended the payroll tax reduction, federal unemployment benefits, and the Medicare doc fix through the end of 2012, Congressman Forbes was concerned that the agreement that added $93.2 billion to the deficit and passed additional short-term fixes instead of passing meaningful, long-term solutions to problems faced by physicians across America.
The conference report passed by a vote of 293-132.

Housing

Joined the Congressional Real Estate Caucus.  Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Real Estate Caucus, which has a mission to find ways to reinvigorate the crucial role real estate has in our nation's economy.  The Congressional Real Estate Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members dedicated to providing an educational forum for Members of Congress to discuss federal policy and its impact on real estate, both commercial and residential.  The caucus holds nonpartisan meetings to provide real estate expertise from constituents in the real estate industry and their association representatives.

Called on the President to hold Chinese government accountable for toxic drywall.  Despite thousands of reported cases of damages from the use of Chinese drywall to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Chinese government has never once been held accountable for exporting toxic products to American citizens.  Congressman Forbes joined seven other Members of Congress in calling for the Administration to finally take the opportunity with Vice President Xi's visit to work on a solution for Virginians and those across America whose health and finances have been so adversely affected by contaminated drywall.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Armed Services

Spoke at a major ‘Defending Defense’ event.  Congressman Forbes spoke at an event “Choosing Decline: The Meaning of Obama’s Defense Guidance and Budget” hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.  In his remarks, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the Administration’s strategic guidance document was a budget-driven strategy, saying it was “not a strategy for a superpower. It’s a menu for mediocrity.”  Congressman Forbes urged members of the audience to make the defense cuts a national issue, not just one for Congress and Washington.  Finally, the Congressman expressed his deep concerns for the devastating effects of sequestration.  Video is available here.

Questioned the Secretary of Defense on the DoD's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request. Congressman Forbes questioned Secretary Panetta on the budget-driven approach that was taken in determining the Department of Defense's priorities for the coming decade.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes asked Secretary Panetta how the Department's Strategic Guidance could in fact be a proper strategy review when he was forced to build a strategy around the almost $500 billion in defense cuts first proposed by the President in April 2011. Video is available here.

Explored the evolving role of the U.S. Army. 
Congressman Forbes questioned General Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff, and Secretary John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, as to how the Army views its role in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly as it pertains to providing theater missile defense for our forward deployed warfighters. A video is available here.

Fought for improvements to veterans’ healthcare.
  Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 3337, the Open Burn Pit Registry Act.  Numerous veterans have suffered serious health problems after exposure to open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This legislation will establish a registry, similar to the Agent Orange Registry and the Gulf War Syndrome Registry.  This bill creates a system to help the Veterans’ Administration better track the complex health issues that are potentially linked with burn pits.  This is the first step toward providing better care for veterans who have been affected by open burn pits.

Judiciary

Supported prohibitions on abortion.  Congressman Forbes supported the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, H.R.3541, to prohibit sex-selection and race-selection abortions. Although the United States regularly condemns other countries for practicing sex-selection abortions, we do not have a law in place in our own country that prohibits this behavior.  In fact, the House of Representatives passed a resolution this summer to condemn China for these practices, while failing to protect against the practice here at home.
This bill was favorably passed out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-13 and now awaits action in the full House.

Financial Services

Clarified rental-purchase agreements. Congressman Forbes supported the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act, H.R.1588, to prescribe consumer protection guidelines for rental-purchase transactions and define the transaction as a lease with the option to purchase.  Currently, federal law addresses leases with terms of at least 4 months or a credit sale, but does not define a lease with the option to purchase.

Health Care

Supported access to affordable care. Congressman Forbes supported the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, H.R.2267, to allow physician assistants (PA), nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries who had previously been deprived of their services. 

Opposed Medicare and Medicaid fraud
. Congressman Forbes supported the Medicare and Medicaid FAST Act, H.R.3399, to enact stronger penalties for Medicare fraud and reduce the amount of money Medicare and Medicaid pay out in improper claims. 

Supported quality home health care
. Congressman Forbes supported the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, H.R.1041, to repeal the flawed Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program.  Congress had acted to delay implementation of this program due to critical flaws in the bidding process, which produced fewer competitors, fewer homecare services, and substantial decrease in the quality of care for seniors and those with disabilities; however, no significant improvements have been made to the program or the bidding process.

Family Values

Shed light on a pattern of hostility toward religious freedom. Congressman Forbes released a document highlighting the recent mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and examining it in the broader context of hostility towards religious freedom. The HHS mandate will force all health plans to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, and only contains a narrow exemption for select religious employers. This will, in effect, force numerous non-exempted employers to provide services to which they have religious and moral objections. In response to a firestorm of opposition, President Obama recently announced a slight modification to the mandate that has failed to satisfy numerous religious leaders. Employees at religious organizations will receive still these services by virtue of the insurance plans offered by their employers, despite their employers’ religious and moral objections. A copy of the document is available here.

About Washington Update

Washington Update serves as a resource to the constituents of the Fourth Congressional District of Virginia on the work of Congressman Forbes. It is published weekly while Congress is in session. Hyperlinks to bill information are provided if the information disseminated by the House of Representatives is available at the time of distribution.

As always, Congressman Forbes welcomes your comments. To share your thoughts on legislation, votes or issues, please visit
http://randyforbes.house.gov to send an e-mail or call any of Congressman Forbes' three district offices.

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