Rep Allen West: Legislative Update

– FY2013 Appropriations — Last Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5326, the Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, by a vote of 247-163, I VOTED YES.  The bill would provide $51.131 billion in discretionary appropriations for agencies and programs funded through the Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013. Funding provided under the legislation would be $1.61 billion or 3 percent below the amount of funding provided for Fiscal Year 2012. The amount of funding provided is $731 million or 1.4 percent below the amount requested by the President for Fiscal Year 2013.  The Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations bill provides funding for the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, and Federal science agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and related agencies. Appropriations for Justice programs in the bill provides money for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Federal Prison System and the U.S. Marshals Service.

– Replacing the Sequester — Also on Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, by a vote of 218-199, I VOTED YES.  The bill would provide mandatory spending reductions in order to replace automatic cuts to discretionary spending (primarily from defense accounts) in 2013 under the Budget Control Act and to reduce the deficit. The savings generated from these reforms to mandatory programs would first be used to offset the approximately $78 billion cost of replacing the automatic across-the-board discretionary spending cuts that are scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013, under what is known as sequestration. The amount of $78 billion reflects the remainder of the Fiscal Year 2013 discretionary sequester after accounting for lowering the Fiscal Year 2013 discretionary cap from $1.047 to $1.028 as provided for in the House of Representatives-approved Budget Resolution. The additional savings achieved through reconciliation beyond the $78 billion (over $180 billion in the next ten years) would further reduce the deficit.  Savings contained in the legislation were produced by six House of Representatives committees under reconciliation instructions contained in the House Concurrent Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 112).  The Committees on (1) Agriculture, (2) Energy & Commerce, (3) Financial Services, (4) the Judiciary, (5) Oversight & Government Reform, and (6) Ways & Means each produced deficit reduction legislation pursuant to the reconciliation instructions in section 201 of the House of Representatives-approved budget resolution.  Legislation produced by these committees and contained in this package would produce savings of $18.3 billion in the first year, $116.3 billion over five years, and $261.4 billion over ten years.

This Week:

– National Defense — The House of Representatives is scheduled to consider H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. The bill would provide valuable funding for the Armed Forces, while proposing significant savings that do not compromise the needs of our nation’s war fighters by authorizing $554 billion for National Defense and $88 billion for Overseas Contingency Operation Funds.  Among other items, the bill would provide funds to modernize three guided missile cruisers scheduled to be retired before the end of their service life; would preserve tactical airlift critical to the ability of the United States to project power, such as C-130 Hercules and C-27J Spartan aircraft proposed for early retirement; and would ease strain on the heavily stressed military by slowing the pace of the Obama administration’s end-strength reductions.

– Protecting Women — Also this week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bill would provide for a five-year reauthorization of VAWA, which expired on September 30, 2011, and would set total program funding levels at $682.5 million per year.  The House of Representatives bill would streamline and consolidate some grants for maximum benefit, increase resources for sexual assault investigations, prosecutions, and victim services, protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, promote educational awareness to prevent violence and improve services for young victims, improve emergency and transitional housing services for victims, and enhance immigration laws to protect victims of violence.

SUPPORT THE ELECTION OF CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST TO FLORIDA’S 18th DISTRICT

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