Congressman Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up and Legislative Lowdown 5/21/12

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our Constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans.  It is time again for my weekly update report to you all. We are coming off of a very intense two weeks in session.  The major accomplishment last week was the completion of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

In this week’s update, I want to focus on our national security, because I believe so few are discussing this critical matter. I must once again echo the premise that our military, their families, and our veterans cannot be the bill payers for the fiscal irresponsibility of Washington D.C.

However, there are those who seem confused in their understanding of The Constitution.  The Constitution reads that we must “provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare.” However, some people believe we should be “providing the general welfare.”   All you have to do is look at our budget to see the latter has lead the United States to the point of near fiscal catastrophe.

Our budget allocates nearly 19.6 percent on defense.  The mandatory spending slice of the pie encompasses 62 percent (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and net interest on our debt). Yet, our military is being forced to absorb 50 to 55 percent of the cuts in spending.

We made a conscious decision to cut defense spending by $487 billion over 10 years.  With the looming disaster of  “sequestration,” we are looking at another $500 to $600 billion in cuts as well. Last week, I outlined the ramifications of these cuts and for reference, included a chart displaying the growth of federal government programs over the past ten years.  You can see it here.

I was appalled when colleagues from the other side of the aisle offered an amendment to cut funding even more for our men and women currently in combat in Afghanistan. I spoke on the House Floor about this Amendment and you can see it here.

The United States is at war with a radical Islamist totalitarian ideology which neither respects, nor regards, any boundary, and has extended its battlefield to every corner of the world. If we fail to recognize this enemy of non-state, non-uniformed belligerents with shadow state sponsorship, we shall fail to provide for the common defense of our nation.

We have to move our military away from a Cold War posture of forward deployed to power projection. We must carefully evaluate the threats to our interests and allies across the geographic Areas of Responsibility (AORs).  After that evaluation, we then develop the requirements, capacity, and capability to meet the emerging threats we have assessed over the next 10 to 15 years.

The Department of Defense can be trimmed. After spending 22 years in the Army, I saw firsthand  that headquarters overhead, lengthy procurement timelines, and elongated research and development processes could often be scaled back while still accomplishing their goals. However, to slice our military’s resources in such a way that the effectiveness violates the seminal maxim of President Ronald Reagan, “peace through strength” is irresponsible and dangerous.

The United States should begin to collapse bases and installations overseas, and instead move towards a more expeditionary “lily pad” strike-oriented force.  This would allow us to meet any contingency combat operation, and take the focus away from occupation-style operations and nation-building.  That is what I term strategic security policy level decision-making, hardly what we are witnessing at this moment. What we see at this time is more politically-driven election cycle strategy, which will just lead to future problems.

Each time we take our military into the valley of drawdown after a perceived end of a combat operation, we end up ramping the military back up because we have a horrible track record of predicting the next conflict. As a matter of fact, it was President John F. Kennedy who stated, “The absence of war is not peace.”  The absence of war requires vigilance and resolve in order to project the might to engage, deter, and strike our enemies, and keep them at bay.

Therefore, as I close this missive, I must ask every single House of Representatives colleague who voted against the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to look at our men and women in uniform, their families, and veterans, and provide them an explanation.

Our mission here on Capitol Hill, as legislators for this Constitutional Republic, is not to create and expand a welfare entitlement nanny-state. Our mission is to provide for the common defense for the security of these United States of America.

This means identify the enemy and understand they are not like us. This is war, not a common police action.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

 Protecting Women — Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 4970, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2012, by a vote of 222-205, I VOTED YES.  The bill would reauthorize funding for VAWA grant programs for five years, and would authorize $660 million in funding per year to help prevent domestic violence and protect victims of abuse.  In addition, the bill would:  streamline and consolidate some grants for maximum benefit; would increase resources for sexual assault investigations, prosecutions, and victim services; would increase penalties for sexual assault, sexual abuse, and stalking; would promote educational awareness to prevent violence and improve services for young victims; would improve emergency and transitional housing services for victims; and would enhance immigration laws to protect victims of violence.

– National Defense — On Friday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013, by a vote of 299-120, I VOTED YES.  The bill would authorize appropriations for the Department of Defense (DoD) and for the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DoE) for Fiscal Year 2013.  This authorization is intended to enhance national security through the procurement of materiel, the modernization of the Armed Forces, and continued funding for overseas contingency operations (OCO).  H.R. 4310 would authorize a total discretionary budget authority of $637 billion for Fiscal Year 2013 ($3.6 billion above the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request) for programs within the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee.  Of this amount, $546.8 billion is for “base” DoD programs (representing a $0.2 billion decrease below the levels provided for in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 [P.L. 112–81]), including $18.1 billion for Department of Energy national security programs and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, and $88.5 billion for OCO requirements.  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.

2 responses to “Congressman Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up and Legislative Lowdown 5/21/12

  1. Did not read the whole story, but I’ve heard the story before of our military being attached by the white house and it’s main ingredient. Family full of past military persons. And I dare say, I loved the military from which we came, but for the one in which we go to, well, I urge NO person to join today. Let us have NO military and see how fast the feds want us and how much they are willing to give us. Think about that. And as for the main ingredient in the white house, GET HIM OUT!!!!!
    I like and understand your views and goals. Keep helping us please.