Congressman Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up 11/12/11

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it has been an intense week on Capitol Hill, even in the midst of our Hannukah and Christmas season.

However, the speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Osawatomie, Kansas should cause many Americans grave concern. Charles Krauthammer’s Friday Wall Street Journal does a fantastic job of dissecting the speech, read it here.

The fact that we have an American President who believes “supply-side economics” has failed, is rather disturbing. It is the free market and individual freedoms which have made America the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known in only 235 years.  I wonder if President Obama ever read these words from Thomas Jefferson:

“A wise and frugal Government… which shall leave [men] otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

The answer is not to blame those who seek to create jobs and opportunities in America, the answer involves accepting responsibility for failed big government schemes and policies, Mr. President.

President Ronald Reagan stated,“Man is not free unless government is limited.” As a comparative analysis, President Reagan’s policies were resulting in 7-8% GDP growth. This year we have seen 0.4%, 1.0%, and 2.0% GDP growth in the three quarters of 2011 under President Obama’s economic policies.

In his book, Private Rights and Public Illusions, Tibor Machan expresses, “The desire to ‘help’ others by directing their lives may be strong, but to yield to this desire is to undermine the very human dignity of the person who is being coerced. In a society that accords with the principles based upon political theory of natural human rights to life, liberty, and property (John Locke)… paternalism is not authorized.”

It is rather simple. Government policies that treat people as dependents of the State, undermine the independence and dignity of those they intend to help. President Obama’s vision of “economic fairness” is a misguided philosophy that is anathema to the founding principles of our beloved Constitutional Republic, America.  President Abraham Lincoln succinctly said, “You cannot make a poor man rich by making a rich man poor.”  The desire to promote the growth of a bureaucratic nanny-state, which becomes more intrusive and powerful, is not consistent with the values of good governance. As the scope and influence of a government expands, so does its ability to bestow “favors” on particular groups. Therefore, government can erect barriers to trade, pass specific tax breaks, and adopt regulations with a greater power to reward certain groups.

The greater the power of government to grant favors to established individuals, businesses, labor organizations, and other special interests, the more time, effort, and resources these interests devote to obtaining and maintaining special treatment.  This is why limited government, not President Obama’s vision of government, is the solution for moving our Country forward. When government’s responsibilities are limited, the potential for these established interests to receive special treatment is also limited.

Hence, the issue in America is not capitalism- it is crony capitalism- where the Federal Government is using hard- earned taxpayer dollars to pick the winners and losers in the free market. As well, we are consistently witnessing an Obama Administration which believes it is the new venture capitalist, using American taxpayer dollars to promote its ideological agenda… albeit a proven failure.

In conclusion, those who lauded President Obama’s speech in Kansas last week likely also subscribe to the liberal progressive vision that runs counter to American values and principles. I believe all Americans have the ladder of equal opportunity to climb to levels of achievement and success. Yes, there must be a safety net for when our fellow Americans slip off that ladder, however, that safety net must never become a comfortable hammock.

Mr. President, life isn’t fair, which is why the Green Bay Packers are 12-0 and the Indianapolis Colts are 0-12, but do not expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to take wins from Green Bay and give them to the Colts. However, next year Indianapolis will get the first round draft pick and that is the difference in the American principle of equal opportunity and yours, Mr. President, of equal achievement and “fairness.”

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

REINS — This past Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011, by a vote of 241-184, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported the bill. The bill would restore congressional accountability for the regulatory process by requiring Congress to take an up-or-down, stand-alone vote, and for the President to sign off on all new major rules—those with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more—before they can be enforced on the American people, job-creating small businesses, or state and local governments. Last year, 100 major rules were finalized by the Executive Branch. The bill would require the approval resolution to move through Congress within 70 legislative days to ensure there is certainty in the process and regulations do not linger without approval. The REINS Act fosters better cooperation upfront between federal agencies and Congress, resulting in regulations that will more accurately reflect the impact on American businesses and families.

– Farm Dust — This past Thursday, the House approved H.R. 1633, The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011, by a vote of 268-150, I VOTED YES. Thirty-three Democrats supported the bill. The bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing any new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for coarse particulate matter for at least one year from the date of enactment of the legislation. The bill would also limit federal regulation of nuisance dust by EPA to areas in which it is not regulated under State, tribal, or local law, where the nuisance dust causes substantial adverse effects, and the benefits of federal regulation outweigh the costs. Nuisance dust is defined to mean particulate matter that is generated primarily from natural sources, unpaved roads, agricultural activities, earth moving, or other activities typically conducted in rural areas, and meets other specific criteria.

Upcoming Week:
– Defense Authorization — The House is expected to consider the Conference Report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The comprehensive bill would authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy, as well as a number of policy provisions relating to national security. The House approved its version of the bill, H.R. 1540, on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 322-96, I VOTED YES. The Senate approved its version, S. 1867, on December 1, 2011 by a vote of 93-7. In addition, the Leadership has asked me to serve on the Conference Committee. Please see the announcement here.

– Fiscal Year 2012 Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations
— The House is expected to consider legislation to provide full Fiscal Year 2012 funding for the nine remaining appropriations bills. The nine bills include funding for Defense, Energy & Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior & Environment, Labor/HHS/Education, Legislative Branch, Military/Veterans, and State/Foreign Operations. Under the Budget Control Act (BCA), the bill containing the nine bills must uphold the non-emergency base discretionary level of $1.043 trillion. The legislation would cut non-emergency discretionary spending by $98 billion compared to the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 request, and some $47 billion below the Fiscal Year 2010 level.

– Expiring Extensions — The House may consider legislation to extend certain provisions set to expire at the end of 2011. The bill would provide a fully-offset extension of the current payroll tax rates, a delay in the implementation of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (the so-called “Doc Fix”), and federally funded Unemployment Insurance benefits. The legislation would provide assistance to Americans suffering in the Obama economy, while ensuring that these policies will not increase the federal deficit or require more borrowing from the Social Security trust fund by freezing pay for members of Congress and federal workers, reforming Unemployment Insurance, reducing subsidies, and getting rid of waste, fraud and abuse in some Washington programs. Lastly, the legislation would include a provision taking action on the bipartisan Keystone XL energy project.

DC/District Highlights:

Monday, 5 December, Spoke with and took a picture with students from Tequesta Trace Middle School from Weston, FL, attended the White House Congressional Christmas Party.
– Tuesday, 6 December, visited by approximately 40 members of “Occupy Palm Beach.” The encounter was interesting when I met with five selected members of the group and discussed how I believed they needed to become more aware of issues and policy. Met with and was interviewed by Executive Director of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell.
– Wednesday, 7 December, 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Started the day with a call in the 8 o’clock hour to South Florida Pearl Harbor survivor Abe Stein and we had a fantastic 30-minute chat. The attack on Pearl Harbor began at 8:00 am in Hawaii seventy years ago. Please see my Press Release recognizing the Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines who served in World War II here. Participated in the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Authorization Conferee meeting… a true honor to be one of three House freshmen invited to be a part of the Armed Services joint committee.
– Thursday, 8 December, Delivered my second House special order floor speech on “The Congressional Year in Review.” You can watch the Special Order here.  Had our Washington office staff Christmas/Hannukah party- see picture here.
Friday, 9 December, flew back to the District, worked in the office.
– Saturday, 10 December, Attended the Wreaths Across America event at the South Florida Veterans Administration National Cemetery- see pictures here.  Watched Army-Navy game, a hard fought game- congrats to Navy! Attended the Ft. Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
– Sunday, 11 December, Rode my motorcycle in the 24th Annual Christmas Toys in the Sun Run, along with some 30,000 riders, all for ensuring we provide a Merry Christmas to children here in South Florida.

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Congressman Allen West “On The Record with Greta” from 11/7/11 – Video

Photo Courtesy of Gilleigh McLain

This is a rush transcript from “On the Record,” December 7, 2011.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Congressman Allen West slaps back at President Obama! He says life ain’t fair. Now, West blasted the president, saying he’s making matters worse for our country already in economic crisis.

And that’s not all. Congressman West is launching an attack on the president on Facebook. He writes, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Obviously, President Barack Hussein Obama believes in a guarantee of happiness and that he, along with his liberal disciples, are the arbiters of fairness. America is about equal opportunity, not the liberal progressive mantra of equal achievement. Nice try, Mr. President, but teleprompters and poll-tested messages do not equal visionary leadership. Sorry. I know that ain’t fair.”

OK, so what provoked Congressman West to write those harsh words? He joins us. Good evening, Congressman. And what a blistering FaceBook posting. What’s up with that?

REP. ALLEN WEST, R-FLA.: Well, first of all, Merry Christmas to you, Greta. And it’s not about being blistering. You know, I grew up in the United States military, and you have to be able to call it as you see it. And I’m very concerned about this very divisive rhetoric that the president is using when he continues to talk about equality and fairness and this thing that I think that is really contrary to the principles that I mentioned as far as life, liberty and pursuit of happiness because the government cannot guarantee happiness.

And if we believe that there are people in Washington, D.C., that are going to be the arbiters and be the ones who are trying to create some type of fairness — we remember FDR talking about a chicken in every pot, or recall all the rhetoric of economic and social justice — then we get away from having the right type of monetary policy, fiscal, policy, tax and regulatory policy that can turn this dismal economic situation around in our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it that we all don’t have a sort of the same definition of fairness, where is it, if I can take from what you say, that fairness should be, you know, the same opportunity — an opportunity to achieve, whereas the president might think that fairness is that, you know, everyone have an education so that everyone can then go on to achieve — is it that it’s simply a difference in definition of fairness, or do you think the president is almost deliberately sinking the ship?

WEST: Well, I think when you listen to the president’s speech where he’s talking about supply-side economics has failed, you know, really, it is his economic policies that have failed. The fact that the president has added $4.4 trillion of new debt, which is more than from George Washington to Bill Clinton.

So I think the thing we have to understand, going back and remembering the great quote from Abraham Lincoln that talked about the two definitions of liberty, where some believe that liberty means a person being able to do with the fruits of their own labor, but then other people believe that liberty means that you can come down to do as you wish with another person’s fruits of their labor.

And in that same word, there is really two different definitions, which is liberty and tyranny, and Lincoln talked about that in 1864.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever had a conversation with the president and just sort of sat down and talked to him and asked him about his ideology and compared yours to his?

WEST: Well, I’d be happy to sit down with the president and talk about the two different ideological bases which we look at. I believe in a constitutional republic. I don’t believe in a bureaucratic nanny state. I don’t believe in manipulating the American people for political gain. I believe we have to be honest with them and tell them the truth. And I don’t think that the president sees it that way.

I think that the president believes that this is about gaining votes. That’s not what I see if we’re going to really get the fiscal situation for America turned around so that we can have better days for our children and grandchildren.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you able or are you — do you — can you say whether you think the president is helping the country, hurting the country, or maintaining the status quo, in your opinion?

WEST: Well, let’s look at the numbers. Since January of 2009, we’ve seen a 41 percent increase in people that are on food stamps. We’ve seen a 16 percent increase in people on poverty. We see 48.5 percent of America’s now on government aid. We talked about the three years of trillion-dollar- plus deficits and the fact that he’s added $4.4 trillion of new debt.

So I think that he is doing things that are not enabling this country to turn the situation around, but instead, he wants to continue to blame House Republicans. We’ve got about 25 pieces of legislation sitting over in the Senate right now that will help to turn around the job situation in America. As a matter of fact, tonight we just passed another piece of legislation called the REINS Act, which will preclude us up here in Washington, D.C., from having agencies institute regulations that have a major economic impact on our private sector.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who do you at the moment — and I realize a lot can happen, a lot can change, but who do you at the moment of the potential candidates for your party’s nomination do you think is the best candidate, most able to beat the president?

WEST: Well, I’m going to leave that up to the pundits and the pollsters. The most important thing for me right now…

VAN SUSTEREN: But your voice is important. But — I mean, you’re a very influential member…

WEST: Oh, I don’t think I’m that important.

COMPLETE THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO FROM LAST NIGHTS BROADCAST HERE: ON THE RECORD

American Spectator Article by Rep Allen West “Economic Freedom for Black Americans”

by Congressman Allen West in the November Issue American Spectator

The word “freedom” for many black Americans is inextricably linked with the word “slavery.” While it has been 148 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and 47 years since the landmark Civil Rights Act, for many, the words of Martin Luther King in his famous speech still ring true: “The Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” Many black Americans still find themselves spiritually and economically enslaved on the figurative 21st-century plantation.

Why is that still so? After all, for the last 47 years, our leaders have passed bill after bill ostensibly to free black Americans from the manacles of poverty and provide ever-stronger safety nets for those disadvantaged.

But two very formidable forces have conspired over these last 47 years — almost the span of my entire life–to shackle the economic freedoms and aspirations of the black community: liberal progressive policies, generally supported by Democrats, and the socialist ideology espoused by prominent blacks such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

It is always curious to me that black Americans typically vote Democrat, when it was a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and a Republican from Ohio, Representative James Mitchell Ashley, who brought forth the bill to support an amendment to end slavery throughout the United States.

Nearly 100 years later, when the initial Civil Rights Bill came before the full Senate in 1964, it was a group of 18 Southern Democrats who argued most fervently against its passage.

While the Civil Rights Act passed, finally ending the reprehensible practices of segregation, the liberal progressive policies passed during these last nearly five decades have perhaps done more damage to black Americans’ prospects than the racial policies of the past. Unemployment in the black community stands at 16.7 percent, food stamp enrollment is up, and nearly three-quarters of all black children do not live with their biological fathers.

Welfare policies devised by the left to aid single mothers have instead worked perversely to incentivize more young women to have children out of wedlock.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THIS ARTICLE: AMERICAN SPECTATOR