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.

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Rep Allen West – Weekly Wrap Up, District Highlights, Legislative Low Down 4/2/12

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is Sunday, April 1st.  I’d like to give a shout out to Kansas University and the University of Kentucky for being the last two standing teams as we head towards the NCAA College basketball championship. March Madness truly reminds me of what is great about America. Sixty-five teams enter with equal opportunity to be the champion. It is not about anyone making the victory decision based upon equality of achievement.  Remember when Norfolk State upset Missouri or Lehigh defeated Duke? In America, just the same as in the tournament, we all have the same opportunity to win, and that is the exceptionalism of America.


However, today represents a different type of first place for America, because as of April 1st, we now have the highest corporate/business tax rate in the world. Yes, 39.2 percent is the world’s highest business tax rate since Japan lowered its rate. Unfortunately, this is not where it ends.  We must also consider the state corporate rates, now averaging anywhere between 4-7 percent depending on the state, all of which demonstrates the United States creating an anti-business environment in America.  The good news is the House-passed GOP budget lowers those rates to 25 percent, making America competitive again. In addition to lowering the corporate and business tax rates, I believe the trillions of dollars of capital sitting on the sidelines and outside America should be allowed a onetime repatriation in order to spur on America pro-growth economic ventures, production, and manufacturing.

President Barack Obama’s policies would lead to a completely different America. The President’s policies keep taxes high, tax the capital offshore, raise capital gains (15 percent to 35 percent), raise dividends (15 percent  to 44.1 percent), and raise death (estate) taxes. The president has set policies that will raise personal income tax rates on the upper bracket, including small business owners who operate as sub-chapter S-Corporations and LLCs who utilize personal income tax rates.

The president wishes to do all this to taxation while increasing the growth of the Federal Government by 53 percent and growing our debt from the current $15.6 trillion to $26 trillion over the next ten years.  The President’s vision put forth in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget is unsustainable.  I’m obviously not the only one who believes this, as this past week the President’s budget was rejected by the House of Representatives by a vote of 0-414. This comes a year after his Fiscal Year 2012 budget was rejected by the United States Senate by a vote of 0-97.

As always, the president falls back on his greatest asset, the ability to read a speech, which is what he did last week in the Rose Garden. Again, President Obama’s response to any crisis or issue is to blame someone else and not find a solution — and giving hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to more “green energy” endeavors is not a solution, a la Solyndra.  It seems the president believes the American people are giving taxpayer dollars to the oil and gas industry as subsidies. This is quite far from the truth.

The oil and gas industry receives several cost recovery mechanisms which are known in policy circles as “tax expenditures,”  not direct government spending. These expenditures include: intangible drilling costs (research and development); foreign tax credit; domestic manufacturer’s deduction; percentage depletion; LIFO accounting (Last In First Out – relating to inventory management); geological and geophysical costs; and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and marginal well credits. Only the last two are unique to the oil and gas industry.

The oil and gas industry supports 9.2 million American jobs and makes up 7.5 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. The industry pays $86 million daily in rents, royalties, bonuses, and income tax payments to the federal government. President Obama wants to increase their taxes?  Insidious, especially considering that the same day the president was demonizing our oil and gas industry, the Chinese government-owned Petroleum Company surpassed ExxonMobil in production.

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week on what is the seminal decision which will decide the path for this Republic. If the Supreme Court rules it is constitutional and in keeping with the Commerce Clause that the Federal Government can determine and mandate commerce in which the individual American citizen must participate or else face punitive charges, then our Republic and its fundamental premise of unalienable rights emanating from the Creator of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a misnomer in its title. It does not protect the patient; it exposes him or her to 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies, to include a 15-member panel of unelected bureaucrats that will make the price control decisions on Medicare. It is not affordable because the Congressional Budget Office has now clarified the actual cost is $1.76 trillion and not the $940 billion lie told to the American people.

No doubt about it, the policies of President Obama, if they are allowed to continue, will amount to a diminished stature for the United States in the world.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

FCC Reform — Last Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012, by a vote of 247-174, I VOTED YES.   According to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the bill would improve the way the FCC operates by increasing transparency, predictability, and consistency as part of House Republicans’ ongoing effort to ensure the commission’s work encourages job creation, investment, and innovation.

Fiscal Year 2013 Budget — On Thursday, the House approved H.Con.Res. 112, a concurrent resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, by a vote of 228-191, I VOTED YES.  The House Republican budget projects spending, revenues, and deficits over a ten-year budget window. The budget would provide for $3.53 trillion in spending outlays in Fiscal Year 2013 and assume revenues of $2.734 trillion, resulting in a deficit of $797 billion.  The resolution would provide $1.028 trillion in discretionary budget authority in Fiscal Year 2013, the same amount as called for in the last House-approved budget (H.Con.Res. 34).  The discretionary budget authority level for Fiscal Year 2013 is $19 billion below the spending ceiling established by the BCA.  Fiscal Year 2013 spending under H.Con.Res. 112 would be $187 billion lower than under the president’s budget and $55 billion below CBO’s current law baseline.  Over ten years, spending under H.Con.Res. 112 would total $40.13 trillion. Over ten years, H.Con.Res. 112 would reduce spending by $5.3 trillion compared to the president’s budget and by $4.15 trillion compared to CBO’s current law baseline.  Through a number of policy provisions the House Republican budget would also reform our broken tax code to make it simple, fair, and competitive, put the federal budget on path to balance, prevent deep and indiscriminate cuts to defense, and protect and strengthen Medicare for current retirees and future generations.  Since the president and Democrats in the Senate have refused to take responsibility for avoiding the debt-fueled crisis our nation faces, House Republicans are advancing a plan of action that will help lift our crushing burden of debt and spur job creation and economic opportunity while strengthening health and retirement security.  The budget also includes reconciliation instructions for six committees to replace the first year of the automatic sequester triggered under the Budget Control Act (BCA). For additional information and supplementary materials on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution, including a detailed report on the budget, please see the House Budget Committee website.

Highway Funding — Also on Thursday, the House approved H.R. 4281, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, by a vote of 266-158, I VOTED YES.  The bill would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for 90 days, through June 30, 2012 (three-fourths of Fiscal Year 2012). Under current law, surface transportation spending authority is set to expire on March 31, 2012. The current highway program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of short-term extensions. The most recent extension (H.R. 2887) was approved in the House by voice vote in September 2011 and is set to expire on March 31, 2012. The Senate passed Highway Funding Bill is only for a two year period which will not provide the certainty necessary for our construction industry. The House is trying to do the responsible approach by providing businesses a five-year extension of this important funding bill.

Highlights of the Week:

Monday, March 26 – Attended and spoke at the 30th anniversary of the Groundbreaking of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Video of my speech here. Pictures here.

Tuesday, March 27 – Met with the President of Florida Atlantic University, Dr. M.J. Saunders regarding the FAU federal initiatives and projects, attended a HASC Full Committee briefing regarding mechanisms of sequestration and its effect on defense operations, spoke at the Americans for Prosperity “Hands off my Healthcare” Rally, attended a HASC Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Hearing regarding understanding future irregular warfare challenges, met with Florida Beer Wholesalers Association members to discuss tax issues and state-based regulation of alcohol.

Wednesday, March 28 – Met with Admiral James Loy, USCG (Retired) and several others, with the US Global Leadership Coalition’s National Advisory Council to discuss the International Affairs budget; met with Dr. Kirk Schulz, President of Kansas State University and Dr. Sue Peterson, Director of Government Relations for Kansas State University; Attended a HASC Full Committee Hearing on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula; met with Ivy Greaner from Palm Beach, on behalf of the International Council of Shopping Centers to discuss the Marketplace Fairness Act; attended a Small Business Full Committee Hearing regarding how partnerships can promote job growth; met with Ambassador Westmacott, British Ambassador; met with Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE, and the St. Lucie County Board of Commissioners to discuss Fort Pierce Inlet dredging, water resources, and transportation issues.

Thursday, March 29 – Spoke at the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition and Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus Breakfast, received the United States Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award for my support of pro-business issues during my first session of Congress, pictures here, press release here. Met with students from Hobe Sound Christian Academy, met with the Executive Director of AMVETS, Stewart Hickey, to discuss the AMVETS Affirmative Action Initiative.

Friday, March 30th –  Joined with Florida Governor Rick Scott in observance of March 31, 2012 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, which also coincides with Friday’s 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War: More here.

Saturday, March 31st – attended the 7th Annual Police Memorial Ride in Palm Beach Gardens.  What a wonderful time! pictures here.

Sunday, April 1st – Church and family.

Rep Allen West – E-Newsletter, Legislative Lowdown and Weekly Wrap Up

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans,  I have spent the last day recovering from my Saturday half-marathon- the last one of the season.  I truly enjoy being out with fellow South Floridians who know their health is a personal matter and also run to support causes for those not as fortunate as this is the essence of being an American!

I suppose that is why I reject the assertion of government dictating edicts of “shared sacrifice” and “fair share” as they are not in a position to be the arbiters of fairness. Americans believe in equality of opportunity and shun the premise of a bureaucratic nanny-state promoting a policy of equality of achievement.

That is why I was absolutely appalled at the horrific Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal from President Barack Obama released last week. His budget vision does nothing to promote and enhance the American dream of opportunity. What his budget does is endanger the promise that all of us want for our children and grandchildren — fiscal security.

The President’s budget brings about $47 trillion of new Federal Government spending over the next 10 years. It will increase our federal debt to $25.9 trillion by the end of Fiscal Year 2022. It means that we shall have added $10.6 trillion in new debt, resulting in debt payments alone of $5.7 trillion in Fiscal Year 2013-2022.

In the immediate term,  President Obama is asking for $3.8 trillion in government spending for Fiscal Year 2013, $1.9 trillion in higher taxes, and $1.1 trillion in debt held by the American citizen.  This totals $48,000 for each and every one of us in America.  By year’s end, America will be in debt to the tune of $16.3 trillion, equating to a debt to GDP ratio of 106.2%.

Now, I know there are people who are reading this update who will always defend the President’s policies, but I challenge any of you to defend this clear and present danger to the future of the American Republic.  This is not an “economy that is built to last” this is an “economic vision that is built to destroy” any chance for our children to have the highest quality American standard of living.

The politics of demagoguery dividing America will only hasten our eventual demise. The Keynesian economic philosophy of tax and spend of which President Obama and other liberal progressives subscribe will not lift us to  new economic heights. We are crushing hardworking American taxpayers and retarding the incentive for Americans to strive for a better life.

The indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of the American innovator and worker must be unleashed with tax, regulatory, monetary, and fiscal policies that enable investment and ingenuity. It is intellectually dishonest to compare personal income tax rates to capital gains tax rates to justify raising capital gains from 15 percent to 30 percent. The resulting effect on investment in America will be catastrophic. Government has no responsibility to select the winners and the losers by manipulating tax policy, and certainly should not be funneling taxpayer funds to political cronies for its own ideological agenda.

President Obama stated  by the end of his first term, he would cut the deficit in half.  We are instead on our fourth straight year of trillion dollar plus deficits: $1.42 trillion, $1.29 trillion, $1.3 trillion, and an estimated $1.3 trillion for this year.  Please, don’t tell me about what was “inherited.” Continual excuses are indicative of a person who takes no responsibility for his actions.

Payroll tax cut? Please America, see this for the politicized gimmick it really is and do not allow yourself to be bribed over a short term $40.  We are destroying Social Security as well as American homeowners who will be seeing a $9,000-$10,000 increase in loan guarantee fees to fund this one-year extension.

Lastly, as we hear testimony from our military on the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization (NDA), all I can think about is the volatility across the world. Here we are in economic straits and we send $1.2 billion in aid to a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt now  holding 19 Americans hostage. Their sheer gall of declaring a threat to our ally, Israel, if we cut off aid, makes my blood boil.

Reports are that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces are now operating in Syria.  Consider if we had maintained a credible American military force in Iraq as an external cordon along the borders with Syria and Iran, as well as in Kurdistan.  Would this situation be so dire?

Elections have consequences.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

– Domestic Energy Production — Last Thursday, the House approved H.R. 3408, Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act, by a vote of 237-187, I VOTED NAY. I voted “no” because this legislation would have potentially violated the military training zone in the eastern Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s coast, as well as brought oil drilling within 9-12 miles of Florida’s coastline. I shall always promote a full spectrum development of America’s energy resources but not at risk of our pristine coastline.

– Payroll Tax Cut Extension — On Friday, the House approved a Conference Report to H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 by a vote of 293-192, I VOTED NAY.  41 Democrats also voted no against this legislation. You can view my explanation as to why I did not support this conference report from our press release here. I will not support adding more debt  nor burden American homeowners. Lastly, we must realize that this is not a tax cut, it hastens the demise of the Social Security system. I supported H. R. 3630 in December, an exceptional piece of legislation, not this Band-Aid, politicized gimmick.

Highlights of the Week:

– Monday, 13 February, met with the British Consul General assigned for Florida and the southern Hemisphere. We discussed British fiscal policies and challenges in this area in comparison with American fiscal and national security issues. We had both served in Afghanistan so we had some very good stories to share. Met with South Florida Marine Industry Leaders to discuss the impacts of failing economic and tax policies on their industry. It was a follow- up to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show where we discussed same issues.

– Tuesday, 14 February, hope everyone had a very Happy Valentine’s Day. Met with a staff group of students from the Army’s Fort Leavenworth Staff Officers College and discussed national security strategy and fiscal security issues. Met with Colonel Pantano and the lead staff of the Jacksonville District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. We discussed the progress made with our pressing Corps civil works infrastructure projects. Met with representatives from AIPAC on current situation in Middle East with growing belligerence of Iran and volatility in Egypt and Syria as it relates to the security of Israel.

– Wednesday, 15 February, participated in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing with Secretary of Defense Panetta and CJCS Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey on the Fiscal Year 2013 NDA budget request. Met with representatives from the Marine Corps League’s National Legislative Committee on their annual issues. Met with the leadership of Indian River State College discussing their legislative concerns. Met with students from Cardinal Gibbons High School who were part of the Close Up Foundation Washington program. Delivered a special order speech on House floor addressing the history of the Republican Party and the black community as part of Black History Month, you can view the speech here.

– Thursday, 16 February, attended a HASC classified briefing on Afghanistan/Pakistan operations and intelligence update. Met with the leadership of Palm Beach State College discussing their legislative concerns. Participated in the HASC hearing on Fiscal Year 2013 NDA budget request for the Department of the Navy, including the United States Marine Corps. Met with representatives of the Agriculture industry to discuss the interests of America’s small businesses in the next Farm Bill. Met with the leadership of Broward College to discuss their legislative concerns. Met with Vice Admiral Ryan of the Military Officers Association of America to discuss their legislative concerns- I will be their keynote speaker for their upcoming Annual conference hosted in West Palm Beach. Conducted an hour- long tele-townhall meeting with our constituents, had nearly 6,000 answer our call.

– Friday, 17 February, participated in HASC hearing on Fiscal Year 2013 NDA budget request for the Department of the Army. Met with the JROTC Junior ROTC Cadets from Olympic Heights High School in Charlotte, NC for the second year– the head of their program is my long- time friend from our service in the Army, Lieutenant Colonel (R) Clayton Neal.

– Saturday, 18 February, attended the reception event for the National Republican Congressional Committee Winter meeting in Naples, FL.

– Sunday, 19 February, ran in the Fort Lauderdale A1A half-marathon.  Participated in a Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus forum event at the Boca Raton Synagogue.

– Monday, 20 February,  recovered from the half-marathon. Hope you all had a Happy President’s Day.

This Week:

– Constituent Work Week, we will have our regular two town hall meetings, one in Deerfield Beach and another in West Palm Beach. See the full details here. 

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Rep Allen West Votes for Fiscal Restraint and Smart Spending – Statement

(WASHINGTON)—Congressman Allen West (R-FL) released this statement today after supporting H.R. 2055, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, passing the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 296- 121.

“The dialog in our Nation’s Capital has changed today as fiscal responsibility has begun to be restored. The free spending ways of the past Congresses has finally started to move in a reverse course. Today’s bill cuts discretionary spending by $95 Billion compared to Fiscal Year 2010. This Fiscal Year 12 Appropriations bill prevents $98 Billion from being spent.  This will help reduce our deficit and get our budgets back into balance.

For the first time since World War II, the United States House of Representatives has significantly reduced discretionary spending two years in a row, managing to adequately fund integral programs to maintain critical services and programs Americans rely on. It has been a long time coming, but today’s legislation – consistent with the Pledge to America – has completely eliminated earmarks – compare that to 10,000 earmarks in the appropriations bill passed under the Democrat Majority in 2009, and 8,000 earmarks in the appropriations bill in 2010.

In stark contrast to the previous majority, the House has restored regular order and through a fair, open, and transparent process allowed Republicans and Democrats to debate amendments resulted in 381 being offered in Fiscal Year 12 Appropriations bill.

America’s economy is no doubt the biggest winner today, as this legislation provides much needed relief from the regulatory stranglehold the Obama Administration has proposed on our nation’s job creators.

With the passing of this Appropriations Act, the Republican majority of the United States House of Representatives has accomplished what it said we were going to do when the American people elected us. It is impossible to erase decades of irresponsibility in one year, but I am proud to say the conversation on Capitol Hill has finally changed.”

Highlights of the Appropriations Act of 2012:

• 915 billion in funding for Defense, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and State and Foreign operations.
• Meets the Budget Control Act total of $1.04 trillion for FY 12 agency funding.
• 6 billion decrease from fiscal year 11 funding.
• Rescinds $25 million in “slush fund” monies for the SEC to implement programs that were not authorized by Congress.
• Institutes important reforms on the Pell Grant program, requiring a GED to qualify and reducing the number of years of the grant awarded from 9 to 6 years.
• Funding for special education is increased by 100 million; also includes increases to Headstart funding.
• Fully funds the United States commitment to Israel with $3.07 Billion.

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Rep Allen West – Legislative Lowdown, Highlights of the Week and more

Legislative Lowdown:

– Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Authorization — On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011, by voice vote. The bill would authorize funding for the Coast Guard in Fiscal Years 2012 through 2015. The bill would also authorize funds for the Federal Maritime Commission in each of the Fiscal Years 2012-2015, and would make changes to current law affecting marine safety, marine transportation systems, and the authorities of the Coast Guard. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), appropriating the amounts authorized by H.R. 2838 would result in discretionary spending of about $24.4 billion over the Fiscal Year 2012-2016 period.

Right-to-Carry — On Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, by a vote of 272-154, I VOTED YES. The bill would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms. The bill would make no changes to any state’s laws on where concealed firearms may be carried within its borders; would not create a federal licensing system; and would not establish a minimum federal standard for a carry permit. Instead, it would require states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses.

– 3 percent withholding — Also on Wednesday, the House approved the United States Senate amendment to H.R. 674. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities, by a vote of 422-0. The bill would also establish new job training programs for Armed Forces members separating from active duty, create additional requirements for veterans’ job training programs, and increase tax credits for employers to hire qualified members of the Armed Forces following their service. In addition, the bill would require all Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits to be included as part of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for purposes of determining eligibility for certain Medicaid applicants and subsidies for health insurance purchased through the new health insurance exchanges to be established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

– Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations — On Thursday, the House approved the H.R. 2112 Conference Report, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, by a vote of 298-121, I VOTED YES. The conference report on H.R. 2112 would provide a total of $128 billion in discretionary appropriations to provide funding for three Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bills: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the legislation would provide short-term appropriated funding for discretionary government operations at current levels through December 16, 2011. Under a continuing resolution (CR) approved at the end of Fiscal Year 2011, discretionary appropriations are set to expire on November 18, 2011. Known as the “Mini-bus,” the conference report would provide $19.77 billion for Agriculture appropriations, $52.74 billion for Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS), and $55.55 billion for Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD). In addition, the legislation includes $2.3 billion in emergency disaster relief funding which is not subject to statutory discretionary spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The conference agreement for the three bills upholds the non-emergency base discretionary level of $1.043 trillion as agreed to in the BCA.

– Balanced Budget Amendment — On Friday, the House failed to approve H.J. Res. 2, proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, by a vote of 261-165, I VOTED YES. If approved by a two-thirds majority of each chamber of the United States Congress and ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures, H.J. Res. 2 would have amended the Constitution to prohibit federal spending in any fiscal year from exceeding receipts for that year. The balanced budget requirement could be waived in a given year if three-fifths of both chambers approve a law to allow spending to exceed revenues. In addition, the amendment would require a vote of three-fifths of both chambers to increase the statutory debt limit. The amendment would also require the president to submit a balanced budget to United States Congress each fiscal year and would require a majority vote of Congress to increase taxes. Under the amendment, the balanced budget requirement could be waived for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war is in effect or in any year that the United States is “engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by a joint resolution, adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House, which becomes law.”

– Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act — On Friday, November 18, 2011, the House approved the rule for consideration of H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. The bill would pre-empt National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed rulemaking that will significantly change procedures that govern union elections by providing employers just seven days to find legal counsel and prepare their entire case to be presented at a NLRB pre-election hearing. The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require specified waiting periods before unionization hearings and elections can occur.

The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require specified waiting periods before unionization hearings and elections can occur. The bill would also provide minimum and maximum time frames in which action should be taken in response to the filing of election petitions.

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Highlights of the Week:

– Tuesday, 15 Nov, Presided over House of Representatives Morning Hour for one- minute and five-minute speeches, participated in the Keystone XL press conference, participated in the Operation Fast and Furious press conference, met with former National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane on energy security, conducted an interview with WHUR, Howard University radio station.

– Wednesday, 16 Nov, attended House Armed Services Committee Classified briefing on Iraq withdrawal; big concern over release of detainees in United States custody to Iraq and the overall post-security situation with no credible America military presence. Just so you know, the plan is for 5,000-6,000 security contractors under United States Department of State control… budget savings? Met with the Israeli Missile Defense Minister to discuss missile defense cooperation in light of the Iranian, Hezbollah, and Hamas threat.

– Thursday, 17 Nov, guest speaker at the bi-partisan Member’s Prayer breakfast, attended House Armed Services Subcommittee classified briefing on Yemen and Somalia, addressed a Young Entrepreneur Leaders group on the future of entrepreneurship in America, met with three great Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) soldiers on the needs of the Army EOD community… needless to say the movie “Hurt Locker” was EODs boost similar to “Top Gun,” attended the Capitol Hill farewell reception for Army Vice Chief of Staff General Chiarelli, a stellar Army leader.

– Friday, 18 Nov, participated in the House Armed Services Panel on Business within the Defense Industry, flew back to South Florida… after a disheartening vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment.

– Saturday, 19 Nov, finally got back to a nine mile Ft. Lauderdale beach run, spoke to and attended the David Horowitz Freedom Center Restoration Weekend dinner.

– Sunday, 20 Nov, Participated in the Delray Beach Sixth Annual Project Holiday packing event to send care packages to our deployed men and women in uniform.

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