Congressman Allen West’s Weekly Wrap, Legislative Update and Highlights of the Week

Dear Patriots,

I hope you are getting off to a fantastic week.  Instead of my Wrap-Up of the previous week, I wanted to share the Weekly Republican Address with you, that I was so honored to be able to give over the weekend.  This is the first time I have had a chance to give the Weekly Address and I am privileged and humbled to do so.  Please, when you get a moment, watch it and as always, know I am here in Washington, D.C. defending you and our great nation.

Steadfast and Loyal,

click on image to play


Legislative Update:

•     Continuing Resolution— This past Thursday, the House passed legislation to ensure discretionary federal operations will remain funded for six months. H. J. Res. 117, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013, which was approved by a vote of 329-91, would provide a six-month extension of appropriated funding for discretionary government operations, through March 27, 2013. Under current law, appropriated funding for discretionary spending is set to expire after September 30, 2012, the end of the fiscal year. According to CBO, H.J.Res. 117 would provide $1.047 trillion in regular appropriated funding for government operations on an annualized basis.  The funding in the CR is consistent with discretionary spending caps contained in the Budget Control Act (BCA, S. 365). Regular appropriated funding in the bill is $7.9 billion or 0.6 percent higher than FY 2012. Including funding for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism ($99.9 billion) and disaster relief ($6.4 billion), total spending in the bill is $26.6 billion below total FY 2012 spending levels, according to CBO.

•    National Security and Job Protection Act—Also on Thursday, the House voted to repeal the looming sequester upon enactment of legislation to replace the automatic cuts with responsible reductions, by a vote of 223-196. H.R. 6365 would repeal the across-the-board defense and non-defense discretionary spending cuts scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013, upon the enactment of H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, or any legislation that offsets the automatic sequester with equal or greater spending reductions over the next five years. The bill in and of itself would not repeal the sequester. However, it would ensure that if any legislation to replace the sequester with alternative spending reductions were enacted, the sequester would be shut off. In the event that the sequestration is replaced, the bill would lower the discretionary spending cap for FY 2013 from $1.047 trillion to $1.028 trillion

•    No More Solyndras Act—On Friday, the House approved H.R. 6213 by a vote of 245-161.  The No More Solyndras Act is a product of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s extensive investigation into the Department of Energy’s (DOE) $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar panel manufacturer that ultimately went bankrupt last September.  The committee’s investigation revealed DOE’s loan guarantee program to be poorly managed and lacking sufficient safeguards for American taxpayers.  Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011, and two days later was raided by the FBI on September 8, 2011.

•    FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act—On Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 5949, a bill to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, by a vote of 301-118.  H.R. 5949 would extend the authority of the federal government to conduct surveillance pursuant to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 until December 31, 2017.  The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 provided the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Attorney General (AG) the authority to acquire foreign intelligence information from non-U.S. citizens outside the U.S. This authority is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012, under current law.

•    Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act—Last week the House approved H.R. 5544 by a vote of 225-189. The bill would require the Secretary of Agriculture to exchange federal land for land owned by the State of Minnesota. Specifically, the bill would require the Secretary to exchange approximately 86,000 acres (according to CBO estimates) of National Forest System land located in the Superior National Forest for approximately 86,000 acres of land owned by the state within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Under the legislation, land obtained by the federal government would be added to and administered as part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Land acquired by the state would be deemed state trust lands and would be held in trust for development to benefit the Minnesota public school system.

This Coming Week:

•    Stopping President Obama’s War on Coal— The House plans to debate the Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, to rein in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) costly job-killing regulations, protect jobs, keep energy affordable, as well as prevent the premature closure of coal plants to ensure the lights stay on.  The bill would seek to limit surface mining regulations and would require regulatory analysis and a cumulative cost analysis of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules.  The bill would also allow states to regulate coal ash and would move the authority for setting Clean Water Act water quality standards from the EPA to the states.

•    Blocking the Obama Administration’s Welfare Work Waivers—The House is expected to consider H.J.Res. 118, “Providing for congressional disapproval of the Administration’s July 12, 2012 waiver of welfare work requirements.” According to a September analysis by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Obama Administration’s decision to waive the welfare work requirements qualifies as a rule and is therefore subject to review – and potential disapproval – under the Congressional Review Act. This bill would express Congress’s disapproval of the Obama Administration’s regulatory effort that will waive the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law, hold the Obama Administration accountable, and preserve critical reforms that have helped lift millions of American families out of poverty.

Rep Allen West Legislative Lowdown, Weekly Wrap Up and District Highlights

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. It is Sunday, March 18th and I just got back this morning from a really nice trip to Minnesota and Nebraska, first time ever visiting those great states.  I was very happy the skies were sunny and the temperature was in the high 70s to low 80s! I want to thank everyone I met in Minnesota and Nebraska for their kindness, hospitality, and prayers.

I was truly perplexed about one thing while in Nebraska, and that is the Democrat candidate for Senator, Bob Kerrey. It seems the former Senator has not lived in Nebraska for more than ten years and has filed using a relative’s address, claiming he lives in the basement. I am continually astonished by the hypocracy of the left!

Down here in South Florida there are some who refer to me as a “carpetbagger” because I will be running in a new Congressional district which encompasses 24 percent of the district I currently represent.

And how long did Hillary Clinton live in New York before she ran for United States Senate there?

This is just another example of why I just cannot take liberal progressives seriously when it comes to intellectual discourse and truth. This constant duplicity threatens the future and legacy of our great Republic, especially for our children and grandchildren. We must see their hypocrisy and call it out at every given opportunity, which as you can see, is quite regular.

Speaking of hypocrisy, we now know who the “alleged” shooter was in Afghanistan, killing 16 people including women and children. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has now been transferred to the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. His alleged actions are horrible and disturbing, but not reflective of the professionalism, dedication, commitment, sacrifice, and service given by hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in Afghanistan and worldwide.

He will be held accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for his actions.

I ask America not to treat this Staff Sergeant any differently from Sergeant Hasan Akbar, who in 2003, threw hand grenades and fired his weapon into the tents of his Commanding Officers, killing several. He was not placed in pre-trial confinement in Fort Leavenworth and was tried at his home Army installation, Fort Campbell.

Then there is Army Major Malik Nadal Hassan, who still awaits trial after more than two years since he allegedly gunned down 43 Army soldiers and civilians killing 13 people. Hassan has not been sent to pre-trial confinement in Fort Leavenworth, and his attack has been officially termed “workplace violence.”

My point is this, let our leadership- not the media- determine the fate of Staff Sergeant Bales.  Let us not offer him up as some type of “appeasement” to President Hamid Karzai, who would not be in his own position of power without the sacrifices of the American taxpayer as well as the American warrior. I want to see the military legal system work its own will and not the will of the political gods.

I am watching this case as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the subcommittee on Military Personnel. I am also a former Army soldier and I know what can happen when the public tries and convicts our men and women in uniform.

Keeping with our discussion of hypocrisy from liberals, we learned this past week about the true cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also referred to as Obamacare. It seems the original estimate of Obamacare when it was signed into law two years ago of $940 billion, was way off. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its true estimated cost this past week to be $1.76 trillion.  I guess we didn’t know how right former Speaker Nancy Pelosi was when she stated, “We have to pass the bill in order to know what is in it.”

In a few weeks, this highly controversial and intrusive law will be heard before the Supreme Court. One can only pray that those entrusted to interpret the Constitution will recognize the individual mandate is NOT consistent with the general welfare or the commerce clause. This Republic cannot survive a political ideology, post-modern liberalism, which believes it has the authority to mandate to the individual American citizen and private sector what it must purchase or provide, and the means by which it must be done.

Classic liberalism, which is today’s modern Conservatism, holds high the preeminence of individual sovereignty, the limited scope of government and its fiscal responsibility, and the free market. The writings of Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire are what our Founding Fathers read and used to establish the animating theme of a nation built upon these values, especially, individual liberty.

Liberal progressives believe in the preeminence of the bureaucratic nanny state and its authority to dictate the lives of the individual. President Obama and his disciples base their beliefs in the writings of Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky. Their animating theme is the complete antithesis to that of our Founding Fathers.

Therein lies the greatest hypocrisy, that we as a free people have forgotten our fundamental and foundational principles and are now being ruled, not governed, by those who believe the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and the United States Constitution represent an “inconvenient truth” rather than the immutable self-evident truth of the longest running Constitutional Republic the world has ever known, these United States of America.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Highlights of the Week:

– Monday, 12 March, met with Florida State Representatives Snyder and Harrell and Florida State Senator Negron, addressed the Board members of Oculina Bank of St. Lucie County to discuss adverse effects of Dodd-Frank law, conducted our monthly town hall meeting in Jupiter.

– Tuesday, 13 March, visited with ATK Missile products development facility in Palm Beach Gardens to receive an update on latest rocket and missile technology development, conducted a press conference at Jupiter High School in support of HR 1515, the “STANDUP” Act which promotes grants for States which adopt a graduated drivers license program to reduce the effects of teenage driving fatalities, taped a segment for WPTV-5 “To the Point” program with Anchor Michael Williams to discuss pressing issues facing our community and our country, addressed the ASIS Law Enforcement monthly dinner for Security professionals in Palm Beach Gardens on the topic of fiscal, energy, and national security.

– Wednesday, 14 March, conducted our monthly town hall meeting in Broward County at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lighthouse Point, addressed the Fort Lauderdale downtown Rotary Club monthly luncheon on the topic of what the military taught me to prepare me for Congress.

– Thursday, 15 March, flew to Minneapolis, Minnesota to participate in events supporting my freshman colleague Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), addressed the Minnesota Republican Jewish Coalition on security concerns and the situation in the Middle East, addressed the Minnesota GOP Lincoln-Reagan dinner as the keynote speaker.

– Friday, 16 March, flew to Omaha, Nebraska to participate in several events to support my Congressional colleague Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) to include a very nice rally, also conducted a Defense contractor roundtable and visited USSTRATCOM at Offut AFB for a strategic update and mission brief.

– Saturday, 17 March, started the day with a nice 8.5 mile run along the Keystone trail in Omaha-reminded me of my days being assigned in Kansas running in those wide open spaces, then went over to the home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Lincoln, to be the Keynote Speaker for the Lancaster County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan dinner at the request of my Congressional colleague Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and met Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns.

– Sunday, 18 March, flew back to South Florida, and during layover in Memphis met a young Army Staff Sergeant assigned to Fort Riley Kansas in the same Infantry Battalion in which I served in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Small world.