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.



At a packed Boca Raton Tea Party event Tuesday night, Rep Allen West sets the record straight on NDAA and more

By: Michele Kirk Source: BIZPAC Review Date: January 4, 2012
At a packed Boca Raton Tea Party event Tuesday night, Allen West began by clearing up questions about the controversial National Defense Authorization Act in the following video:

Congressman Allen West for US Congress – Florida CD22


Allen West for Congress.Com

Rep Allen West Weekly Wrap and Legislative Lowdown 12/19/11

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is time again for our weekly wrap-up. I want to start by giving you a glimpse of what happened this weekend. We in the House of Representatives had just returned to our respective Congressional Districts Friday evening, only to learn there was still much more work to do before we can adjourn.
Unfortunately, the United States Senate passed a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut, Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), and unemployment insurance for just two months. This is abysmal and again evidences the abject lack of leadership emanating from President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who praised this failure. President Obama and Senator Reid are playing political games while the American people are suffering under their failed economic policies. Please see the Press Release I issued here after the vote on Saturday in the United States Senate here.

Over in the House of Representatives, we have returned to our Nation’s Capital today and are reaffirming the legislation we sent to the U.S. Senate, which provided the American people certainty.

This is my first year in politics and the biggest lesson I learned? There are too many lies, deception, and manipulation going on in Washington, DC. We need to have Statesmen, not Politicians in America. However, politicians find comfort in deceiving the American people for selfish political promotion by hiding the truth. When you combine that with a complicit media, you have a recipe for disaster especially over the past three years.

I shall continue to stand for and promote the truth. There is a simple maxim in the military, “you don’t get flak unless you are over the target.” I guess I’ve been right over the target during this past year more than once. I find it curious and discomfiting that a strong voice about maintaining the fundamental values of our Constitutional Republic, America, makes one a target, but these are the times in which we live.

The upcoming election year will be a true test for our Country.

I just want to say, “Job Well Done” as our last troops exited Iraq this weekend. I must admit, I was not pleased about our final convoy departing in the middle of the night. Regardless of the means by which the retrograde operation was conducted, our men and women in uniform have so much for which they should be proud. As I have stated before, the onus is now upon the Iraqi people to not squander that for which our men and women sacrificed.

This is the final weekly update for 2011. It has been an honor to provide you all my personal insights and perspectives into my service as your Congressional Representative. I pray that you have found this weekly missive useful and informative.

I pray you all enjoy a wonderful and Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. I hope your favorite football teams find success in the coming college bowl season and NFL playoffs. I look forward to resuming our updates in the New Year.

And know that I shall forever remain…

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

Expiring Extensions — On Tuesday, the House approved H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act, by a bipartisan vote of 234-193, I VOTED YES. Ten Democrats voted to support this legislation. 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 (SGI – the so-called “Doc Fix”), and an extension of the Unemployment Insurance program. The legislation would provide assistance to Americans suffering in the stagnant economy over the last three years, 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 the Unemployment Insurance program, reducing subsidies, and getting rid of waste, fraud and abuse in some Washington, D.C. programs. Lastly, the bill would provide new incentives for job creation by extending 100 percent business expensing, removing burdensome EPA regulations and taking action on the bipartisan Keystone XL energy pipeline project.

– Defense Authorization — On Wednesday, the House approved the Conference Report on H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, by a bipartisan vote of 283-136, I VOTED YES. There were 93 Democrats who supporter this conference report. The comprehensive bill would authorize the appropriations for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. This budget authority is intended to enhance national security through the procurement of materiel, the modernization of the Armed Forces, and continued funding for overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also contains a number of provisions concerning military personnel policy, education and training, military pay and allowances, acquisition policy and management, DoD organization and management, civilian personnel, and matters relating to foreign nations. Importantly, the legislation would strengthen policies and procedures used to detain, interrogate, and prosecute al Qaeda, the Taliban, affiliated groups, and those who substantially support them but would not extend any new authorities to detain U.S. citizens and explicitly exempts U.S. citizens from provisions related to military custody of terrorists. The bill would authorize $554 billion for the Department of Defense’s base budget, $115.5 billion for overseas contingency operations, and $11.1 billion for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. To comply with the first tier of the Budget Control Act’s requirement to cut defense spending, authorized funding was reduced by $19 billion from the Fiscal Year 2011 NDAA, $21.8 billion from the House-approved version of the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA, and $24.1 billion from President Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2012.

Fiscal Year 2012 Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations — On Friday, the House approved the Conference Report on H.R. 2055, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Appropriations Act of 2012, by a bipartisan vote of 296-121, I VOTED YES. There were 149 Democrats who supported this legislation. The legislation would provide a total of $914.9 billion in non-emergency discretionary budget authority for the nine appropriations bills, including $518.1 billion for Defense, $32 billion for Energy & Water, $21.5 billion for Financial Services, $39.6 billion for Homeland Security, $29.2 billion for Interior & Environment, $156.3 billion for Labor/HHS/Education, $4.3 billion for Legislative Branch, $71.7 billion for Military/Veterans, and $42.1 for State/Foreign Operations. The bill, when combined with the three appropriations bills already enacted (H.R. 2112), would provide a total of $1.043 trillion in non-emergency, discretionary appropriations. Total non-emergency funding for Fiscal Year 2012 is within the discretionary spending caps established in the Budget Control Act (S. 365). Total Fiscal Year 2012 funding represents a $6 billion decrease from Fiscal Year 2011 non-emergency funding for these agencies. In addition to regular appropriations for the Department of Defense, the Conference Report would provide $115.1 billion in funds for overseas contingency operations (OCO) and other ongoing operations related to the global war on terrorism. The bill would also maintain a number of pro-life provisions such as the Hyde amendment, conscience protections, a reduction of $2 million to Title X, and would cut UNFPA funding by $5 million. The final Conference Report is the same as the consolidated funding bill filed earlier this week (H.R. 3671) with two exceptions: 1) The Conference Report would remove language that would have changed travel and remittances restrictions related to Cuba (section 634) and language clarifying the Department of Treasury’s “cash in advance” rule regarding certain U.S. exports to Cuba (section 632); and 2) The Conference Report would allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to transfer $10 million in funding between the agency’s Information Technology account and its Salaries and Expenses account.

– Disaster Relief Appropriations — Also on Friday, the House approved H.R. 3672, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2012, by a vote of 351-67, I VOTED YES. This bill received bipartisan support with 182 Democrats supporting the bill. The bill would provide emergency disaster relief funding for Fiscal Year 2012 which would be offset with a 1.83 percent across-the-board reduction in regular discretionary appropriations, provided for in accompanying legislation (H. Con. Res. 94). According to CBO, the bill would provide $8.6 billion in emergency disaster relief for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and the Social Security Administration for their efforts to combat waste, fraud and abuse. The bill would provide $6.4 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). This includes funding for fire assistance, emergency declarations, major disasters, surge operations, and disaster readiness support. The bill would also include $1.7 billion in funding for disaster recovery assistance through the Army Corps of Engineers. Finally, the bill would provide no more than $483 million to the Social Security Administration for continuing disability reviews to reduce waste, fraud and abuse. Funding under the bill is in keeping with emergency disaster funding limits established by the Budget Control Act (BCA)(S. 365). Under the BCA, adjustments to discretionary spending limits are allowed for “emergency” appropriations, disaster funding, appropriations to reduce waste and abuse in Social Security disability and health care funding, and appropriations for the global war on terrorism. The bill limits the definition of the term “emergency” spending as unanticipated funding provided for “the prevention or mitigation of, or response to, loss of life or property, or a threat to national security.” In addition, the BCA allows Members the opportunity during the legislative process to offset the spending with other cuts.

Highlights of the Week:

– Monday, 12 December, Met with Fuad Hussein (Chief of Staff to President Masoud Barzani), Falah Bakir (Head of Kurdistan Regional Government Depaprtment of Foreign Relations), Ashti Hawrami (Minister of Natural Resources, Kurdistan Regional Governmentt), and Qubad Talabani (Kurdistan Regional Government representative to United States) to discuss Iraq after the United States troops withdrawal and concerns with current Iraqi government under Prime Minister al-Maliki. Please see the Press Release I issued after my meeting here.

– Tuesday, 13 December, Attended Congressional Black Caucus meeting with top African-American CEOs to discuss private sector initiatives.

– Wednesday, 14 December, Happy Birthday to my wife of 22 years, Angela! Attended a breakfast with guest speaker David Keene, President of the National Rifle Association.

– Thursday, 15 December, met with former 2-20th FA, 4th Infantry Division Officer, Captain Adam Ropelewski, who is completing his Congressional fellowship with United States Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), participated in a Small Business Committee subcommittee hearing on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations on the President’s Healthcare Medical Loss Ratio Rule –we are seeing the unintended consequences of this regulation — met with Wounded Warrior SSG Bill Costello and his wife Jennifer, our Congressional office gave them a personal U.S. Capitol tour, participated in a House Armed Services Committee press conference on alternative solutions to defense sequestration.

– Friday, 16 December, taped a video for Military Day in Tallahassee on 10 January 2012.

– Saturday, 17 December, flew back to the Congressional District, addressed the Palm Beach Roundtable.

– Sunday, 18 December, Rode my motorcycle in a funeral procession and attended the farewell ceremony for Veteran and friend, Frank “Pipes” Cook.


National Defense Authorization Act – Congressman Allen West Official Statement


Background on the NDAA:

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) authorizes $554 billion for the base budget, and $114 billion for overseas contingency operations. The NDAA includes $530 billion for the Department of Defense and $11.1 billion for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The National Defense Authorization Act extends vital troop pay and war-related authorities. Other vital authorities include enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, retention and accession pay for critical skills, and pay for hazardous duties.

Funding levels authorized by the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA have been reduced significantly from the original House of Representatives-passed version to comply with the first tier of the Budget Control Act’s requirement to cut Defense spending by an estimated $465 billion over ten years.

Authorized funding has been reduced by $19 billion from the Fiscal Year 2011 NDAA, $21.8 billion from the House-passed version of the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA, and $24.1 billion from President Obama’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2012. Under sequestration, an additional $500 billion will be cut over ten years, beginning in 2013.

Additional important aspects of the National Defense Authorization Act include:

• Ensures our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training, and time needed to successfully complete their missions and return home;

• Provides a 1.6 percent increase in military pay;

• Provides our warfighters and their families with the resources and support they need, deserve, and have earned;

• Invests in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the United States from current and future threats;

• Mandates fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability within the Department of Defense;

• Incentivizes competition for every tax-payer dollar associated with funding Department of Defense requirements.

• Freezes nearly $700M in aid to Pakistan pending DOD delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering Improvised Explosive Devices networks in their country that are targeting coalition forces. This freeze includes the majority of the $1.1 billion in Pakistan Counterinsurgency Funds.

• Includes critical provisions to clarify and reaffirm the military’s responsibility and authority to detain al Qaeda terrorists. The bill strengthens policies and procedures used to detain, interrogate, and prosecute al Qaeda, the Taliban, affiliated groups, and those who substantially support them.

• Prohibits the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to or within the United States;
– Prohibits the use of funds to house Guantanamo detainees in the United States;
– Reaffirms the lawful detention of individuals from al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces engaged in
armed conflict with the United States, without extending new authority to detain U.S. citizens; and
– Requires military custody for al Qaeda and associated terrorists who are captured plotting an attack on
the United States, except where the Secretary of Defense waives this requirement as not being in the
national security interest of the United States.  This provision explicitly exempts U.S. citizens.



(WASHINGTON)– Congressman Allen West (R-FL) released this statement tonight after voting Yes, in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012:

“The 2012 defense bill is a key mechanism by which the Congress of the United States fulfills its constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense.  This bill marks the 50th consecutive enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act, and I am proud to have served as a Core Conferee working on the final language that passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support by a vote of 283-136.

“Included in the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA are two of the three YouCut bills that I introduced on March 29, 2011 which will generate a total savings of more than $180 million in wasteful DOD spending through 2016. One of these – H.R. 1246 – passed the House of Representatives unanimously by a vote of 393-0. As a Freshman Member of the United States Congress, I am proud the 2012 NDAA includes my bipartisan provisions that target wasteful spending at the Department of Defense.

“Ten years after September 11, 2001, the extremist and terrorist threat against the United States and our allies continues to evolve. As we begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan, and are conscious of the rise of al Qaeda affiliates in places like Yemen, the 2012 NDAA recognizes the war against radical Islam is broader than operations in any single country. The bill strengthens policies and procedures used to detain, interrogate, and prosecute al Qaeda, the Taliban, affiliated groups, and those who substantially support them. And finally, the NDAA recognizes the importance of investing in future capability and technology and of ensuring DOD has robust capabilities, especially those residing within Special Operations Forces, to meet emerging challenges on the battlefield of today and in the future.”


Senator Chambliss’ answer’s email on the detainee amendment

In response to an email;

Here are Senator Chambliss’ comments on the detainee question.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the Senate on December 1, 2011, that included several provisions relating to the authority of the United States to detain certain individuals associated with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

It is well-founded in our history that the United States has the authority to hold enemy combatants until the end of hostilities in order to prevent their return to the battlefield.  The detainee provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act codify this long-recognized authority, and make clear that any al Qaeda terrorist, whether foreign or American, who takes up arms against the United States can be held under the laws of war.  Because we are at war, detention within a military framework is often the most fitting solution for handling certain terrorist detainees.  At the same time, the provisions ensure that the rights of United States citizens continue to be protected by the Constitution.  Thus, any American detained under this authority would still be able to challenge his detention in a federal habeas proceeding.

 During the vigorous debate of the National Defense Authorization Act, several Senators offered amendments intended to address perceived problems with the provisions.  Rather than improve the legislation, however, these amendments would have severely undermined our intelligence collection efforts from suspected terrorists.  As we continue to fight al Qaeda and other terrorists, our primary concern must be to ensure  that our military and intelligence professionals have the authority and flexibility they need to collect valuable intelligence.  Because of the negative impact these amendments would likely have had on such critical collection efforts, I am thankful the amendments were defeated.  Following vigorous debate and an agreement to re-emphasize current law concerning the detention of persons captured inside the United States, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization bill with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Contact Senator Saxby Chambliss‘ by clicking his name

Rep Allen West Appointed to National Defense Authorization Act Conference A Rarity for a Freshman

(WASHINGTON)— Congressman Allen West (R-FL) has been named today a member of the National Defense Authorization Act Conference.  The NDAA Conference is a select group of bipartisan members from both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate that will begin hammering out the final provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.  NDAA legislation provides the policy for the Department of Defense and America’s Armed Services and ensures troops have the resources they need to defend America.

“It is an honor to be a member of the conference setting policies for the Department of Defense to be successful in keeping our country safe,” West said. “As a 22-year United States Army Veteran, I look forward to sharing my insight on what I believe is most important in this bill- a bill that will ultimately determine the future of our Armed Services.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon said he specifically chose Congressman West because Lieutenant Colonel West’s insights have been “extremely valuable” to the committee this past year.

“Congressman West has certainly earned his place on this conference,” McKeon said. “I am honored to have Allen at my side as we close out the 50th NDAA. Over the next few days, the House and Senate will have to work through several important issues. I know Congressman West will be an asset as we put together the best possible legislation for our men and women in uniform.”

Congressman West sponsored a successful bipartisan piece of legislation that passed the House earlier this year.  H.R. 1246 proposed cutting 10 percent off the Defense printing budget, generating nearly $180 million in savings through Fiscal Year 2016 – information on legislation here.

The NDAA also includes additional pieces of legislation Congressman West proposed, including:

• House Resolution to reduce funding for Defense studies, analysis and evaluations by 10%. Would generate a savings of $24 million in Fiscal Year 2012, returning up to $120 million to the treasury through Fiscal Year 2016.

• House Resolution to restrict payout of annual nationwide adjustment and locality pay for below satisfactory workers. Would generate approximately $21 million in savings while increasing productivity in the workforce. As employees become more satisfactory in future years, the savings would be approximately $80 million through Fiscal Year 2016.

“It is important the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act include the cuts to wasteful defense spending I proposed,” West said. “It is also just as important that the NDAA protect essential Defense programs. I am confident my 22 years in the United States Army will provide insight to the conference.”