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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VIDEO – Rep. Allen West’s Q&A during the Effects of NLRB and DOL Rules Hearing

On Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 1:00 p.m., the House Small Business Committee held a full committee hearing entitled, “Adding to Uncertainty: The Impact of DOL/NLRB Decisions and Proposed Rules on Small Businesses.” The hearing took place in room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing focused on recent decisions and proposed rules by the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor that some fear disadvantage small businesses in union organizing drives. The hearing also examined how these proposed rules and decisions add to the myriad of uncertainties facing small businesses as they struggle to survive and create jobs in today’s economy.

Congressman Allen West’s Weekly Wrap Up 9/19/11

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it is time for our weekly recap.  I pray you all had a wonderful 224th Anniversary of the signing of our United States Constitution this past Saturday, commemorating September 17th, 1787.

I must begin by saying congratulations to the Florida Gators for AGAIN defeating my Alma Mater, the Tennessee Volunteers, 33-23 –just gotta love SEC football, a Southern tradition.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to experience a little bit of history. One of our staff members in the Capitol Hill office, JoBeth Banas, got married. Her wedding took place in North Charleston South Carolina, so the West family took a road trip.

The wedding was held outside at the beautiful Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, right along the Ashley River, first established in 1676.

I sat there and reminisced about the great movie, “The Patriot,” which was set in the vicinity of that area, with the Santee River just to the north. I thought about how I was at a place which existed before our nation was born and wondered what it was like during the time of our early days struggling for liberty and freedom, and establishing a Constitution for those first 13 states.

We drove back on Sunday, and as we were going down I-95 through Jacksonville, there it was…a little red car with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker…and another bumper sticker that said, “Paying Taxes is Patriotic.”

Well,  I just could not wait to get back home to South Florida and pen some thoughts.

It seems that this driver is really misinformed. We live in an America where 47% of wage-earning households pay no federal income taxes. Yet, the top 1% of wage earners in America pay 38%, the top 5% of wage earners pay nearly 58%, and the top 25% of wage earners pay 86% of the federal taxes in America. So my question to that driver is…who are the patriots?

I find it unconscionable that the President of the United States is now going to name a tax policy after Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet has done nothing more than game the system and is using his capital gains as a basis for his personal taxation. He unfairly compares that to the personal income tax rate of one of his secretaries.

What if we were to simplify the progressive strata personal income tax code to a broad-based flat tax of 15% with deductions for child tax credit and mortgage interest tax deduction? We can maintain the current rate of capital gains, or even lower the rate to 10%. Then we can zero out dividends tax and estate taxes, forever.

On a similar note, I am waiting for the President to announce the “Immelt Corporate Tax Rate” — heck, that would make sense. I figure since Mr. Immelt, CEO of GE and also an Obama Czar who got away with GE paying no corporate taxes and making a huge profit — would serve as another stellar example for the “brilliant” President Obama. My recommendation would be to lower the 35% federal corporate tax rate to 21% and eliminate those loopholes and subsidies, which obviously Mr. Immelt’s tax staff is very adept at using.

Ok, pay attention liberals, raising taxes at a time of a fragile economic period is not going to raise revenues. It is counter-productive. Furthermore, if you want to rehabilitate a drug addict, you do not give them more drugs. So if we want to reform the federal government, let us not give it more taxpayer revenue.

Anyway, the President owes the American people – well, the 53% of them who pay taxes — a whopping $535 million for that Solyndra faux pas, and they are not forgetting that, Sir!

Unfortunately, the facts do not support this President or his failed policy proposals… but then again facts, and truth, are just unnecessary obstacles for liberal progressives.

I ask the President a simple question, “Do the billionaires and millionaires of whom you speak include the entertainment and sports elites, your friends who attend those posh concerts and dinners, and the folks you hung out with at Martha’s Vineyard, or is it just the hard-working job creators you do not like?” Something tells me this is somewhat of a rhetorical question.

In conclusion, this week, there is a very important vote that may take place at the United Nations. The vote is to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in the Middle East. This cannot happen until all parties recognize the modern-day State of Israel and denounce all Islamic terrorist organizations immediately threatening Israel. I stand firm in my commitment to Israel, and will support the cessation of funding to the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority if this breach of the peace process is pursued.

I would much rather the United Nations consider statehood for the world’s largest ethnic group without a homeland, the Kurdish people, who are allies of America and Israel.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen

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Legislative Lowdown

Week Review:Resolution of Disapproval on the Debt-Limit Increase: This week, the House approved a resolution to disapprove of a scheduled $500 billion increase in the statutory debt limit by a vote of 232-186, I VOTED YES. The Budget Control Act (BCA) authorizes Congress to consider a resolution of disapproval of the debt limit increase and provides expedited procedures for its consideration. If the resolution of disapproval is not approved in both chambers, or is vetoed by the President and the veto is not overridden, the debt limit would increase by $500 billion, for a total initial debt limit increase of $900 billion (the first tranche provided by the BCA), which coincides with $917 billion in initial spending reductions. If a resolution of disapproval against the increase becomes law, $400 billion (the amount the debt ceiling has already increased) would be subject to pro rata sequestration with exceptions for Medicare, defense, veterans, and Social Security. On September 7, 2011, the Senate voted 45-52 to reject a motion to proceed to a Senate resolution of disapproval, S.J. Res 25, which had been introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

School Choice: This week, the House approved H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, by a vote of 365-54, I VOTED YES. The bill would do the following: provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools; expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the nation; evaluate the impact of such schools on student achievement, families, and communities, and share best practices between charter schools and other public schools; encourage States to provide support to charter schools for facilities financing in an amount more nearly commensurate to the amount the States have typically provided for traditional public schools; improve student services to increase opportunities for students with disabilities, English language learners, and other traditionally underserved students to attend charter schools and meet challenging state academic achievement standards; and support efforts to strengthen the charter school authorizing process to improve performance management, including transparency, monitoring, and evaluation of such schools. According to the Congressional Budget Office, implementing H.R. 2218 would cost about $1 billion over the 2012-2016 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.

NLRB’s Boeing Ruling: This week, the House approved H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, as part of House Republican’s regulatory relief and job creation agenda by a vote of 238-186, I VOTED YES. The bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from dictating where an employer can and cannot locate jobs in the United States. The bill would eliminate the extreme, punitive remedy that the NLRB is currently seeking in the South Carolina Boeing case (NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing for creating work in SC and demanded the work be transferred elsewhere in a blatant government overreach). The bill would not change what is and is not a violation under the National Labor Relations Act and the NLRB will still have numerous remedies to hold employers accountable for unlawful labor practices. At a time when more than 14 million Americans are unemployed, House Republicans believe that private companies should have the flexibility to develop their businesses in the state that offers the best opportunities for growth, job creation, and stability.

The coming week:

Continuing Resolution: The House is expected to consider H. J. Res. 79, a continuing resolution (CR) to provide short-term appropriated funding for discretionary government operations through November 18, 2011. Under the current CR (H.R. 1473), appropriations are set to expire after September 30, 2011, the end of the fiscal year. The CR continues government operations and services and allows time for Congress to complete the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bills that provide annual funding for the federal government. H. J. Res. 79 would provide $1.043 trillion in appropriated funding for government operations. This is the same funding level required under budget caps contained in the Budget Control Act and represents a 1.4 percent cut from Fiscal Year 2011. Compared to Fiscal Year 2010 spending levels ($1.089 trillion), this CR represents a cut of $46 billion. The bill also includes a total of $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding. Within this disaster funding, $1 billion is designated for Fiscal Year 2011 and will be available immediately upon enactment of the bill, offset by a $1 billion cut to the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. In addition, the CR includes $2.65 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund for continued recovery efforts in Fiscal Year 2012.

TRAIN Act: The House is expected to consider H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act. The bill would require a cumulative economic analysis for specific EPA rules, and specifically delay the final date for both the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact of the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda has been studied. The EPA’s new MACT and CSAPR rules for utility plants will affect electricity prices for nearly all American consumers. In total, 1,000 power plants are expected to be affected. As a result of these rules, annual electricity bills will increases in many parts of the country by as much as 12 to 24 percent.

            

District/DC Highlights
Monday, 12 September, flew back to Capitol Hill, and addressed approximately 40 black male Congressional staffers on the principles that guide my responsibility as a role model and mentor. Met with Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College (The Citadel of Conservative education). It was like speaking to a modern-day James Madison. Participated in the Congressional 10th Anniversary Remembrance of 9-11.

Tuesday, 13 September, after a morning five-mile run, had breakfast at the Quarters of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos. The invitees were members of the CBC and the focus was on Congressional Gold Medal recognition for the Montford Point Marines… and recruitment of black Marine officers. Spoke to several groups: National Aerospace Association, Virginia Christian Alliance, and the America Association of Christian Schools, as well as a full House Armed Services Committee (HASC) meeting and a meeting with the Jewish Federation representatives from Palm Beach and Broward counties.

– Wednesday, 14 September, attended a HASC classified briefing on military strategy to counter Iran, met with representatives of Allegiant Airlines (along with Spirit, one of the fastest growing small airline companies) and their biggest issue, REGULATIONS! Hosted the weekly CBC luncheon, and they ate up the Chick-Fil-A chow. Participated in a Small Business Committee hearing on size standards, met with the United States Army Human Resources Command Special Forces assignment branch officers, met with county political and law enforcement leadership of Palm Beach and Broward on raising the Tier rating of our area as part of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program (our office was asked to take the lead), and conducted two meetings with local Insurance and financial advisors association members.

– Thursday 15 September, Participated in a classified HASC Military Personnel subcommittee hearing on United States Army force structure/end strength and a Small Business Subcommittee hearing on assisting small business contracting growth. Had an office call with a local IRS Agent, Taryn Guariglia of Coral Springs, who was a finalist for the 2011 Sammies Justice and Law Enforcement Medal for her work on the Scott Rothstein case.

– Friday, 16 September, Spoke to the eight members of the local Ft. Lauderdale Young CEOs Organization, toured the facility of Reagan Wireless and addressed the employees, and spoke at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Substance Abuse press briefing. We have to win this fight here in South Florida. Spoke at the unveiling of the Spirit of Freedom Gallery at the Huizenga Junior Achievement Center at Broward College’s North campus.

 -Saturday, 17 September, Happy 224th Constitution Day!

 

Congressman West Visits ‘Green’ Company in Deerfield Beach

Congressman Allen West visited Reagan Wireless Friday, a local Deerfield Beach “green” company which has remained profitable and debt-free throughout the recession, without government subsidies or contracts.

As a cellular phone recycling company and distributor, Reagan Wireless is one of the first companies in its field to be awarded R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices) certification. The R2 standard encourages refurbishment and reuse of materials before disposal.

“This is a perfect example of how a small green business can flourish without government intervention,” West said. “Reagan Wireless is a shining light of entrepreneurial success in our district.”

All products received and sold by the company originate from the United States, but about 75% of the product is sold overseas.

“More than 80% of the cellular phones we receive get a second life in the market, in Latin America and beyond,” said Daniel Kaufman, CEO of Reagan Wireless. “We’re a true recycling company, in that the phones are not destroyed or ending up as landfill. Plus, we’re helping the trade deficit.”

Reagan Wireless employs about 70 full-time workers and employs almost 150 disabled workers on a part-time basis through local labor centers.

See more pictures from Rep. west’s visit, here