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

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. It is time again for my weekly update report to you all.

As I was coming into the office Friday morning, I listened to CSPAN’s Washington Journal.  The topic of the show was “Congress Kicking the Can.” I love to listen to the callers, and in fact it’s a big reason why I enjoy being on Washington Journal.  The show and guests are totally unscripted.  No surprise, one of the callers blamed everything in Washington on the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and kept praising President Obama for the great job he is doing. I sat listening, waiting for the caller to give us some example of the great things President Obama is doing for our country. Needless to say, that never happened. Instead, I became even more convinced that many Americans are now more uninformed than ever before.

Later Friday morning, the July jobs numbers were released, and sadly, at 8.3 percent, the losing streak continues. We have now spent 42 consecutive months with unemployment at or above 8 percent.  Even worse, the true employment rate, which takes into account unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers (the U-6 computation) places the country at 14.8 percent. This has been termed by economists as the worst recovery the country has ever known.

A record 9.3 million Americans in the last three and a half years have gone into poverty, a 46-year high. America’s second quarter Fiscal Year 2012 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was a mere 1.5 percent. Just to show you how dire this really is, in comparison, at this point in the Reagan recovery in 1984, the GDP growth was almost five times that- at 7.1 percent.

These are the facts and a result of the incompetence and utter failure of this community organizer to present a viable economic vision for America. Never forget that the Obama stimulus plan was supposed to have lowered unemployment in America to 5.6 percent by this time.

Who will take responsibility for the failure of Obamanomics? Could it be the fault of those pesky top two percent wage earners? The real truth is that the top one percent of wage earners in America fork over 37 percent of federal taxes, the top 25 percent contributes 89 percent. The Obama plan to raise taxes on the top brackets (those making more than $200,000 single or $250,000 as a married couple) yields only $85 billion a year, enough to fund the federal government for about 10 days. As well, an independent report by Ernst and Young estimates this would result in more than 700,000 jobs lost.

I would like to ask the caller from Washington Journal this morning if she believes the state of America right now is a reflection of the “great things” accomplished by President Obama?

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and see firsthand the power of the American free market as I talked with traders on the floor. I was honored to meet Mr. Terry Duffy, Chairman of the Board of the CME and be interviewed on his trading floor by Rick Santelli, click here.

It seems President Obama is now seeking to associate himself with former President Bill Clinton’s economic policies. However, the real analysis has to come with the comparison of leading our country after the mid-term election debacles of 1994 and 2010. Clinton pivoted away from big government spending policies and worked with a Republican-led House of Representatives and United States Senate, coining the phrase in his State of the Union address, “The era of big government is over.”  He enacted welfare reform combined with tax policy, and created a surplus.  The GOP legislative body maintained fiscal conservative principles and worked with the President to carry the country forward.

President Obama has accomplished completely the opposite.  He tripled down on failed liberal progressive economic, regulatory, and monetary policies and continues to believe Keynesian economic models of government spending are the way forward.

Americans also deserve President Obama to address the looming issue of sequestration and the “hollowing out” of our military. The principal role under the Constitution is for the President to serve America as its Commander-in-Chief. I would like to know what Commander in Chief would decimate the greatest and most superior military force the world has ever known. Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” seems to have become far more important to President Obama than maintaining the preeminent fighting force in the world.

The excuse that he has no choice because the military is apparently bankrupting our budget is absurd and untrue. Mandatory spending is the driver of our debt and represents 62 percent of the budget.  With these cuts to our military, we are looking at a devastating reduction not only of our men and women in uniform, but also to those who support them in the defense industry. Florida is looking at losing some 56,000 jobs with implementation of sequestration. Here is an interview from this week where I discuss sequestration, click here.

As I close, we all need to face the facts about where this country is headed. You might be surprised to find out where the political term, “Forward” comes from. I can tell you that it does not come from our free market heritage and it certainly does not describe the governing principles best for our Constitutional Republic.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

–  Preventing Tax Increases — On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012, by a vote of 256-171, I VOTED YES.  The bill would provide a one-year extension of all current individual tax rates, as well as the 15 percent top rate on capital gains and dividends. The proposal would also extend for one year the estate tax rates at their current levels, the $1,000 child tax credit, marriage penalty relief and certain educational tax credits. The bill would also provide higher small business expensing limits for one year and would repeal the personal exemption phase-out and the “Pease” limitations in 2013. Finally, the bill would provide a two-year AMT patch, which would be adjusted for inflation.  In total, the bill would prevent a tax increase of $383.6 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), and it would prevent the President’s small business tax increase from destroying more than 700,000 jobs and reducing wages for average American workers by 2 percent—outcomes predicted in a recent study by Ernst and Young.

– Pro-Growth Tax Reform — On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 6169, the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012, by a vote of 232-189, I VOTED YES.  H.R. 6169 would provide an expedited pathway to pro-growth tax reform in 2013.  The bill would require the House of Representatives and United States Senate to consider tax reform legislation according to an expedited timeline. Under the bill, expedited procedures would be applied to a tax reform bill containing principles included in the last two House-passed budgets: (1) consolidation of the current individual income tax brackets into not more than two brackets and a top rate of not more than 25 percent; (2) reduction in the corporate tax rate to not more than 25 percent; (3) repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax; (4) broadening of the tax base to maintain revenue between 18 and 19 percent of the economy; and (5) change from a ‘‘worldwide’’ to a ‘‘territorial’’ system of taxation.

  – Agricultural Disaster Assistance — Also on Thursday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 6233, the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012, by a vote of 223-197, I VOTED YES.  H.R. 6233 would provide supplemental funding for drought relief by retroactively reauthorizing expired disaster assistance programs for fiscal year 2012.  The cost of the disaster assistance ($383 million) would be more than offset with reductions in spending for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs ($639 million in savings). The net effect of the spending and offsets would reduce spending over ten years by $256 million.

Highlights of the Week:

– Tuesday, 31 July; met with Army Corps of Engineers representatives and Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio to discuss finalizing agreement on sand transfer plant renovations funding and operations.

-Wednesday, 1 August; participated in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) full committee hearing on sequestration implementation options and effects. It was a very heated hearing because Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jeffrey Zeints was quite partisan in his position of not having any solutions and blamed Republicans for not raising taxes on the top two percent of American wage earners; attended the retirement ceremony of Army Sergeant Major Tammy Coon; participated in Small Business Committee hearing on impact of Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations on small business; addressed the Constituents of Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ilinois) during their Washington Fly-In.

– Thursday, 2 August; participated in the House Armed Services Committee full committee classified briefing on Transition in Afghanistan; participated in House Armed Services Committee Military Personnel subcommittee closed briefing on the Air Force Investigation of the Lackland AFB sexual assault crimes.

– Friday, 3 August; addressed 200 college students from across the country as part of the Young America’s Foundation National Conference at George Washington University.