Washington Update - Discussing Options to Avert the Fiscal Cliff, Honoring WWI Veterans, Opposing UN Control of the Internet

Congressman J. Randy Forbes
2012-12-19 12:55:25
Send me an email | Forward to a Friend Weeks of Dec. 3-7 and Dec. 10-14 Discussed options to avert the fiscal cliff Congressman Forbes continued to review and discuss options to avert the fiscal cliff - the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion known as sequestration scheduled to take place. Additionally, Congressman Forbes put together a primer further discussing the fiscal cliff, to share facts on how these policies might impact you and your job, and to give you insight into his views on and actions to avert our nation’s most pressing and most significant problem.
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Weeks of Dec. 3-7 and Dec. 10-14

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Discussed options to avert the fiscal cliff

Congressman Forbes continued to review and discuss options to avert the fiscal cliff - the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion known as sequestration scheduled to take place. Additionally, Congressman Forbes put together a


Honored our nation's World War I veterans

Congressman Forbes supported the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act, , named in honor of Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I. Mr. Buckles died in 2011 at the age of 110. This legislation creates a commission to oversee preparations for the U.S. centennial commemoration of World War I, as well as establishes a World War I Memorial on the National Mall. More than four million Americans served in the armed forces during the first World War, and U.S. forces suffered 375,000 combat casualties. It is important that we as a nation express our thanks for the immense sacrifice of millions of Americans during World War I. This bill passed by voice vote.


Opposed UN control of the Internet

Congressman Forbes supported a resolution, expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialized agency for information and communication technologies at the United Nations. The ITU held a conference in Dubai to renegotiate a 1988 treaty known as the International Telecommunication Regulations, which was ultimately signed by 89 countries on December 14th. The United States did not sign this treaty due to concerns that the treaty extended UN control over governance of the Internet. This bill passed by a vote of 397-0.

Sandy Hook Shooting

Remembered the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  In response to the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, Congressman Forbes wrote, ‘.’  As a parent and grandparent, Congressman Forbes is grieving along with the rest of the nation as we mourn the loss of those twenty precious children and six brave teachers and school administrators.

Defense

Named as a Conferee for the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.  Congressman Forbes was selected to be a conferee for the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act conference, a bicameral, bipartisan process where the final defense budget bill is decided by select Senate and House members before a final vote in both chambers.

Met with Representatives from the Virginia Ship Repair Association: Congressman Forbes met with Bill Crow, President of the Virginia Ship Repair Association to discuss the economic impact of the ship repair industry in Virginia. The Virginia Ship Repair Association is a regional trade association representing companies engaged in, or supporting, the ship repair industry in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. As the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes is focused on ensuring Virginia's ship repair and maintenance industry remains robust.

Homeland Security

Supported the U.S. Coast Guard. Congressman Forbes supported passage of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, H.R. 2838, which authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard to move forward with important maintenance operations as well as construction, acquisition and navigation aid programs. The U.S. Coast Guard protects our maritime interests across the nation and throughout world. This includes rescue operations, port security and many other responsibilities that place men and women of the Coast Guard in harm’s way. This bill passed by voice vote.

Required spending accountability at Homeland Security.  Congressman Forbes supported the DHS Audit Requirement Target Act, , to require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a new financial management strategy to obtain a clean and complete audit.  It is important that we demand accountability from our government as to how American taxpayer dollars are being spent.  In an effort to improve transparency within the Department of Homeland Security, this bill requires that a report be provided to Congress regarding what is necessary to modernize the Department’s financial systems.  This bill passed by voice vote. 

Reduced burdensome airport screenings.  Congressman Forbes supported the No Hassle Flying Act, , to modify security screening requirements so that international travelers will not be subjected to unnecessary and overly burdensome screenings.  As a result of this bill, an American returning home from abroad will no longer be subjected to additional baggage screening requirements if that individual is coming from a country with sufficient security standards.  This bill passed by voice vote. 

Judiciary
Provided protection for former Presidents. Congressman Forbes supported the Former Presidents Protection Act, , to authorize the Secret Service to protect former Presidents and their spouses for their lifetimes, except that protection of a spouse shall terminate in the event of remarriage; and children of a former President who are under age 16.  Under current law, the Secret Service provides lifetime protection to former Presidents who entered office before January 1, 1997. In 1997, Congress enacted a law that imposed a 10-year limit on Secret Service protection for former presidents after leaving office. As it stands, President George W. Bush would be the first president to not receive lifetime protection.  This bill passed by voice vote.

Ended unnecessary reporting requirements. Congressman Forbes supported a bill, , to eliminate the requirement that state and local governments issue a report to the Department of Justice regarding DNA identification grant programs.  Current law eliminated Justice Department reporting requirements to Congress for the DNA Identification Grants; however, state and local reporting requirements remain intact. This bill passed by voice vote.

Supported implementation of patent treaties. Congressman Forbes supported the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act, , to direct the U.S Patent and Trademark Office to issue regulations and rules creating a domestic application process that complies with the requirements of two treaties ratified by the Senate in 2007 – the Hague System and the Patent Law Treaty. The Hague System regarding industrial design was created to streamline procedures for registering such a design and obtaining protection for it.  The Patent Law Treaty was designed to limit the number of formalities that a country can impose on a foreign patent application and unify the application processes through which applicants can obtain patents internationally.  This bill passed by voice vote.

Immigration

Clarified naturalization test for military translators and interpreters. Congressman Forbes supported a bill, , to clarify that a period of employment abroad by the Chief of Mission or United States Armed Forces as a translator, interpreter, or in an executive level security position is to be counted as a period of residence and physical presence in the United States for purposes of qualifying for naturalization if at least a portion of such period was spent in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Under current law, a person who provides translator or interpreter services to the U.S. armed forces or U.S. diplomatic service in Iraq or Afghanistan is able to count that period toward the "continuous residence" requirement, but not the one-year “continuous physical presence" requirement for U.S. naturalization. This bill passed by voice vote.

Energy

Tackled over-burdensome and unnecessary federal regulations.  Congressman Forbes supported the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, , to clarify federal energy-efficiency standards for water heaters, air conditioners, and commercial refrigerators.  Without this legislation, manufacturers and consumers of these products were left with regulatory uncertainty and higher compliance costs, even requiring manufacturers to use less efficient and dated components.  This bill passed by a vote of 398-2

Oversight

Increased oversight to reduce federal agency spending. Congressman Forbes supported the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act, , which requires the identification of programs in the federal government that have a high likelihood of “improper payments.”  An improper payment occurs when a federal agency pays too much for a product or service, makes a payment to an ineligible recipient, or makes a payment for a good or service that is never received.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that in fiscal year 2011, federal agencies made an estimated $115.3 billion in improper payments.  This bill would require agencies to take precautionary measures before making payments, verifying the eligibility of recipients and reducing the frequency of improper payments.  This bill passed by a vote of 402-0.

Eliminated unnecessary and expensive reporting requirements. Congressman Forbes supported the GAO Mandates Revision Act, , which updates current law to eliminate or modify a number of audits and reports that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) previously had been required to issue each year.  The measure allows GAO to reduce the frequency of several reports, for example, requiring an audit of the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission every three years rather than every year.  This practical measure will ensure that GAO is not issuing reports simply for the sake of reporting, and will enhance the value of each report.  This bill passed by voice vote.

Financial Services

About Washington Update

Washington Update serves as a resource to the constituents of the Fourth Congressional District of Virginia on the work of Congressman Forbes. It is published weekly while Congress is in session. Hyperlinks to bill information are provided if the information disseminated by the House of Representatives is available at the time of distribution.

As always, Congressman Forbes welcomes your comments. To share your thoughts on legislation, votes or issues, please visit
http://randyforbes.house.gov to send an e-mail or call any of Congressman Forbes' three district offices.

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