Washington Update - Working to Prevent Sequestration and Protect Our Military

Congressman J. Randy Forbes
2013-02-24 14:42:01
Send me an email | Forward to a Friend February 4-15, 2013 Working to Prevent Sequestration and Protect Our Military With sequestration just days away, Congressman Forbes continued in his efforts strongly opposing these arbitrary cuts and protecting our nation's armed forces. Congressman Forbes voted against the Budget Control Act, which set up the process of sequestration, and has been warning against the devasting nature of these cuts ever since. Introduced a bill to protect defense from sequestration. Congressman Forbes introduced a bill, H.R.773, to remove the Department of Defense from sequestration. Under sequestration, defense spending will be disproportionately cut, absorbing 50% of the cuts. Spending cuts of this magnitude will not only cripple the economy, but will decimate the military. This bill would reduce the amount of the sequester to $600 billion. Joined bipartisan, bicameral letter on impact of sequestration in Virginia. Congressman Forbes joined Senators Warner and Kaine and Congressmen Wittman, Rigell, Wolf, Scott, Moran and Connolly in writing a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders to express concern about the disproportionate damage sequestration will have on Virginia. Members of the Virginia delegation urged both parties to work cooperatively to end the threat of sequestration. Due to Virginia’s contribution to national defense, the letter notes that over 207,000 Virginia jobs may be lost as a result of sequestration should Congress and the President fail to act. Urged protection of vital defense programs: Congressman Forbes and Congressman Rob Wittman sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging that vital defense programs remain fully funded in the face of looming defense cuts. Among the programs cited as essential to national security were the continued modernization and maintenance of the Navy’s Fleet; completion of refueling and overhauls for the aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln; construction of a new aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy; and ensuring the procurement of additional Virginia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Congressman Forbes is determined to prevent possible defense budget cuts from degrading critical U.S. military capabilities and inflicting unnecessary economic damage on our struggling economy. Met with senior leaders of the Department of Defense. Congressman Forbes met with senior military officers and Pentagon civilian officials to discuss the potential consequences of sequestration and another Continuing Resolution (CR) on U.S. national security. Among those whom the Congressman has met in recent weeks are Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, the Navy’s senior shipbuilding official; Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s senior uniformed acquisition official; Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps; and Lt. Gen. Burton Field, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. The Congressman will continue his consultations with the Pentagon’s senior leadership in the coming weeks as he works to prevent and mitigate the damage of sequestration to our national security. Questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff on DoD’s failure to plan for sequestration: During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior civilian officials as to why the Defense Department has waited until recently to publicly explain the impact of sequestration. Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the DoD has not adequately informed Congress and the public about sequestration’s potential damage to our economy and security. The Congressman will continue to use his leadership position on the House Armed Services Committee to demand accountability from our senior military leadership on issues affecting the national security of the United States. Delayed implementation of health care law to prevent sequestration. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a bill, H.R.607, to delay all provisions of the health care law that are set to take effect in 2014 and 2015 until January 1, 2016, and then use those savings to replace sequestration for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. Not only does this measure stop the destructive effects of these cuts, it gives the Administration time to prepare for the many new provisions of the health care law. Budget Called for a balanced budget. Congressman Forbes supported the Require a PLAN Act, H.R.444, to require the President, if his original budget for Fiscal Year 2014 fails to show balance in any year, to submit a supplemental budget that shows when and how a balanced budget would eventually be reached. This supplemental budget would have to be submitted to Congress by April 1, 2013, and must include an explanation of the differences between the president's original FY 2014 budget and the supplemental budget. This bill passed by a vote of 253-167. Immigration Examined our immigration system. The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the 113th Congress: ‘America's Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.’ During the hearing, Congressman Forbes noted that we currently have a path to citizenship; however, the system is broken. There are nearly 5 million people waiting – some for between 7 and 11 years – for approval of family-based visa petitions. Further, for those who are in this country illegally, and have been convicted of a crime, we need to ensure that they are not permitted to simply remain here without consequence. Foreign Affairs Condemned North Korea for nuclear testing. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution, H.Res.65, Condemning the Government of North Korea for its flagrant and repeated violations of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, for its repeated provocations that threaten international peace and stability, and for its February 12, 2013, test of a nuclear device. This resolution passed by a vote of 412-2. Called for continued investigation of the attack in Benghazi Congressman Forbes co-sponsored a resolution, H. Res 36, to create a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Members of this committee will include the Chairmen and ranking members of the following committees: Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and a few members appointed by the Speaker. The investigation intends to uncover information regarding the timeline of events and how both the executive branch and relative agencies responded to the attack. Urged the Russian Government to re-establish cooperation in adoption of Russian children. Congressman Forbes co-sponsored a resolution, H. Res 24, which urges the Russian government to support inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens. On December 28, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted legislation that bans adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens. This law violates the November 1, 2012 agreement between Russia and the United States regarding cooperation in adoption of children, which permitted inter-country adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens and mandated that both countries must provide one year notice of intent to terminate the agreement. In Russia, there are nearly 740,000 children living without parental care. Over the last two decades, more than 60,000 Russia-born children have found homes with American families. Tragically, enactment of this law means thousands of Russian orphans will unnecessarily remain without a loving family. Insisted on the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Senator Kerry urging him to utilize every possible option to secure the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. On September 26, 2012 Pastor Abedini was taken custody when his parents’ home was raided. In the following months, he has experienced solitary confinement, beatings, and aggressive interrogations in Evin Prison in Iran. Every American citizen traveling or living abroad should have the assurance that the U.S. government will come vigorously to his or her defense if they are unjustly detained or imprisoned. Healthcare Supported Legislation to Repeal the Individual and Employer Mandates. Rep. Forbes cosponsored the Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act, H.R 582, to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates. Following its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to maintain and provide minimum essential health insurance coverage for themselves and dependents, as well as mandates that employers who have a workforce of 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance coverage for their employees. Both individual and employer alike can be fined if they fail to meet these coverage requirements.
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Working to Prevent Sequestration and Protect Our Military

With sequestration just days away, Congressman Forbes continued in his efforts strongly opposing these arbitrary cuts and protecting our nation's armed forces.  Congressman Forbes voted against the Budget Control Act, which set up the process of sequestration, and has been warning against the devastating nature of these cuts ever since. 

Introduced a bill to protect defense from sequestration. Congressman Forbes introduced a bill, , to remove the Department of Defense from sequestration.   Under sequestration, defense spending will be disproportionately cut, absorbing 50% of the cuts.   Spending cuts of this magnitude will not only cripple the economy, but will decimate the military.   This bill would reduce the amount of the sequester to $600 billion.

Joined bipartisan, bicameral letter on impact of sequestration in Virginia.   Congressman Forbes joined Senators Warner and Kaine and Congressmen Wittman, Rigell, Wolf, Scott, Moran and Connolly in writing a to President Obama and congressional leaders to express concern about the disproportionate damage sequestration will have on Virginia. Members of the Virginia delegation urged both parties to work cooperatively to end the threat of sequestration. Due to Virginia’s contribution to national defense, the letter notes that over 207,000 Virginia jobs may be lost as a result of sequestration should Congress and the President fail to act.

Urged protection of vital defense programs.  Congressman Forbes and Congressman Rob Wittman sent a to the House Appropriations Committee urging that vital defense programs remain fully funded in the face of looming defense cuts. Among the programs cited as essential to national security were the continued modernization and maintenance of the Navy’s Fleet; completion of refueling and overhauls for the aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln; construction of a new aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy; and ensuring the procurement of additional Virginia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Congressman Forbes is determined to prevent possible defense budget cuts from degrading critical U.S. military capabilities and inflicting unnecessary economic damage on our struggling economy.

Met with senior leaders of the Department of Defense.  Congressman Forbes met with senior military officers and Pentagon civilian officials to discuss the potential consequences of sequestration and another Continuing Resolution (CR) on U.S. national security. Among those whom the Congressman has met in recent weeks are Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, the Navy’s senior shipbuilding official; Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s senior uniformed acquisition official; Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps; and Lt. Gen. Burton Field, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. The Congressman will continue his consultations with the Pentagon’s senior leadership in the coming weeks as he works to prevent and mitigate the damage of sequestration to our national security.

Questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff on DoD’s failure to plan for sequestration: During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior civilian officials as to why the Defense Department has waited until recently to publicly explain the impact of sequestration. Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the DoD has not adequately informed Congress and the public about sequestration’s potential damage to our economy and security. The Congressman will continue to use his leadership position on the House Armed Services Committee to demand accountability from our senior military leadership on issues affecting the national security of the United States.

Delayed implementation of health care law to prevent sequestration.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored a bill,

Budget

Called for a balanced budget. Congressman Forbes supported the Require a PLAN Act, , to require the President, if his original budget for Fiscal Year 2014 fails to show balance in any year, to submit a supplemental budget that shows when and how a balanced budget would eventually be reached.  This supplemental budget would have to be submitted to Congress by April 1, 2013, and must include an explanation of the differences between the president's original FY 2014 budget and the supplemental budget.  This bill passed by a vote of 253-167.

Immigration

Examined our immigration system.  The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the 113th Congress: ‘America's Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.’  During the hearing, Congressman Forbes noted that we currently have a path to citizenship; however, the system is broken.  There are nearly 5 million people waiting – some for between 7 and 11 years – for approval of family-based visa petitions.   Further, for those who are in this country illegally, and have been convicted of a crime, we need to ensure that they are not permitted to simply remain here without consequence.    

Foreign Affairs

Condemned North Korea for nuclear testing.  Congressman Forbes supported a resolution, H.Res.65, Condemning the Government of North Korea for its flagrant and repeated violations of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, for its repeated provocations that threaten international peace and stability, and for its February 12, 2013, test of a nuclear device.  This resolution passed by a vote of 412-2.

Called for continued investigation of the attack in Benghazi Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, , to create a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Members of this committee will include the Chairmen and ranking members of the following committees: Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and a few members appointed by the Speaker. The investigation intends to uncover information regarding the timeline of events and how both the executive branch and relative agencies responded to the attack.

Urged the Russian Government to re-establish cooperation in adoption of Russian children. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, , which urges the Russian government to support inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens. On December 28, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted legislation that bans adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens.  This law violates the November 1, 2012 agreement between Russia and the United States regarding cooperation in adoption of children, which permitted inter-country adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens and mandated that both countries must provide one year notice of intent to terminate the agreement. In Russia, there are nearly 740,000 children living without parental care. Over the last two decades, more than 60,000 Russia-born children have found homes with American families. Tragically, enactment of this law means thousands of Russian orphans will unnecessarily remain without a loving family.

Insisted on the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini Congressman Forbes signed a

Healthcare

Supported Legislation to Repeal the Individual and Employer Mandates.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act, , to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates. Following its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to maintain and provide minimum essential health insurance coverage for themselves and dependents, as well as mandates that employers who have a workforce of 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance coverage for their employees.  Both individuals and employers alike can be fined if they fail to meet these coverage requirements. 

Supported Medical Education at the Graduate Level. Congressman Forbes voted to reauthorize the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education (GME) Payment Program which provides financial support to hospitals that have graduate level residency programs. The Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013,
This bill passed by a vote of 525-50.

Authorized NIH to establish a National Pediatric Research Network.  Congressman Forbes supported the National Pediatric Research Network Act, This bill passed by a vote of 375-27.

Manufacturing

Received the National Association of Manufacturers Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. Congressman Forbes was awarded The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence, which salutes members of Congress whose voting record consistently supports a pro-jobs, pro-manufacturing agenda. Throughout his time of service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Forbes has consistently championed job growth in the manufacturing industry and is being honored with this award based on his voting record on important manufacturing issues, ranging from energy to federal regulations.  The Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence is given to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who have demonstrated an excellent understanding of manufacturing’s key role in our economy and society through their voting records.

Labor

Regulatory Reform

Government Reform

Family Values

Worked to preserve a memorial to World War II veterans.  Congressman Forbes joined 10 Members of the House of Representatives in signing an brief that urged a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a World War II memorial statue of Jesus in Montana’s Flathead National Forest.  The brief, filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), explains that the Constitution does not require that government property be stripped of all displays that have religious meaning.  The Knights of Columbus erected the statue in the early 1950s in honor of the WWII veterans who saw similar statues as symbols of hope while they were stationed in Europe.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit, arguing that the statue’s presence on public land is a government endorsement of Christianity and therefore violates the Establishment Clause.        

Prevented discrimination against unborn children on the basis of sex or race. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), , which would prohibit a woman from being coerced into aborting her unborn child because of the child’s sex or race.  A woman on whom such an abortion is performed would not be held liable.  However, PRENDA would prohibit a physician from knowingly participating in such a procedure, and would hold an individual liable who coerces a woman to have such a procedure.  Although the United States regularly condemns other countries for practicing sex-selection abortions, we do not have a law in place in our own country that prohibits this behavior.  The House of Representatives previously passed a resolution to condemn China for these practices, while failing to protect against the practice here at home.

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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