The Rigell Report: Boston, Benghazi, and the Budget
Sorrow and Bravery in Boston
Last Monday, we watched evil manifest itself near the finish line of the iconic Boston Marathon. Teri and I joined our nation in mourning the loss of life and our prayers continue for those recovering from injuries, and the families of all of the victims. The same is true for the town of West, Texas which is reeling from the fertilizer factory blast that killed and injured so many of its citizens.
The pain and sorrow this week has been great. Yet rising from both tragedies can be seen the noblest expression of humanity and the American spirit: the giving of oneself in service to another.
To all first responders in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District and beyond, thank you. Your service and bravery is a bright, inspiring beacon of hope for every American.
Answers and Accountability in Benghazi
Last Thursday, I had the privilege to meet with Charles Woods, the father of the late Ty Woods, a Navy SEAL who was killed at the annex in the Benghazi attack last fall. Out of respect for Mr. Woods and his family, we had not planned to photograph or publicize the meeting. However, Mr. Woods told us he wanted his story told, and what he shared with us is true: the Obama Administration has not answered fundamental questions about what happened in Benghazi last September, questions which Congress has the authority, and I believe duty, to ask. Those questions include:
• Who made the decision not to send support?
• Would it have taken more than eight hours for support, if ordered, to arrive?
• Why was there no military response to the events in Benghazi?
• Were military assets in the region available? If not, why not?
Though many hours of testimony have been received, not one witness who was directly involved has appeared before any Congressional Committee. For those reasons, I co-sponsored H.Res. 36 to establish a select committee in the House of Representatives to investigate and report on the Benghazi attack. I call on the leadership of the House of Representatives to recognize that its current strategy, though well intentioned, is not sufficient. Leadership needs to bring H.Res. 36 to the floor for a vote. I encourage you to read more about the bill, which currently has more than 80 co-sponsors in the House, on my
Budgets: House, Senate and Administration
We finally have three budgets for consideration: House, Senate, and the Obama Administration. Though the differences among the budgets are significant, the fact that the Senate passed one at all is progress. I also recognize and appreciate that President Obama addressed, albeit modestly, entitlements.
Unfortunately, the President’s budget and the Senate’s budget share the same serious flaw: neither leads to the prosperity, security and bright future that come from a balanced budget, and unfortunately neither is bold enough to protect and strengthen Medicare.
Our nation’s dangerously high debt is a major contributor to the overall climate of uncertainty that plagues our country and is holding back investment and job creation. Getting a handle on our country’s fiscal situation is not the only step needed to restore the vitality of our economy but it is, in my view, a critically important one. That is a principal reason that I strongly support the budget passed by the House of Representatives. Whether one supports the House budget or not, the fact remains that it is the only one of the three that balances the federal budget.
So though I appreciate that the Senate and Administration have presented budgets, I see them as fundamentally flawed because they don’t even presume to balance revenues and expenses.
If our goal from the start is deficit spending, we will surely not only hit that target … we’ll blow right through it.
Ever larger deficits increase uncertainty and hurt the job prospects for every American. Debt, and risk, are increasing. Interest rates can only go one direction: up. When that will happen I do not know, but rates will rise. With the path we’re on now, time is working against us. We can do better!
The duty we have to our children – and our parents – is a powerful incentive for us to work together, as fellow Americans, in wisely addressing our fiscal reality. In serving you I am doing all I can to replace rhetoric with civil, fact-based debate. I do not claim to have all the answers but this I know with certainty: entitlements must be reformed, not only to set us on a better financial path and create jobs, but to ensure that key programs, like Medicare, are available for all Americans, this generation and the next. I am proud of the work we have done on that very challenging issue.
Yes, we’re in a tough spot, but it can be turned around. We can find common ground. We can pass wise legislation that sets us on a better path. Why?
Mindful that I work for you, I remain
Yours in Freedom,
P.S. On a lighter note, you will be pleased to know that my staff and I are well fed, thanks to my wife Teri! to track my snacks!
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