Washington Update - Blocked Increases to TRICARE Co-Pays and Military Pay Caps, Supported the Passage of the FY14 NDAA, Questioned FBI Director

Congressman J. Randy Forbes
2013-06-22 13:04:07
Send me an email | Forward to a Friend June 3-14, 2013 Twitter Facebook YouTube Digg RSS
Send me an email | Forward to a Friend
June 3-14, 2013 Twitter Facebook YouTube Digg RSS
                                                       
Blocked Increases to TRICARE Co-Pays and Military Pay Caps
Congressman Forbes fought to defeat the President’s proposed changes to military pay which called for a one-percent pay cap, as well as the President’s proposed increases to TRICARE co-pays. Congressman Forbes believes that placing the burden of our fiscal challenges on the backs of our current and former servicemembers is wrong, especially considering the fact that our nation has asked so much of them over the last decade. Defense spending in support of our men and women in uniform is not the cause of our fiscal woes and cutting the benefits earned by our brave servicemembers is not the solution.

                                                       
Supported the Passage of the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act
Congressman Forbes supported the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, , which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, he worked to include within the bill provisions to restore full funding for Navy ship maintenance, protect our Fleet’s readiness, and preserve the ship-repair industrial base.  Key provisions of the NDAA include rejecting a burdensome Base Realignment and Closure process, preventing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, and combating sexual assault by establishing minimum sentencing guidelines for military sexual assault cases and increasing the protections for whistleblowers.  This bill passed by a vote of 315-108. 

                                                       

Questioned FBI Director

During a Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Congressman Forbes questioned FBI Director Mueller regarding whether a search warrant signifies that there is the potential for prosecution, particularly as it related to the case involving reporter James Rosen, as well as the 40% increase in the number of gang members since 2009.  It is important that Congress continues to exercise its oversight of the executive branch.

Veterans

Protected Servicemembers’ Child Custody Rights. Congressman Forbes co-sponsored the Servicemember Family Protection Act, , which prohibits state courts from using past deployments or the possibility of future deployments against servicemembers when making child custody determinations. The Congressman believes that members of our military should not have their custody rights infringed upon while serving our country abroad.

Supported Funding for Military Construction and Programs Serving Veterans.  Congressman Forbes supported the Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for FY2014, , which provides the nation’s military with the infrastructure needed to house, train and equip military personnel, improves the quality of life of our troops, and maintains a strong military base structure. It also funds veterans’ benefits and programs to ensure that all veterans receive the services they need and deserve. The legislation also includes provisions to mandate overtime to expedite compensation claims decisions to address the disability backlog.  This bill passed by a vote of 421-4.

Defense
Received the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award. Congressman Forbes was presented with the Navy’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award, by Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy. The Distinguished Public Service Award is given to an individual who has shown exceptionally distinguished service of substantial and long-term benefit to the United States Navy and Marine Corps. As a longtime member of the House Armed Services Committee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Navy-Marine Corps Caucus, the Congressman has been an outspoken advocate for our nation’s military personnel, veterans, and their families. The Congressman had previously received the award from the Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in 2005.

Demanded Transparency on China’s Military Modernization, Participation in RIMPAC 2014. Congressman Forbes introduced two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014,

Protected The Nation's Aircraft Carriers. Congressman Forbes led the effort to defeat an amendment introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to the FY2014 NDAA,

Delivered Remarks on Long-Range Strategic Planning. Congressman Forbes spoke at an event for the release of a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) titled, “Shaping America’s Future Military: Toward a New Force Planning Construct,” by CSBA Senior Fellow Mark Gunzinger. The Congressman spoke about the looming threat of sequestration and the lack of adequate preparation by the Department of Defense. He said that U.S. national security is greatly compromised by a culture that responds only to the latest crises without a larger vision of where the military should be going to meet the threats of the future. Regarding the current rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, the Congressman emphasized that it is necessary for the United States to anticipate the future military trajectory of Asia and begin building the force structure now that we will need to meet these challenges in the coming decades.

Addressed the Defense Writers Group. Congressman Forbes spoke to a group of about 25 journalists who are part of the Defense Writers Group, answering their questions on defense matters that ranged from the NDAA to broader issues like sexual assault, Guantanamo Bay, cybersecurity, and Syria. The Congressman reiterated his support for our servicemembers, a strong Naval Fleet, and preventing Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to the United States. The Defense Writers Group is an organization of defense journalists from the nation’s leading media outlets.  


Homeland Security                               
Ensured Vital Funding for Securing the Homeland.  Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, , which provides funding for Customs and Border Protection and cybersecurity. The bill seeks to strengthen our border security, ensure communities have access to disaster relief, provide accountability for, and oversight of the TSA, and require the Department of Homeland Security to provide a complete report to the Congress of how much ammunition it uses in its training and operations prior to any new purchases of ammunition.  This bill passed by a vote of 245-182.
Foreign Affairs
Called for New and Tougher Sanctions on North Korea. Congressman Forbes co-sponsored the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, , which cuts off North Korea’s access to its offshore bank accounts and foreign currency to disarm the country through non-military means. The bill raises sanctions against North Korea to a similar level as those against Iran and previously, Burma. North Korea’s continued, aggressive posture has a destabilizing effect on the Asia-Pacific region and directly affects close U.S. allies within the region. These new sanctions can slow North Korea’s progress in its nuclear program and give diplomats the leverage they need to negotiate successfully with North Korea. 

Supported Religious Freedom in Vietnam. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution,

Called for the Release of U.S. Permanent Resident Wang Bingzhang. Congressman Forbes co-signed a


Family Values
Supported School Board Prayer. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, Marsh vs. Chambers.  The resolution also recognizes that prayer is a protected act under the founding principles of our nation and emphasizes the historic tradition of deliberative body prayer.  

Supported the role of fathers. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution,

Opposed human cloning.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Human Cloning Protection Act, , which prohibits the actual or attempted cloning of human beings and prohibits the transport of any periodic serviced from human cloning.  The bill also provides for both civil and criminal penalties for violations.  The process of cloning deliberately creates a human embryo to be destroyed in scientific research.  This bill prohibits cloning human life for the purpose of killing it, while still permitting and encouraging adult stem cell research, which does not create life for the purpose of research.  Adult stem cell research is both ethical and promising.  Over 2,200 adult stem cell clinical trials are ongoing or have been complete and over 50,000 patients are treated with adult stem cells each year.

Energy

Opposed Proposals to Impose a Federal Carbon Tax. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution which expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be harmful to families and businesses and is not in the best interests of the United States.
Oversight of Drug Manufacturing                              
Voted to Secure the Safety of America’s Pharmaceutical Supply Chain.  Congressman Forbes supported the Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceutical Act, , to require the members of the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain to maintain detailed records of the drugs they provide to others in the supply chain and with whom they conduct transfers of drugs — including manufacturers, repackagers, wholesale distributors and dispensers. The bill also provides for the development of an enhanced tracking and tracing system that provides additional safety and security for the nation's drug supply chain.  This bill passed by voice vote.

Reauthorized the Animal Drug User Fee Act. Congressman Forbes supported the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Reauthorization Act,  , which enables the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect fees from the sponsors of animal drug manufacturers to help pay for the review of new drug applications. The program, modeled on the Prescription Drug User Fee Program for human drugs, allows the FDA to reduce the application backlog and improve communications with drug sponsors. This bill reauthorizes the FDA to collect user fees through FY 2018 for applications and requires the Health and Human Services Department to submit annual performance reports to Congress on progress toward expediting new drug applications and fee collection.  This bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent, the House by a vote of 390-12 and was signed into law on 6/13/2013.

Housing

Worked to Improve Soundness of Reverse Mortgage Insurance Program. Congressman Forbes supported the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act, , which further authorizes the Housing and Urban Development Department to establish additional or alternative requirements that it determines are needed to improve the fiscal safety and soundness of the Federal Housing Administration's reverse mortgage insurance program for elderly homeowners.  This bill passed by voice vote.                  

Financial Services

Supported Collaboration between Financial Agencies.   The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires derivatives to be regulated by both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), causing overlap and confusion.  In response, Congressman Forbes supported the Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act, , which requires the SEC and the CFTC to issue rules jointly regarding the application of U.S. swaps requirements to swaps made between the U.S. and foreign entities.  The bill merges the responsibilities of these two bodies to produce a single, collaborative and effective ruling on international derivative swaps and transactions.  This bill passed by a vote of 301-124.

Clarified End User Requirements for Financial Swaps.  Congressman Forbes supported the Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act, , to clarify that certain entities (so-called "end users") that trade in derivatives are not subject to margin requirements for those derivatives.  Companies often exchange derivatives — swap — in order to hedge their risk. Companies that engage in this kind of hedging are considered "end users," as opposed to financial institutions that trade in derivatives in order to make a profit.  The 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation gives the Commodities Future Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission the ability to set margin requirements on derivatives, requiring companies that trade in derivatives to hold a certain percentage of the transaction value as collateral to cover the cost of any future losses on the derivative. H.R. 634 exempts from margin requirements those swaps where one of the counterparties is not a financial entity and is using swaps to hedge commercial risk.  This bill passed by a vote of 411-12.

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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