For those behind the lines in the First District – (Guess we should be thankful that we aren’t in the New Fourth District!) we have regular samizdat from our leader: Dr. Congressman Dave Brat…
After a busy couple of weeks back in the district talking with constituents, I returned to Washington, D.C. this week to resume work on the budget. I wanted to give you an update of where we are on that, and let you know about a common sense bill I just introduced that would give Congress a powerful tool against Obama’s illegal overreach on amnesty.
Another Increase in Spending? I said no
The House Budget Committee, of which I’m a member, recently approved a fiscal 2017 budget resolution that provides $1.07 in discretionary spending, keeping to the budget deal that was negotiated by outgoing Speaker John Boehner and President Obama last fall. You may recall that when the bill passed last November, it did so only because of strong Democrat support, and with a majority of Republicans voting no.
Federal spending under this proposal actually increases the deficit by $105 billion at a time when the Republicans have the majority in both houses of Congress — in return for promises of spending cuts in future years. Yep, more promises, and I know that you are tired of broken promises. If Congress were really serious about controlling spending, it would begin by reducing spending this year, and with this budget. For that reason, I voted no on the resolution. House Republicans shouldn’t be a rubber stamp to a budget that Speaker Ryan himself called a “crap sandwich.”
Budgets require decisions – to spend money on certain things and not on others. Every family understands that budgets are necessary – or else there won’t be money left for vital expenses, and having to go without or borrowing to make up the difference. Our government has been refusing to prioritize for quite some time. You know the numbers by now: $19 trillion in debt, and unfunded liabilities around $100 trillion.
I ran on a pledge that I would do everything in my power to reverse this irrational path we’re on. I’ve kept that promise to you — and, as a result, I have some good news to report.
When I voted no on the budget in Committee this week, it paved the way for other Republicans to signal that they too, would not support the proposal in its current form. That led to Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Leader delaying a vote on the budget by the full House. That delay now gives House Republicans achance to construct a more responsible budget that identifies and actually cuts wasteful expenditures.
Now’s our window of opportunity to find innovative solutions that will achieve actual savings. It may take a small miracle, but I believe in those! We’ve also seen how creative leadership can be when it wants to move the priorities of special interests through — just like when they moved heaven and earth to push through the renewal of the Export-Import Bank, the monument to corporate welfare that benefits the few at the expense of the many. Leadership got awfully creative then, and they can do the same again now.
When Congress returns after Easter break, I look forward to working with members who have the political courage — and creativity — to find real solutions to our nation’s spending problem.
My Bill to Strengthen Border Security: the USCIS Act
HR 4791: “Use Spending for Congressional Immigration Supervision Act “
The attacks in Brussels this week were yet another stark reminder of the need for a cohesive and coordinated effort to destroy radical Islamic extremists before more innocents are murdered. Of course, Congress’s first priority must be the safety and security of Americans. It is simple common sense that we need better border security if we have any hope of stopping terrorists from entering and striking us here in our own communities.
Border security is a national security issue. If we’re going to take the ISIS threat seriously, then we have to secure the border. When ISIS says it plans to enter the country through our refugee program, we need to take them at their word. When ISIS says it has trained fighters in automomous cells planning to bring us another 9-11, we need to take them at their word. Congress needs to take up legislation that is already on the table tightening up our refugree and visa programs and, where there are other gaps in security, we need to take immediate action to close them.
Following the law would go a long way toward solving many of the security issues we are facing. Unfortunately, we have a president who is ignoring the law and writing his own to push forward with his “transformational” agenda. Just this month, five Americans were murdered by yet another illegal alien in a two-state killing spree. This is partly the result of a Congress abdicating its responsibility to confront the president on his decision to suspend deportations and the Secure Communities program.
Asserting its role, last week the House passed legislation directing Speaker Paul Ryan to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case regarding the legality of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. While this is a step in the right direction, it’s not nearly enough to stop Obama’s amnesty, and actually creates a precedent to further legitimize the super power of the court and reduce the power of Congress.
Ever since Obama made his first moves on his immigration agenda, Congress has refused to use its most effective tool to confront him in a serious manner. That is why, I have introduced a “power of the purse” bill that would make the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) subject to appropriations, so that it can be held accountable to Congress. This way, it will be possible to defund the agency responsible for implementing the President’s executive overreach on amnesty.
Putting USCIS under appropriations ensures that unelected bureaucrats can be held accountable for their actions and provides transparency as to how the federal government is spending taxpayer money. It also restores Congress’s ability to defend its statutes and decision-making role in immigration policy.
As always, I appreciate your prayers, your calls and letters, and feedback on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Safe travels if you plan to visit loved ones over Spring Break and for the Easter holiday.
PS Sandy, the Washington press corps has a new name for me: “Mr. No.”