Over the last couple of weeks, the House has passed legislation to take a stand against executive overreach as well as recognize that the Islamic State is committing genocide. In this newsletter, I will outline the recently released Republican Study Committee budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017. I will also offer my comments on the recent terror attack in Belgium, the president’s offshore drilling plan and his nomination to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. Additionally, we have set the schedule for our upcoming series of town hall meetings and I invite you to attend one of our events.
Terror Attack in Brussels
Earlier this week, terror struck the city of Brussels, as multiple explosions killed 31 and injured over 270 people. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims of these terrorist attacks, their families and all of the people of Belgium. These attacks are a painful reminder of a growing global threat that must be stopped. We face an enemy that knows no limit to their hatred and brutality. America will stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies, including Belgium, until radical Islamic terrorism is destroyed. I remain committed to doing all we can to protect and defend our homeland and keep all Americans safe.
Reclaiming the Constitution’s Separation of Powers
Throughout the last several years, we have seen a rise in executive overreach and a disregard for the principles laid out in our Constitution. In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, which challenges the president’s executive actions regarding immigration. The U.S. Constitution clearly states that the legislative branch (Congress) is responsible for writing laws; not the president or the unelected bureaucrats of the executive branch. Last week, the we passed a resolution authorizing the House to file an official amicus brief with the Supreme Court to bolster the argument that only Congress has the authority to overhaul existing laws. The House is using the amicus brief to defend the Constitution from the executive overreach that has plagued Washington for the past few years. We are committed to rein in the out-of-control executive branch and reclaim the principles developed by our founding fathers. This brief will show that the president overstepped his constitutional authority when he put forth his unlawful executive amnesty plan. I, along with my fellow House Conservatives, will continue to pursue all available options to defend the Constitution and protect Americans from the president’s lawless overreach.
Islamic State Committing Genocide
Over the past few years, the Islamic State (IS) has terrorized and controlled vast areas of land in western Iraq and eastern Syria. In the IS-controlled areas, they have established an extreme reign of terror. IS has been systematically targeting Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities by institutionalizing beheadings, slavery, and rape against those who oppose their extremist views. In response to these continued heinous acts, the House unanimously passed a resolution last week declaring the atrocities committed by the Islamic State to be war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Days later, the administration followed the lead of the House and declared these acts to be genocide; finally ending their senseless reluctance to acknowledge these villainous acts. Congress will use these declarations to put additional pressure on the administration to finally take more aggressive military actions against IS. Their assault against these populations is not only a grave injustice to these ancient faith communities – it is an assault on human dignity and an attack on civilization itself.
RSC Budget – Blueprint to Balance 2.0
Current law requires the House to adopt a budget each year. At this time, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) is working with the House Budget Committee, the leadership of the House GOP Conference, and House Conservatives to bring a conservative budget proposal to the floor of the House for a vote. In this regard, each year the RSC prepares a very conservative budget for consideration by the House. This year, the RSC recently published its FY 2017 budget proposal entitled the “Blueprint for a Balanced Budget 2.0”. This budget is full of RSC Member driven initiatives and additional bold ideas to control and prioritize spending in Washington.
The RSC 2.0 budget proposal will balance in eight years, reduce government spending by $8.6 trillion over the next decade, and restore America’s social safety net programs to solvency. It provides for our national security needs and properly funds our military, so America can address the increasing threats we face. The budget calls for pro-growth tax reform that would simplify our broken tax code, make our tax system fairer for American families, eliminate special interest tax breaks, and eliminate the IRS by moving tax collection duties to a new, more efficient tax collection entity. It would rein in Washington bureaucrats by imposing a regulatory freeze until February 2017 (after the inauguration of our next president) and establishing a regulatory budget. It also proposes the enactment of the REINS Act, which requires a congressional vote before any regulatory rule with more than a $100 million of economic impact goes into effect. The budget promotes North American energy production, blocks the Clean Power Plan, and repeals the Renewable Fuel Standard. It calls for a full repeal of the president’s disastrous health care law and implements the RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act in its place. To spur investment in local business, the budget repeals Dodd-Frank and other anti-competitive regulations. The budget embraces free markets by eliminating crony-capitalist programs such as the Export-Import Bank. It would also stop the overreach of the Executive and Judicial Branches, including blocking executive amnesty, protecting life, and defending the Second Amendment.
The Blueprint for a Balanced Budget 2.0 puts forth a bold vision for America with policies that would boost our economy and provide a strong fiscal foundation for generations to come. Throughout the last several years, we have seen many of the conservative principles that we lay out in the RSC budget make their way into future Republican budgets. I am sure that this latest budget proposal will also have an influence on subsequent House budgets, helping drive our Conservative principles. To learn more about the Blueprint for a Balanced Budget 2.0, please visit rsc.flores.house.gov.
Offshore Drilling Plan
Last week, the Department of Interior issued its updated five-year oil and gas drilling plan. Despite previous proposals to open drilling off the Atlantic coast, the administration changed course and decided that it would not permit Atlantic energy. This plan prevents America from continuing its recent progress toward energy security, just like the veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. It is unbelievable that the White House is working to shut the door on energy development opportunities in our Atlantic waters. Instead of appeasing the extreme demands of special interest groups, the president should help Americans by expanding our homegrown energy production. By increasing domestic production we can help hardworking American families by lowering energy prices, improving economic opportunity, creating good jobs, and reducing geopolitical instability around the world.
Supreme Court Vacancy
The unfortunate and unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has left a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Last week, the president nominated a replacement for the open seat. The Senate has the constitutional authority to either confirm or not confirm the president’s nomination. Their role is a critical, constitutional check to prevent the president from controlling the judiciary and to preserve the Court’s impartiality. The next Supreme Court Justice could dramatically change the direction of the court. Therefore, I strongly believe the future of the Supreme Court should be determined by the American people through their election of a new president, who will hopefully nominate a strict constitutionalist to the court. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to stand firm and to defer consideration of a Supreme Court nominee until the American people have elected a new president.
Town Hall Meetings
In the coming weeks, I will be hosting a series of town hall meetings. These meetings will provide me with the opportunity to update you on the work that I am doing in Washington, answer your questions, and, most importantly, to get important feedback about what we can be doing in Washington to improve the everyday lives of hardworking American families. The details of these meetings are included below and I invite you to participate in our events.
Monday, April 4, 2016
6:00 - 7:00 PM
University High School - Auditorium
3201 S. New Road
Waco, TX 76706
Bryan / College Station
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
6:00 - 7:00 PM
American Legion Post 159
101 Waco St.
Bryan, TX 77803
Telephone Town Hall for Travis, Bastrop, Lee, Milam, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
*To sign up to be called to participate in our telephone town hall meetings CLICK HERE.
The House will be in its Spring District Work Period during the next couple of weeks. I will be taking this time to attend several meetings, speak to groups and tour facilities all throughout the district. Also, as mentioned above, I will also be holding our first 2016 series of town hall meetings. I am looking forward to this district work period as it allows me an opportunity to see and hear firsthand what is really important to the constituents of the 17th Congressional District of Texas.
As always, I encourage each of you to continue praying for our country during these challenging times, and for our military personnel and first responders who protect us each day.
Gina, all of our Congressional Team, and I hope that each of you and your families have a Blessed Easter.
With great respect,
Member of Congress