Veterans Expo Crestview
Wednesday, July18, 2012
9:00am - 1:00pm
Crestview Community Center
1446 Commerce Drive
Bringing together organizations (Federal, State, non-profits, and businesses that have a dedicated veteran component) for a one day “one-stop shop” venue that will provide information, support and will answer any veteran benefits related questions or issues. More information to follow as these events approach.
Last week, while announcing the President’s decision to take a series of executive actions, the Administration unveiled their latest slogan, “We Can’t Wait.” I agree that we owe it to the millions of unemployed Americans to pass legislation that will help our economy flourish and put them back to work, but using "Executive Powers” without legislative transparency to point the finger at Republicans for a supposed unwillingness to pass legislation to help jump-start our economy is unproductive and insincere. The fact of the matter is that while the Administration was busy trying to come up with its next catch phrase, the House of Representatives passed two more job creating measures. In total, the House of Representatives has passed more than twenty jobs bills that would help put Americans back to work, yet only five of these have been passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President. Currently, eighteen jobs bills are stuck in the Senate awaiting further action (http://majorityleader.gov/JobsTracker). I guess we shouldn’t be surprised about the lack of activity on the other side of the Capitol, given that it has been over 900 days since the Senate last passed a budget.
One of the Executive Orders issued by the President this week was a push to get unemployed veterans back to work. The President “challenged” Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans. I agree that military members with medical training should have an easier time finding employment, which is why I included provisions that would make it easier for them to get the credentials they need to obtain employment in my Veteran’s Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act (http://veterans.house.gov/jobs). And the VOW Act doesn’t stop there. The VOW Act would help train 100,000 unemployed veterans in a full range of job sectors, improve the Transition Assistance Program, and strengthen protections that help National Guard and Reserve troops from losing their jobs while they are deployed.
I fully commend the President for focusing on measures to help get one million unemployed veterans to work. This level of veteran unemployment is unacceptable. Members of the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle understand how vital it is to get unemployed veterans back to work, and that is why the VOW Act passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 418-6. With Veterans Day less than two weeks away, passing the VOW Act in the Senate and sending it to the President’s desk would lay down a significant marker on the road to decreasing veteran unemployment.
I have also introduced a tax incentive to complement the VOW Act, which would not only immediately help veterans, but would also help small businesses grow. The Tax Credit to Hire Veterans Act would provide small businesses with a $25,000 incentive for hiring any unemployed veteran. Additionally, my bill includes provisions that ensure that businesses cannot simply hire a veteran, receive the incentive and then fire the veteran. This substantial tax incentive would allow businesses to use more of their capital to hire unemployed veterans, and provide a double incentive to businesses looking to hire veterans.
Long before the Administration coined its new slogan, the American people have been telling us that we cannot wait to create jobs. House Republicans have understood that we do not have the luxury of standing on the sidelines waiting for the economy to right itself and have taken action. In May, Republicans released the Plan for America’s Job Creators, a comprehensive approach to reducing government barriers to job growth. On numerous occasions, we have answered the call to action by passing jobs legislation, and we continue to do so. On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 1904, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. This bill will pave the way for American businesses to create thousands of jobs delivering approximately $220.5 million in wages every year to American workers. More than $700 million in private funds have already been invested in this project, and over 500 Americans work at the site today. Over the life of the project, the economic benefits will exceed $60 billion and lead to another $19 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, county and local governments.
Passage of H.R. 1904 was followed up with the passage of H.R. 674, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities. H.R. 674 would repeal an unnecessary and burdensome requirement, set to go into effect in January 2013, which would withhold 3 percent of government payments to businesses that provide goods or services to federal, state, or local governments. This withholding tax would reduce the cash flow of businesses that contract with federal, state and local governments and undermine job creation. I believe that the looming implementation of this requirement is contributing to the severe uncertainty facing employers during these challenging economic times. The withholding requirement would also impose substantial costs on federal, state, and local governments, including costs to acquire new software and pay for additional accounting services. I was glad to see the Administration come out in support of House efforts to repeal this withholding tax. H.R. 674 received broad bipartisan support in the House, and there is no reason to add it to the list of bills that are stalled in the Senate.
The President and I may have different ideological viewpoints on how best to help the country, but I agree with him that unemployed Americans can’t continue to wait. The House, Senate, and the Administration must work together to support our nation’s job creators. The President does not need to circumvent the Congress through Executive Orders. House-passed jobs bills that are currently stalled in the Senate, including the VOW Act, would help to create far more jobs than any of the President’s Executive Orders. The House is doing its part, but only until the Senate acts, starts listening to the American people and stops trying to find new ways to delay legislation, will we create the right environment for businesses to thrive and expand their workforce. House Republicans have shown time and again that we are committed to passing legislation to improve our economy as the elected voice of the People. Now, we need the Senate and the Administration to do the same.
Yesterday I joined my colleagues from across the Gulf Coast to introduce the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economy of the Gulf Coast Act of 2011, or the RESTORE Act. The bill would dedicate 80 percent of the fines paid by the responsible parties to the Gulf Coast states for economic and environmental restoration.
RESTORE ACT SUMMARY
The “RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act” is a bipartisan, regional approach that will:
Create the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund
Dedicate 80% of Clean Water Act penalties to be paid by the responsible parties to the restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy
Under current law, the Clean Water Act gives the federal government the authority to fine responsible parties after an oil spill, but these penalties are not returned to the place where the injury occurred. The RESTORE Act will correct this and will establish the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, to which 80% of all civil penalties paid in connection with the Deepwater Horizon spill will be directed.
Provide needed resources to Gulf Coast States to start recovery by allocating:
35% of the funds in equal shares to the five Gulf Coast States for economic and ecological recovery. The bill ensures that funds are spent responsibly and for their intended purpose—restoring and protecting the Gulf Coast. States must spend these funds on economic and ecological recovery activities along the coast, as defined in the legislation.
30% of the funds to be used for the development and implementation of a comprehensive restoration plan, created by a federal/state Gulf Coast Restoration Council with all Gulf States represented on the Council. The Council sunsets once funds are completely expended.
30% of the funds according to an impact driven formula and disbursed to the Gulf Coast States according to plans submitted by the Gulf Coast States and approved by the Council.
Establish a Long Term Science and Fisheries Endowment and Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence, to which 5% of the funds would be allocated.
Five percent of the Fund will be allocated to a Gulf Coast research, science and technology program. The program will establish Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence to advance research, science and technology in the Gulf around specific disciplines. Preference for funding will be given to Gulf Coast organizations and research institutions. Entities created in this section of the bill sunset once all funds are expended.
Tonight, I watched as time stood still. Battle hardened men and women wept. Tears of sadness. Tears of anger. Tears of pain. I watched as three pairs of boots stood in flawless formation on a land far from home. Dusty, still, yet no soldiers stood to fill them. Three helmets atop three rifles inverted upon their bayonets, representing each branch of service that lost a service member – Army, Navy, Air Force. Dog tags hung motionless, occasionally swaying in the gentle breeze that blew across the tarmac as if to remind us that these heroes will never be forgotten. In the background, airplanes could be heard taking off. The mission continued. The Battlefield Crosses stood to memorialize the ultimate sacrifice paid by our fallen soldiers.
These are America’s heroes. Hailing from small town USA, perhaps the family farm, a suburban town, or that inner city neighborhood. They have yet to know a life outside of our nation’s uniform. These young troops chose to serve, went where they were told, performed missions in faraway places most have never heard of, let alone will ever see. It is these men and women who chose to put themselves in harm’s way, who chose to go headfirst into battle so that others may sleep peacefully in their beds knowing that we are safe. These are America’s heroes.
We prayed. We remembered. And we resolved. I had just arrived in the Middle East when news of an American helicopter shot down spread through our group. We knew U.S. troops had been killed, but how many? Who? How? The next day, as we received more detail, I knew our country had suffered a horrific loss, a tragedy. As we set out for their battlefield memorial, I knew I did not know these troops who had fallen. But I know of their sacrifice. I know of their courage. And I know I will carry this moment with me forever as a grave reminder of gracious respect for those who serve and those who sacrifice.
A total of 40 were honored tonight, including 38 from the devastating helicopter attack and two killed in separate incidents. All died fighting a hero’s fight. We do not yet know the full story, but these warriors were part of a rapid response team sent to assist their comrades pinned down by enemy gunfire. It was a fierce firefight. Yet, these troops rushed into battle to save their fellow soldiers, a true testament to their bravery. They died courageously as people of honor, died fighting to protect the ones they loved and the ones they would never know. They died for our country. Come tomorrow, their comrades will carry on, because that is what they do, no matter how hard or how high the cost. As they carry on, they immortalize the sacrifice of their fallen brothers.
40 flag draped caskets, including those of our Afghan compatriots, were placed carefully in the hangar on an air base in Afghanistan, a hangar that no doubt many of these fallen warriors had seen before. This time was different. This time would be their final trip home. These soldiers, sailors, and airmen made their last journey across the ramp, carried by their brothers in arms who will fight on in their wake. They left on two C-17s under the light of a half moon. These brave soldiers, these sailors, these airmen, these heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation. May they rest in peace knowing the world is a safer, better place because of their sacrifice. These are America’s heroes.
Rep. Jeff Miller is in Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation and attended a battlefield memorial for the troops killed this weekend when their Chinook helicopter was attacked in Afghanistan. He wrote this via email.
If we're going to balance the budget and reduce the debt, we have a lot of cutting to do. I would like to know your thoughts on where you feel the cuts should be made. Post your thoughts here. I look forward to hearing your input.
If the President and Congress are serious about reigning in our national debt and putting America back on a sound economic footing for the future, it comes down to three little words: cut, cap, and balance. Washington doesn't have a taxing problem, it has a spending problem. It really is that simple.
Today, House Republicans released our budget for fiscal year 2012 that would cut government spending by more than $6 trillion dollars over ten years. Led by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), we followed through on our promise to scale back the size and scope of the federal government and ensure a sustainable fiscal future for our country. I strongly support the reforms put forward by the 2012 budget resolution, and I am excited to begin working on implementing these reforms over the coming year.
Last year, the Democrat-controlled Congress failed to produce a budget despite their majority in both chambers. In fact, they didn’t even pass a single appropriations bill, leaving us to continue to haggle over the 2011 spending bill, passing six stop-gap measures in the interim. Our 2012 budget puts an end to this practice and is the opening shot in our efforts to dramatically reduce the size of government.
A full copy of the Republican 2012 budget plan can be found here, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the key provisions.
Compared to the President’s budget, our budget resolution cuts $6.2 trillion over the next decade and brings non-security discretionary spending down to below-2008 levels. It reduces the deficit by $4.4 trillion. Our budget plan also simplifies the tax code, lowering the top tax rates on individuals and corporations. It completely defunds and repeals the President’s health care law. The Republican budget also takes the lead on reforming our broken entitlement systems by putting Medicare and Medicaid on a sustainable path to ensure benefits for current enrollees and future generations.
In sum, we face a tipping point in our country. We can either continue down our current path of spending recklessly, or we can work together to reduce federal spending drastically and balance the budget. Tough choices are ahead in the fight over the 2012 budget and its efforts to curtail the size of the government, but I stand ready to work with my colleagues to pass this budget and put America back on the path to economic prosperity.