Friday, July 3, 2015
By Gary L. Bauer
Unlike the Iraqi military, the Kurds are a competent fighting force. But the report notes that they are fighting ISIS, which has captured a lot of modern U.S. military equipment, with old Soviet-era weaponry. They need help.
President Obama insists he does not want to put boots on the ground in Iraq. Fine. But at least give those willing to fight these barbarians the weapons they need to win!
Not surprisingly, our Arab allies are furious. One senior Arab official told The Telegraph:
"If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat. With ISIL making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face."
"ISIS is not just opposite the Golan Heights. At the moment it is also in Egypt, opposite Rafah, facing our borders, and we are joined with Egypt and with many other countries in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against the extremist Islamic terrorism that is guided by two elements -- Iran and the Shiite extremists, and ISIS and the Sunni extremists -- as well as other factions such as Hamas."
By Delegate Bob Marshall
As we mark our Nation's birthday on July 4th, we might benefit by reflecting on the words of American Patriot Thomas Paine:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. . . ."
It is easy to be discouraged when we consider that today there are threats to Liberty, coming not just from hostile foreign powers, but also from federal judges as well as indolent Members of Congress and state legislators who prefer to "go along to get along," rather than stand up for the Rights that come from our Creator.
Think back to the fact that our Founders measured their grievances against Great Britain by the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God." And further, that they placed their hope and success for the war efforts, on "a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
We must do the same. Happy Independence Day!
July 3, 2015
Today, I still feel the same sense of hope on the Fourth of July. Though today, I know what it is that I'm captured by: it's the spirit of American exceptionalism.
Critics knock the concept of exceptionalism because they say it expresses arrogance. But exceptionalism doesn't mean we are better, it means our nation is unique. American exceptionalism has everything to do with our origins. 239 years ago, our nation put its foot down against the rule of King George and we defeated the greatest superpower of that day. Our strategy for independence was novel. We relied on consensus, intellect, and courage.
The American experiment is unique because we were founded on the principles of liberty, opportunity, prosperity, and responsibility. Before America, no government in the history of the world had successfully committed to a limited, accountable government of the people, by the people, for the people. Perhaps even greater than that, no government had acknowledged that its citizens had God-given, inalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that could not be stripped away.
The greatness of America was birthed when quills were scratched on parchment as our Founders signed the Declaration of Independence and set in motion a nation that would become a beacon of peace and freedom to the world. The American experiment is distinct, and so it is exceptional.
Some say American exceptionalism is on the decline. Watching the news or looking around in Washington, it's easy to feel that way and to be discouraged. Many Americans face this weekend with deep concerns over our country's future and heavy hearts about the world we will leave our children to face. I share those concerns. Sometimes it feels like our country is slipping through our fingers. Yet, I still see expressions of American exceptionalism every day. I see it when families come together to start a business and work hard to turn a dream into a reality. I see it when communities pull together in the aftermath of tragedy or national disaster. I see it when individuals give their time and talent to different charities, expecting nothing in return. I see it when we make scientific discoveries, when we stand for the oppressed, when we fight for religious freedom, and when we build strong futures for our families. As Americans, we offer unique contributions that collectively build the American spirit.
And on the Fourth of July, I see it when we wave our American flags and stand a little taller in the face of Old Glory. I see it when our kids paint their faces with brightly colored red, white, and blue, expressing the innocence, hardiness, valor, vigilance, and justice for which our nation stands. I see it when we pause to shake the hand of a veteran, or bow our heads in prayer for those on the frontlines, far from their families today.
Exceptionalism cannot be stripped away because it is a part of our origins. The greatness of a nation comes from its foundation. Yet, we cannot treat our national values as a trophy to be set on the shelf and admired. We as a nation have a responsibility to cultivate them.
You see, the exceptional nature of our nation wasn't freely given. It was earned. Our Founding Fathers risked everything for it. They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors over a fragile document that declared our nation independent. Our men and women in uniform still risk everything for it today.
Our exceptionalism depends greatly on our willingness to defend it. If we allow ourselves to stray from our founding principles, then we are less likely to use them as a measuring stick as we make decisions about the future of our nation. A renewing of the American spirit starts by remembering who we are. Pulitzer prize winning historian Michael Kammen said "A civilization without memory ceases to be civilized. A civilization without history ceases to have identity. Without identity there is no purpose; without purpose civilization will wither."
This Fourth of July, let us be captivated by the celebration and magic of the day, but let us too remember where we've been, for it will guide us forward. Let us teach our children about our national identity and unique heritage. Let us look the future squarely in the face and recommit to fighting for the principles of liberty, justice, and limited, accountable government this nation was founded on. America has pulled through tough challenges in the past. America can do it once again, if we remember who we are and return to the ideals that made us exceptional in the first place. That is why, despite the challenges, we are able to look forward with hope and confidence -- because we are Americans, and because this grand experiment in liberty and democracy that we call America was worth fighting for in 1776, and is worth fighting for today.
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Congressman Robert Hurt Introduces Legislation to Give Private Property Owners a Voice in Shoreline Management Plan Development
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) recently introduced the Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement (SHORE) Act, H.R. 2929, along with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia), and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma). This legislation would amend the Federal Power Act to ensure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) considers private property ownership rights when issuing a license or enforcement action over hydro-power projects at Smith Mountain Lake and other similar areas throughout the country. Congressman Hurt said:
"The input I receive from Fifth District Virginians is my single greatest resource as a member of Congress. A group of citizens in the Smith Mountain Lake area came to me to express concerns about the unnecessary burdens and costs to residents caused by FERC regulations that are significantly impeding their private property rights. FERC requires hydropower licensees to file and abide by Shoreline Management Plans. These plans regulate activities that are not related to hydroelectric power production which can result in the removal of docks and other private recreational facilities. As it stands now, FERC is not required to even consider private property owners' rights when issuing a license or enforcement action. The SHORE Act is a direct response to FERC's absence of consideration of private property rights in the licenses for hydro-power projects in the Fifth District and other areas of the country. Property owners deserve a say in this process given that it can have such a significant and direct impact on them.
"Excessive federal overreach continues to contribute to our stalled economic recovery, holding us back from the job growth we so desperately need. The SHORE Act will help protect the private property ownership rights of individuals and small businesses so that overreaching federal regulations will not impede their ability to enjoy their private property, expand their businesses, and create jobs at a time when far too many Fifth District Virginians are out of work. I thank Congressmen Butterfield, Goodlatte, Griffith, and Mullin for their support as we work to move this bill through the legislative process and ensure that FERC considers private property rights when licensing hydro-power projects."
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina said, "Property owners' rights and concerns must be given sufficient weight in regulating docks, dredging, shoreline stabilization and other projects along waterfront properties near hydropower dams. Amending the Federal Power Act, through this bill, will ensure that. This legislation will benefit North Carolinians who live along Kerr Lake and Lake Gaston."
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) stated, "If you like your dock, you should be able to keep it. I applaud Congressman Hurt for introducing the SHORE Act. This common sense bill protects the rights of property owners in the Commonwealth and throughout the nation in a practical manner from the harmful impact of federal regulations."
Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia) said, "Under Virginia common law, the laws regarding real property which lays under water can be complex and confusing. Not only do I believe that FERC regulations on the shores of our lakes are sometimes arbitrary and capricious, but their actions may also be an unlawful taking without just compensation depending on the status of the title of the real estate involved."
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) added, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an agency that was meant to regulate the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil and the licensing of hydropower. But, the agency now regulates well beyond what federal law and statute had intended. The SHORE Act is the type of common sense legislation I came to Washington to fight for, and I applaud Representative Hurt for taking the lead on this important bill that would put power back into the hands of private property owners and local economies."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) today released his June Video Address. Text of the address is available below, as well as video. You may view the video by clicking the image below, or by clicking here.
"Hi, I'm Robert Hurt. Thank you for tuning into our Monthly Video Address for the month of June.
"Today, I am at the Buckingham County Courthouse in the heart of Virginia's Fifth District. Designed by Thomas Jefferson and originally constructed in 1824, this beautiful building is one of the only two Virginia courthouses that were actually designed by Jefferson himself. The other courthouse he designed is also still in use and is located in nearby Charlotte Court House in Charlotte County -- and also in Virginia's Fifth District.
"The original Buckingham Courthouse, along with all of its records, burned in 1869 but was rebuilt in 1873 and continues to serve the people of Buckingham today. Prompted by the speculation that the current 1873 structure did not match the original 1824 design described in letters written by Jefferson, a team of archaeologists from Longwood University rediscovered and preserved the original footprint of the courthouse in 2003. Today, you can visit the courthouse and see their work. If you have not had the opportunity to visit the historic Buckingham County Courthouse or the Charlotte County Courthouse, I would encourage you to do so.
"Back in Washington, a lot has happened during the month of June, including the notable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld the President's healthcare law. This was disappointing news to me based upon the fact that so many of the people I represent continue to be negatively impacted by this law. We continue to see employers being forced to cut working hours for their employees; we see families unable to keep healthcare plans they have always counted on; and we see unsustainable increases in insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. It was my hope that the Court would reach a different conclusion about the constitutionality of this law and give the Congress and the American people the opportunity to begin work on the passage of positive healthcare reform that would actually result in higher quality of care and lower healthcare costs for the American people.
"However, despite the Court's adverse ruling, the House of Representatives continued its work to minimize the harmful effects of the healthcare law on the American people. This month, the House passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act to repeal significant tax increases imposed by the healthcare law on medical devices ranging from dentures to pacemakers to MRI machines. The House also voted to repeal provisions of the law creating the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Pursuant to the healthcare law, this panel of fifteen unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats has been given a staggering amount of control over the care Medicare patients receive. I supported both of these measures and will continue to support proposals that minimize the healthcare law's negative impact on the American people.
"In addition to the growing concern among my constituents about the impact of the President's healthcare, I also hear growing concern about the overreach of the federal government in the lives of the citizens it is supposed to serve. This month, Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and I introduced the SHORE Act. This bipartisan legislation amends the Federal Power Act to ensure that private property ownership rights are considered when issuing a license or enforcement action over hydro-power projects at Smith Mountain Lake and similar projects across the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill through the House of Representatives and the Senate -- with the hope that we can get it to the President's desk for signature.
"On a lighter note, just last week, I was pleased to welcome our Fifth District Congressional Art Competition winner Sheridan Santinga to the Capitol for a reception recognizing her work. Sheridan is a recent graduate of Madison County High School, and her painting "Calico Summer" is now on display in the Capitol, where it will be viewed by the thousands of people who visit each year. You can also view her winning painting on our website.
"Finally, please join me in congratulating Coach Brian O'Connor and the University of Virginia baseball team on its stunning victory in the College World Series in Omaha. With their first-ever national championship, the team has made all of us in the Commonwealth proud.
"In conclusion, please remember that if you are planning a visit to our nation's capital this summer to contact us to see how we may be of assistance -- we are always glad to see folks from home. If we may ever be of service to you in any other way, please contact us at one of our district offices or at our Washington office.
"We can always be reached at our website at hurt.house.gov -- where you can also sign up for regular legislative updates. And don't forget to join the conversation on our social media pages.
"Once again, thank you for tuning in to our June video address."
It is especially concerning this week given the urgent warnings of law enforcement officials that ISIS may attempt to carry out terrorist attacks during the July 4th celebrations, hoping to inflict mass casualties.
But let's set aside those concerns for now to celebrate America -- our patriotism, our history, the tremendous courage, faith and sacrifices of our Founding Fathers and America's 239th birthday.
By all means, enjoy the Fourth of July! But please remind your children and grandchildren about America's exceptionalism and the significance of Independence Day. Tell them about America's "values statement," found in the second paragraph
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . "
" we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The mass disenfranchisement of men and women of faith was a chilling exercise of raw political power more suited to tin pot thugs and dictators. It was a sad day for freedom and self-governance.
This July 4th may well be one of the most important in our history. The values that birthed this great nation are under siege at home and abroad. Our future depends on whether folks like you and me can rediscover the courage of our Founding Fathers and reclaim our country.
I'll close with a word of encouragement to our pastors, who, now more than ever, are on the front lines of the culture war given the assault on marriage and religious liberty.
John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, a lesser-known hero of the War for Independence, was a pastor and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1775, he preached a sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1 -- "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven."
Pastor Muhlenberg closed his sermon with these words:
"In the language of Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight."
He then removed his clerical robes and revealed to the congregation that he was wearing the uniform of an officer in the Continental Army.
Pastor Muhlenberg's example of a man of God fighting for our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should give increased fervor and devotion most especially to those who lead us in the fight for faith, family and freedom.
Like few times in our nation's history, this is a time to fight for the values we cherish!
God bless you, my friends, and may God bless the United States of America!
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Since its implementation, the President's healthcare law has time and again harmed, rather than helped, the overwhelming majority of Americans. The policies put forth in Washington have real, painful effects on Fifth District Virginians, and I am committed to repealing this law and replacing it with market-based solutions to lower costs and improve access to quality healthcare for all Americans.
The President's healthcare law contains a wide variety of harmful provisions, including more than a dozen tax increases. Last Thursday, the House passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act to repeal one such tax increase within the President's healthcare law – the medical device tax. The tax was imposed on medical devices that range from dentures to pacemakers to MRI machines. These devices not only save lives and improve patients' health, but the makers of these items employ hundreds of thousands of Americans. Imposing an additional tax hinders those jobs, innovation, and patient care. I was proud to cosponsor this legislation and see it pass the House with wide bipartisan support. It is my hope that the Senate joins us in passing this legislation to send it to the President's desk.
This week, I will join my colleagues in the House to mitigate yet another harmful portion of the President's healthcare law. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a panel of fifteen unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that will be given a staggering amount of control over the care Medicare patients receive. The law grants these individuals substantial authority to slash Medicare payments to providers or eliminate payments for certain treatments and procedures altogether. Congress should instead be making such significant decisions about the services Medicare patients receive - not a panel of unelected appointees that cannot be held accountable by the American public. The IPAB is just another example in the healthcare law that reinforces the fundamental difference between this Administration's view that Washington knows best and my view that the American people that know best.
These two bills are small steps in the right direction toward protecting the people from the negative impacts of this fundamentally flawed law. But much more must be done to reverse all the harm this law has created by massively expanding the size, scope, and reach of the federal government into such personal matters. We have to implement real healthcare reform that actually reduces the cost of care, premiums, and deductibles and does not separate patients from their doctors. I remain committed to reforms that are patient-centered and market-oriented to deliver the healthcare system the American people deserve.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act, H.R. 1190, which would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) established by the President's healthcare law:
"The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a panel of fifteen unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that will be given a staggering amount of control over the care Medicare patients receive. The President's healthcare law grants these appointed individuals substantial authority to slash Medicare payments to providers and eliminate payments for certain treatments and procedures altogether while minimizing the role of Congress in this process. Decisions regarding the services Medicare beneficiaries receive should go through Congress – not a panel of unelected appointees who cannot be held accountable by the American public. Despite this Administration's continued insistence that Washington knows best, IPAB does not represent the best interests of the American people. I was proud to cosponsor this legislation and see it pass the House with bipartisan support. While we work to replace the President's healthcare law with substantive reform based upon market-oriented principles, I remain committed to minimizing its harmful effects on the American people."
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Ratepayer Protection Act, H.R. 2042, which would ensure that no states are required to implement a plan mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s carbon dioxide emission rule if it would have a negative effect on retail, commercial, or industrial electricity rates or the reliability of the state's electricity system:
"Every day, burdensome EPA rules and regulations hinder job growth and continue to make life more difficult in Virginia's Fifth District. One such example is the Clean Power Plan, which comes with enormous costs to states and American consumers and will have serious negative effects on our struggling economy. The American people should not be forced to comply with a Washington engineered plan that will unduly increase the cost of energy.
"This legislation will require a judicial review of this excessively burdensome scheme and protect states from being forced to implement a plan that would harm its energy affordability or reliability. In doing so, it preserves the states' responsibility for oversight of electricity systems and protects American consumers from increased energy costs. It is a reasonable step to ensure that states will not be forced to endure unnecessary economic strains. I am pleased that this legislation passed the House today with bipartisan support, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to prevent government overreach that will further harm our economy."
Thursday, June 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after the Supreme Court rendered its decision upholding the President's healthcare law:
"Today's Supreme Court decision is disappointing news for the people I represent, so many of whom continue to be negatively impacted by the President's healthcare law. We continue to see employers being forced to cut working hours for their employees; we see families being unable to keep healthcare plans they have always counted on; and we see unsustainable increases in insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
"Today's decision does nothing to change these facts. We in the House of Representatives must continue to pass measures that will minimize this fundamentally flawed law's effects on the American people while we work to replace the President's healthcare law with substantive reform based upon market-oriented principles."
June 29, 2015
Family Research Council Commends Texas Officials for Declining to Blindly Follow Five Justices
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement calling the U.S. Supreme Court ruling an act of "lawlessness" and provided guidance that "county clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex 'marriage' licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued the following statement in response:
"I find it refreshing and encouraging that state officials are declining to blindly follow five justices who have redefined society's most fundamental institution -- marriage. The Court got it wrong in their ruling and they got it wrong in thinking their edict would force Americans to accept same-sex 'marriage' and the corresponding loss of their most basic freedoms. States must ensure the government does not use this ruling to discriminate against those who continue to believe in natural marriage," concluded Perkins.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins responded today to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision forcing the people in all 50 states to embrace same-sex "marriage," regardless of their votes to define marriage in their states as a man-woman institution.
Of the decision FRC President Tony Perkins said:
"Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.
"In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.
"No court can overturn natural law. Nature and Nature's God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court.
"Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.
"It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.
"Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter. The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.
"With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America's cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
"Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision. Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein."We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman," concluded Perkins.
Family Research Council's amicus brief in this case can be found here: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=LK15F126