Saturday, August 30, 2014

Promoting Policies to Allow our Family Farms to Prosper

Congressman Robert Hurt

Weekly Column 08/25/14


This past week on our Route 15 Agriculture Tour, I traveled across the Fifth District making over 30 stops in Madison, Rappahannock, Fauquier, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Cumberland, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Appomattox, Pittsylvania, Charlotte, Mecklenburg, and Danville.  I met with farmers and members of the agriculture community at dairy farms, tobacco farms, cattle farms, cattle auctions, orchards, vineyards, rural country stores, greenhouse operations, and farming equipment distributors.  


Agriculture is the backbone of our economy in Virginia, with an annual economic impact of $52 billion, and it is vital that we advance policies that support, not impede, our family farmers.  Last week’s Agriculture Tour was an important opportunity to listen to Fifth District Virginians about their concerns and hear exactly how the policies coming out of Washington are affecting their farming operations and businesses.


When I visited a cattle farm in Appomattox, I spoke with the farmer about the rising cost of fuel, which is among his largest expenses as it powers the tractors and vehicles that allow him to transport hay and cattle.  At a vineyard in Fauquier, I heard about their health insurance premiums rising 70 percent.  I talked with the owner of another vineyard in Pittsylvania County about how his family has transitioned from growing tobacco to grapes.  In each of these instances, the federal government's policies are making it more difficult for these family farms to succeed.


Preserving and fostering our great legacy of family farming in Virginia is one of my top priorities, and as I met with farmers across the district this past week, it remains clear that the federal government is often out of touch with the needs of our family farmers and agribusinesses.


Agricultural producers are substantially impacted by the tax, energy, and regulatory policies coming out of Washington.  Since I took office, I have worked to promote policies that make it easier for our family farms to succeed.  I introduced a bipartisan bill, the Preserving Rural Resources Act, to ease regulatory burdens on how farmers use their land for normal agricultural activities and co-sponsored legislation to reform our convoluted tax code with one that is fairer and simpler for all Americans.   I have also co-sponsored several bills to maximize our domestic energy supply to help bring down the cost of fuel, reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of oil, and create jobs in Virginia.


Increasing our energy independence, reforming our tax code, and reducing unnecessary government regulations that burden family farms in the Fifth District will enable agriculture to continue thriving in Central and Southside Virginia.  I appreciated the opportunity to meet with so many hardworking Fifth District Virginians during our district work weeks, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to put forth policies that support our robust agriculture industry.


If you need any additional information, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Virginia Gov. Puts Emergency Care for Women on Hold

Family Research Council

How much political cover can $1.7 million buy Planned Parenthood? That's how much America's leading abortion provider gave to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's election campaign, and judging by how recklessly he's working to roll back common-sense regulations on abortion providers, the answer seems to be: quite a lot.

Before McAuliffe was elected, the Virginia General Assembly passed abortion regulations in the wake of revelations the now infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell's "house of horrors." (Gosnell would ultimately be convicted on three counts of manslaughter and is now serving time.) A lot of state legislatures responded by plugging holes in their statutes recently: In the past four years, 226 pro-life state bills passed -- the four best years for pro-life state measures since Roe v. Wade -- and that doesn't even begin to count the number of states where pro-abortion governors and health officials quietly revised their regulations. (Maryland's Health Department, for example, made it illegal to transport women, mid-abortion, across state lines in order to dodge tighter abortion laws in other states.)

Gov. McAuliffe quickly appointed new members to the Virginia state Board of Health and charged them with re-examining the new regulations -- regulations that require abortion providers to meet basic health and safety requirements for ambulatory surgical centers in Virginia. One example is requiring hallways wide enough to move a patient to an ambulance in case of complications. This isn't a theoretical concern: A woman bled to death in Gosnell's Philadelphia clinic when EMT's had to clear cramped and cluttered hallways before wheeling her out.

Ironically, one of the abortion providers McAuliffe is protecting was charged in Maryland with transporting women across state lines during their abortions to dodge state abortion laws. Dr. Steven Brigham now operates two abortion facilities in Virginia, even though he's had his license to perform abortions revoked, suspended, or allowed to lapse in multiple states. Brigham has been kicked out of Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, but although his medical license was revoked in Virginia he has been allowed to continue operating abortion facilities in the state.

Gov. McAuliffe claims his pro-abortion policies make him an advocate for women. How many Virginia women will have to die before he shakes off Planned Parenthood's hush money and stops defending abortionists like Steven Brigham?

Congressman Robert Hurt's July Monthly Video Address


Friday, August 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) July Video


Congressman Robert Hurt's Statement on House Passage of Legislation to Address Border Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 5230 and H.R. 5272, which address the current immigration crisis at our southern border:


“There is no denying that we face a crisis at our southern border as thousands have streamed into our country illegally, overwhelming our nation’s resources and often endangering the lives of the young children who make the illegal journey.  This crisis is largely attributable to our country’s failure to secure our border and refusal to adhere to our immigration laws under the leadership of our president, who chooses to undermine both our border security and the rule of law – policies that invite the poor and the desperate from foreign countries to cross our borders illegally – making this a crisis of his own creation. 


“The bills passed by the House tonight seek to address the root causes of the crisis and stop the flow of illegal border crossings by giving targeted resources to bolster our border security personnel, allowing border states to deploy the National Guard, and implementing meaningful reforms that will discourage, rather than encourage, illegal migration.  I call on our colleagues in the Senate and the White House to join us in embracing an immigration policy rooted in the rule of law, put an end to illegal immigration, and repair our broken legal migration system.”


Clinton Bragged While New York Burned

 Gary L. Bauer
American Values

“He's a very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him - and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him.”

Those are the words of former President Bill Clinton speaking to an audience of businessmen in Australia on September 10, 2001.

The “very smart guy” Clinton “could have killed”? That was Osama bin Laden who, just a few hours later, would become responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans in the most devastating attack on American soil in history.

Audio of Clinton’s speech became public yesterday when SkyNews, a British TV network, obtained a copy from an Australian politician.

Clinton went on to explain that he opted not to take out bin Laden because “I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn'’t do it.”

That Clinton had opportunities to kill the Al Qaeda leader is common knowledge. Several books and the 9/11 Commission Report revealed that the Clinton Administration considered a December 1998 strike against bin Laden but rejected the plan over possible collateral damage.

But this is the first time we’ve heard Clinton say that he “would have been no better than” the 9/11 mastermind had he followed through with the attack. This is typical moral preening from Clinton. But it’s also another example of the moral confusion that infects the left.

I’'ve written many times that when the U.S. goes to war we make it very difficult to win because we play by the rules of leftist ideology. One of the reasons why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on so long is that President Bush felt constrained by questions about what actions are permissible in a war. Those are important questions, but it rarely enters into the leftist’s mind that the point of a war is to win it.

President Obama’s inability to understand this basic principle of war has had devastating effects not just for the United States and its allies but also, not ironically, for the cause of peace.

I bring this up because there seems to be a consensus that the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary—, belong to the more serious wing of the left that understands the moral case for defeating evil.

But in view of this disclosure, and others, anyone tempted to believe this about the Clintons might want to think again. Some people consider Mrs. Clinton a hawk compared to her husband. But there’s no real evidence that she takes seriously the foreign policy challenges of America and its allies.

When asked recently about Israel’s defense of itself in the current war, Clinton appeared to justify Hamas’ use of civilian areas to launch attacks against Israel by saying that Gaza is too small and densely populated to avoid launching attacks next to civilians.

Make no mistake: The Clintons aren't exceptions to the left-wing view that the enemy deserves to be treated as well as or better than we treat our own citizens and allies; they are among its most vocal advocates.

Friday, August 1, 2014

See You In Court, Mr. President

Gary L. Bauer
American Values

Last night, the House approved a resolution authorizing a federal lawsuit against President Obama for abusing his executive authority. The resolution cites President Obama's repeated waivers of statutory language in Obamacare. Obama's actions were not simply exercises of regulatory discretion, but direct violations of the plain language of the law.

With Congress divided between the Democrat Senate and the Republican House, it is hard for Congress to respond to Obama's abuses. But the president's critics have had some success in the courts.

For example, the Supreme Court declared that Obama exceeded his authority when he made certain recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. One columnist noted that the Obama Administration has lost 13 cases on 9-to-0 votes before the high court in the last two terms.

In the critical Halbig case, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently declared that taxpayer-funded subsidies granted through the federal Obamacare exchange are unconstitutional because the law is very clear that subsidies are supposed to be available only through state-based exchanges.

By the way, while liberals claim that conservatives are pushing an absurd interpretation in Halbig, a key Obamacare architect told various audiences that that was exactly what the law meant.

Supporters of Boehner's lawsuit also point to two Supreme Court cases, one striking down the line-item veto and a recent opinion on the EPA's authority.

In 1998, the Supreme Court struck down the line-item veto because it essentially permitted the president to amend legislation, a power the Constitution did not grant to the executive branch. Obama's executive orders have had the same effect -- essentially amending Obamacare without Congress' assent.

In the EPA decision, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared, "The power to execute the laws does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice." Justice Scalia could have been referring to the administration's haphazard implementation of Obamacare -- making it up as it goes along and ignoring whatever isn't working or causing too much political pain.

Robert Hurt's Statement on Initiation of Legal Action to Require the Administration to Faithfully Execute the Law

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of H. Res. 676, a resolution to allow the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate litigation against the Executive Branch for failure to take care that the laws be faithfully executed:


"In the Constitution, our Founders established a system of government with separate powers and explicit checks and balances.  Under our Constitution, Congress makes the laws, the President executes the laws, and the Judiciary settles legal disputes in a way that protects the Constitution and the constitutional rights of our citizens. The Founders meticulously designed this system in a way that does not concentrate too much power in any single branch because they knew that if one branch possessed too much authority to act unilaterally, it could harm the inherent rights of the people without recourse. 


"Unfortunately, we have seen this administration act time and time again in a manner that exceeds the authority granted to it by the Constitution and by Congress.  It has disregarded the constitutional constraints on its powers and effectively re-written laws without Congress's consent.  Efforts to rein in this activity through congressional oversight have been ignored, and now we must petition the Judiciary to compel the Executive to faithfully execute the law as provided by the Constitution.  This is an action we do not take lightly, but each of us in the House has been sworn to protect and defend the Constitution – just as the President has.  It is with that solemn obligation in mind that I support this action to preserve the balance of powers and to protect and preserve the freedom of the American people."

Congressman Robert Hurt's Statement on House Passage of Legislation to Address Structural Problems Within Department of Veterans Affairs

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which addresses the excessively long wait times and unacceptable mismanagement within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):


"It is a national shame that thousands of our nation's veterans have suffered due to the gross mismanagement at the VA.  These glaring problems are undoubtedly the result of a broken system that must be meaningfully and structurally reformed.  I was proud to support this legislation today, which provides immediate relief to our veterans who are currently being short-changed by their VA and increases accountability for those officials entrusted with their care.  The structural issues within the VA have resulted in tragic outcomes for those who have made countless sacrifices to protect our nation's freedoms, so it is of the utmost importance that we implement these much-needed, meaningful reforms and begin the process of changing the culture within the VA."


  •         H.R. 3230 authorizes 27 major medical facility leases throughout the nation and provides funding to the VA to hire physicians and medical staff, increasing access to care.
  •        The bill also requires the VA to allow veterans unable to obtain appointments at VA medical facilities within 30 days to receive care outside the VA system.  This would also apply to those veterans residing over 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility.
  •          To provide accountability within the VA, H.R. 3230 allows for easier removal of ineffective senior level officials at the agency and eliminates exorbitant bonuses for VA employees through FY 2024.