Friday, October 30, 2015

Congressman Robert Hurt Votes To Preserve Retirement Security

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Retail Investor Protection Act, which would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to defer to the expertise of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rather than apply its own proposed fiduciary rule:


"The Department of Labor's 1,000 page proposed rule will harm investors by diminishing their access to financial advice, reducing consumer choice, and increasing costs for folks looking to save for their retirement. This proposal will undoubtedly make it more difficult for hardworking Americans, especially folks who are starting to save or who have lower account balances to save for retirement, yet the DOL seems to be ignoring that urgent message expressed by both savers and financial advisors.


"In fact, the SEC, not the DOL, is designated by Congress to oversee and regulate the conduct of those who provide investment advice.  We should allow for the SEC to propose a course of action and debate it on its merits. This bill will require that the DOL defer to the SEC.  I am proud to support this bill and pleased to see it pass the House with bipartisan support today.  It is my hope that the Senate and the President will work with us to ensure that hardworking Americans will have the ability and freedom to properly plan for their futures."


Forbes, Lankford Send Letter in Support of High School Coach’s Freedom to Pray with Students

October 28, 2015                              

Washington, DC- Rep. J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) and Senator James Lankford (OK), Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sent a letter to the Superintendent of Bremerton School District and Principal of Bremerton High School. Since 2008, the assistant High School football coach has a tradition of praying at the fifty yard line after the conclusion of school football games. At times, students have chosen to pray with him.  After seven years, however, the Bremerton School District ordered him to stop these prayers. 

Following the team's homecoming game on October 16, Coach Kennedy knelt by himself to pray after the game. He was voluntarily joined by a crowd of others, including coaches and members of the opposing team. On October 23, the District told him if he repeated his tradition of praying, his actions would be "grounds for discipline, up to and including discharge from District employment." 

Today, Congressman Forbes and Senator Lankford led 47 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the District, arguing that the District's high school football coach's non-coercive tradition of personally praying after the conclusion of games is not a violation of the Establishment Clause.  

The Member letter contends that Coach Kennedy's prayers do not pose an Establishment Clause concern because the prayers occur after the conclusion of the game and are optional: "[T]he mere act of a single individual kneeling alone after the conclusion of a game to quietly pray coerces no one, even when that individual is a school employee. That others may choose to join him of their own free will is irrelevant, and an exercise of their own constitutional freedoms."

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:

October 27, 2015

Aaron Leavell                                                                                John Polm
Superintendent, Bremerton School District                                        Principal, Bremerton High School
134 Marion Avenue N.                                                                    1500 13th St.
Bremerton, WA 98312                                                                    Bremerton, WA 98337

Dear Superintendent Leavell and Principal Polm,

We write to express our concern over reports that the Bremerton School District views Coach Joseph Kennedy's tradition of quietly praying at the fifty yard line after the conclusion of school football games as unlawful under the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

Among the most basic rights that Americans enjoy are the free exercise of religion, free speech, and the freedom of association.  The Establishment Clause exists to ensure that the government cannot affirmatively impose or elevate one religion over another.  However, it does not prohibit the government from referencing religion altogether, nor does it require that government officials proactively scrub all references of religion from the public square.  Rather, the Establishment Clause ensures both that the government does not show preference to a certain religion, and that the government does not take away an individual's ability to exercise religion.

The Supreme Court recently stated, "It is an elemental First Amendment principle that government may not coerce its citizens to support or participate in any religion or its exercise."  Town of Greece v. Galloway, 134 S. Ct. 1811 (2014). The Court went on to state that "an Establishment Clause violation is not made out any time a person experiences a sense of affront from the expression of contrary views . . . ."  Id

These guiding principles from the Court were written in the context of a challenge to a small town's practice of opening legislative sessions with prayer. The challengers did not like that most of the prayers offered were Christian in nature, even though participation was voluntary and anyone was welcome to offer a prayer.  However, the Court rejected the feeble argument that a reasonable observer would believe that the government was favoring Christianity over other religions.  The content of what was volunteered was irrelevant, so long as all were welcome. 

These crucial principles are no less applicable here.  The Supreme Court has made clear that the voluntary observance of a brief prayer at the beginning of a legislative session—a tradition that is also embraced by both the United States Senate and House of Representatives—does not in and of itself present an Establishment Clause problem.  Likewise, the mere act of a single individual kneeling alone after the conclusion of a game to quietly pray coerces no one, even when that individual is a school employee.  That others may choose to join him of their own free will is irrelevant, and an exercise of their own constitutional freedoms.

The District acknowledged in its letter to Coach Kennedy's legal counsel that he "is free to engage in religious activity, including prayer, even while on duty, so long as doing so does not interfere with performance of his job duties, and does not constitute District endorsement of religion."  We would urge you to also consider the fact that Coach Kennedy's personal actions are not only non-coercive, but also admirable and respectable as they represent his commitment to the welfare of the young men on his team.

The Establishment Clause does not require quarantining private, non-coercive religious expression to private quarters or off-duty hours.  Thank you for your service to the students and families of Bremerton.


J. Randy Forbes
Member of Congress

James Lankford
United States Senator

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Congressman Robert Hurt's Statement on Benghazi Select Committee Hearing

Thursday, October 22, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after House Select Committee hearing to investigate the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:


"On September 11, 2012, a terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The victims' families and the American people deserve to know what exactly happened during the terrorist attack in Benghazi.  Today's hearing brought a vital measure of transparency and accountability into this tragic event.  I thank Chairman Gowdy for his leadership and his relentless pursuit of the truth.  The safety and security of our foreign service personnel is vitally important, and it is my hope that the findings of this investigation will make our diplomatic corps safer and prevent such tragedies in the future."


Click here or the image above to view Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R- South Carolina)'s opening statement.  

Congressman Robert Hurt Votes To Repeal Provisions of the President’s Healthcare Law

Friday, October 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act:


"In April, the House and Senate came to a bicameral budget agreement that will balance within 10 years for the first time since 2001.  Our budget represents a vision that demonstrates our priorities for the nation and sets forth what choices need to be made to responsibly allocate our limited resources to fulfill those priorities. Today's reconciliation bill is an important step in the budgeting process, allowing us to expeditiously move legislation through both houses of Congress and to the President's desk.  The Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act targets key provisions of the President's healthcare law for repeal, including both the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.  From forcing employers to cut working hours for their employees to unsustainable increases in insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, the President's healthcare law continues to negatively affect families in Virginia's Fifth District.  Repealing the parts of the law driving these harmful effects and replacing them with substantive reform based upon market-oriented principles is a critical part of our pro-growth agenda.  As the House and Senate continue to work together to get our fiscal house in order, it is my hope that the President will join us in this effort so that we can grow our economy and build a stronger America for our children and grandchildren."


Family Research Council Announces Intent to Score House Reconciliation Act, Urges End to Taxpayer Fu

October 20, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council has announced its intent to score in favor of the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act which is scheduled for a vote later this week in the House of Representatives.

Family Research Council's President Tony Perkins made the following statement:

"While an effort to defund Planned Parenthood has been blocked in the Senate due to the 60 vote cloture threshold, we believe an effort to redirect a significant amount of taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through the reconciliation process, which is subject to a 51 vote threshold, is entirely appropriate and possible. The bill also repeals key provisions of Obamacare, from IPAB to the employer and individual mandates and in doing so seriously diminishes the impact of this terrible law on the American people.

"As we now know, Planned Parenthood will perform an abortion as late as 24 weeks and scavenge the parts of the baby. As a nation, we are without excuse in what we have facilitated with our funding of Planned Parenthood's inhumane treatment of mothers and their unborn children.

"We call on Congress to take this opportunity to free taxpayer money from the grip of Planned Parenthood. Now is the time to redirect taxpayer funds to the thousands of full-spectrum health clinics. Family Research Council urges passage of this reconciliation act and intends to score in support," concluded Perkins.

To read the score letter:

Islam has invaded Canada........

Congressman Forbes and Senator Lankford Question State and Homeland Security Departments on Syrian Refugee Process

October 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Randy Forbes (VA-04) and Senator James Lankford (OK) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to encourage the prioritization of refugee assistance for religiously persecuted Syrians, while also ensuring a thorough security process that protects Americans from undercover terrorists.

Lankford and Forbes are co-chairmen of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which works to protect the fundamental human right of religious freedom and guards the right of individuals to pray and practice their faith freely.

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:

October 21, 2015

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary, U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20520

       The Honorable Jeh Johnson                                                                                  
       Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
       Nebraska Avenue Center, Washington, D.C. 20528                                                                             

Dear Secretaries Johnson and Kerry:

We write regarding the need to ensure that, as the United States considers increasing the number of refugees–and in particular Syrian refugees–allowed into the country, we maintain rigorous security vetting of all applicants.

Secretary Kerry, on September 20th, you said that "the United States will significantly increase our numbers for refugee resettlement in the course of this next year and the year after...We are now going to go up to 85,000 with at least, and I underscore the "at least" – it is not a ceiling, it's a floor – of 10,000 over the next year from Syria specifically even as we also receive more refugees from other areas. And in the next fiscal year, we'll target 100,000, and if it's possible to do more, we'll do."

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has driven more than 4 million Syrians into neighboring countries as refugees.  More than 7.5 million other Syrians are internally displaced.  Many of those fleeing Syria are Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities trying to escape brutal persecution at the hand of ISIS.

The United States aims to consider for resettlement at least half of the refugees referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement worldwide each year.  By law, the annual number of refugee admissions and the allocation of these numbers by region of the world are set by the President after consultation with Congress. 

While the United States is a compassionate country and has a role to play in alleviating the suffering of people caught up in this tragedy, and in welcoming those seeking to practice their faith without fear of persecution, we must also ensure that our national security is not compromised in this process. 

Secretary Kerry, you also acknowledged that post-September 11th, "we have new laws and new requirements with respect to security background checks and vetting, so it takes longer than one would like and we cannot cut corners with respect to those security requirements." 

We must be aware that groups like ISIS will infiltrate refugee camps and try to seek admittance into the United States.  As you move forward with the process of admitting more refugees into this country, it is critical that rigorous background checks and security measures are in place.  We must know with certainty who we are allowing into this country.

The Unites States must stand for those who are persecuted, particularly those who are targeted for their religious beliefs, both at home and abroad.  However, while we support efforts in providing aid to those who are seeking refuge, safety of our people on our own shores is of upmost concern and your agencies should not take any actions that would sacrifice the thoroughness of the security vetting process in order to admit more people into this country.   As you consider accepting additional Syrian refugees, we ask for your commitment in maintaining the highest level security protocols.

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical matter.  We look forward to hearing from you.

United States Senator

Member of Congress

Friday, October 9, 2015

Congressman Robert Hurt Votes For Oversight of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rulemaking


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Homebuyers Assistance Act:


"The Homebuyers Assistance Act is an important piece of legislation which will ensure that consumers, realtors, banks, and loan originators will have sufficient time to fully understand and correctly implement the complex new rules regarding mortgage disclosure handed down by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The temporary grace period provided by the Homebuyers Assistance Act will give hardworking Americans certainty that the CFPB's new rules will not unduly disrupt the home-buying process.  For many Americans, buying a home is one of the most important decisions they will make, and it is imperative that the CFPB works with all vested parties to ensure an appropriate transition period and to prevent costly market disruptions and delays for customers.  I was pleased to see the Homebuyers Assistance Act pass the House today with bipartisan support.  I remain committed to reining in the unbridled power the CFPB so often uses to promote misguided policies that wind up only hurting the very people it claims to want to help: the American consumer."


At a recent House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing with CFPB Director, Congressman Hurt pressed Director Richard Cordray

directly about the concerns expressed by Fifth District Virginians on the implementation of this new rule. 

Click here or click the image above for video.



·         The Homebuyers Assistance Act, H.R. 3192, would provide a temporary legal safe harbor until February 1, 2016, from enforcement of a new CFPB rule requiring integrated disclosure requirements for certain mortgage loan transactions under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

·         H.R. 3192 would preclude lawsuits from being filed against any person for a violation of such requirements, as long as such person has made a good faith effort to comply with the requirements.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Radical Islamists Target Christians

By Gary L. Bauer

Here's a story to keep in mind the next time the media starts hyperventilating after Pamela Geller comments about radical Islam.

Allow me to introduce you to the Hussain family. Nissar, his wife, Kubra, and their six children converted to Christianity. Since then, their lives have been miserable.

Their neighbors accuse them of blasphemy. Their children have been bullied at school. They have been assaulted in the streets. Their home and their car have been repeatedly vandalized.

The Hussain family has moved twice to avoid this persecution by the local Muslim community, but not in the Middle East. No, they are being driven out of their home in Bradford, England.

Of course, much, much worse is happening to Christians in the Middle East. ISIS recently crucified three Christians, including a 12 year-old boy, and beheaded eight others. Such atrocities have become commonplace in parts of Iraq and Syria -- as has the silence of our State Department.

The experience of the Hussain family in England should be another stark warning that Western societies must take their immigration and refugee policies far more seriously.

As I have repeatedly argued, we are literally importing anti-Semitism and anti-Christian bigotry, which is widespread throughout the Muslim world. Yet, anyone who dares to sound the alarm is accused by the left of being a bigot.

By the way, in the aftermath of the Oregon community college shootings, in which Christians were reportedly targeted for their faith, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey encouraged fellow Christians to arm themselves. In a Facebook post, Ramsey wrote:

"The recent spike in mass shootings across the nation is truly troubling. Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West. . . .

"I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."

Not surprisingly, liberals were highly offended by this commonsense advice. One Tennessee legislator essentially accused Ramsey of inciting a religious war.

Rep. John Ray Clemmons said that Ramsey's comments "reek of fear mongering and religious crusading." Clemmons added, "Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith." Tell that to the jihadists who are committing genocide against religious minorities around the world.


Congressman Robert Hurt Votes for Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism

Thursday, October 1, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after the House passed the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, which would prohibit waiving, suspending, or limiting any sanctions currently in place against Iran until it pays the court-ordered damages it owes to terror victims:

"The Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act ensures that Iran will not receive any sanction relief until it pays its debts to the victims of its violent acts of terror.  The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gives American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to sue and collect damages from the states responsible.  Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror, but it has yet to pay one penny of these court-ordered damages.  Despite its refusal to pay for the terrorism it has perpetrated, the Obama Administration will grant Iran relief from the highly-effective sanctions, handing it a tremendous economic boost.  This legislation is simple; it ensures that the United States does not give Iran any economic benefit in the form of sanction relief until it has paid damages to the victims of its horrific acts of terror.  I was pleased to see the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act pass the House today with bipartisan support, and I think we can all agree that Iran should not reap any benefits until it pays its victims what they are owed."




Congressman Robert Hurt's Statement on Kevin Mason


Friday, October 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after the news that Kevin Mason, a native of Altavista, was killed in a C-130 military transport plane crash on Thursday at an air base in eastern Afghanistan:


"I was deeply saddened to learn of the fatal military plane crash in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of six servicemen and five civilians, including Altavista native Kevin Mason. I am grateful for Mr. Mason's years of service in the U.S. Air Force and his continued service in defending our nation.  He was a beloved member of the Altavista and Campbell County communities, and his memory will long be treasured.  We are forever grateful for his service and for the sacrifice he has made in the name of freedom.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Mason family and with all of the families who lost loved ones in this terrible incident."


Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Brunswick and Charlotte Counties

Monday, October 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Brunswick and Charlotte Counties on Friday, October 9 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map

Friday, October 9, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Local Office Hours in Brunswick County

Brunswick County Administrator's Office

228 Main Street, 3rd Floor

Lawrenceville, VA


1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Local Office Hours in Charlotte County

Charlotte Administration Building, Conference Room

240 LeGrande Avenue, Suite A

Charlotte Court House, VA

National Security Must Remain A Top Priority

Congressman Robert Hurt
Weekly Column 10/05/15

Congress has no greater responsibility under Article One of the Constitution than to provide for the defense of our great country.  The first duty of our federal government is to guarantee the safety of Americans both at home and abroad.  Unfortunately, I believe that Congress failed to live up to this responsibility last month when it was unable to stop the President's implementation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.


In a bipartisan vote, the House defeated the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  I was among the Representatives who voted against this agreement, and I was extremely disappointed the Senate voted to filibuster debate on this issue.  The Administration was ultimately able to implement this dangerous, unpopular agreement.  It is essential that the American people and their Representatives in Congress thoroughly debate every issue, particularly grave issues of national security, and the American people and their representatives in both houses of Congress should have had the opportunity to meaningfully participate in this vital debate. 


Iranian leaders clearly remain focused on expanding their nuclear capabilities and are only willing to do the bare minimum to reduce the stringent international economic sanctions that have crippled their economy.  The fact of the matter is that the sanctions imposed on Iran were working.  I remain committed to working with my colleagues to enhance the necessary sanctions against the Iranian regime and to do everything within our power to prevent Iran from building or acquiring a nuclear bomb.


Last week, in another bipartisan vote, the House passed the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act.  This bill would prohibit waiving, suspending, or limiting any sanctions currently in place against Iran until it pays the court-ordered damages it owes to terror victims – something the Obama Administration has glossed over in their effort to make a deal with Iran.  


The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gives American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to sue and collect damages from the states responsible.  Despite Iran's standing as the world's largest state sponsor of terror, it has yet to pay one penny of these court-ordered damages.  I think we can all agree that at the bare minimum, Iran should not reap any benefits until it pays its victims what they are owed.

We live in a dangerous world, but this Administration is far too trusting in those who want to do us harm, seek power through aggression toward our allies, and further destabilize places in turmoil.  Look no further than the Iranian regime's continued hostility toward the U.S. and  

Israel or the air strikes Russia launched this week in Syria, which they claimed were targeted at ISIS, but were actually hitting Syrians that oppose the dictatorial Assad regime, including Syrians trained by the U.S. to combat ISIS.  It is unrealistic to expect that power-hungry leaders that have dubious track records will be honest brokers in high-stakes negotiations that implicate the safety of both our country and our allies.

Issues of national security are too important to leave to idealism and wishful thinking.  We must remain vigilant and resolute to ensure that our top priority is that our nation and allies are kept safe.  I will continue to oppose a nuclear Iran and advocate for a foreign policy that promotes peace through strength.


If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, 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.

MCRW Summer photos

August 18, 2015 - 2nd Annual MCRW College/University Forum

September 5, 2105 -- Taste of the Mountains Main Street Festival