Bush Administration Fails at Securing America's Safety

Today, I sent a letter to Secretary Chertoff with a bipartisan group of my colleagues asking that the Department of Homeland Security reconsider it's misguided decision to reduce the National Capital Region's Urban Areas Security Initiative allocation by 40 percent. Distributing homeland security dollars without adequate consideration of risk is a dangerous practice that diminishes our ability to protect potential targets and we need to more details on the DHS's decision to ensure that is not the case.

Whether it's the failure to secure our ports, the refusal to fully implement the 9-11 Commission recommendations, or the insistence on driving critical homeland security dollars away from at-risk sites, the Bush administration has continually failed to make America as safe as it should be.


Direct Talks Is Best Way to Prevent a Military Solution

I am pleased that the Administration has decided to embark on a new and more concerted effort to engage with Iran over its nuclear program. Secretary Rice's offer can only be seen as an acknowledgment by the President that diplomacy is the only way to solve this crisis. Today's announcement that the U.S., the EU-3, Russia and China have crafted a package of incentives and consequences for Iran is further evidence that the Administration has decided that direct US involvement in the negotiations is the surest path to a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

The recent letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Bush was clearly an attempt to open a dialogue with Washington - as well as relieve the pressure of possible U.N. action - and the knee-jerk rejection by the Iranian foreign ministry of yesterday's offer is almost certain to be modified in coming days. As we move forward in this process we need to remain mindful that Iran's government is not monolithic and that it is broadly unpopular with its own people. We should be prepared to leverage the regime's unpopularity to build support for a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear weapons aspiration.


Bush Administration's Talks with Iran is a Necessity

It is absolutely necessary for the U.S. to engage in a direct dialogue with Iran. Secretary Rice's willingness to move forward with talks with Iran is a move in the right direction at the right time. I hope that the Bush Administration, along with our European allies and Iran's leadership, can agree on a formula for talks to end the current impasse. Now is the time to use preventive diplomacy to ensure that Iran develops nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes and not for weapons of war.


We're Slipping Into a Sub-Par Economy

The reality of job creation during the Bush Administration has never reached the Administration’s claims, and today’s low number for the second month in a row means that we may be slipping below the sub par results we’ve seen to date.At no point in this Administration have we achieved more than a few months of the 200,000 new jobs per month that the Administration predicted. 200,000 jobs per month represent the low end predictions as a result of the tax cuts, and now we appear to be slipping further below these sub par results.

Unfortunately, even in the few months when the Administration’s jobs target has been achieved, real wage growth has been nonexistent, as Secretary Snow was forced to acknowledge when he testified before the House Financial Services Committee in May.

The President professes to be puzzled by the lack of enthusiasm among a majority of Americans for his economic results. The combination of no wage growth and sub par job creation should provide him with an explanation


Khartoum Is Starving The People of Darfur

Last August, I, along with Greg Simpkins of the Africa Subcommittee staff, visited Kalma and Mukjar refugee camps in South and West Darfur. We saw first hand how food aid was making the difference between life and death for the thousands of people in the camps. We spoke with many people whose lives had been utterly devastated by the ravages of war, but who were keeping hope alive thanks to the gifts of international humanitarian aid and food aid.

However, our visit to these camps raised a question. What is the Government of Sudan, as well as other developing country governments, going to do about contributing to the elimination of hunger by opening their own stocks of food or by facilitating, rather than hampering, the delivery of food to hungry people in their countries? In Sudan, the government has not only failed to contribute to the feeding of its own people, but has actually interfered with the supply of food to those in need in the Darfur camps like the ones we visited. Moreover, the Government of Sudan placed a commercial embargo on Kalma camp while we were there that prevented the sale of food and other necessary items to those able to buy them in the camps. We in the developed world should help feed those in need, but it also the responsibility of the governments in question to respond to the needs of their own people.  


FEC Has Chosen Failure

The FEC had failed once again to do its job as the nation's election watchdog by choosing not to regulate the activities of 527s. By clinging to its flawed case-by-case enforcement, the FEC yesterday chose to continue a policy that has already been labeled a 'total failure' in federal court. I can not imagine a scenario under which they will be able to justify the current dereliction of their duty to bring 527s under the same rules that govern all other political committees.


Robust Economy Proves That Republican Policies Are Sound

The U.S. economy is strong. Republican policies have provided an atmosphere that has resulted in job creation, increased revenue and reduced budget deficits. The Economic Competitiveness Caucus will continue to support and advocate measures that will create high paying, high quality jobs for U.S. workers, reduce the tax burden on working Americans and those who create jobs and continue to press for holding the line on federal spending.

I expect the job numbers for May will contribute to the overall positive economic outlook. However, we are not just focused on today’s economy; we are working hard to ensure our economy is prepared for challenges that will occur well into the future. The Economic Competitiveness Caucus and House leaders are committed to breaking down government barriers to competing in a global economy. While this is a long-term effort, it is gratifying to see some of the policies already showing results through our current robust economy.


FEC's Failure to Issue New 527 Rules-A Disappointment

It is disappointing the FEC has chosen once again the shirk their responsibility to regulate 527 organzations. I will continue to work to get this done legislatively, but it is still beyond me how an agency can repeatedly ignore the law it is in existence to implement.


Immigration Legislation is the Most Important Bill of the Year

The President is right on the mark that we can’t avoid the challenge of fixing our broken immigration system and that real reform must include a provide a path to citizenship for those who are already here. The American people have made their voices heard loud and clear in support of comprehensive immigration reform; the Senate has resoundingly passed a bipartisan bill that will secure our borders and break the cycle of illegality; and now it is time for Congress to work together in good faith to finish the job. In terms of our national security and our humanity, this is the most important bill the Congress will vote on this year.


May Jobs Numbers Show Our Tax Policies Are Working

I look forward to tomorrow's release of May's jobs numbers.  The economic outlook is very bright for our nation.  Unemployment is down, job creation is up, and the Dow just almost hit an all-time high.  Clearly the Republican pro-growth tax polices we have enacted in Congress coupled with the dedication of the American worker has led to the astonishing 5.2 million jobs created since August of 2003.  I especially look forward to the release of the Florida job numbers since our great state tends to outperform the national average year after year.