House Debate Rule Undermines The Cause Of Our Troops

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, your vote on this rule isn't about how you voted on the war. It is about respecting the troops. It is about respecting democracy. How can we ask the young men and women of our armed forces to die so that Iraqis can have democracy and debate when we are systematically undermining those same principals here in the United States Congress? It is unconscionable.

FEMA Fraud

We have been working with federal investigators on the subcommittee to investigate fraud, waste, and abuse in disaster relief assistance. We knew we’d find fraud, but not of this magnitude. We uncovered more than one billion dollars of fraud. What was most shocking was where the money went. We uncovered thousands of prisoners who applied for FEMA assistance while in prison and obtained benefits. We found individuals who used social security numbers and the names of deceased persons to obtain benefits. We found listed “residencies

FEMA Needs to be Reformed

The fraud in FEMA is extensive and obscene, and those involved in fraud need to return the money and go to jail.  Clearly, the policy of FEMA needs to be changed.  It should not be giving out money to people who do not deserve it.

"One Size Fits All" Is Archaic And Makes Energy Dependent

The United States is the only developed nation in the world that arbitrarily restricts access to its off-shore energy resources. As prices continue to rise with global energy demand, this one-size-fits-all policy gets closer and closer to complete elimination. Congress must establish a commonsense, flexible framework that balances the competing interests of different states and enhances the country's ability to increase energy production at the same time.

A Step Towards Diversifying The Financial Workplace

The Financial Services Diversity Resolution addresses diversity in one of America's most thriving industries, and draws attention to the low presence of minorities in the financial services industry, and minorities and women in upper level managerial positions. The resolution encourages financial services institutions, both public and private, to adopt certain diversity initiatives including appointment of board members, career mentoring, partnerships and diversity in recruitment and training. I would hope Members from both sides of the aisle, especially those on the Financial Services Committee, would support greater opportunities for all Americans in the industry we oversee.

The Pentagon Will Not Rely On Emergency Spending Anymore

We must bring emergency spending under control and eliminating a separate set of books for activities outside the regular budget is one important step in achieving fiscal discipline. I strongly support the McCain amendment, which will require funding for war operations to be considered in the same fashion as every other function of the government. It is essential that the men and women of our military have the tools they need to continue their missions, and this amendment will ensure that the Department of Defense budgets accurately for continued operations in the War on Terrorism.

Policing The Wild West of Private Contracting in Iraq

We all know about the tens of billions of dollars in contract overruns that Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown, and Root unit has deferred to the American taxpayer in Iraq.

But few know about the fly-by night startup firm, Custer Battles, who somehow managed to win a $13 million contract to provide security at Baghdad airport, despite having no security industry experience at all. This firm was so corrupt, that when contracted to provide trucks to the military, Custer Battles scrounged up any and every truck they could - even if most of them weren't operable. One Army general called it the worst case of fraud he'd seen in thirty years.

So it is of little surprise to anyone here, that neither the Coalition Provisional Authority nor the Pentagon, nor the State Department nor U.S. AID, which all rely heavily on these firms, have any idea what these security firms are actually doing in Iraq.

In this wild, wild West atmosphere, millions of dollars worth of security related contracts are awarded overnight, many of them without competition or cost controls. There simply needs to be greater transparency and accountability over private military contractors.

The Worst Kind of Hypocrisy

It is the worst kind of hypocrisy for Congress to vote itself another pay increase this year while continuing to ignore the hardworking families struggling to survive on the minimum wage. With this proposed increase, Congress will have increased its own salary by more than $34,000 in the last nine years, while minimum wage workers have not seen another cent in their paychecks. How can Congress keep saying yes to itself, and no to these millions of deserving working families? It’s long past time for Congress to give these hardworking Americans a raise.

FAA and Pentagon Must Continue Wind Farms

As energy costs rise dramatically, improving our supply of renewable fuel is more important than ever. I would hope that our federal agencies could work together to protect our national security while adopting an efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly energy policy.

Immigration Is Not Amnesty

Individuals who are here illegally and commit a crime should not be allowed to stay, no ifs ands or buts about it. Unfortunately, when state and local law enforcement officials apprehend and convict these criminals, some are sent back on the streets after serving their sentence. That is unacceptable. Our immigration laws need to be fast and firm when dealing with criminal illegal aliens – my plan will help make sure they are.

The message behind this bill is clear: if you’re here illegally and commit a crime you’re not going to get to stay. No parole, no early release, and no second chances. America is a nation of immigrants and always should be. As the son of immigrants I strongly support immigration. However, we should not tolerate illegal aliens who come to this nation and victimize law-abiding Americans.