Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Marsha Blackburn's year in review

From Marsha Blackburn:


What a year it has been! I’ve had the joy and pleasure of seeing many of you while crisscrossing the Tennessee 7th Congressional District, others came to visit in DC, and many of you visit often through social media. Serving the District is a great honor for me and this year was no exception. This year has certainly been packed with news and unforgettable moments. As you’re getting ready for 2014, I wanted to take a few minutes and highlight the past year as well as take a quick look forward to the year to come.

January- I joined my colleagues in passing out of the House the “No Budget, No Pay Act” because if Congress can’t perform one of the most basic functions of government, then we don’t deserve to receive a paycheck. It was the first victory secured by House conservatives to get us back on a path to restoring regular order. I also joined with a coalition of 29 conservative organizations urging the end of taxpayer funding for abortions through the Title X grant program.

February- President Obama came to Congress for the 2012 State of the Union address and I once again called for spending cuts. We do not have a revenue problem. Washington has a spending problem. I joined with House Republicans in passing the “Require a PLAN Act” to call for a balanced budget. By approving the “Require a PLAN Act,” we reaffirmed our commitment to getting our nation on a path to fiscal health. In February, I was named the leading conservative female voice in the House and the 3rd most conservative member overall.

March- I learned Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano was spending $50 million on new Transportation Security Administration uniforms days before sequestration went into effect. Later in the year, I worked with the House Appropriations Committee to cut the TSA uniform account by $18 million. I wish we could have cut the full $50 million, but even in this divided government, I’ll keep looking to cut more in 2014. I supported the 2014 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution and reminded the Senate that we can’t continue to spend money we don’t have on programs the American people don’t need or necessarily want. I voted for one of dozens of jobs bills passed in the House, still remaining in the Senate, that would have helped put people back to work.

April- It was an honor to lead the House delegation to former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Her deep and abiding friendship with America altered the course of history and I am grateful for her example and legacy. I introduced the SECURE IT Act of 2013 as we cannot afford to sit idly by as malicious hacker groups, and the states that sponsor them like China and North Korea, devise more sophisticated and effective ways to attack our citizens, businesses, and government institutions.

May- Congressman Griffin and I joined together to demand the Federal Communications Commission answer questions about the Lifeline program, commonly known as the “Obama phone” program. This effort was part of a focus on making government more efficient. I voted to fully repeal President Obama’s signature health care law. The law was unpopular when Democrats rammed it through Congress without a single Republican vote three years ago and the burdens Obamacare places on hard-working American families grow with each passing day. I co-sponsored the Northern Route Approval Act because it’s been five years since the initial Keystone XL Pipeline application was filed with the State Department and more American energy means more American jobs. Joining with Congressman Fincher and Stutzman, we co-sponsored House Resolution 206 calling on the House to review public policies that led to illegal abortion practices such as those of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell debunked the myth that abortion in America is safe, legal, and rare. Oversight and enforcement are desperately needed so we can help stop these Gosnell abortion horror stories from continuing.

June- Continuing the fight to rein in the Transportation Security Administration, I secured a provision that cut funding for Officer uniforms by 20%. Working with leaders from Fort Campbell, I secured provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act to provide important resources for our military. I went to the Floor and urged passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. With over 60% of American’s supporting a ban on abortions in the second trimester and over 80% supporting the ban in the third trimester, our humanity compels us to end this violent and abhorrent practice.

July- With fellow members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we launched an investigation into the delay of the Obamacare Employee Mandate. I co-sponsored the Saving America’s Workers Act that would have reinstated the 40 hour work week slashed under Obamacare and would have allowed small business owners to run their businesses as they always have. I fought back against burdensome regulations being imposed on American ceiling fan manufactures by the Department of Energy. I voted again to give hard-working taxpayers relief from Obamacare by voting to delay Obamacare mandates for all Americans. I introduced legislation to delay Obamacare and all its taxes for one year.

August- I’ve spent my career in Congress fighting to stop government abuse and to empower the American people. That’s why I supported the Stop Government Abuse Act. I voted for legislation that would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from implementing or enforcing any provisions in Obamacare. And I voted to rein in regulatory overreach at the Environmental Protection Agency.

September- I opposed military action in Syria because I will not vote to put the lives of our troops at risk without a clearly defined mission, an execution strategy and an exit strategy. I fought to protect American taxpayers from Obamacare fraud. I joined with my colleagues on the Republican Study Committee in introducing legislation to replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Reform Act. My colleagues and I voted again to defund Obamacare and keep the government running. Leading the fight, I sponsored HR 2809 to delay all Obamacare provisions and taxes for one year. I joined with my colleagues and continued to come to the table with proposals that would have kept the government open.

October- During the shutdown, I fought to restore funds for the Tennessee National Guard and Reservists, as well as voting to pass legislation such as the Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act, the Head Start for Low-Income Children Act, and the Impact Aid for Local Schools Act.  The House passed several bills putting people before politics as we should not allow cold hearts and petty politics to overtake our obligation to come together, as one nation under God, to serve people with the respect and care they deserve and require. I introduced legislation that would have ensured Military Tuition Assistance Programs would continue to be funded. I voted against raising the debt ceiling.

November- As Vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, despite her “non” answers, I continued to investigate Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius. I fought for solutions to promoting access to affordable health care such as the Keep Your Health Plan Act.

December- Based on two bills, H.R 1960 and S.1197, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 is a bipartisan agreement on America’s national security goals, resources, and policies. I secured an NDAA provision, a restoration of the Army and Air Force flying hours, to provide important resources to the Fort Campbell and broader military community. One of my last votes of the year was in support of the Budget Agreement to rein in waste, fraud and abuse by ending the permanent extension of unemployment benefits and putting a stop to government payments for prisoners and the deceased. Most importantly for our men and women in our military, the budget agreement allowed Congress and the Pentagon to return to regular order so we can better manage the cuts facing our military so that they will not damage our national security or vital installations like Fort Campbell. In addition, this bill ensured that our seniors will be able to continue to have access to their physicians and the care they deserve.

As you can see, it has indeed been a very long year. When I head back to the 2nd Session of the 113th Congress, I’ve got cutting on my mind. Now that we have a Budget and are back to regular order for the first time since 2008, I can begin to cut into the Budget and assure you President Obama will no longer be able to re-program money from one agency to another. My colleagues and I are going to keep the pressure on Secretary Sebelius for answers regarding the failed implementation of Obamacare. As well, you have my word I won’t let up the fight for faith, hope, freedom, free people, and free markets.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I hope you and your family have a wonderful new year-

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