Statement of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte
Hearing on Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining Abortion Procedures and Medical Ethics at the Nation's Largest Abortion Provider
Chairman Goodlatte: A child’s heart begins to form three weeks after conception. By the fifth week, her heart begins to beat, pumping blood throughout her little body and her arm and leg buds begin to grow. Her brain begins to develop. Her eyes and ears begin to form. By the sixth week, her hands and feet begin to form.
The following week, her toes can be seen. During this time, she kicks, and will jump if startled. By eight weeks, the baby’s facial features become more distinct. In weeks nine through twelve, the baby may begin sucking her thumb.
By ten weeks, she can yawn. By eleven weeks, she can make a wide variety of facial expressions, including a smile. By twelve weeks, which marks the end of the first trimester, she is capable of making a fist.
But on any given day, her developing parts, including her heart and brain, may be harvested at the many Planned Parenthood clinics that participate in this practice across the country. If her organs are harvested, she will not carry a name. At most, she will be referred to as a “product of conception.”
Despite the horrific nature of these practices, Planned Parenthood’s outrage has been directed not at harvesting of baby parts, but at the people who caught them talking about doing it on video. Indeed, Planned Parenthood argues that the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress are “highly edited,” but it is noteworthy to point out that the group hired by Planned Parenthood to review the videos found that their “analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.” A second analysis commissioned by Alliance Defending Freedom reached a similar conclusion. According to that report, the recorded media files indicate “that the video recordings are authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing.”
Today’s hearing is about the content contained within the videos, including admissions made by Planned Parenthood officials that raise serious questions about the treatment of our nation’s children who may be born alive following a failed abortion. For example, the Vice President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains stated that in some cases, babies are being born intact. She further stated: “Sometimes, we get- if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then they are intact, but that’s not what we go for.”
To ensure babies born alive in such instances are given necessary medical care, the House passed H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires that babies surviving an abortion be given the same treatment and care that would be given to any child naturally born premature at the same age, and imposes criminal penalties at the federal level to prevent the killing of innocent human babies born alive.
Moreover, these videos indicate abortion practitioners may have adopted new abortion procedures to avoid the risk of violating the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
In the first video, the Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America stated that “the Federal Abortion Ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation.” Today’s hearing is in part intended to explore what interpretations by abortion practitioners have arisen since the law’s passage.
I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses here today.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the House Judiciary Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Congressman Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) today unveiled bipartisan legislation to reform federal sentencing.
The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 reduces certain mandatory minimums for drug offenses, reduces the three-strike mandatory life sentence to 25 years, broadens the existing safety valve for low-level drug offenders, and provides judges with greater discretion in determining appropriate sentences while ensuring that serious violent felons do not get out early. The bill also contains sentencing enhancements for Fentanyl trafficking, a highly addictive and deadly drug that is becoming a growing epidemic in the United States.
The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 is the first bill that is a result of the House Judiciary Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative. The Committee continues to work on additional bills that address other aspects of our criminal justice system, including over-criminalization, prison and reentry reform – including youth and juvenile justice issues – improved criminal procedures and policing strategies, and civil asset forfeiture reform. The Committee will roll out more bills addressing these topics over the coming weeks.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The House Judiciary Committee has been hard at work on a number of bills to improve our nation’s criminal justice system, and I am pleased that we have reached a bipartisan solution to reform federal sentencing requirements. The Sentencing Reform Act makes commonsense changes to the front-end of the criminal justice system to ensure our federal laws effectively and appropriately punish wrongdoers, work as efficiently and fairly as possible, and do not waste taxpayer dollars. It also ensures that serious violent criminals serve the full time for their crimes in prison. The House Judiciary Committee plans to move this legislation soon and will roll out additional criminal justice reform bills over the coming weeks.”
Other Judiciary Committee cosponsors of the Sentencing Reform Act include Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.), and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.).Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) issued the following statement on the House Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan criminal justice reform initiative and announced a press conference for tomorrow.
“For the past several months, the House Judiciary Committee has been working on a bipartisan basis on several bills to ensure our federal criminal laws and regulations appropriately punish wrongdoers, are effectively and appropriately enforced, operate with fairness and compassion, protect individual freedom, safeguard civil liberties, work as efficiently as possible, do not impede state efforts, and do not waste taxpayer dollars.
“As a result of this work, we are pleased to announce that we, along with Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee and a bipartisan group of leaders on this issue, will introduce companion legislation to the sentencing reform portion of the Senate bill unveiled last week by Senators Grassley, Durbin, Cornyn, Leahy, and others.
“We are also continuing our work on additional bills that address other aspects of our criminal justice system, including over-criminalization, prison and reentry reform, including youth and juvenile justice issues, improved criminal procedures and policing strategies, and civil asset forfeiture reform and we expect to roll out more bills addressing these topics over the coming weeks.”
Additional Background: In June 2015, building upon the work of the Committee’s Over-Criminalization Task Force, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers announced a criminal justice legislative reform initiative to address problems within our nation's criminal justice system. The House Judiciary Committee then held a criminal justice reform listening session and heard from over a dozen Members of Congress on this issue. More information on the House Judiciary Committee’s work on criminal justice reform can be found here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday evening, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called on the Department of Homeland Security to back words with actions when dealing with state and local jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration requests. States, cities and counties that refuse to comply with the federal government for immigration enforcement purposes are commonly referred to as “sanctuary” jurisdictions.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently said it is “not acceptable to have no policy of cooperation with immigration enforcement.” However, the Department of Homeland Security has not taken demonstrable action to address the unwillingness of sanctuary jurisdictions to work with federal immigration authorities. More than 12,000 federal detainer requests were ignored by state and local jurisdictions in 2014. Moreover, in June of this year, the administration rolled out a new program that reduces the “enforcement priorities” and announced it would not seek the custody of many criminals who are in the country illegally.
In a letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers detailed three recent cases in which people have been assaulted or murdered by individuals who are in the country illegally. In each case, the suspects were in law enforcement custody, but were later released because of a sanctuary policy or because of a lack of action taken by Homeland Security officials.
The lawmakers are requesting an update from the Department on its efforts to engage state and local law enforcement to promote greater cooperation with federal immigration requests. The full text of their letter to Johnson follows.
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Johnson:
It has been 97 days since Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal immigrant while innocently walking along a San Francisco pier. In that time, sanctuary policies that allowed this murder to happen have not changed and the American public is still at risk.
Consider the following cases:
On July 24, 2015, Marilyn Pharis was brutally raped, tortured, and murdered in her home in Santa Maria, California, by an illegal immigrant who was released from custody because the county sheriff does not honor detainers.
On July 27, 2015, an illegal immigrant was arrested and accused of killing 60-year-old Margaret Kostelnik in Ravenna Road, Ohio. Before murdering Ms. Kostelnik, the man allegedly attempted to rape a 14-year-old girl and shoot a woman in a nearby park. The suspect was also previously in the custody of law enforcement but released because your Department refused to issue a detainer and take custody of the suspect.
On July 30, a two-year old girl was brutally beaten by an illegal immigrant in San Luis Obisbo County, California. He was released from local custody despite a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer and extensive criminal history.
These are just a few examples that highlight the need for changes to sanctuary policies.
Last month, you stated the following: "It is counterproductive to public safety to have this level of resistance to working with our immigration enforcement personnel. It is simply, in my judgment, not acceptable to have no policy of cooperation with immigration enforcement. We're all interested in getting criminals off the streets." While your words are encouraging, the lack of action does not instill confidence that the administration is serious about the problem. In fact, your Department continues to employ the Priority Enforcement Program, and a policy of requesting cooperation from states and locals only when an individual is convicted of a serious crime. The administration is intent on issuing fewer detainers, even on individuals who may pose a threat but do not have a criminal conviction.
Such policies have allowed illegal immigrants to commit crimes and, in the case of the two-year old victim mentioned above, to roam free in our communities. According to news reports, Francisco Javier Chavez allegedly beat his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter, resulting in both arms being broken, a broken femur, a compressed spine, a urinary tract infection and a fever of 107 degrees. Chavez skipped his court date on August 18 and is allegedly currently at large.
In order to better understand how Mr. Chavez evaded immigration authorities and removal from the country, we are seeking answers about his entry to and residency in the United States. Please provide both Committees on the Judiciary, no later than October 20, with the immigration history and status, executive summary, criminal history and any other information that may be readily available surrounding Mr. Chavez.
Furthermore, please provide the Committees with the following documents and answers to the below questions as soon as possible, but not later than October 20:
1. Has Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE ever encountered Mr. Chavez? If so, please provide details.
2. Were any detainers or requests for notification about the release of Mr. Chavez issued by the Department of Homeland Security to any state, local or federal jurisdiction or agency?
3. Did Mr. Chavez ever apply for any immigration benefit, including deferred action? If so, was any application approved? Please provide copies of any applications that Mr. Chavez may have submitted.
4. Please provide a copy of the alien file for Mr. Chavez.
5. Please provide any information collected or maintained by ICE regarding Mr. Chavez.
6. Please provide any information collected or maintained by CBP regarding Mr. Chavez.
7. Please provide any other information collected or maintained by DHS regarding Mr. Chavez.
8. If Mr. Chavez had been encountered by DHS enforcement officials prior to his arrest in connection with the brutal beating of a two-year-old girl, would he have met the requirements to be considered a priority for removal under the Administration’s new Priority Enforcement Program? If so, please provide the exact reason for such consideration. If not, why not?
Additionally, your previous response to Senator Grassley on August 27th about sanctuary jurisdictions did not detail the progress made by the Department on this issue. We would appreciate an update on the Department’s efforts to engage state and local law enforcement on immigration enforcement. Your previous response also failed to comply with Senator Grassley’s request to provide any copies of emails or other communication with state and local officials to understand how the administration is rectifying the problem.
Sanctuary policies have allowed thousands of people with criminal records to be released into our communities. Last year, more than 12,000 detainers issued by your Department were ignored by state and local law enforcement agencies. If last year’s number of declined detainers are any indication, there have been as many as 3,000 detainers ignored since Kate Steinle’s murder. On average, that is over thirty per day.
It is time to make it clear to sanctuary jurisdictions that people in the country illegally do not deserve safe harbor. For every day that passes, the potential for another tragedy only increases. Therefore, we reiterate our concern about the administration’s Priority Enforcement Program because it allows criminal aliens who have evaded conviction to be released to commit additional crimes. We encourage you to reconsider this policy and make it clear that sanctuary policies will no longer be tolerated.
We await a more thorough response on this issue as well as answers to the new questions we have posed with regard to Mr. Chavez. We appreciate your cooperation to ensure that we do more to protect the American people and do everything we can to prevent other families from losing loved ones to criminal aliens.
Charles E. Grassley Bob Goodlatte
Senate Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on the JudiciaryRead More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed by voice vote the Adoptive Family Relief Act (S.1300). The bipartisan, bicameral bill allows the State Department to waive visa renewal fees for American families adopting children from overseas in circumstances when those children are unable to come to the United States before their visa expires.
The Adoptive Family Relief Act, now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law, will provide immediate financial relief to hundreds of American families who have adopted children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has refused to provide the necessary exit paperwork and bureaucratic approvals to let adopted children leave the country for the past two years.
Under current law, an immigrant visa for adoptees expires if it is not used within six months of issuance and it costs $325 to renew. The exit permit ban in the DRC has been in place since September 2013, which means if a visa was issued six months before the ban and the family was unable to use the visa due to circumstances beyond their control, by now they would have had to renew the visa five times to keep it current for a total cost of $1,625 rather than $325. Under the Adoptive Family Relief Act, the State Department is able to waive the renewal fee for visas issued on or after March 23, 2013, and refund visa fees that have already been paid since that time.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below praising the passage of this legislation:
“For no good reason, the Congolese government has for years refused to provide the necessary paperwork to allow legally adopted children to leave the country. As a result, hundreds of children are needlessly waiting in orphanages when they could be at home with their adoptive parents in the United States. Some families from the Sixth District of Virginia have been affected by this stonewalling and their grief is unimaginable. While passage of the Adoptive Family Relief Act does not change the DRC’s policy, it does provide much needed financial relief to the families waiting for their children to come home. I urge the President to sign this bill into law quickly and to put pressure on the Congolese government to change its policies.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today sent a letter to Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy expressing deep concern over the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s report detailing Secret Service personnel’s inappropriate access to the personal information of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), which was a violation of federal law. In the letter Chairman Goodlatte writes:
“Dear Director Clancy:
“I am deeply concerned with the findings in the recent report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General on the inappropriate access and dissemination of Representative Jason Chaffetz’s personal information. The report confirms that earlier this year a high-ranking Secret Service official encouraged the dissemination of personal information of Representative Jason Chaffetz and over 40 Secret Service agents improperly accessed and disseminated this information, in violation of federal law.
“No one, whether a Member of Congress or a private citizen, should have private information violated in this manner. This incident is precisely why Americans do not trust the federal government with their personal information.
“More importantly, it is deeply troubling that a leader at the United States Secret Service thought it appropriate to try to leak this information to the press. It is shameful that a person in such a position of trust would engage in this sort of activity in an attempt to smear the reputation of a Member of Congress and to discredit the oversight work he was performing on behalf of the Congress and the American people in an effort to clean up endemic problems within the agency.
“This incident also raises important questions about who has access to the Secret Service database containing sensitive information, and what controls are in place to prevent and identify such abuses. In addition, this incident highlights significant concerns about how information related to important incidents, including time-sensitive disciplinary matters, move up the chain of command. I am concerned at the length of time it took for you to find out about this matter, and the repeated inaction by those in leadership positions in the agency when this matter was brought to their attention. I respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss these issues and your actions to address them, as soon as possible.
“As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the Secret Service, I am committed to continuing the committee’s oversight of the Secret Service in an effort to improve its operations and ensure accountability at all levels of the agency. Please provide to me as quickly as possible, but no later than COB October 7th, a detailed description of your efforts to hold these Secret Service personnel accountable and ensure this type of incident never happens again.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued this statement following the release of the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s report detailing U.S. Secret Service personnel’s inappropriate access to the personal information of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah):
“This report confirms that earlier this year a high-ranking Secret Service official encouraged the dissemination of personal information of Representative Jason Chaffetz and over 40 Secret Service agents improperly accessed and disseminated this information, in violation of federal law. No one, whether they are a Member of Congress or a private citizen, should have their private information violated in this manner. This incident is precisely why Americans do not trust the federal government with their personal information.
“The actions by these Secret Service employees are in clear violation of the Privacy Act and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson must hold all necessary personnel accountable.
“Unfortunately, this is the latest in a series of scandals and failures on the part of the Secret Service in recent years. The House Judiciary Committee will continue conducting aggressive oversight of the Secret Service in an effort to improve its operations and ensure accountability at all levels of the agency.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement regarding passage of H.R. 3495, the Women's Public Health and Safety Act. H.R. 3495 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-193 yesterday.
“The government formed by the United States Constitution was to be limited in power, with the 10th Amendment making clear that certain powers remain with the states. Recent revelations about the alleged practices of Planned Parenthood have called into question abortion providers that receive federal funds. H.R. 3495, passed by the House, makes it clear that the states have the flexibility to exclude any providers who provide elective abortion services, not just Planned Parenthood, from receiving taxpayer dollars in the form of Medicaid funds. This bill is a step in the right direction in preventing states from being forced to fund abortion providers and stopping taxpayer dollars from going to those performing this horrific practice.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bicameral group of lawmakers is questioning the constitutionality of the Department of Commerce’s plans to transition critical Internet infrastructure systems away from U.S. government stewardship and oversight. In a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked whether the plan would result in the transfer of government property, which could violate Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.
At issue are key components of the Internet’s infrastructure, collectively known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which enable the efficient operation of the Internet. Included is the management of the root zone file, which was developed by taxpayer-funded Department of Defense researchers, and which remains designated as a “national IT asset” by the U.S. government. Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to transfer government property. If this file—or other government-developed components of the Internet—are determined to be the property of the government, then transferring their control to a nongovernmental entity without congressional consent, as the Department of Commerce has proposed, may violate the Constitution.
The Commerce Department’s contracts with the organizations that administer Internet name and address system policies explicitly state that the root zone file is “the property of the U.S. government,” and changes cannot be made to the file without government approval. Congress has also passed legislation blocking federal funding for efforts to relinquish stewardship of the domain name system, including the root zone file.
To ensure that Congress is informed of any government property that may be transferred without its approval, the lawmakers asked GAO to study the government property implications of the Department of Commerce’s proposal. They also asked GAO to determine whether the agency has the legal authority to conduct such a transfer to a nongovernmental entity without congressional approval.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement on the announcement that Speaker John Boehner will resign from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of October:
“Speaker Boehner has been a tireless public servant for his constituents. I respect his courageous decision to step down at the end of October in an effort to unite the Republican Conference, and thank him for his leadership in the House, as well as for his personal friendship over the years. I wish John and Debbie the best as they start a new chapter in their lives. The fight for the conservative cause must go on. Now is the time for House Republicans to renew our resolve to unite and plot a path forward to address the issues facing the American people today.”Read More
2309 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.
Bob’s service to the people of the Sixth District began in 1977 when he became District Director for former Congressman Caldwell Butler. He served in this position for two years until 1979, and was responsible for helping folks across the District seeking assistance with or encountering problems from various federal agencies. In 1979, he founded his own private law practice in Roanoke. Later, he was a partner in the law firm of Bird, Kinder and Huffman, working there from 1981 until taking office.
In the 113th Congress, Bob was elected to serve as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He is the first Judiciary Committee Chairman from Virginia in the last 125 years. Bob has been an active Member of the Judiciary Committee since arriving in Congress, serving in a variety of leadership positions on the Committee including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet in the 112th Congress, Vice Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment in the 111th Congress, Ranking Member of the Antitrust Task Force in the 110th Congress, and Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property in the 109th Congress. Additionally, Bob also served on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
The House Judiciary Committee will certainly be at the forefront of some of the most significant issues facing Virginia and the Sixth District, including protecting Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism and crime, and immigration reform. It is likely that many of these issues will be the deciding factors in determining the future direction of our nation. The jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee is well-suited to many of Bob’s legislative priorities such as protecting Constitutional rights, including private property and Second Amendment rights, securing our borders through immigration reform, strengthening our criminal laws, decreasing health care costs through medical malpractice reform, and oversight of the Judicial branch and Administration. One of Bob’s top legislative initiatives is his Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget so that Congress will be forced to control spending. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over all proposed amendments to the Constitution.
In addition to serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Bob serves on the House Agriculture Committee. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, which is of particular importance to the Sixth District since it is one of the leading turkey and poultry producing districts in the nation. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition. Bob has served the Agriculture Committee in a variety of leadership roles including Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2003-2007), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee (2007-2008), Vice Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2011-2012), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry (1997-2003), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research (2009-2010).
During his time in Congress, Bob has made a name for himself as a leader on Internet and high-tech issues. He is Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus as well as Chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.
Bob is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, and his undergraduate degree in Government was earned at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He resides in Roanoke with his wife, Maryellen. He and Maryellen have been married since 1974 and have two adult children, Jennifer and Rob.
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Tomorrow the House will vote to lift the ban on crude oil exports. Ending this export ban would help us better compete in the global economy
Watch live as we announce U.S. House Judiciary Committee's bipartisan initiative on Criminal Justice Reform.
Last night, the House sent the Adoptive Family Relief Act to the President's desk. It will provide immediate financial relief to hundreds of
Quick tour of James Madison University's Bioscience building while Rep. Virginia Foxx is in town. Good to hear about their work and research.
#VA06 Women's Conference is underway in Harrisonburg! Great to see some Virginia Military Institute cadets in attendance.