Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement today that all individuals traveling from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone to the U.S. will be required to travel through one of five major U.S. airports where additional Ebola screening measures have been implemented.
“The additional restrictions that the Administration announced today are a minimal improvement over what we had in place yesterday, and far from sufficient. The United States government needs to immediately place a moratorium on travel to and from West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks, and to craft a comprehensive, preventative, containment strategy to ensure Americans’ safety. I continue to believe Congress is obligated to reconvene immediately to develop such a strategy and prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States.”
Last week, Forbes issued statements calling for the U.S. government to implement temporary travel restrictions to and from Ebola-stricken West African countries, and for Congress to reconvene to address Ebola containment. Those statement are available here and here.
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the pending retirement of Dr. Andrew Marshall, Director of the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) at the Department of Defense:
“For over four decades, Andy Marshall has been one of the United States’ leading national security thinkers, anticipating future threats and realizing opportunities that others often missed. Through the strategists he mentored and advanced, Dr. Marshall’s legacy of analytical rigor and strategic foresight will continue for decades to come. In his absence, the Office of Net Assessment must continue to be at the forefront of strategic thinking and innovation if the United States is to maintain its military strength in the years ahead and successfully confront the national security challenges of the 21st century.”
For decades, we’ve been prepared. We’ve led. We’ve made innovative breakthroughs. We’ve made significant advances in trade, diplomacy, global trust, and modernization. We’ve protected the American way of life. But what will history say about our ability to take on the challenges of today?
The National Defense Panel – a bipartisan group tasked with reviewing the future of national defense strategy, budgets, and reforms – offered stark conclusions: unless we change course from the failures of recent years, our military is at a high risk of not being able to fully guarantee our national security.
To take these warnings lightly would be foolish. Our world today is dangerous. One needs to look no further than the front page of a newspaper or the breaking news alerts on Twitter to understand the many threats we are up against - the emergence of the Islamic State, the continued struggle with Al Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Iran’s unrelenting pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and China’s growing belligerence across the Asia-Pacific region.
However, instead of equipping our nation’s defenders, the Administration (and many in Congress) has fixed its attention on cutting our military resources. Year after year, a new reform has brought major cuts to our military’s capacity and capability. What is extraordinary about these cuts is that even as the Administration has directed them, it has also called for additional commitment of American military resources. We have traditionally had the strongest, best equipped, most capable military in the world, but we cannot continue to ask our military men and women to perform new missions under the constraints of defense budget cuts and sequestration.
An American public tinged by war might wonder why all of this matters. “Couldn’t we just shift our focus to home?” many ask. As Americans, we must at the moment realize something: the lack of defense strategy, repeated budget cuts, and miscalculated decisions that chip away at military resources create vacuums. And vacuums have detrimental effects on our ability to focus at home. Vacuums embolden our adversaries, allowing them to exhibit muscle on the world stage. Vacuums demand responsiveness. Vacuums force us to turn our attention abroad. Vacuums create risks – risks that, under defense cuts, we simply cannot afford.
To build an unparalleled American military power is a principal U.S. constitutional duty. But we don’t build a strong military to use it. To the contrary, we build a strong defense to prevent conflict; to constantly remind our adversaries and competitors that “today is not the day”. We build a strong defense so our military men and women can stay home rather than serve across the world for multiple deployments in treacherous, hard environments. We build a strong defense so Americans can attend school, go to church, attend high school football games, and gather with friends in their backyards unburdened by the worry of adequate national security.
When we have a strong defense, something freeing happens for our nation. Released from the weight of strained resources and low manpower, our nation has the opportunity to exercise prudence and use discretion in defense decisions. When we have the capabilities and strength to go the distance, we can make decisions out of calculated strategy, rather than snap judgments.
When we have a strong defense, we can focus on military innovation. With adequate resources, we can retain highly skilled military men and women – engineers, scientists, and technologists – who have an eye on efficiency and a determination for innovation. We can shift our focus to home, confident that our strong defense is prepared to protect us from those who would do us harm. Our military can focus on becoming better at what it does, so it can be more efficient. We can aim for best-in-class defense that offers strong leadership and success admired across the world. We build a strong military – fully prepared and always ready – today so we don’t have to deploy it tomorrow.
What will history say about our ability to take on the challenges of today? If we continue a tradition of a strong defense, I’m confident history will tell the story of a strong America.
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) issued the following statement:
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) issued the following statement in response to the death of the Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and the subsequent infection of two healthcare workers within the United States:
“To prevent the growing crisis in West Africa from leading to additional cases here in the United States,the U.S. government needs to immediately implement temporary travel restrictions to and from the West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Due to the unprecedented scope of this Ebola virus outbreak, and due to the virus’ tremendously high mortality rate now hovering near 70%, taking such proactive precautions to ensure the safety and health of American citizens is simply common sense."
On Tuesday, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) released the agency’s updated response and safety procedures, as well as the creation of the CDC’s Ebola response team. Additionally, increased entry screening of those traveling from affected countries byU.S.Customs and BorderProtectionare in place at select points of entry in the United States.
According to a Gallup survey released last year, Americans were more likely to name “dysfunctional government” as the most important problem facing the nation – more than the economy, unemployment, the deficit, and healthcare.
And who can blame them? It’s government dysfunction that brought us to sequestration. To mortgaging our children’s future to pay for yesterday’s expenses. To regularly failing to even pass a budget. Not much has changed since last year. If anything, even more situations have added to the public’s sentiments about dysfunction in Washington. The IRS scandal and the VA scandal come to mind, among others. What is most telling about Americans’ sentiments is just how wide-sweeping Washington’s dysfunction is, touching a number of government agencies and issues.
Many people would say the dysfunction in Washington stems from disagreement. I – no irony intended – disagree. There is a difference between disagreement and dysfunction, and between standing on principle and standing for polarization. Our government was founded in disagreement. Disagreement is in our DNA as a nation. From our inception, we have welcomed disagreement as a starting point for debate and a place where new concepts are launched. Why? Because the best ideas often come from places of disagreement. It forces individuals with different opinions to work together for the best solution.
So if disagreement isn’t necessarily causing dysfunction in our nation today, what is? A wall of disrespect exists between government leaders, which has made working together nearly impossible. When we receive breaking news alerts simply because Republicans and Democrats have come together for a face-to-face meeting, we’ve hit an all-time low. Politics has become the thing we abhor instead of the very catalyst to create the best possible future for our nation. Dysfunction carries a steep price: Our nation remains stagnant. If bickering continually pushes us to the eleventh hour before we act, then we do not have sufficient time to engage in meaningful debate over the most effective means of addressing the challenges we face. If we are focused on opportunities to score political points, we are taking time away from focusing on innovative policy issues that move our nation forward.
We can move our country from dysfunctional, to a functioning, forward-thinking government quite easily – by committing to a posture of statesmanship.
Statesmanship doesn’t mean kicking our disagreements under the rug. It doesn’t mean government leaders have to be “yes men.” Statesmanship doesn’t even dictate that two individuals have to compromise principles. Statesmanship doesn’t discriminate between political ideologies. In fact, I am good friends with both Democrats and Republicans whom I consider fine statesmen and women.
True statesmanship depends on a commitment to lead by principles and values. Perhaps more than that, it depends on the ability to come together to build consensus, not a patchwork of compromises. True statesmanship births a desire for common ground. If we posture ourselves as statesmen, we come to the table with respect for each other, an open mind to ideas, and an understanding of each other’s unwavering principles. Statesmanship requires hard work and respect. It is not the easy way out. But it’s necessary if we want a healthy, thriving, functioning government.
In light of the recent attack against the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rep. J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) and Rep. Robert Hurt (VA-05) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry requesting action on the long-awaited construction of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett, Virginia. In April 2014, the State Department reaffirmed its earlier decision in 2011 to locate such a facility at Fort Pickett. Unfortunately over the past four years, no tangible progress has been made to develop the site.
October 9, 2014
The Honorable John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry:
It has been five years since your Department made clear its need for a consolidated facility to improve efficiency, decrease operating costs, and provide our diplomats, agents and their families with the training necessary for being stationed in some of the most high-threat, high-risk countries around the world.
TIM KAINE J. RANDY FORBES
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding the release of an interim report on the revision of the Japan-U.S. Defense Guidelines:
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) has been awarded The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence, in recognition of his pro-jobs, pro-manufacturing voting record.
Every day, an entity in Washington makes powerful decisions over our economy and monetary policy. Yet, it shares very little information about its day-to-day decisions, the influences it is subject to, and the ways in which these decisions affect the American people. The entity is the Federal Reserve, and it needs more oversight.
Congress established the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to add some consistency to the economy after a series of financial panics brought instability to the banking industry. Since that point, the Federal Reserve – commonly referred to as the Fed – has evolved in its governance and mission. Twice a year, the Federal Reserve Board must report to Congress on the economy and monetary policy in the United States. However, the Fed has largely enjoyed a certain level of autonomy over monetary policy and lending – the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is prohibited from including some information from its review. Especially now with our nation’s staggering deficit, a full audit of the Fed – with no exclusions – is imperative, not optional.
Last month, I voted for the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 24), a bipartisan bill that requires the GAO to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve within one year. Here’s why:
In its 101 year history, the Federal Reserve has never had a complete, independent audit. Throughout its history, the Federal Reserve has consistently expanded its reach. The quasi-government entity sets monetary policy. It issues paper and coin currency. It controls interest rates. It serves as a bank to bankers and a bank to the federal government. Yet, despite its vast reach into monetary policy, there has never been a comprehensive audit because many of its operations are exempt from regular audits. That means we have 101 years of layers to peel back to fully understand how the authority of the Fed has changed, and to what extent they are exercising their power to practice emergency lending, set monetary policy, or operate with foreign central banks and international organizations.
The Federal Reserve’s budget is not subject to review by Congress. According to the Congressional Research Service, unlike most other government agencies, the Federal Reserve is self-financing and there is no congressional oversight over its budget. That means, since its budget is not subject to the usual appropriations or authorization process, there is no regular avenue for Congress to ensure the Fed is allocating resources according to congressional priorities – underscoring both the lack of transparency over the entity and the lack of accountability to the people’s representatives.
Seven unelected bureaucrats run the Federal Reserve. The Fed is led by a Board of Governors. These seven unelected, presidential appointed members guide the Fed’s policy actions, serving 14-year terms. They largely enjoy decision-making autonomy with little scrutiny because many of their actions are excluded from annual, comprehensive audits.
The Government Accountability Office has limited authority to examine the actions of the Federal Reserve. Under current law, the GAO is tasked with regularly reviewing the actions of the Federal Reserve. However, the GAO is restricted from examining the actions of the Fed related to decisions on monetary policy and transactions with a foreign bank or foreign government.
74% of Americans favor auditing the Federal Reserve, according to a November 2013 Rasmussen poll. Americans are demanding transparency and accountability in Washington. It’s time Washington aligned its priorities with those of the American people.
Transparency, accountability, and responsibility are fundamental characteristics that government agencies and departments are obligated to possess in order to effectively serve the American people. Especially now as the Fed has grown in its influence in the private sector, it’s time we lift the veil from this mammoth organization. To achieve real transparency, we need a full audit of the Fed – no exceptions. Just as, to achieve real accountability, we need a full audit of the Department of Defense – no exceptions. It’s common sense.
2135 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Placed prominently on the wall of Congressman Randy Forbes’ Washington office is a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence surrounded by portraits of the fifty-six founding fathers who signed the document asserting our nation’s freedom. Frequently when Randy is in our nation’s capital, he can be found personally escorting constituents through his office to tell the story of how this powerful document and its signatories serve as reminder of the sacrifices that were made during birth of our nation and the weight of responsibility on elected officials to preserve the freedom for which so many have fought and died.
Since his constituents elected him to Congress in 2001, one of Randy’s key priorities has been to protect and defend our nation. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Randy is responsible for the research, development, acquisition, and sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force’s bomber and tanker fleets. Randy’s position is central in developing the nation’s long-term strategies to meet our future security needs. As a result of his work on behalf of our military, in 2009, Randy became one of only a few individuals to have been honored with the highest civilian award offered by both the United States Army and the United States Navy.
In a time of broken government and stale ideas, Randy has focused on legislative solutions that have proven to be refreshing alternative to the status quo. His much-hailed New Manhattan Project for Energy led the Wall Street Journal to ask: “Why is Randy Forbes all alone? … The surprising thing is that there aren’t 100 Randy Forbes out there, issuing similar calls to arms to seize this moment and finally cure the country’s oil addiction.” The Virginian Pilot, similarly, commented: “Outrage won’t solve the nation’s energy troubles, or safeguard jobs. For that, you need something else, something Forbes is displaying: Leadership.”
Randy has rejected Washington political rhetoric and has instead focused on solutions-based leadership to tackle issues such as economic recovery, health care, tax reform and government spending. In health care, Randy has introduced proposals to protect seniors and individuals with preexisting conditions from health insurance cancellation, to harness the potential in ethical stem-cell research, and to double the investment the federal government is making in research to cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. His work has earned him the award, “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights.” In addition, Randy has introduced legislation to improve efficiency in government agencies, and he has been named a “Hero of Taxpayers”. Instead of abandoning sound fiscal policy in the face of economic challenge, Randy was one of only 17 Members of Congress to vote against each stimulus and bailout package under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.
Randy founded and chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has led this group of bipartisan Members in national efforts to protect prayer and our nation’s spiritual history. He is known as a skilled orator on the Judiciary Committee and, as the former Ranking Member of the Crime Subcommittee, Randy is often called upon to lead the debate on national issues such as gang crime or immigration reform. As founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Randy has introduced legislation to combat Chinese espionage and is frequently tapped as a national commentator on Sino-American relations. Groups as diverse as the US Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, the National Taxpayers Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation have all recognized the work Randy has done in Congress – a testament to Randy’s independent problem-solving and focus on bipartisan solutions.
While Randy’s legislative proposals have received significant national and local attention, Randy’s commitment to improving quality of life for his constituents has been the hallmark of his career in Congress. Randy places a high-priority on partnering with community leaders and elected officials of all political persuasions to bring about greater economic prosperity, increased educational opportunities, safer communities, and improved local transportation and infrastructure for the Fourth District. His work to position Fort Lee through the last BRAC round led to the arrival of nearly 12,000 jobs in the Chesterfield/Tri-Cities area and his work as founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus has elevated Hampton Roads as a premier destination for high-paying tech jobs.
Working in Washington has not changed Randy’s enthusiasm for serving those that elected him. Richmond Times Dispatch noted Randy has “earned a reputation for constituent service” for his ability to cut through red tape and for his unparalleled constituent communications. Randy publishes a weekly email newsletter with over 85,000 subscribers that includes commentary and as well as factual information on the issues before Congress.
Randy has long worked under the belief that transparency is a key condition of good government. In addition to his unparalleled work to inform and solicit input from his constituents, Randy was one of the first members of Congress to publish appropriations requests to his website, causing the Richmond Times Dispatch to call him, “an admirable example for openness.” His website was selected by the Congressional Management Foundation as one of the best websites in Congress and was specifically commended for offering constituents a “clear understanding of his work in Congress”.
A life-long resident of Virginia, Randy began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. From 1989-2001, he served the Commonwealth of Virginia in the General Assembly. As a member of the House of Delegates, he served 7 years, quickly establishing himself and serving as the Floor Leader until his election to the State Senate in 1997. One year later, he became the Senate Floor Leader. He served in the State Senate for 3 1/2 years, until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Randy graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake in 1970. He was valedictorian of his 1974 class at Randolph-Macon College. In 1977, Randy graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Randy attends Great Bridge Baptist Church, where he has taught adult Sunday school for over 20 years. He was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia where he still resides with his wife Shirley. He and Shirley have been married since 1978 and have four children: Neil, Jamie, Jordan, and Justin.
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Thanks to General Services Administration & US State Dept for sponsoring a Small Business Workshop at Fort Pickett http://t.co/nWAu4quT1F
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I believe Congress must immediately return to DC to develop a thoughtful, coordinated containment strategy for Ebola http://t.co/6pigAdblmm
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The US gov needs to immediately implement temporary travel restrictions to & from West African countries w/ Ebola outbreaks. RT if you agree
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Honored to speak at the Holicky-Sitter Veterans Luncheon Group & discuss the importance of a strong national defense http://t.co/x0zafidnHX
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Thanks to Trusted Compass- group of area business owners- for inviting me to share the role faith plays in my life http://t.co/SEGYT45Gil
Students -- are you considering applying for a Congressional Service Academy nomination? The deadline is next week, 31 October 2014, so be sure
A strong Navy relies on the dedicated men and women who support it – keeping it maintained and ready to respond when called upon. The Virginia
Thanks to the General Services Administration and the US State Department for sponsoring a Small Business Workshop at Fort Pickett in Nottoway
Washington may be mired in political partisanship but when it comes to Virginia, the Hampton Roads Congressional delegation has a strong working
Grateful for the partnership between The Colonial Heights Food Pantry and Feed More as we celebrate the Grand Opening of the Meals on Wheels