Panama City, Panama—South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere issued the following statement regarding U.S. Cuba Policy while attending the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama:
"The Cuban regime has a clear record of sponsoring terrorism, supporting illegal activity, and brutally oppressing its own people. While the Administration may be anxious to check the boxes on a few legacy items like U.S. Cuba policy, the fact remains that there is a strong bipartisan coalition in Congress that will insist on a host of democratic, humanitarian, and national security conditions being met first. The State Department is reportedly recommending that the President de-list Cuba from being considered a "State Sponsor of Terrorism," but it is worth noting that Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the Administration's actions and ensure they align with our national interests.
Over the past several months, I've had the privilege of meeting with members of the Cuban opposition community who have shared their stories of suffering under the Castro regime. This morning in Panama, our U.S. Congressional delegation continued that dialogue with a meeting of Cuban civil society dissidents who were attacked earlier this week in Panama by thugs from the Cuban Embassy. These brave Cuban individuals are here in Panama to urge governments to actively promote democratic governance and citizen participation. It is my hope that we will stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and that leaders in our hemisphere will take demonstrable action to hold governments, including the Castro regime, accountable as we move forward from this Summit. Empty promises and false assurances from the Castro regime must be met head-on with leadership and accountability from democratic countries in the region, and I look forward to working more closely together with our neighbors to achieve these ends.
The unrelenting and merciless oppression of the Cuban people by a regime hostile to liberty is a direct rejection of the values we as Americans hold as sacred. No regime should be rewarded for such appalling acts. There is no cause dearer to Americans than the cause of freedom. The Cuban people have not forgotten the oppression they face daily, and we will not forget about them."
I just want to drop a quick update of what has been happening over the past few weeks in Washington.
Executive Actions on Immigration and Stopping Executive Overreach:
In regards to the President’s executive actions on immigration, I believe Congress capitulated on its duty to protect and defend the Constitution against executive overreach. If we are truly going to make the American people’s priorities our priorities, then I believe we must be willing to have more than a halfhearted fight against an Administration’s constitutional violations. I voted against the spending package, commonly known as the CROmnibus, at the end of last year largely because I felt it was putting Congress in a disadvantage in fighting the President’s executive actions. Additionally, this poor strategy was one of the main reasons why I voted for a change in House Leadership this year.
I stood along with many other of my colleagues who voted against the bill, and spoke out against the actions of the Administration.
In a historic address to a joint session of Congress, the American people had the opportunity to hear directly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the escalating threat of Iranian nuclear ambitions. I believe the threat is real, and we must set a policy that deters Iran from any capability to go nuclear. Iran as a nuclear power is a direct threat not only to the existence of Israel, but also to global security. While responsible nations enact policies to promote peace and prosperity for their citizens, Iran invests in the global industrial complex of terrorism. They aim to incite anarchy and then promote radical Islamic groups in the wake of the chaos. To find further information about Iran and the Prime Minister’s speech, please follow this link to a guest column I submitted to Myrtle Beach Online.
The Second Amendment of the US Constitution explicitly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Again, I believe the federal government is attempting to curtail the ability for Americans to exercise this clear right. However, despite the 2nd Amendment a recently proposed rule issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would prohibit companies from manufacturing and selling 5.56mm projectiles for M855 cartridges commonly used in AR-15 rifles. Thankfully, due to pressure from the blatant lawlessness of the rules, the ATF has now pulled the proposition. However, actions like this are troublesome and I will continue to keep a close eye on the Administration’s conduct.
We are currently in the middle of a comment period for the draft program of the five year offshore drilling plan. The final submission date for the period is March 30th, 2015. Currently, the proposed plan has a lease sale for the South and Mid-Atlantic region in 2021. This is unprecedented and provides a great opportunity for economic development in the state of South Carolina. There is a 50 mile buffer zone where the area past that exclusion zone will be open to one lease sale.
For now, the current issue before South Carolina is whether DHEC will approve state-of-the-art seismic surveying to determine the potential oil and gas reserves offshore. Such analysis is the first step in evaluating the extent of this economic opportunity. If these surveys indicate substantial oil and gas reserves offshore for production, South Carolina holds a unique geographical position to benefit.
All current seismic data for the South/Mid-Atlantic are from 1970s and 1980s studies. Technology is now better. According to the Draft Plan, several permits are already under consideration for conducting seismic surveys. The Governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have requested that the areas be included in the Draft plan so that they can better understand oil and gas potential off their coasts. I along with many citizens in South Carolina am eager to see the potential reserves off our coast so we can make the appropriate decision for energy development. To find further information about the plan, please follow this link to a guest column I submitted to the Charleston Post and Courier.
I hope you found this quick update was useful, and I look forward to your feedback.
Blessing and Liberty,
Jeff Duncan Member of CongressRead More
COLUMBIA, SC - The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released its five-year plan, which opens the South Atlantic region to one lease sale for energy development. It also defines an area of sale outside a 50-mile buffer zone for any resource drilling or exploration. It will take public comments through Monday.
The bureau should note that a January Harris Poll showed 75 percent of South Carolinians favor domestic oil and gas production, while just 12 percent oppose such measures. Studies have projected that offshore oil and gas development could create tens of thousands of S.C. jobs over two decades, while injecting $2.7 billion into the economy. Such a boost in economic activity could generate more than $80 million annually in new state revenue, creating a critical boost in revenue for infrastructure investments. As current revenue plans only increase taxes on hard-working citizens, no wonder South Carolinians support energy development; it just makes sense.
Opponents of energy production have recently taken aim at seismic surveys, which use “sound sources” to provide 3D maps of potential oil and gas reserves under the sea bed. The data provides critical new insights into geologic activity under the ocean for scientists.
Interestingly, some groups claim seismic surveying is directly linked to deaths among marine mammals. The criticism has political undercurrents gradually stirred amidst the discussion of whether to produce energy off our coasts. It is a particularly surprising tactic given the clear lack of scientific evidence provided to support the arguments. In fact, senior U.S. government officials have testified under oath, and also stated on the bureau’s website, that there is not a single recorded instance of a marine mammal being injured or killed by seismic surveys. Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Hopper concurred with these statements at an Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee this month.
Discovering vast quantities of oil and gas reserves would be a blessing for the citizens of South Carolina. Our strategic location transforms the arrival of the American energy renaissance off our shores, into an economic renaissance for all of our people.
The future is not something we can predict; we can only prepare. Economic ingenuity is an immeasurable and beautiful feature of humanity carefully cultivated in a state of liberty. The path toward prosperity is illuminated by a free-market framework, and it leads just over the horizon.
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article16309553.html#storylink=cpy
By Jeff Duncan, Bob Coble and James Knapp
Offshore energy exploration and production could be an economic game changer for South Carolina, providing our citizens with the jobs and state revenue we need to prosper and succeed into the future. This task requires a bipartisan effort to thoroughly evaluate the potential benefits and risks of this economic opportunity.
We are in this together as common citizens of South Carolina; for that reason such an effort must include all of our citizens as well as local, state, and federal officials.
The current issue before South Carolina is whether the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will approve state-of-the-art seismic surveying to determine the potential oil and gas reserves offshore. Such analysis is the first step in evaluating the extent of this economic opportunity. If these surveys indicate substantial oil and gas reserves offshore for production, South Carolina holds a unique geographical position to benefit.
We are at the second of five phases required to develop the Five-Year Program that could result in offshore energy production. Last June, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management solicited information for the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for offshore energy exploration and production, which was released in early February. The plan development process began with an exhaustive environmental impact analysis. Then, the broadest consideration of areas available for leasing was determined, which was then narrowed through a winnowing process. Inclusion of an area now is not a final indication that it will be included in the approved program or offered in the subsequent lease sale. Many decisions still remain that may reduce or completely delete an area or sale. Conversely, if an area or sale is not included at this stage, it would be very unlikely it could be added back. There will be ample time for South Carolina to evaluate the risks and benefits of energy production. This includes the science and technology of drilling and a review of the various proposed safeguards, such as the 50-mile limit. However, this will not happen unless the seismic testing is allowed to proceed to determine what is out there. The process will include extensive public hearings and public comment.
One thing is for certain: South Carolina needs jobs and increased tax revenue to pay for education, infrastructure, and conservation needs. This can be accomplished through the free market. Studies have shown that offshore oil and gas development could create tens of thousands of South Carolina jobs over the next two decades, add $2.7 billion to our state economy, and generate over $80 million annually in new state revenue. South Carolina’s manufacturing base and ports, particularly in Georgetown, are well positioned to benefit economically from offshore drilling. Gov. Haley, our other Atlantic Coast governors, and our congressional delegation are working to establish a revenue sharing plan that is fair and ensures that our citizens will receive the tax benefits from offshore production.
All South Carolinians stand to gain from an expanding energy industry. Utility prices will decrease, transportation of goods will become less expensive, and families will see more money in their wallets at the end of the month. Energy security is also national security, while also an essential part to American geopolitical strength and strategic interests against all current as well as potential threats. America can ease our reliance on Middle Eastern oil, allowing us to better tackle the region’s mounting challenges according to what is best for our interests.
Polling results last month showed that an overwhelming majority of South Carolinians support increased energy production, including the development of American offshore resources. This is a generational opportunity that should be fairly evaluated through careful study of the facts. We are happy that prosperity is just over the horizon. South Carolinians deserve no less.
Jeff Duncan represents South Carolina’s 3rd District in the U.S. House and is a member of the Committee on Natural Resources. Bob Coble is the former mayor of Columbia and a member of Nexsen Pruet, LLC. James Knapp, Ph.D., is a professor of Earth & Ocean sciences at the University of South Carolina.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congress held a joint session to hear from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the threats posed to the Jewish people in Israel by the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian regime. Congressman Duncan praised the Israeli leader in a statement following the address:
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has traveled a great distance to lay down his case against the Iranian regime’s unbridled march towards nuclear weapons. I applaud the Speaker for inviting him into our chamber. The American people must hear his case. It is imperative to the future of all enlightened people in this world that free nations band together in support of Israel against this clear threat to their survival. Iran is a tyrannical regime with one goal: the expansion of a radical fundamentalist Islamic philosophy bent on domination not only of the Middle East, but of all mankind.
Iran is the world’s most powerful state sponsor of terror, and they directly disrupt all efforts at peace in the region through vicious and unmerciful tactics of destruction. They seek to counter all the efforts of enlightened countries to promote freedom and basic human rights. Quite frankly, the Prime Minister showed me something not often seen in politics: courage coupled with wisdom. As he stated, ‘the alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal’. If only our leaders had such insight. The address illustrates his outstanding capability for leadership while standing for the people of Israel as others seem to waver. They are very lucky to have a leader who fights tooth and nail to preserve their freedom.”
Washington, D.C. –Congress voted today to pass a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security budget, without attempting to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Congressman Duncan voted against the bill because it didn’t contain the language needed to stop the President’s illegal executive actions and then released the following statement:
“Today, Congress capitulated on its duty to protect and defend the Constitution against executive overreach. If we are truly going to make the American people’s priorities our priorities, then we must be willing to have more than a halfhearted fight against the President’s constitutional violations. It’s hard to explain to constituents that something a majority of House Republicans oppose can pass out of the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
The CROmnibus funding strategy that was signed in law in December has proven once again to have been a bad deal for the American people. The legislative branch has a responsibility to use the power of the purse as a tool against executive overreach, but that’s a difficult tool to wield when members of your party cringe at the idea of a confrontation.”
WASHINGTON, DC–Thirty Members of Congress, led by Jeff Duncan (R-SC), today wrote a letter to House Leadership thanking them for standing firm against President Obama’s executive amnesty, and urging them to continue to hold the line.
“The House of Representatives continues to reflect the will and sentiment of the majority of Americans by combating the President’s executive overreach,” the thirty Members of Congress wrote, in a letter addressed to Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. “The Legislative Branch has a responsibility to use its exclusive and constitutionally-granted authority to prevent the President’s unlawful usurpation of power.”
In addition to Duncan, the signers include Jim Jordan (OH), Matt Salmon (AZ), Dave Brat (VA), Louie Gohmert (TX), Steve King (IA), Ryan Zinke (MT), John Fleming (LA), Jim Bridenstine (OK), Ted Yoho (FL), Bradley Byrne (AL), Gary Palmer (AL), Mo Brooks (AL), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Curt Clawson (FL), Mark Sanford (SC), Randy Weber (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Martha Roby (AL), John Duncan (TN), David Schweikert (AZ), Doug Lamborn (CO), Brian Babin (TX), Walter Jones (NC), Steven Palazzo (MS), Jeff Miller (FL), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Barry Loudermilk (GA), Tom McClintock (CA), and Lou Barletta (PA). All are Republicans.
“This letter should serve as a continued call to arms,” said the letter’s organizer, Jeff Duncan. “The House has taken a strong stand with the American people for the rule of law and the importance of our Constitutional checks and balances. Congress must continue to stand firm against this President’s overreach.”
The letter notes the Federal District Court rebuke of the President’s actions, noting that “District Court rulings can be overturned, but the power of the purse is absolute.”
116 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jeff Duncan is a South Carolina native and a 1988 graduate of Clemson University. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Duncan served as branch manager and an Assistant Vice President during his seven years of working in community banking. Later, he became the President and CEO of J. Duncan Associates, a South Carolina based, family owned real estate marketing firm which specialized in statewide real estate auctions.
Duncan served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2002-2010, where he served as the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee from 2007 to 2009.
During his tenure in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Jeff was known as one of the most conservative House Members, earning recognition as a “Taxpayer’s Hero” from Governor Mark Sanford for his work combating wasteful government spending and fighting against tax increases. Jeff has also received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); he had an A+ rating from the Club for Growth; he was awarded the Palmetto Leadership Award from the SC Policy Council during his Freshman term; “Legislator of the Year” recognition from both the SC Recreation and Parks Association and the SC Wildlife Federation. In 2010, Jeff Duncan was awarded The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina.
Congressman Duncan is passionate about American Energy Independence. While a State Legislator, Jeff served on the US Department of the Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf’s 5 year Planning Sub-Committee which was charged with making recommendations for oil and natural gas leases on offshore areas. In addition, he served on the state’s Natural Gas Offshore Drilling Study Committee and was appointed to represent the state of South Carolina on the Southern States Energy Board.
Elected in 2010 to the 112th Congress, Jeff currently sits on three House committees including the Natural Resources Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also serves as the Subcommittee Chairman of Homeland Security’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. Additionally, Congressman Duncan was appointed by Speaker John Boehner to the Executive Committee for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
The Natural Resources Committee gives Duncan an outlet to promote US energy policy. He is an integral part of the GOP’s House Energy Action Team (HEAT) which supports expedited permitting of energy projects and the use of currently undeveloped areas for energy production in the United States, including areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other Federal land.
Jeff takes a particular interest in the promotion of nuclear energy, a topic especially important to South Carolina, home of the Savannah River Site nuclear complex. Energy independence is vital to national security and a segue to job creation. Congressman Duncan views nuclear power as a key ingredient in that equation. He supports the use of the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as a long-term storage site for nuclear waste. Although he is a strong proponent of American solutions to American energy issues, Congressman Duncan is not in favor of federal energy subsidies for alternative energy or ethanol.
As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, Jeff can advocate for some of his passions: the enjoyment of the great outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman. Jeff sits on the subcommittee for fisheries and wildlife.
A member of both the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus, Jeff took a strong stand on major fiscal issues in the 112th Congress. Dissatisfied with the level of spending cuts offered, he split from a majority of Republicans in his opposition of: the final fiscal 2011 spending deal; the final debt limit increase deal in August 2011; both versions of a bill to keep the government operating at the start of fiscal 2012; and the final FY 2012 Appropriations bill. A strong believer in the Constitution, Jeff fought against ambiguous language in the National Defense Authorization Act which he feels could put certain American liberties in peril.
In February 2011, he introduced a resolution that would create a new committee called the Committee on the Elimination of Nonessential Federal Programs, with the express purpose of reducing federal outlays. He supports taking a closer look at any government agency that is not included in the constitutional role of the federal government.
Jeff strongly believes that border security does fit the Constitutional definition of a federal duty and is proudly a member of the Border and Maritime Security subcommittee. He advocates an “all-of-the-above” strategy for border enforcement, including physical fencing, greater use of surveillance technology and increased manpower. His stance on border security includes an immigration policy aspect, as well as a national security element. He supports stronger enforcement of immigration laws and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.
Duncan has also worked the national security angle to border enforcement from his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee. When news reports broke in October 2011 that the Iranian government allegedly wanted members of Mexican drug cartels to carry out an assassination on U.S. soil, Duncan introduced a resolution urging the government to consider Iran a threat to the Western Hemisphere when formulating counterterrorism strategy.
Act! for America presented Representative Duncan with the “2011 National Security Patriot Award” because of his strong and enduring commitment to protecting our national security and democratic values.
Jeff also serves as the co-chairman of the Sovereignty Caucus along with Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn. The Caucus seeks to combat the influence of international organizations and multilateral agreements on United States policy. He urges greater scrutiny of foreign aid and has been an advocate for blocking economic assistance to governments that oppose the United States in the U.N. General Assembly.
In September 2011, Duncan became the only member of Congress with a 100 percent rating on the Heritage Action for America legislative scorecard “covering the full spectrum of conservatism.” He finished the 112th Congress at the top of the House leader board.
Jeff has been married to his wife Melody for twenty-five years and they have three sons: Graham, John Philip, and Parker. The Duncan family are members of First Baptist Church of Clinton, South Carolina.
Retweeted by repjeffduncan
@ethan_politics call my DC office and ask for Joshua. 202-225-5301
Retweeted by repjeffduncan
I lost my first & greatest hero last night, my father. He was a fine man who lived by the Golden Rule. Your prayers are coveted at this time
Retweeted by repjeffduncan
Visiting the Panama Canal expansion site which will benefit the Port of Charleston http://t.co/MLKthgTIG1
This shouldn't be allowed to happen in America. This is a textbook example of someone's freedoms being stripped away by the government. If you're
Real leaders understand that selling the lives of our children to live under the burdens of a crushing debt is immoral and unethical. STOP obscene
Very proud of Bell Street Middle for winning their 13th straight Science Olympiad State Championship! These are an impressive group of young
Disappointed in the Senate's decision to confirm Loretta Lynch for Attorney General. From a policy standpoint, why would you confirm someone
Our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom. Forcing someone to act against their religious beliefs is tyranny, plain and simple.