Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) highlighted a recently released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as further evidence that the Defense Department must take action to improve the efficiency of its workforce. Rep. Calvert has introduced the REDUCE Act, H.R. 340, to require the Defense Department to bring its ratio of civilian-to-uniformed personnel in-line with historical averages.
“The GAO’s findings should alarm our defense leaders and all American taxpayers,” said Rep. Calvert. “The Defense Department is an incredibly large organization, which is why it is so concerning to read the GAO’s findings that at the top levels there are no procedures in place to thoughtfully and comprehensively assess what personnel are necessary to execute their mission. In a time of budgetary constraints, our uniformed personnel will ultimately suffer if we cannot improve the efficiencies in our civilian defense workforce. We must make the smart and prompt decisions necessary to make the appropriate adjustments – no matter how difficult that is – to protect our soldiers, our national security, and taxpayers.”
Late last week, the GAO issued a report titled: “DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats,” which found that:
Earlier this month, Rep. Calvert introduced the Rebalance for an Effective Defense Uniform and Civilian Employees (REDUCE) Act, H.R. 340, which would require the DOD to make civilian workforce reductions in a systematic manner without compromising our ability to maintain a strong national defense over the long term.
The requirements of the REDUCE Act will accomplish the following:
Today, Representative Ken Calvert (CA-42) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“What we’ve heard from the President is a call for higher taxes and more spending – that approach to governing is exactly what the American people rejected in our recent election. The best way to help lower and middle class families is to put the policies in place that will foster an economy that is full of good, well-paying jobs.
We need a simpler, flatter tax system in our country. Not only will it make our businesses more competitive globally, but it will allow all taxpayers to spend less time and money when it is time to pay taxes.
Instead of fixating on new and expensive programs, the President should focus on modest policy changes that get the government out of the way of progress. The REBUILD Act, which I introduced earlier this month, is a great example of a policy change that removes duplicative government requirements and results in the construction of infrastructure projects at a lower cost and faster timeline. Those are tangible results at no cost to taxpayers.”
Yesterday, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) reintroduced legislation aimed at creating a more efficient civilian workforce at the Department of Defense (DOD). The Rebalance for an Effective Defense Uniform and Civilian Employees (REDUCE) Act (H.R. 340) would require the DOD to make civilian workforce reductions in a systematic manner without compromising our ability to maintain a strong national defense over the long term.
“A critical component of our national security strategy is the proper allocation of scarce federal resources,” said Rep. Calvert. “The continued growth in our civilian staff at the DOD comes at a time when we are reducing the number of active-duty military personnel – something is clearly wrong with that equation. Simply put, if we fail to correct this trend our uniformed soldiers, not to mention American taxpayers, will suffer the consequences. The policies established by the REDUCE Act are not extreme measures, but rather they responsibly adjust the numbers of the civilian staff at the DOD over a number of years.”
The Growth in the Civilian Workforce within the DOD:
“I continue to believe that he savings generated from the REDUCE Act should stay within the Department and be redirected to fund Service priorities such as modernizing weapons systems, readiness, resetting the force and, most importantly, providing for our fighting men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Calvert.
“Many of our civilians at the Pentagon and around the world do a fine job but their growth is unsustainable.” continued Rep. Calvert. “Our current and retired military leaders have widely acknowledged the need to establish a more efficient defense workforce in order to preserve our national security posture in the future. However, actions speak louder than words and I continue to believe Congress will ultimately have to force DOD’s hand to implement these necessary changes.”
The requirements of the REDUCE Act will accomplish the following:
In the development of the REDUCE Act, Rep. Calvert and his office consulted with respected defense officials and experts, including: Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Former Under Secretary of Defense Dr. Dov Zakheim, Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, and Major General (Ret.) Arnold Punaro (Member of the Defense Business Board).
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) voted along with a majority (236-191) of the House to approve the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill as well as amendments to the bill that will prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from carrying out President Obama’s executive actions regarding illegal immigration.
“Today, the House sent President Obama a message that his attempt to grant amnesty through unconstitutional executive actions is an affront to the democratic process that has served our nation well for more than two hundred years,” said Rep. Calvert. “My constituents want and expect to see the rule of law followed, regardless of who is in office. I have and I will continue to oppose the President’s executive overreach at every opportunity.”
Rep. Calvert voted for the following amendments to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill which were approved by the House:
Amendment offered by Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), and Lou Bartletta (R-Pa.):
Amendment offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.):The amendment provides that no funds – whether they are appropriated funds or user fees collected by the agency – may be used to consider new, renewal or previously denied deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) applications.
Amendment offered by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Martha Roby (R-Ala.):This amendment ensures that sex offenders and domestic violence perpetrators are priorities for removal by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Amendment offered by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.):This amendment expresses the sense of Congress that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should stop putting the interests of unlawful immigrants ahead of legal immigrants. Under the President’s deferred action programs, legal immigrants playing by the rules and seeking to come to the United States the right way have paid the price for President Obama’s executive actions. They’ve faced longer wait times, even though they have paid the fees to have their applications processed.
Amendment offered by Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.):This amendment expresses the sense of Congress that U.S. workers should not be harmed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ actions. Under President Obama’s executive amnesty plan, in many cases businesses now have a $3,000 incentive to hire an unlawful immigrant over a legal worker. Under the Affordable Care Act, many businesses face a $3,000-per-employee penalty if they do not provide health care to their workers. Since unlawful immigrants are not eligible for Obamacare, they will now be more attractive to hire than American workers in many instances.
The FY15 Homeland Security Appropriations bill also included $124.4 million to fund the E-Verify program, which is used to verify the legal status of newly hired employees. Rep. Calvertauthored the legislation that established the E-Verify system, which is free, easy to use and is now used by more than 500,000 businesses on a voluntary basis.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) reintroduced the ACCESS Act, H.R. 241, legislation designed to help small businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities is not to give abusive trial lawyers access to the hard earned money earned by small businesses,” said Rep. Calvert. “The ACCESS Act will ensure that disabled individuals continue to have access throughout our communities while protecting small businesses from abusive lawsuits. The important thing is to find ways to improve access, not to fleece small business owners and jeopardize jobs.”
“Too many small business owners fall victim to predatory lawsuits that serve the interests of trial lawyers, and do little to help the individuals that the ADA was designed to protect,” said Rep. Hunter. “And in California, the problem is especially pervasive. By giving business owners a chance to address alleged ADA violations before a lawsuit is filed, we restore the focus on ensuring individuals with disabilities have the accommodations that they deserve.”
The ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services) Act would alleviate the financial burden small businesses are facing, while still fulfilling the purpose of the ADA. Any person aggrieved by a violation of the ADA would provide the owner or operator with a written notice of the violation, specific enough to allow such owner or operator to identify the barrier to their access. Within 60 days the owner or operator would be required to provide the aggrieved person with a description outlining improvements that would be made to address the barrier. The owner or operator would then have 120 days to remove the infraction. The failure to meet any of these conditions would allow the suit to go forward.
The purpose of the ADA is to ensure appropriate remedial action for those who have suffered harm. Although there are times when litigation by harmed individuals is necessary, there are an increasing number of lawsuits brought under the ADA that are based upon a desire to achieve financial settlements rather than to achieve the appropriate modifications. ADA lawsuits are especially prevalent in California. According to the California Chamber of Commerce, California has 40% of the nation’s ADA lawsuits but only 12% of the country’s disabled population. These lawsuits place exorbitant legal fees on small businesses and often times they are unaware of the specific nature of the allegations brought against them.
The following House members have signed on to cosponsor the ACCESS Act:
1. Tom McClintock (R-CA-4)
2. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10)
3. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48)
4. Ed Royce (R-CA-39)
5. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1)
6. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49)
7. David Valadao (R-CA-21)
8. Paul Cook (R-CA-8)
9. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45)
10. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22)
11. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2)
12. Mike Simpson (R-ID-2)
13. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3)Read More
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) voted along with a bipartisan majority of the House (266 to 153) to approve H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The legislation would immediately authorize the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“My constituents are sick and tired of the delays in approving and building the Keystone pipeline,” said Rep. Calvert. “The recent drop in gas prices highlights the economic benefits of increased energy production right here in North America. Building the Keystone pipeline will increase access to more North American energy sources and further reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. President Obama’s opposition to the Keystone pipeline and all of its economic benefits shows just how out of touch he is with middle class working families.”
The passage of H.R. 3 is the tenth bill approved by the House of Representatives to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department studied the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline and concluded that it would not have a negative impact. Furthermore, the State Department found that the Keystone XL pipeline project would support roughly 42,000 jobs. Earlier today, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled dismissed a key lawsuit challenging the Keystone XL pipeline.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) reintroduced legislation, H. Con. Res 5, in support of Gold Star families throughout the United States.
“The families of our fallen soldiers have paid a tremendous sacrifice on behalf of our country, and the very least we can do as a nation is to provide them with the support they need and deserve,” said Rep. Calvert. “Private organizations and the larger military community do an amazing job providing valuable resources for Gold Star families in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. Congress and the Executive Branch must continually look at new ways to support these families both in the days immediately following the tragedy and the years to come.”
The resolution introduced by Rep. Calvert encourages military bases around the country to organize and host events to recognize and commemorate the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces. The resolution also encourages the attendance of families within the local area that have lost loved ones in combat to attend such commemorations.
Since the start of the Global War on Terrorism more than 6,800 members of the Armed Forces have been killed.
The Resolution is named in honor of U.S. Army Sergeant Clinton Ruiz who was killed in action in Afghanistan on October 25, 2012.
Below is the actual text of the resolution:
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding outreach to families of members of the Armed Forces killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in other conflicts.
Whereas the human burden of the Global War on Terrorism has been disproportionately borne by the less than one percent of Americans who serve in the military;
Whereas 2,356 members of the Armed Forces have died in Operation Enduring Freedom and 4,494 members of the Armed Forces have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Inherent Resolve as of January 7, 2015;
Whereas the strength of our military is built upon the men and women who serve in uniform and the families who support them; and
Whereas supporting those families who have lost loved ones in the Global War on Terrorism demonstrates the commitment of the American people to those families now and in the future: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This resolution may be cited as the ‘‘Sergeant Clinton K. Ruiz Memorial Resolution’’.
SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST LOVED ONES IN COMBAT.
(1) all families that have lost loved ones in uniform should be recognized for their sacrifices and for their dedicated and patriotic support of the United States;
(2) local communities should recognize and support those families that have lost a loved one in combat; and
(3) the President should encourage military bases around the country to organize and host events to recognize and commemorate the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces of all services, and to encourage the attendance of families within the local area that have lost loved ones in combat to attend such commemorations.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) reintroduced the Reducing Environmental Barriers to Unified Infrastructure and Land Development (REBUILD) Act, H.R. 211. The legislation, which was first introduced in the 112th Congress, builds upon the success of the NEPA Pilot Program, enacted as part of 2005 highway bill, commonly known as SAFETEA-LU.
"One of the easiest and cheapest ways we can get Americans working again is by removing unnecessary red tape," said Rep. Calvert. "The REBUILD Act will enable the construction of critical infrastructure projects at a lower cost and on a faster timetable without compromising any environmental protections.”
The REBUILD Act allows any state to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with a designated federal agency, who has environmental review responsibilities under NEPA, and assume the review responsibilities of that agency. Under the REBUILD Act, states would still be required to uphold the same NEPA standards or greater, by assuming these responsibilities states could integrate NEPA compliance into their own state approval process thereby streamlining construction timelines and eliminating the need for redundant reviews at the federal level.
The streamlined process is modeled after a pilot program created in SAFETEA-LU (Section 327 -Title 23 USC) that allowed a limited number of states to take on the task of ensuring National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance for highway projects under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In those states that chose to assume this responsibility, the length of time to complete a project review was reduced by an average of 17 months while also ensuring the goals of the NEPA process were not compromised.
Regular audits of state NEPA programs required by this legislation would ensure states are upholding NEPA standards. Should a state be found in noncompliance, a mechanism is provided to initiate corrective action and, if necessary, revoke the state’s NEPA responsibilities.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) reintroduced legislation, H.R. 182, to streamline veteran education benefits at community colleges.
“Our veterans continue to deserve a simple, straightforward education benefits process that is free of unnecessary, bureaucratic delays,” said Rep. Calvert. “I’m hopeful that the House will once again show strong support for this important reform and the Senate will follow suit.”
“I’m proud to join my colleague Rep. Calvert in reintroducing this legislation,” said Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41), the lead Democratic cosponsor of the bill. “With Riverside Community College District campuses in the 41st and 42nd congressional districts, centralizing the reporting for veterans’ enrollment will be a great benefit to veterans in the Inland Empire looking to attend institutions of higher education. The current reporting method uses unnecessary and duplicative procedures that create delays, and increases processing time and costs. Our veterans have sacrificed so much and we should be doing all we can to help them return to civilian life. Creating a centralized reporting system that is efficient and cost effective will do just that and I look forward to its passage.”
H.R. 182 would streamline the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) processes for community colleges that have multiple campuses. Currently, the VA requires community colleges to certify that their veteran students are enrolled for a specific number of classes before the VA will disperse student benefits. These rules must be updated to account for multi-college Community College Districts, such as Riverside Community College District (RCCD). Without such an update, veterans that take classes at a multi-college District see their benefits delayed while colleges and the VA complete and shuffle unnecessary paperwork. H.R. 182 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit the centralized reporting of veteran enrollment by certain groups, districts, and consortiums of educational institutions.
Similar legislation (H.R. 331) was approved by the House during the 113th Congress, however the Senate failed to take any action.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) voted along with a majority of the House in support of the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The bill will fund every federal agency through the end of the Fiscal Year 2015, except the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded under a temporary “Continuing Resolution” mechanism that expires on February 27, 2015.
“The bill approved by the House today prevents a government shutdown and sets the stage for Republicans to confront President Obama’s unilateral executive action on illegal immigration,” said Rep. Calvert. “The bill limits funding for Homeland Security and our immigration enforcement agencies until the end of February. Meanwhile, as I have done in the past, I will be urging my colleagues to enact legislation that strengthens the security of our border and makes the use of E-Verify mandatory. With the majority in the House and Senate next Congress, Republicans will directly challenge President Obama’s unilateral approach to immigration reform."
2269 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Ken Calvert, a lifelong resident of Riverside County and 17-year small business owner in the restaurant and real estate industries, represents the 42nd Congressional District of southern California. Calvert was born on June 8, 1953 and attended neighborhood public schools, graduating from Corona High School in 1971. He attended two years at Chaffey College, in Alta Loma, and then enrolled at San Diego State University, where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Ken is a Protestant and is involved in several local community volunteer organizations.
The 42nd District encompasses the western edge of Riverside County including the cities of Eastvale, Norco, Corona, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, Menifee, Murrieta and a portion of Temecula. Rep. Calvert was first elected to the House in 1992 and was part of the historic “Contract with America” class in 1994 that swept the House to Republican control for the first time in 40 years.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Calvert continues to serve on the House Appropriations Committee where he is the Chairman of the Interior and the Environment Subcommittee. Rep. Calvert is also a member of the Defense Subcommittee and the Energy and Water Subcommittee. He also serves on the House Budget Committee. Rep. Calvert was also selected to serve as the Chairman of the California Republican Delegation.
Rep. Calvert has been the California Republican Delegation’s voice on the House Steering Committee, which determines House Republican committee assignments, since 2003.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Calvert’s legislative priorities includes: enacting pro-growth policies that will help our struggling economy; reducing our national debt; reforming our tax code; supporting our military around the world and supporting the mission in Afghanistan; strengthening our borders and making the use of E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the U.S.; creating long-term solutions to California’s energy and water problems; working towards the implementation and funding of new transportation corridors vital to Riverside County’s future; reducing the time it takes to build infrastructure projects by making common sense, bi-partisan reforms to our environmental laws; and, much more.
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What does increasing LNG exports mean? 45,000 new jobs. http://t.co/TvfaKNtaQi
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GAO Report Highlights Need for a More Efficient Defense Workforce http://t.co/OwqozS9nvl
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The White House is giving up on its college savings tax hike because it's a "distraction"...i.e. a really bad idea. http://t.co/guEitJM8Mp