Congress is taking a closer look at the Red River land dispute. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) announced that a hearing will be held next Tuesday at 10:00a.m. EDT to discuss his legislation to protect private property along the Red River.
“This hearing is one more step forward, and a very important one, in our efforts to assure landowners that their private property will be protected,” says Thornberry. “Property owners deserve this certainty, particularly when their livelihoods are at stake. I look forward to the Committee’s feedback on our proposal.”
Thornberry’s bill, the “Red River Private Property Protection Act (H.R. 4979)," seeks to settle all federal ownership claims by providing legal certainty to landowners along the Red River. It directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to relinquish and transfer quit claim deeds to landowners who can prove ownership through official State and county records. It also prevents the BLM from including any privately owned acres in a current or future Resource Management Plan.
The legislation will be examined along with eight other bills that deal with land issues under the House Natural Resources Committee’s jurisdiction.
As a part of the hearing, the Committee will hear personal testimony from a Texas landowner whose land along the Red River has been called into question.
Additional information can be found on the House Natural Resources Committee’s website here. The hearing will also be available for live viewing at this link.
Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the missile attack against the Malaysia airliner:
“The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is a terrible tragedy, and the world is watching our response. Earlier today at the United Nations, the U.S. presented persuasive evidence of Russian involvement in the escalating conflict. Meanwhile, the President has failed to articulate any plan of action. In this incident and others, the United States must take steps to strengthen our nation’s defense and demonstrate decisive leadership. For as we know and have seen, weakness invites aggression.”
A nationwide study released last week estimates that in our area, men of all ages face significant cost hikes for health insurance – some as high as 95 percent – with young men facing the steepest increases. On average, young men are paying 74 percent more for their health insurance this year than last year.
In fact, a 27-year-old male in Randall county is paying 85 percent more for his individual policy in 2014 than he paid in 2013, while in Gray county, he will face an 84 percent increase. In Wichita county, he will pay 73 percent more, and in Cooke county, 68 percent. Not one county had an average increase lower than 54 percent.
Locally, women also face increased costs. On average, women in their mid-twenties are paying 28 percent more for their health insurance in 2014 than in the previous year.
“The bottom line is Obamacare has failed to make good on its promise to decrease healthcare costs for everyone,” says Rep. Mac Thornberry. “Instead, it’s done the opposite, leaving Americans with higher costs and fewer choices. This report is the latest evidence that the law is a failure and a complete mess. And that is why the House continues working to repeal, dismantle, and defund it.”
The report analyzed the county by county cost of Obamacare based on age and gender. According to the report, Obamacare increased the cost of 2014 individual healthcare premiums by 49 percent nationally.
Across Texas, Obamacare has caused healthcare costs to skyrocket, especially for young men (see chart below). For the average 27-year-old male, premiums increased by 79 percent where costs increased by 29 percent for women of the same age. Statistically, men in their twenties and thirties have the least healthcare needs of all demographics. Yet, regardless of the need, they are forced to pay the same amount for coverage – essentially higher fees for less service.
To view how Obamacare affects a specific county, click here.
“This illegal surge has reached crisis proportions, creating a security risk for our country and a safety hazard for the unaccompanied children,” said Rep. Thornberry. “The President has a duty to enforce the laws and an obligation to do so in a way that protects the American people, while also ensuring the humane treatment of the unaccompanied children and families. He must take immediate steps to address this serious situation, and the House stands ready and willing to help him.”
The statistics associated with the recent mass migration are startling. According to a congressional letter sent to President Obama, in May 2014, the number of undocumented children apprehended by United States Customs and Border Protection increased by 267 percent over the number apprehended in May 2013. During the same period, the number of undocumented adults increased by 72 percent. At a rate of $5,000 per child, these criminal smuggling groups earned at least $53,230,000 in May alone.
Federal Border Patrol agents have been overwhelmed recently with a surge of unaccompanied minors and other immigrants illegally crossing over the nation’s Southwest border. In response, Governor Rick Perry and other Texas officials announced late Wednesday a plan to deploy more Department of Public Safety, or DPS, agents to the border — at a cost of $1.3 million per week.
Today, Thornberry and his House colleagues sent a letter to the President. View the letter here.
Also, click here to see a similar letter sent by House Speaker John Boehner.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) released the following statement on the growing danger in Iraq:
"The aggressive advancement of terrorists across Iraq poses a major threat to Iraq, its neighbors, the Middle East, and the United States. Our top priority must be to protect our people and American interests. That protection cannot come from a passive White House. Americans need to see the President's plan to stop the spread of terrorism and counter the threat as soon as possible."
Transcript included below. Click here to watch a video of the hearing.
REPRESENTATIVE MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I'd like to just begin with a brief additional observation on the notification issue. For the past several years, this committee has worked on a bipartisan basis to establish an oversight structure for cyber operations, for terrorism operations, and for sensitive military operations, and an oversight structure that allows the department to have the flexibility it needs to operate in a volatile, rapidly changing world and still give us the ability to exercise our duties under the Constitution.
Now, the basis for all of those in all three of those areas is that we get timely, accurate information from the department. And this failure, even if it was ordered by the White House, undermines the ability to have that sort of oversight structure. I've been a member of the Intelligence Committee for 10 years. Our work depends on getting accurate timely information from the intelligence community. If the President can violate the law and say, 'No, in this case, we're not going to give you the information,' it undermines the oversight process that we have with the intelligence community.
So my point to you is, it's not just about this incident. It's not just about somebody having their feelings hurt. This decision undermines a lot of the working relationship in all these areas of national security. And I think it's important that the whole Administration understands some of the ramifications of this.
Let me ask a specific question. Press reports indicate that Sergeant Bergdahl was captured by a Haqqani Network commander and was held by the Haqqani Network. Is that true?
SEC. HAGEL: What I would prefer is, as I noted, in a classified session, that we get into the specifics of the 15-6 commander's evaluation report that was done on the circumstances at the time of Sergeant Bergdahl's capture. I believe that was done in August of 2009. That's been sent up here, unredacted, sent up here yesterday. And I'd just as soon get into that in a -- in a classified (room).
REP. THORNBERRY: Well, I'm not --
SEC. HAGEL: I would say this, though. I would say this. He was -- in that report that the Army did, he was classified as missing/captive. So -- (inaudible) --
REP. THORNBERRY: I wasn't really -- (inaudible) -- just to verify, as I understand it, Administration people have said clearly it was the Haqqani Network that kept him.
SEC. HAGEL: Well, the Haqqani Network did have him through periods of time. This was another complication. Over a five-year period, he was moved around. We had difficulty finding him and knowing where he was. Different groups held him. So the complication of the Haqqanis being part of this, that's right.
REP. THORNBERRY: OK. And it's also true the Haqqani Network is listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.
SEC. HAGEL: That's right. That's right.
REP. THORNBERRY: Let me just turn with --
SEC. HAGEL: But we didn't negotiate with Haqqani.
REP. THORNBERRY: OK. I think that's a subject we'll want to discuss more, if we must, in the classified session, but I think who -- (inaudible) --
SEC. HAGEL: Well, I want to make sure the record's clear on that.
SEC. HAGEL: I want to make sure the record's clear. We engaged the Qataris, and they engaged the Taliban. If the Haqqanis were subcontracting with the Taliban, you know the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban, there's a difference there. So we get back into definitions of who has responsibility for whom. I just want to make sure that's clear in the record, and we can go into a lot more detail.
REP. THORNBERRY: I think you just pointed out some of the difficulty in making categorical statements, that we don't negotiate with terrorists, when at least for some period the Haqqanis were the ones who had him. Let me just ask about one other thing, and that is the five detainees that were released. You said there is some risk of releasing someone from Guantanamo, but you also said they have not been implicated on any attacks in the United States. I have some unclassified summary of evidence before the combatant status review tribunals. For example, for Mr. Fasal it says the detainee engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. Maybe there is a difference between them. And another was against the coalition. At some point there was evidence they were engaged in hostilities, military operations against the coalition, weren't there?
SEC. HAGEL: Yes. There were mid to high ranking officials of the Taliban. So, yes, they were part of the planning. My point was, we have no direct evidence of any direct involvement in their direct attacks on the United States or any of our troops. They were part of the Taliban. At the time some were given to us, we picked up two, yes, they were combatants.
REP. THORNBERRY: So your point is they didn't pull the trigger, but they were senior commanders of the Taliban military who directed operations against the United States, and its coalition partners. Is that a better way to do it?
SEC. HAGEL: That's right. As I said in my statement, Congressman, they were combatants. We were at war with the Taliban. There's no getting around that, and I made that point, I thought pretty clear.
REP. THORNBERRY: Thank you.
Thornberry serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.Read More
"Of course, all of us are relieved that Sergeant Bergdahl is no longer a captive. The agreement which led to his release raises a number of concerns, however.
"One is that negotiating for the release of a hostage will encourage more hostage-taking.
"Another is that release of the five detainees from Guantanamo will increase the danger to our troops and the Afghan government. They are significant leaders of the Taliban. The U.S. is trying to convince the Afghan government not to release many dangerous detainees currently in Afghan prisons. Our release of five Taliban makes that argument more difficult for us to make.
"Finally, the President did not comply with U.S. law in giving Congress at least 30 days notice of any transfer from Guantanamo. This Administration is developing a track record of ignoring laws it finds inconvenient."
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2329 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A fifth generation Texan, Mac Thornberry has strong ties to the people he serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the area since 1881 – a family business in which Mac remains actively involved.
Mac shares the values of the people he represents and continues to fight for the things that are important to them. He is a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited government. Boosting domestic energy production, protecting private property rights, and reforming health care are top priorities for Mac. He strongly supports cutting government spending and creating the kind of policies that encourage economic growth, rather than suffocating it. Additionally, as one of the few Members of Congress personally involved in agriculture, Mac understands the challenges agricultural producers face and has been a key player in efforts to support producers in the 13th District.
Mac’s wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two children.
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Interviewed on CNN today on Russia. Watch here: http://t.co/MyvMsaahNN
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Tune in to listen to Rep. Thornberry discuss the Malaysia Airlines crash upcoming live on FOX.
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Read Thornberry's latest newsletter, "Getting Americans Back to Work," to see how the House works to grow our economy:http://t.co/XeQjZijgMD
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Tune in to hear Thornberry discuss the latest developments on Iraq and Syria LIVE now on CNN.