|English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The holiday season can be a complicated one; but what I love best about this time of year is the reminder about the simplicity in life, and of what is truly important to us. Our Founding Fathers summarized in one sentence no more profound or truer words about priorities:
“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Those words are so simple, and yet so fundamental to who we are as individuals and as a nation.
Unfortunately, the gridlock that rules Washington often affects us, our fellow citizens, and those serving our nation. This week though, there was progress in getting the business of the nation done as the House passed H.J.Res.59, the Bipartisan Budget Act.
First, I want you to know that I was vehemently opposed to the provision (Section 403) in this legislation that affects military retirees. I had several frank conversations with Members of House Leadership prior to this bill coming to the floor for a vote to let them know of my concerns -- that we cannot and should not balance the budget on the backs of the servicemembers who have given their all for our country. Furthermore, I am taking immediate action to repeal this provision through legislation to restore the cost of living reduction.
While I was opposed to the military retiree provision, I ultimately voted in favor of H.J.Res. 59 because it restores over $31 billion of sequestration cuts to our military in Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015. As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, I have been watching the devastating impact the sequester cuts are having on our servicemembers. I am also distressingly alarmed about the increased risk they face because of insufficient training and not being properly equipped. In recent weeks I led numerous briefings to educate Members on the effects of sequester cuts to our nation’s military. Members learned the devastating effects of these cuts on training and equipping those who serve our nation in uniform. It is the Constitutional duty of the Congress to provide for our nation’s defense, and this bill restores some of the indiscriminate cuts decimating our nation’s defense needs.
I feel it is my duty to ensure that our all-volunteer force is properly trained and equipped; this bill takes a significant step toward that end.
My best to you, your family and friends for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.