Carter Courier (Volume 5, Issue 3)
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the House Republican Conference retreat in Cambridge, Maryland. This annual event allows Republican members of Congress to become more acquainted with one another and to plan for the upcoming year. In addition to the same old faces, it was a pleasure to welcome thirteen new freshman Republicans.
During the two-day retreat, we discussed the reasons why we lost control of Congress. The American people sent a clear message that they want Congress to work together, across Party lines, on the issues and problems they face. House Republicans have heard that message loud and clear. As the Republican Conference Secretary, and a firm believer in conservative Texas values, I look forward to the coming days as we craft a new agenda and work to re-ignite proven ideas. We must return to our center-right principles and earn the trust of the American people. You can count on me to fight to continue the Republican policies that have led to unprecedented economic growth. The result of this economic growth is a healthy economy that has led to low unemployment, record home ownership, lower taxes and the opportunity to balance the federal budget in five years without raising your taxes. I will also remain focused on National Security. We must secure our borders and do everything we can to support our troops and win the war on terror.
You know in movies when one of the President's Cabinet Secretaries watches the State of the Union Address from a secret underground bunker? If a catastrophe strikes, that individual will run the government during the transition. Well, the Congress also selects one Republican and one Democrat to wait out the speech so that someone is around to build a new government should the unthinkable happen. On Tuesday night, I was selected as the Republican designee. Trust me-- it is not as glamorous as it sounds. I snacked on microwave pizza while watching the speech in my office across the street from the Capitol.
This was the fifth State of the Union I have witnessed as a Member of Congress.
This annual address is the opportunity for the President to highlight key policy goals and initiatives for the upcoming year. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Congress to evaluate our own priorities.
I remain committed to the principles of national security and economic security. Since 9/11, we have made great strides to overcome recession, unemployment, and a stagnant stock market - all enemies of economic security. At the same time, we have reduced intelligence-gathering bureaucracy, terrorist financing, and access to critical infrastructure - all enemies of national security. It is my hope that the Democratic-controlled Congress will recognize the positive legacy of fiscal and personal security left by Republicans. Americans must feel safe in their homes and in their pocketbooks as well. These assurances are not achieved through luck; they prosper from good policy.
In his address, the president urged Congress to continue the pro-growth policies that helped create over seven million new jobs and have kept inflation low since 2003. These policies were the result of Congress' commitment over the past twelve years to reduce the tax burden on working Americans. It is a simple mantra, but one I fear the liberals in Congress have yet to learn - families will always spend their hard-earned money better than bureaucrats in Washington.
As a fiscal conservative, I was encouraged to hear the president address the concern of runaway federal spending. I support his goal of balancing the budget within five years, and believe we must do so by reducing spending, not raising taxes. We do not need new government programs. We need free, market-based solutions to the problems facing Americans today. Ronald Reagan said it best, "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
While protecting the pocketbooks of Americans, we must also ensure the security of our homeland. Since 9/11, great strides have been made toward gathering intelligence, screening cargo, and protecting passenger aircraft. Unfortunately, border security and immigration reform still remain unfinished. Congress must address these crises before more drugs, weapons and terrorists have the opportunity to cross our porous borders. As this debate proceeds, I will continue to fight efforts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, while encouraging Democrats to adopt policies that ensure the safety of the homeland.
Finally, and most importantly, we must continue to support out troops by funding the War on Terror at whatever level is necessary to accomplish the mission. I trust our commanders in the fieldmany of whom I have met at Ft. Hood and on my three visits to Iraq. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will fight to give them the resources they say they need to accomplish their mission and to protect the lives of the men and women who fight for our freedom. Calls from Democrat leaders to set artificial timetables for withdrawal or to decrease the financial commitment of this Congress are nothing but a formula for defeat. The consequences of defeat in Iraq are too great. If we do not want to fight the terrorist on American soil, then we must defeat them in Iraq.
I appreciate many of the President's policy goals, and will work with him and my Democrat colleagues in the Congress to maintain our national security and economic security. The American people expect nothing more, and they deserve nothing less.
HE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS BACK
Democrat First 100 Hours Marked By Big Government Policies
The Democrats' First 100 Hours were marked by a return to the failed big government policies of the past. Every bill passed by the Democrat-led Congress in the First 100 Hours has led to either an increase in government bureaucracy or an increase in taxes. Americans should be concerned that in their first 100 hours, Democrats have passed damaging bills to limit seniors' choices, raise taxes, and to expand the federal government. It is time for House Democrats to put the needs of Americans above their failed big government desires.
Below is a summary of the damaging bills that Democrats have passed in the 110th Congress:
Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiating Act of 2007: Democrats gave the federal government control over prescription drug prices; meaning fewer choices for seniors and potentially keeping seniors from using their local pharmacists.
Rules Package for the 110th Congress: Democrats voted against a measure that would have given Americans increased protections from tax increases. Increased taxes would be a reversal of pro-growth Republican policies that have made it possible for more Americans to have good-paying jobs, own homes, and provide for their families. They also laid the groundwork to raise taxes to pay for new government programs through pay as you go budgeting.
Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act: Democrats created another layer of bureaucracy, making oversight more difficult and they unionized key homeland security personnel at the TSA.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Government funding for the destruction of human life despite a new Harvard study indicating other stem cell research holds more promise without destroying life.
Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007: A government mandate on businesses without protections for small business and their employees, Democrats also blocked efforts to provide access to affordable healthcare through small business health plans.
Student Relief Act: Does nothing to make college more affordable for students while hurting private sector student lenders in favor of government control over student loans.
CLEAN Energy Act of 2007: Democrats raised taxes on small business energy producers, which will discourage new energy exploration.
SUPPORTING TROOPS TAKES MORE THAN JUST WORDS
Carter supports Johnson bill to prevent Democrat retreat policy
I am proud to be a co-sponsor of Congressman Sam Johnson's legislation to prevent the Congress from cutting off or restricting funding to troops already in combat.
In Central Texas, we understand the tremendous sacrifice made by our service men and women. Right now, there are twenty-three thousand Fort Hood troops deployed across the globe so we may live under a blanket of freedom. Any move by Congress to limit the resources we provide them will put their lives in greater danger.
Sam Johnson is a good friend and colleague who served this nation with dignity and valor as an aviator and POW during Vietnam. Sam knows all-too-well the devastating effects of Congress not funding the needs of our military during a time of war.
I am proud to support this bill that will ensure that we never abandon our troops in the field or put their lives at greater risk. The generals on the ground know our military needs and it is our duty to give them the tools they need to fulfill their mission.
CARTER: "STUDENT RELIEF" BILL IS MISLEADING
Earlier this month I voted against H.R. 5, a bill that the Democrats are calling the "Student Relief Act" although it takes no action to expand access to college. What the Democrats aren't telling students, is that the interest rate would only be cut to the 3.4 percent level for only the last six months of 2011. Therefore, a college freshman who takes out a loan in the fall of 2011 would save only about $7 per month under the Democrat proposal. Further, it will negatively affect Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans, which are currently used by 83 percent of public universities.
Further, this bill could lead to the loss of more than 800 jobs at student loan institutions in the 31st Congressional District alone.
One of the top concerns facing families today is the rising cost of higher education. I have worked with my Republican colleagues to expand access to higher education for students, and will continue to support measures that will result in real relief for students.
As a former member of the House Education Committee, I have consistently supported efforts to expand college access. In fact, Republicans in Congress have tripled student aid to a record $90 billion in the past decade.
Last year, the Republican-led Congress passed H.R. 609, the College Access and Opportunity Act, which would have expanded access to college for low- and middle-income students by removing barriers for non-traditional students and empowering students and parents with more information about college costs, quality, and accreditation.
CARTER REAFFIRMS RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN
Supports Right-to-Life March
Last week I was pleased to welcome participants of the 2007 March for Life to Washington, DC. This annual event, which memorializes the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, seeks to remind Congress and the public of the increased need to protect human life.
I am pleased that so many pro-life activists came to Washington and braved the cold weather to demonstrate the vital importance of protecting human life. I believe very strongly that life begins at conception, and that convenience must never replace compassion. It is important that we continue to fight for the rights of the unborn by opposing such acts as partial-birth abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
As a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, I have consistently voted in favor of legislation that would protect the sanctity of human life. This year, I have cosponsored the Right to Life Act, which would define "human being" to encompass all stages of life. In the 109th Congress, I also cosponsored H.R. 6099, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006, which would have required abortion providers to notify mothers of the pain endured by a fetus during abortion. Additionally, I support a ban on partial-birth abortions and have sought to restrict federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in place of adult stem cells and amniotic stem cell research.