I hope that you all had a safe Memorial Day weekend. I enjoyed spending time in the First District over the weekend and paying tribute to the amazing men and women of the United States Armed Forces, both past and present. The freedoms and liberties we enjoy today are due entirely to the selflessness and sacrifice of these brave individuals.
After the Memorial Day weekend, the House of Representatives considered a variety of bills, including two bills specifically aimed at enhancing federal, state, and local efforts to protect our nation's southern border, prevent drug trafficking, and reduce illegal immigration (H.R. 915; H.R. 1299). These bills had bipartisan support, and I am pleased that there is a shared commitment across the country to secure our borders and our homeland in an efficient way. In border protection, as well as every other function of government, it is critical to ensure efficient use of resources and effective strategies, and these bills help meet those objectives. I am hopeful that these bills will be passed by the Senate in the near future. The House also passed a bipartisan bill (H.R. 5651) that aims to prevent prescription drug shortages and to reduce the time it takes for the federal government to approve of various drugs. These can be important issues for families waiting for critical drugs to treat an illness of a loved one.
This week, the House considered several pieces of legislation in various stages of the budgetary process. The first (H.R. 5743) authorizes funds for our intelligence community to continue its valuable work protecting our nation from those who wish to harm us. The second (H.R. 5854) provides funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as for military construction and improvements. The resources in this bill are dedicated to areas such as management of Arlington National Cemetery and operating medical facilities for veterans. As so many of our servicemen and women return from their overseas service, it is vital that the services and resources they require are properly funded. At the same time, this bill funds important military construction right here in the First District at Dahlgren, Quantico, and Yorktown. While it is important that Congress fund these vital functions of government, I believe it must also take steps to ensure that our country works as quickly as possible to eliminate the deficit and begin paying off our debt, while still meeting its financial obligations, such as honoring promises to our seniors and veterans.
The federal budgeting process will continue as Congress considers other areas of the budget. As these bills come before the House of Representatives, I hope that you will let me know your thoughts and what you'd like to see happening in Washington. We must have more responsibility and accountability in Washington. Congress has the so-called "power of the purse," and it is critical that we get our fiscal situation under control. I can be reached via my website (www.wittman.house.gov), by phone (202-225-4261), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RobWittman), or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RepRobWittman).
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.