Earlier this month, I led my colleagues in an effort to get the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Daniel Ashe to extend the public comment period before the potential listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the lesser prairie-chicken is listed as threatened, it will have sweeping consequences for landowners in West Texas and neighboring states. Director Ashe agreed to re-open the comment period, but he declined to extend the final listing deadline. I'm disappointed the final deadline hasn't been extended because it will create a shortened review period that doesn't take into account the complexity of this proposal.
However, I am glad that landowners will have more time to comment on the range-wide conservation plan. I want to thank all of the West Texans who have been actively involved in this issue, and helped to make this happen. Farmers, ranchers, landowners, and energy producers have all come together to take part in this process, and because of your efforts, we're making progress. Please click here to read our response to Director Ashe's decision.
Club for Growth -- Defender of Economic Freedom Award
Every year, the conservative organization Club for Growth publishes an annual scorecard monitoring my votes on issues that relate to economic growth. They examine each lawmaker's record on pro-growth policies and base it on a scale of 0 to 100. Lawmakers who score 90% or higher in 2012-- and have a lifetime score of 90 or higher--receive the Defender of Economic Freedom award.
Once again, I am honored to receive the Defender of Economic Freedom award for consistently voting to limit government and promote economic freedom and growth. These votes aren't always easy, but I think it's important to do everything we can to rein in government spending and regulation that can overwhelm the private sector. I will continue to fight for the freedoms and liberties that our great nation was founded on and promote conservative West Texas values in Washington. As the 113th Congress continues to shape the future that we will leave for our children and grandchildren, I hope you'll join me in the fight and not hesitate to contact me with your concerns.
19th District Events
This weekend, I enjoyed serving attendees of the 23rd Mayor's Beans and Cornbread Luncheon in Lubbock. This event is held every year by Hospice of Lubbock to help raise money for hospice patients and their families, the Grief Recovery Center, and the Children's Grief Camp. I also spoke to a senior government class at Lubbock-Cooper High School about important issues before Congress and why they matter to every American. I had a great time speaking with these bright, young students and answering their questions about government and Congress. On Saturday, I celebrated Texas Independence Day, and attended the Chamber of Commerce banquet in Olton. As always, I enjoyed being home and visiting with West Texans about the issues important to us and how I can best represent you in Congress.
Action Item of the Week
I will testify before the House Budget Committee Thursday morning to outline my concerns with federal spending as we move forward with the budget process for Fiscal Year 2014. I look forward to putting forth some ideas to cut wasteful spending, reform entitlement programs, and reduce red tape for hardworking taxpayers, their families and their businesses.
Also, look for an announcement this week about a bill I am introducing to make it easier for farmers to fuel their equipment.