Every August Congress adjourns to allow members to travel back to their home districts and meet with constituents about the issues facing the nation. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this time I have with you. I cannot accurately represent Alabama's Second Congressional District without hearing firsthand the concerns and priorities of the people who live and work here.
I spent the last month traveling throughout our district visiting with constituents, touring local businesses and speaking to various civic organizations. It's a big district so we packed in a busy schedule, stopping through 11 counties and holding six lively town hall meetings.
After a month of traveling and listening, three primary concerns of yours are abundantly clear: potentially devastating military budget cuts; the future of the "Farm Bill" and its impact on Alabama agriculture; and job-killing bureaucratic regulations that make a difficult economy even harder for small businesses.
First, people throughout Alabama's Second Congressional District are rightfully worried about the cuts to our nation's military, known as sequestration. Under sequestration, our military faces across-the-board cuts of more than $500 billion over the next decade. These additional cuts that take place the first of next year are on top of the $487 billion in long-term military cuts already enacted into law. As a conservative, I understand that we must cut spending in an effort to make our military leaner and more efficient. However, fiscal responsibility does not preclude making the investments necessary to ensure a strong national defense. The sequestration cuts, which will impact the vital missions of our district's military installations, simply go too far.
During a "Meet with Martha" event in Enterprise, military personnel stationed at Fort Rucker explained just how concerned they are about sequestration and how the cuts would affect the future of the post. The House of Representatives has acted to prevent sequestration by finding reasonable, balanced ways to reduce military spending while preventing the kind of drastic cuts that will harm our entire military. Unfortunately, the Senate has not yet acted on our legislation. There is still time, however, and I am returning to Washington more determined than ever to pass our plan and protect our military personnel.
Second, the current federal "Farm Bill," which establishes much of our nation's agriculture policy, is set to expire later this month. Alabama's Second Congressional District is one the major agriculture hubs in Alabama and the Southeast. As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, I voted in favor of a Farm Bill that focuses our priorities on protecting our farmers' interests and reducing spending to federal food stamp programs. The bill isn't perfect, but it's a responsible bill that reduces spending and reforms the nutrition title, all while maintaining the safety net our farmers need.
Last, and certainly not least, small business owners face tremendous uncertainty in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. During this district work period I visited with many small business owners and toured a variety of homegrown local businesses. No matter their particular type of business, all business owners agreed that government needs to get out of their way and stop hampering success.
During a roundtable with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), small business owners expressed their frustration with a White House that is doing nothing to create an environment ripe for job creation and seemingly doing its best to discourage success. Whether it is the record number of costly regulations or the undue burden imposed by Obamacare, small business owners are suffering from all the Washington red tape. People who have built their businesses from the ground up are rightfully frustrated by a White House intent on raising taxes in these already difficult economic conditions.
Raising taxes on job-creating small businesses will only inhibit hiring and dampen opportunities for growth. That's why I've opposed the Obama administration's efforts to raise taxes, and I'll continue to oppose future tax hike attempts when Congress comes back into session.
On each of these issues, the people of the Second Congressional District have spoken loud and clear: we can't wait until after the election to act on these critical matters. Rest assured that I will continue to fight for you and make sure your voice is heard in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is strategically delaying action on the most critical issues until after the election, or worse yet, until next year. We cannot afford to wait. This current path is unsustainable.
While "kicking the can down the road" might be politically expedient to some in the short term, inaction will lead to very real and dangerous consequences. Leaders are sent to Washington for moments just like this to make tough decisions.
I'm committed to our military families, our farmers, the small business owners and all those who reside in our district. Thank you for entrusting me with the tremendous responsibility of representing you and fighting for you in the United States Congress.
As always, please contact me to let me know your concerns about any issue. Should you ever need assistance, I have staff both in Alabama and in Washington, D.C. that are committed to helping you. We all work for you.