Now that September (aka
the start of the Saints season) is here, I hope you and your family had a chance to enjoy the summer months. I spent the month of August traveling throughout Louisiana and holding town hall meetings. When I was first elected to the U.S. Senate, I made a pledge to visit all 64 parishes every Congress. I held over a dozen town hall meetings during the month of August alone.
Town hall meetings are an important opportunity for me to hear from folks throughout Louisiana about the issues that are important to them. This month the biggest issues that came up in my town hall meetings time and again were Obamacare, illegal immigration, and the crisis still developing in Syria.
Please continue reading below to learn about these and other issues important to you, and about some of the ways I've been working to bring Louisiana common-sense to the U.S. Senate.
United States Senator
Highlights from the past month:
After intense and, sadly, bipartisan lobbying and scheming in Washington, the Obama administration announced that it is creating out of thin air a special rule to ease the pain of Obamacare -- for Washington only. These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress. The special Washington exemption is particularly offensive and obnoxious, and I'm trying to stop this from happening with new legislation.
My colleague, Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and I will be introducing legislation that gets right to the core of this Obamacare "fix" for Washington. Click here to read about our proposal. Some of our colleagues may try some slick maneuver to avoid political backlash by allowing Members of Congress to hide their exemption from the public, but our amendment is clear -- no Washington exemption.
Opposing Syria Resolution, U.S. Military Action Could Make Situation Worse
After a lot of careful thought and prayer, I have decided that I will vote NO on the Syria war resolution when it comes before the full U.S. Senate.
As horrible as events in Syria are, they do not pose a direct threat to the United States or our allies. U.S. military action could spark a broader war and/or entangle us in Syria's protracted civil war in which elements of the opposition are even worse than the Assad regime, all while our troops are underfunded.
There is a very serious and direct threat to us in the region -- Iran's development of nuclear weapons. I am extremely concerned that getting involved in Syria, after Iraq and Afghanistan, would make mustering our resolve to stop a nuclear Iran impossible.
FEMA Administrator to Testify Regarding Flood Insurance Increases
Earlier this year, FEMA caused panic in many parishes in south Louisiana in part by predicting future flood insurance rates based on incomplete and inaccurate maps. The flawed flood maps put communities affected under the gun, and the result could be that they will have to bear the cost of FEMA's mistakes for years to come. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, the man in charge of administering this program needs to explain the challenges resulting from the implementation of Biggert-Waters. I'll have the opportunity to ask him about these concerns during a Senate Banking Committee hearing this month.
Urging Orleans Parish Sheriff to Reverse Illegal Immigration Detention Policy
Orleans Parish Prison announced this month that it would reject requests from federal immigration authorities to detain illegal immigrants. Orleans Parish has already received horrible nationwide press surrounding the out-of-control dysfunction of the Orleans Parish Prison. Instead of addressing needed reforms to the Orleans Parish Prison, they are telling the country that they will actively prevent federal enforcement of immigration law. It's a complete embarrassment. I sent a letter to Marlin Gusman, Sheriff of Orleans Parish, urging him to reverse that decision.
GAO Agrees to Investigate Tax Dollars Going to Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year - almost 1 million in the past three years. At the same time, they also received more federal taxpayer dollars than ever before - a record $542 million, an 11 percent increase over the past two years. Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there's no accounting to prove how they actually use that money. The Government Accountability Office has agreed to accept my request to investigate Planned Parenthood's federal funding.
Don't Bailout Detroit -- or any City or State
Remember when the federal government stepped in to bailout the megabanks on Wall Street during the financial crisis? How about when it bailed out the auto industry? Of course you do. That's why seeing Detroit declare bankruptcy now makes you wonder if the federal government wants to get into the business of bailing out states or cities. I, for one, will do everything I can to ensure that doesn't happen.
My bill, the State Bailout Prevention Act, prevents the Federal Reserve from providing assistance to any municipality, county or state. The bill also prevents Congress and the Treasury Department from bailing out states through legislation. By no means should the federal government be in the business of bailing out state and local governments that are in the red.