Looking for Answers
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. In Kansas, we know all too well the heartache that comes with natural disasters. But, we also know that it is possible to rebuild and start anew. We have been fortunate to receive the help of our fellow Americans when Kansas has experienced disaster, and so I encourage all of you to come to the aid of those in need on the East Coast. Whether it is a charitable donation or an extra prayer this weekend, please do what you can.
Libya: STILL No Answers, Just EVASION
The Obama Administration continues to be evasive when it comes to answering questions about what happened in Benghazi in September. I joined 52 of my colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton demanding answers about the terrorist attacks on our consulate. We specifically asked to know:
- Why did administration officials deny repeated requests for stronger security measures from U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya, especially in light of the escalating violence leading up to the September 11 attack?
- Why did the administration withdraw elite Special Forces units from the Benghazi compound and seek to replace them with poorly paid local Libyan contractors, even after the compound had been bombed twice?
- Why did the administration pursue what U.S. personnel on the ground described as a “cookie cutter” approach to security in Libya and impose an “artificial time table” towards “normalization” that ignored the dangerous facts on the ground?
MF Global: STILL No Charges
On October 31, 2011, MF Global Holdings Ltd. filed for bankruptcy, and as of Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the firm's collapse, no criminal charges had been filed against anyone for the illegal misuse of $1.6 billion in customer funds. Under federal law, companies like MF Global are required to segregate customer funds from their personal trading accounts. But, it is widely known now that MF Global illegally used customer funds to place risky bets on European sovereign debt. Jon Corzine, former Democrat Governor and U.S. Senator from New Jersey, was at the head of MF Global when it was independently discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer funds were missing. Just a few days after the firm filed for bankruptcy, Corzine resigned from his position. He testified on several occasions before House and Senate Committees, including the House Committee on Agriculture, on which I serve.
For all the talk of the Obama Administration and its Justice Department cracking down on Wall Street misdeeds, a glaring and intentional oversight is the failure to prosecute Jon Corzine at MF Global for the theft of more than $1 billion. Jon Corzine is one of the biggest villains on Wall Street, yet because Corzine was the one Vice President Biden called for advice during the nation's financial crisis and because Corzine has bundled half a million dollars in campaign contributions for the President's reelection efforts, Corzine apparently gets off scot-free? Farmers and ranchers had their money tied up and some have yet to be made whole, honest people at MF Global lost their jobs, and Americans were given yet another reason to lose confidence in America's financial system, yet Corzine apparently relaxed the last year in France free from prosecution as a Friend of Obama.
Fiscal Cliff Looms Large
After this week’s upcoming election Congress will be back in session. Chief among our responsibilities for the next two months is to keep America from going off the fiscal cliff – a fiscal cliff that will throw America back into a painful recession. The House has already taken serious and substantive action toward preventing fiscal and economic doom by passing a one-year extension of the Bush-Obama tax cuts that expire at the end of this year and by replacing the sequester cuts with a more responsible alternative. But, the one other major fiscal challenge we must address is the fact that near the end of this year, the federal government’s borrowing authority will run out.
The last time Washington raised the nation’s debt limit was with the Budget Control Act of 2011. Though I did not support the measure, the law raised the nation's borrowing limit on the condition of spending cuts. These cuts are supposed to take effect starting January 2, 2013. This means that the borrowing authority could be exhausted before a single cut is made. This is, of course, very frightening because it means that all of the talk about responsibly raising the debt limit will be moot.
Panama Trade Agreement Takes Effect
Last October, Congress and President Obama finalized new trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea. This past week, the Panama agreement took full effect. This is a big win for Kansas farmers and ranchers! Read more about the specific benefits for Kansas here.
Member of Congress