For the sake of the next generation
Angela and I hope that you and your families were able to give thanks for the many blessings we have here in America. Spending time with loved ones is always the best way to put priorities in perspective. Sitting around the dinner table with our children and younger family members is a constant reminder of the duty I have to leave America a better place than I found it. Previous generations did it for us; we must do it for them.
Every year I reflect on President George Washington's proclamation of the first Thanksgiving. More than 200 years after President Washington established Thanksgiving, his message remains true today: our blessings are not the result of the benevolence of man, but the work of our Creator. We are so fortunate to have the Constitutionally-protected freedom to exercise our God-given liberties here in the United States, but we must also be ever-watchful of the ideologies that seek to undermine that freedom.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Keep the Debt Limit
The next generation is supposed to be our priority, which is why you can imagine that I was outraged a few days ago when I heard that U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner proposed that the federal government do away with the debt limit. As you might recall, I opposed the so-called “Debt Deal” in August 2011 in large part because the deal included an immediate debt increase, but no guarantee on spending cuts. And, here were are, 16 months later, and Washington has overspent almost the entirety of that massive debt increase, and spending cuts have yet to come to fruition.
As your representative in Congress, you have entrusted me with the stewardship of your hard-earned tax dollars, and it would be foolish and wasteful to say there should be no check on how much Congress (and the President) spend and borrow on behalf of taxpayers today and tomorrow. It goes without saying that the American people want Congress to make it harder, not easier, to incur more debt. If we eliminate this check on spending, we will continue to pick up speed toward not just the fiscal cliff, but the fiscal abyss of a debt crisis in the world’s leading economy.
America currently owes nearly $16.3 trillion – that’s more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in America. The debt will have increased by nearly $6 trillion in the last four years alone when Washington hits the current debt ceiling in the next six to eight weeks. And, at Washington's current rate of spending, the debt will increase at least another $4 trillion before President Obama leaves office. Of course this is of contrary to what then-Senator Barack Obama said when he voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006, calling any increase 'unpatriotic.'
Upcoming This Week
When Congress is in session this week we will consider a number of bills, including measures to enhance efficiency at the Department of Homeland Security and to replace the arbitrary diversity visa lottery program with a program designed to retain highly-educated, highly-trained immigrant workers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
What I am looking forward to most this upcoming week is a Wednesday morning Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing in which we will review the Department of Veterans Affairs’ spending on conferences. As you have read in previous updates, our staff have been busy investigating excessive conference and travel spending in the agency charged with overseeing the care of our veterans – so you can imagine that I will be closely questioning the VA officials about this waste. With so many homeless veterans and so many wounded warriors not getting the care that they need, it is egregious and shameful that bureaucrats in Washington travel across the country for all-expenses-paid conferences and events at luxurious hotels. You can read more here.
Member of Congress