Friday, December 2, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
As a member of the executive committee of the Trump transition team, I'm gratified to see the future Trump administration starting to take shape. Today, the Trump team announced it is nominating Congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, Congressman Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. I think these are excellent candidates, particularly Mike Pompeo, who serves with me on the House Intelligence Committee. Mike has spent an immense amount of time in the field all across the world meeting with our intelligence professionals and service members on behalf of the Committee, and he's one of the most respected voices in the House of Representatives on national security issues. I am confident that these three men will help shape strong national security policies to keep Americans safe during these dangerous times.
I discussed the transition and some other issues with Bret Baier last night on Fox News. You can watch the video here.
Friday, November 4, 2016
The Obama administration recently revealed that premiums for Obamacare's benchmark silver plan will jump an average of 22 percent in 2017. This means premiums have now skyrocketed 116 percent in the last three years.
Obamacare defenders argue that the price hikes are not as bad as they seem, since many enrollees will get more subsidies. Of course, these defenders didn't mention escalating costs at all when they were selling the Obamacare idea to the American people—to the contrary, Obama repeatedly promised that his plan would lower the typical family's premiums by $2,500 per year. Since that has proven false, we're now told that everything's fine because of magical subsidies that, in fact, are paid for by American taxpayers.
Of course, rising prices are not the only problem with Obamacare—insurers are fleeing the exchanges in droves, leaving consumers with dwindling options. As CNN reports, "The number of carriers will drop to 228 next year in the federal exchange and selected states, down from 298 in 2016." It also relates that 21 percent of customers returning to the exchanges will only have one available carrier next year, and that five states will only have one insurer providing plans on the federal exchange.
Think about what an honest explanation of Obamacare would have sounded like before its enactment: "We will create a healthcare system that features spiraling premiums, steadily decreasing choices, and a giant bill for taxpayers. Oh, and by the way, if you like your doctor, you can't necessarily keep your doctor."
I'm guessing that would not have been an effective sales pitch.
As Obamacare continues its death spiral, House Republicans are proposing far-reaching healthcare reforms that would lower costs, increase competition, expand choice, guarantee coverage, and accelerate medical breakthroughs—you can read about our plan here.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Today I released the following statement about the FBI reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server:
“Since tens of thousands of emails traversed Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized server, including 30,000 that she deleted to avoid disclosure, it’s no surprise that the FBI has found additional problematic emails. FBI Director James Comey is right to reopen the investigation and pursue all leads until we know the full extent of Clinton’s misconduct and the full extent of the harm she did to our national security. In light of these circumstances, it’s impossible to see how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper can believe Clinton or any of her implicated staffers should ever again be provided access to classified information.”
Friday, September 30, 2016
Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday vetoed a bill to strengthen the California legislature's oversight of high-speed rail. The measure, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson from Fresno, would have simply required the High-Speed Rail Authority to provide more information on the cost and schedule for each planned segment of the high-speed rail system. The provision of this information had been recommended by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
It's no surprise that Governor Brown would resist attempts to infuse some transparency into high-speed rail. Projected construction costs have already doubled from the initial $33 billion estimate, and the final bill will surely top $100 billion. The Governor is even raiding his cap-and-trade fund, but that has not been enough to cover the project's $43.5 billion shortfall.
So where will the money come from to keep this boondoggle going? According to the Los Angeles Times, the rail authority chief "has said repeatedly this year that it should not be necessary to specify where all of the money will come from, noting that backers of the project were surprised by some sources of the money now available. He said there’s no reason to doubt that unanticipated sources will provide additional money."
So the financing plan, it seems, is to hope and pray that a giant pile of money will appear out of nowhere. Meanwhile, I leave it to you to decide whether the billions being shoveled into this absurd scheme would be better spent building new water storage projects and improving the state's road and freight-rail infrastructure.
In his veto message, Governor Brown called Assemblyman Patterson's bill "unnecessary." Seeing as the bill passed unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate, it appears that every member of the California legislature disagrees.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Today is the 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The images of bodies falling through the sky, collapsing towers, a plane wreck in an empty field, and a giant hole in the Pentagon are permanently seared into my memory.
In the wake of the attacks, our nation set out to lead the world in a campaign to eliminate al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups that seek to attack us, kill our citizens, and impose their twisted ideology on every country on Earth.
Fifteen years later, it's clear we have more work to do. Despite some initial successes against al Qaeda, the group is once again expanding its network throughout the Middle East and beyond. Meanwhile, their close allies, the Taliban, are resurgent in Afghanistan, seizing wide swathes of once-liberated territory from the Afghan government.
And then there is ISIS, an organization spun off from al Qaeda whose atrocities are beyond belief. Its members' bloodlust is known intimately not only by their legions of Middle Eastern victims, but throughout Europe and the United States, where the group has developed expertise at conducting or inspiring terror attacks on innocent civilians.
It is a heavy burden to lead this fight, but history has shown that when America withdraws from its leadership role, unstable forces and malign powers fill the resulting power vacuum. There is no quick and easy solution - we are engaged in a generational fight against ruthless enemies. We have already paid a high price in this war, but 9/11 demonstrated that in today's interconnected world, threats halfway across the globe cannot always be confined to a safe distance.
On this anniversary, I'd like to pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who perished on 9/11 and to the members of our military who died in the ensuing battles. I also hope you'll take a moment to thank the everyday heroes of today - the servicemen and women, first responders, and police officers who go about their jobs, often in dangerous circumstances, with little recognition or reward. On 9/11, when I saw these heroes run into burning buildings and get crushed in the carnage, their sacrifice stunned and humbled me - and filled me with pride to be an American.