Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Washington Update - Protecting Jobs in Chesterfield and Keeping a Carrier in Virginia

Congressman Randy Forbes | Washington Update
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Week of February 6-9, 2012 Twitter Facebook YouTube Digg RSS

Protecting Jobs in Chesterfield


Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius expressing concern over a proposed change in HHS policy from an open, competitive bidding process for the multi-billion dollar 1-800-MEDICARE contract, to a GSA contracting vehicle limited to three telecommunications carriers.  The proposed change in policy would have resulted in the loss of 1,084 jobs for those currently employed in the Chesterfield General Dynamics Information Technology facility.  On February 13, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  announced that the contract would remain "full and open," providing General Dynamics with the opportunity to once again compete for this contract and provide an essential service to beneficiaries and caregivers. 

Applauding the Navy's Decision to Call Off Plans to Move an Aircraft Carrier from Norfolk, VA to Mayport, FL


Congressman Forbes was pleased to learn that after four years of working with the Hampton Roads delegation to fight the Navy's attempt to move a nuclear aircraft carrier to Florida, the Navy has chosen to abandon this expensive and unnecessary effort. This news comes after Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta just last week encouraging him to revisit the Navy's 2008 proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport, Florida at a cost to taxpayers of $500 million to $1 billion.  More information is available here.

Expanding Offshore Drilling to Create Jobs and Enhance Energy Independence 


Congressman Forbes joined 181 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging that new and expanded access to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) be included in the Department's five-year proposed OCS leasing plan.  Congressman Forbes was disappointed to learn that the recently released five-year OCS plan would not open any new areas of the OCS for energy exploration.  This letter specifically requests that Department officials amend their plan to open the OCS offshore of Virginia to new energy exploration, a development that could bring thousands of new jobs to the Commonwealth.  Congressman Forbes hopes that Secretary Salazar will reconsider the Department's decision to move forward with a five-year, de-facto moratorium on expanding OCS energy development.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Financial Services

Opposed insider trading.  Congressman Forbes supported a House amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, S.2038.  The STOCK Act is a bipartisan solution that would prohibit Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from nonpublic information they obtain via their official positions. It also requires Members and employees of Congress to report the purchase, sale, or exchange of any stock, bond, or commodity future transaction in excess of $1,000 within 90 days. 
This bill passed the House by a vote of 417-2.

Government Reform

Cut federal spending and government waste. Congressman Forbes supported passage of the Civilian Property Realignment Act, H.R. 1734, which puts in place a new framework to sell of federal real-property assets, such as public buildings, that are not being used or are deemed to be wasteful or unnecessary.  Property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, or property deemed by the Office of Management and Budget to be of national security importance are exempt from this bill.  Within the first six months of this new framework being implemented, a new Civilian Property Realignment Commission is directed to find $500 million in taxpayer savings from the sale or closure of unneeded federal properties.  At a time when our nation's debt is over $15 trillion, it is irresponsible to continue to pay for unnecessary or wasteful federal properties. 
This bill passed the House by a vote of 259-164.


Supported swift resolution to payroll tax extension debate.  Congressman Forbes supported a motion to instruct conferees on the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act, H.R. 3630, to file a conference report no later than February 17, 2012.  The current two-month extension for the payroll tax, unemployment insurance, and Medicare "doc fix" expires on February 29th and Congressman Forbes does not believe that ongoing uncertainty is helpful to employers or hardworking taxpayers that benefit from this tax cut.
This motion passed the House by a vote of 405-15.


Reformed the budget process. Congressman Forbes supported the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, H.R. 3581, to require consideration of the market risk when calculating the cost of federal loans and guarantees. 
This bill passed the House by a vote of 245-180.

Supported efforts to reduce spending
. Congressman Forbes supported the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act, H.R.3521, to provide for an expedited process for spending cuts in which the President can submit to Congress proposed discretionary spending cuts from appropriations bills.  These proposals would then be voted on by the House and Senate and would have to be signed by the President to become law. 
This bill passed the House by a vote of 254-173.

Armed Services

Discussed the Navy's long-term plans for Hampton Roads with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert. Congressman Forbes met with Admiral Jonathan Greenert to discuss the Navy's future strategic lay-down plans for Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The Hampton Roads area has proudly served as a partner with the Armed Services in providing industrial support for our men and women in uniform.  Congressman Forbes and his colleagues have worked diligently to maintain this important security and economic relationship.

Spoke at the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition's Inaugural Congress.
  Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, spoke at the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition's (NMSC) Inaugural Congress on February 6th. NMSC is a new national organization designed to bring together all constituents and stakeholders using modeling and simulation (M&S) in manufacturing, defense, medicine, energy, transportation, education and other areas. In his speech, Congressman Forbes underscored the expanded role M&S can play across all sectors of the Federal Government in today's fiscally constrained environment and discussed his legislative agenda for M&S this year.

Family Values

Opposed a decision by the Air Force to remove "God" from official logo. Congressman Forbes, co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, appeared on Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom" to protest the recent decision by the Air Force to remove "God" from the official patch of the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) due to pressure from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. Congressman Forbes explained that the decision by the Air Force is yet another example of a pattern of hostility towards religious freedom, and affirmed his commitment to ensure that the constitutional freedoms of our men and women in uniform are not surrendered because of pressure from those that seek to remove faith from the public square.

Recognized the significant impact of traditional marriage on families and communities.
Congressman Forbes entered an Extension of Remarks in the Congressional Record in honor of National Marriage Week, which is observed each year from February 7th to 14th.  His remarks noted the innumerable benefits that marriage provides to spouses and children financially, physically, and emotionally.  Congressman Forbes remains committed to the conviction that traditional marriage is worth protecting, as it is one of the cornerstones of strength in our country and the foundation of families across America.

Animal Rights

Protected wild horses.  Congressman Forbes supported passage of the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, H.R. 306, which directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that wild horses in and around the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge are given periodic health inspections and protected within the refuge.  The Curritiuck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1984 and since then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed wild horses to roam the refuge.  This bill expands the protections for these horses by allowing private funds to be used to manage the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge herd. 
This bill passed the House by voice-vote.

About Washington Update

Washington Update serves as a resource to the constituents of the Fourth Congressional District of Virginia on the work of Congressman Forbes. It is published weekly while Congress is in session. Hyperlinks to bill information are provided if the information disseminated by the House of Representatives is available at the time of distribution.

As always, Congressman Forbes welcomes your comments. To share your thoughts on legislation, votes or issues, please visit to send an e-mail or call any of Congressman Forbes' three district offices.

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