The first responsibility of the United States government is to provide for the common defense. But dangerous cuts to defense are scheduled to take place in January as part of the sequestration process resulting from the failure of the Super Committee to reach agreement on debt reduction.
With that in mind, I hosted a Defending Our Defenders Listening Session this week at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. The event provided us with a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of this impending crisis and garner timely input from citizens most impacted by these cuts, who shared concerns about the defense cuts. I was joined by Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, a fellow member of the House Armed Services Committee, and representatives of other Congressional offices to collect valuable information from Missourians who want to ensure that providing for the common defense remains a national priority.
This concern about our national defense is not – nor should it be – a partisan issue. President Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has determined that sequestration would ‘hollow out’ our military.
The U.S. House has passed common sense legislation to replace defense cuts with responsible reforms that include controlling runaway spending and reducing waste. With our embassies and consulates abroad under attack, the Senate should stop playing politics and join us in doing the right thing – protecting the United States and its citizens serving our country abroad by passing our bill.
As energy prices continue to rise, the House passed a bill this week to protect American jobs and support U.S. energy production by prohibiting the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new rules or regulations that will adversely impact mining jobs and our economy. The Stop the War on Coal Act is a response to efforts by the Obama Administration’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to conduct a major rewrite of coal mining regulations that will cost jobs and decrease American energy production. Specifically, this bill prohibits the issuing of regulations that will adversely impact U.S. coal mining employment, cause a reduction in coal revenue through regulation of coal mining, and reduce the amount of coal available for domestic consumption or export.
Coal is vitally important to Missouri’s energy needs. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, coal supplied 82 percent of Missouri’s net electricity generation in 2011. We need to focus our efforts on promoting a market driven approach to continued investment in clean coal technology. Fostering innovation through government research and promoting public/private partnerships will help improve an energy source that is so crucial to Missouri’s energy needs. Our legislation addresses the unnecessary overreach of the Obama Administration. My hope is that the Senate will pass this common sense legislation to protect mining jobs and to keep down the costs of heating our homes as we head into the cooler months.
On another matter, I recently had the pleasure of honoring Jim and Doctor Susan Waldo of Sedalia as 2012 Angels in Adoption, recognizing their outstanding advocacy of adoption issues and their personal involvement in bettering child welfare. The Waldos have provided a loving home for eight children, four of whom are adopted.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute orchestrates the annual Angels in Adoption program, providing Members of Congress an opportunity to honor constituents who have fostered or adopted children. As an advocate for adoption and a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the Congressional Foster Care Caucus, I believe the Waldos serve as an inspiration for all Missourians who want to make a difference in the lives of children.
The Waldos have provided a safe and stable home for their eight children who range in age from 28 to one year old. They have given selflessly by opening their door to children in need of a loving family. I salute the Waldos for their contributions to children’s welfare and to the community.
Have a good week.