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Preparing for the Year Ahead
Posted by Randy | November 16, 2010
Throughout the week this week, I am attending several organizational meetings and working group sessions with my colleagues as we think ahead and prepare for the 112th Congress. One of the primary topics of discussion? Top priorities for the new Congress, like addressing spending and helping to create jobs for Americans.

I want to hear from you as we plan for the 112th Congress – what are your top priorities for the new Congress and what specific ideas do you want to see implemented?
The opinions expressed below are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent those of this office.
  • Marty Moseleu commented on 11/16/2010
    My top priorities would be ... First, 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that ...applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States." Second, term limits for congress.
  • Luke Mahoney commented on 11/16/2010
    Congressman Forbes, I would really like to see you take a leading role in the effort to initially defund, and eventually repeal and replace the new healthcare law with something that is more conducive with and respectful of the free market.
  • Randy Branham commented on 11/16/2010
    Priorities should be stop the relentless run away spending, including Obama Care. Get the deficit down, Term limits, cut earmarks out completely. Spend our money like it is your own!
  • Linda Collins commented on 11/16/2010
    Get rid of Obamacare. PAY-GO. Cut spending. Pay-Go. Ban earmarks. Pay-Go. Transparency on pending legislation. Allow the public chance to read it before voting on it. Pay-Go. Read legislation before voting on it. Pay=Go. No "green jobs" legislation. Pay-go. No back room, closed door deals. And, finally, Pay-Go.
  • Lorre Hopkins commented on 11/16/2010
    Start addressing the financial problems of the people...not the banks and large companies. As a conservative I hate to hear myself say this but it needs to be a trickle up repair of the economy. Why spend money to fix the roof when the foundation is crumbling. If the money given to banks had been given to people to pay the banks then both problems would have been fixed. (I know, I know-it's not a popular point) If people lose their homes they've also lost their credit and the economy won't start flowing again until their lives and credit are repaired. When they stop spending money businesses go under. Then jobs are lost. Taking even more tax money from those that are struggling to pay for the mistakes of those that aren't struggling only weakens further the foundation that is crumbling, while adding further weight at the top. This is a formula for collapse.
  • Mark Burns commented on 11/16/2010
    Outlaw Obamacare; enforce the boarders with the laws already on the books, outlaw all forms of ear marks and pass H.R. 2525: Fair Tax into Law.
  • Frank Rickman commented on 11/16/2010
    1.Get rid of Obamacare. 2. Permanently extend the Bush Tax Cuts for everyone 3. 28th Amendment (as stated by Marty Moseleu above) 4. No to Cap and Trade 5. Term Limits 6. Don't mess with Social Security for people over 55 (it's OK if we have to change it for younger people who will have time to plan ahead.)
  • Michael Smielecki commented on 11/16/2010
    There should be no more new spending or spending increases, only spending cuts. We the people have had to do more with less the last three years and we expect the same from our government. We need you to say NO to tax`increases, earmarks, $250 checks to Social Security recipients (I have not had a raise in over two years and have made do), and keep the Medicare/Medicaid cuts in place. We also need cuts in all programs across the board and an end to all unconstitutional programs such as Obamacare, the prescription drug plan and No Child Left Behind for starters. Only then will the people truly trust the Republican Party and see that they truly walk the walk.
  • Suzanne Luna commented on 11/16/2010
    The other comments are a great start and ought to be a priority, but in addition, I personally would like to see Congress reign in TSA. No southern woman (or American for that matter) ought to be subjected to body scans and pat downs to fly within our borders. First, we obediently removed our shoes; then, we surrendered our drinks and creams, making travelers feel like they must prove their innocence by adhering to increasingly onerous rules. What next? While I have not been personally subjected to these overly intrusive body scans and physical searches yet, I watched with sadness as a young man was 'patted down" at our own airport in Norfolk last weekend like a common criminal. To me, it is only a matter of time until we are told by TSA that even more offensive measures are "required" for our safety. If my personal physician or anyone else touches me without my consent, I can sue for battery because I supposedly have personal autonomy over my own body; yet, I cannot fly to see loved ones without being potentially subjected to humiliating physical contact or invasive scans, whether I consent or not. Surely, this can't be the only way to avoid potential disaster. At this point, I'm pretty sure that any intelligent terrorist would travel by private jet, making these measures seem pointless, or worse, a government ploy to make us FEEL safer after its best efforts did not detect the infamous shoe bomber or the knicker bomber. Do we really believe that those who are bent on harming us are going to try failed tactics again and again? Besides, wasn't it our own citizens, not TSA, who thwarted those attempts? Government cannot guarantee our safety. Nonetheless, more resources on border control might be more useful than accosting law abiding citizens who need to fly for business or to see loved ones. Also, armed sky marshals dressed like travelers who are ready to shoot dangerous combatants would be a much less invasive, and most likely less expensive. I know that I would FEEL much safer knowing that an armed sky marshal MIGHT be on my flight. Government tyranny starts as innocent measures to provide for our "security," but in the end, we stand barefoot, thirsting for our former freedoms.
  • Steve Harrel commented on 11/17/2010
    I would like to see the "Controlled Decline " of the dollar stop. Inflation is not the answer. Also ObamaCare needs to go , and our borders need to be secured.
  • Tom Endrusick commented on 11/18/2010
    Our previous “private” health care system has become one ruled by insurance companies with costs growing significantly every year. Our government managed to pass a law to remove a significant amount of power from the insurance companies and return it to our government (who is elected to oversee Americans). Our new healthcare laws are not ideal but they are better than what we had and the direction we were going. In addition, a split congress will not be able to pass any new version of a health care reform, so don’t was time on it. We must focus our efforts on the many other, more significant problems dragging our country down. The recent budget proposals by the independent commissions are a good direction to start to work on the deficit. They are certainly a tough pill to swallow, but we must all endure a portion to turn our country around. Finally, the education of our children must improve! The long term future of our country is very bleak if we can’t raise future doctors, engineers and scientists.
  • Wade Ridgely commented on 11/18/2010
    Mr. Forbes...All of public broadcasting—television and radio alike— stand together to oppose this effort and any effort to cut any funds to the public broadcasting system. Without federal funding, WHRO and WHRV and stations across the country would be unable to continue to provide our local communities with the unparalleled educational programming that we provide today. Any dollar that is removed from the system puts further pressures on the remaining system funds, which we all share. The American public highly values the federal investment in public television. For the seventh consecutive year, the 2010 Roper Poll found PBS to be the most trusted institution in the nation. PBS was ranked at the top in public trust among every age group, ethnicity, income and education level measured. The 2010 poll also found that about 80 percent of respondents, across all age groups, ethnicity, income and education level measured, believe funding for PBS is money “well spent.” Respondents also found PBS to be an “excellent” use of tax dollars, second only to military defense and ahead of public schools Federal funding is essential to the operations of local stations in communities across the country. Federal funding for public broadcasting represents a small portion of the overall federal budget – a yearly federal investment amounting to $1.35 per American. This federal funding is the “lifeblood” of public broadcasting, providing critical seed money to local stations which leverage each $1 of the federal investment to raise over $6, resulting in a highly successful and model public-private partnership. This small investment produces exponential returns for taxpayers, including high-quality programming and services to communities across America; unmatched children’s programming; formal and informal educational instruction for all ages; in-depth news and public affairs programming; important healthcare information; and cutting-edge innovation in digital technology to enhance public safety. Federal funding has played an important role in assuring free and universal access to programs that inform and enrich the life of millions of Americans in every corner of the country. This action will deprive local audience access to Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, Fresh Air, The Diane Rehm Show, and other programs listeners and stations rely on. Public broadcasting represents some of the last locally owned and controlled media in this country. Federal funding for public broadcasting is more important than ever as stations provide communities with essential and unique local programming and resources. You probably know that WHRO is owned by 18 public school systems across Hampton Roads. For almost 50 years, we have served students and educators with the latest cutting edge educational resources. We don’t want that service to be compromised in any way, so we’re asking for your help, and for your voice! Thank you!!!
  • Fikisha Swader commented on 11/19/2010
    Priorities could be stop the relentless run away spending, including Obama Care. Get the deficit down, Term limits, cut earmarks out completely. Spend my money like it is your own.
  • Mike Armstrong commented on 11/19/2010
    Congressman Forbes, Please do something to fix the uncalled for conduct by the TSA agents in the name of airport security. My mom is over 70 and a breast cancer survivor. I won't go into detail of the abuse she endured while boarding a flight back to Virginia from New York. There must be some sort of reasonable way to secure the people and maintain our dignity. thanks
  • Debra Rose commented on 11/19/2010
    Protect Medicare, Social Security, Military, stop abuse of of hand outs. Revamp small business owner's to benefit more with hiring and growing. Stop the export of money going to other countries to make them rich. We need to put us the american people first. What will benefit our country and make it once the richest nation again. We are headed for a major fall, God help us !
  • Mike Alexander commented on 11/20/2010
    Congressman Forbes, I've read the blogs of my fellow Citizens, collectively they have expressed my concerns from the proposed 28th Amendment, jobs, repealing Obamamcare, lowering taxes, Fair tax, illegal immigration, eliminating earmarks...permanently, balancing the budget, a responsive Congress to its Citizens it serves, controlling government spending, reining in the government approved porn watchers and sexual harassing done by the TSA. This is on top of running our government and setting National policy. Quite the "to do list" for only 2-years.
  • Shawn Bowe commented on 11/20/2010
    Congressman Forbes, since we are drowning in debt, I think the first priority should be to fix the budget process. As a long time Government employee I have seen over and over again the practice of spending all your money before the end of the year so as not to lose money the following year. All government agencies do this and it is completely opposite from the behavior we would like to see. Remember metrics drive behavior and our current metric is driving the wrong behavior of spending more. Instead of spending all the year-end money frivolously on things that aren't really needed we should incentivize returning the unneeded money. For example if a command or agency is budgeted for 1 Million dollars for the year and in September they have $80K unused in the budget, if they return the $80K then next year their budget is increased by 50% of the returned amount so the following year their budget would be $1, 040,000. It's a win-win for the command or agency and a win for the people of the USA. We would be incentivizing the right behavior and stopping the wasteful spending of the United States Taxpayers money.
  • Vito Mannino commented on 11/20/2010
    Congressman Forbes, congratulations on your reelection. We need more conservative members in congress to ensure the American way of life is preserved. I agree with many of the above posts with respect to spending and funding issues. I would also like to add my concern that lawmakers think they are above the laws they create. If an average citizen were to be found guilty of the charges that Mr. Rangel has been found guilty of, we would be looking time in a federal prison. However, Mr. Rangel is going to get a hand slap and a "time out." Why is it that our elected officials are not subject to the same punishment as the people they represent? This elite class mentality in Washington MUST stop. Solution: TERM LIMITS! The founders of this nation never intended for elected officials to be in office for 40 years and be paid over three times what the average citizen they represent is paid. Please take this into consideration when the 112th Congress is in session next year. Good luck Sir, there is much work to be done to get this great nation back on the road to recovery.
  • Jim Grabow commented on 11/20/2010
    "Get rid of Obamacare. PAY-GO. Cut spending. Pay-Go. Ban earmarks. Pay-Go. Transparency on pending legislation. Allow the public chance to read it before voting on it. Pay-Go. Read legislation before voting on it. Pay=Go. No "green jobs" legislation. Pay-go. No back room, closed door deals. And, finally, Pay-Go. " The above comments from Linda Collins reprinted from 11/16 say most of my thoughts. In repealling or defunding Obamacare, I would add Tort Reform and create an atmosphere of greater competition and choice in Health Insurance.
  • Michael Albertson commented on 11/20/2010
    Congressman Forbes, Please don't do anything on the START treaties until the next Congress is seated , and the people that were voted in have a chance to vote on this important issue. Also to solve all this TSA issue, I fly all the time with my job and I know there has to be some type of security at airports. How about this, make a bomb proof vessel that every one must go in. If you have a device this chamber would be rigged to detonate it. Well anyway open more lines at the airports and have the TSA people act more respectful to the public.
  • Russ Garzon commented on 11/20/2010
    Congress Forbes, top priority should be given to eliminating the unconstitutional private banking entity known as the federal reserve. It is unconscionable for a cabal of private banks to be given control over our nation's money supply. The Constitution is clear about where that authority lies, with the the people's Congress. You must join forces with like-minded representatives and END THE FED. All the ills that assail our country can in many cases be traced back to the enabling influence of the private banksters who are clearly running the show. From there we should give priority to bringing all our men and women in uniform home from every corner of the world, where we go into further and further debt every year maintaining an overseas military footprint in countries like Germany, England, Japan, and any number of middle-eastern quagmires. I would feel far safer if our soldiers, sailors, and airmen were HERE protecting OUR country. One good place to start would be OUR borders! If Congress would just operate strictly within the mandates of the US Constitution, we could restore fiscal sanity in this modern era of insane gazillion dollar budgets which require ever more ballooning debt to support (all of which the aforementioned fed private banking cartel is only too happy to accommodate....at interest, of course). Restore the Republic. OBEY they Constitution.
  • Conrad Faust commented on 11/20/2010
    First extend the Bush tax cut to all Americans. Next STOP the waistful spending. Start with the earmarks them move on to othere areas. Nothing should be off the table including the military. The military in fact is one of the worst waisters of our tax dollars. Consider the $8 billion "LOST" in the Iraq war recently. Consider the tens of billions of dollars in excess and obsolete spare parts warehoused thruout the country. Notice I am not anti military only waistful military spending as in the above 2 obvious examples. Reign in , cut funding or entirely get rid of federal programs & agencies such as the abusive TSA, Obama socialized mediceine. Notice I did not call it healthcare. The EPA , OSHA and the FED are also way out of control. I trust that this is not just a symbolic excerise . All of us above, expect you to take a lead and introduce or co-sponsor legislation to put all of the above reasonable and common sense items into effect.
  • RJ Conyers commented on 11/21/2010
    TO DO LIST: 1.) Make the present tax code established by Bush permanent (creates jobs). 2.) Eliminate illegal immigration & enforce our immigration laws ( creates job openings). 3.) Drastically cut federal spending - especially that which is not expressly granted by OUR constitution. This includes public broadcasting, health care, etc. (creates more oppurtunities for more jobs ). 4.) Provide for our self defense (protects our jobs). SIMPLE. NOW GET"ER DONE. Don't get distracted by who's "juicing" in baseball, how much CEOs' make, etc. Concentrate on your job & the constitutional requirements placed on our federal gov't. Once we get Americans back on their feet we can start on the second To Do List, which will resurect American ingenuity & our leadership in the world. The American people aren't broke - the federal system is & it needs to change. Let me know when you're ready for the 2nd list.
  • Ebony Outerbridge commented on 11/22/2010
    Congressman Forbes, To Do List: I would like to see the Republicans actually get somethings accomplished either put up or shut up. I would like the healthcare bill revised and add an public option. It's interesting that the same Republicans who said no to so called" Obama Care" are the same representatives who leeches off of the system. I would love to see healthcare for people in Congress revoked if they choose to vote against healthcare reform. I would love to see the Bush tax cuts expire, because they have not created any jobs thus far, so what will be different in the years to come. I can careless about the deficit and I care more about all Americans who want to work be able to find a good decent paying job. I would love for more Veterans benefits out on the table. I would like to see jobs created, more construction jobs, more federal jobs. If people are still unable to find work, then I would like to see the unemployment benefits extended. Protect Medicare and Social Security!! The Republicans have talked a good game, now it's time to play. They've had no ideas to create jobs, they didn't care for 8 yrs about healthcare, they didn't care about the deficit when Bush gave away money through Tax cuts,Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, TARP so I want to see the Republicans implement some ideas.
  • Denise Glass commented on 11/22/2010
    I would like to see IRS, DEQ, EPA disbanded. Taxes are taking most of our money and while environmental issues should be addressed, regulation is out of control. Very importantly, stabilize Social Security for those 50 and older. Introduce a tier system for those under 5o. Put a halt to the very idea of GRAs (Government Retirement Accounts). Give the states back their rights. Also, the misinterpretation of our Constitution regarding the bogus "separation of church and state" needs to be addressed and the record set straight.
  • Rita Mathews commented on 11/25/2010
    Obama Care must Go!!! NO MORE SPENDING!! Get back to God so our founders will stop turning over in their graves. I am praying for another Ronnie Reagan for 2012. We sure could use him now.
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