Update From Congressman Bill Flores

Dear Fellow Texan,As your Representative in Congress, I am writing to update you about the work that is being done in the U.S. House of Representatives to help address the issues facing our country today and to improve opportunities for American families. If you would like to receive regular updates from my office, sign up for my newsletter by CLICKING HERE.

Building an “America that Works”
In response to an underperforming U.S. economy and federal overregulation, the Conservative House Majority is working on a legislative agenda to create an “America that Works.” This agenda highlights steps for Congress that will ease the burden on millions of hardworking American families. The five main pillars of the “America that Works” agenda consist of (1) providing an environment for economic growth and job creation; (2) acting to remedy government policies that slow economic growth; (3) replacing Obamacare with policies that improve patient choice, access to doctors and hospitals, and lower costs; (4) ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed by having access to a quality education; and (5) creating polices for American energy security. This year, the House has voted on legislation to address all of these pillars and we will continue to work to pass legislation to build an “America that Works.”

Addressing the Border Crisis
In June 2012, the administration issued a directive to defer action (known as “DACA”) which halted the deportation of some illegal immigrants. I believe through this policy, the administration sent the message to Central America that “if you are a minor and come to the United States, you can stay.” The growing influx of unaccompanied alien children is a direct result of the administration’s lack of enforcement of our laws and failure to more aggressively secure our nation’s southern border.

United States Customs and Border Protection has stated there have been more than 57,000 unaccompanied alien children have crossed our southern border this year, reflecting a staggering increase in recent months. The United States is a compassionate nation, and we are compassionate people, but swift action needs to be taken to solve this national security, health, and humanitarian crisis. This influx is overwhelming Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the resources of our nation’s border states, especially Texas.

It is imperative that we gain control of this situation before we see the adverse affects of having our border security resources being worn down dealing with this crisis. Instead of having Border Patrol and ICE dealing with what I believe is an administration created crisis, they should be focused on maintaining control of our border and stopping potential threats to the United States.

I believe what must be done first is to prepare these children to be reunited with their families in their home countries. We must reverse DACA and enforce all immigration laws. We must regain control of our southern border and ensure we have the needed resources to maintain a secure border. We should also be working with Mexico to improve security of its own southern border and to discourage Central Americans from sending their children on such a dangerous journey to our border. We also need to amend the 2008 Trafficking Act to close the loopholes that I feel the administration is using to keep these children in the U.S. and placing serious burdens on many Texas communities. This is a complicated issue, but the U.S. cannot be the emergency orphanage for other countries’ children.

Helping our Nation’s Veterans
When our military men and women return to civilian life, we owe it to them to keep our promises and provide them with the best health care and benefit services possible. It has been troubling to learn that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been failing to do its primary job, and that our veterans are suffering because of the misconduct and mismanagement of some VA personnel. The recent reports of mismanagement at VA medical centers only add to the growing list of problems that have plagued the VA.

To ensure that our local veterans are receiving timely, proper care, I recently visited the VA Medical Center in Waco. During my visit, I was assured that they were not keeping any secret waiting lists and that they were working to provide timely care to our veterans. It is encouraging to know that our Central Texas veterans have not been denied appointments or had to wait longer than necessary for care. Although there is still widespread mismanagement in other areas of the VA, we must continuously work towards improving accountability and access to care.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee, of which I am a member, has been conducting aggressive oversight and working hard to develop solutions to address the VA’s problems. Additionally, through the House-Senate Conference Committee, of which I am also a member, the House and the Senate have  worked to iron out the differences between our respective bills that to ensure our veterans are receiving proper care and to fix VA mismanagement problems.

Most Americans inherently distrust large, federal bureaucracies. Therefore, when Congress considers reforming the VA to meet the needs of the 21st Century, we must continue to focus on creating a more agile and accountable VA with a smaller bureaucracy that is committed to putting the care of our nation’s veterans first. Our veterans deserve better treatment than they have received from the federal government’s second largest bureaucracy.

Looking more broadly, the failure of a huge federal bureaucracy to take care of our veterans is a foreboding wake-up call to hardworking American families as the tentacles of the Obamacare bureaucracy begin to invade our nation’s health care system. As a result, I will also not lose sight of the need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that utilize proven free-market systems that restore the patient-doctor relationship and that focus on patient-centered health care solutions instead of Washington bureaucrat solutions.

Stopping Government Abuse
Since January 2009, Americans have seen unaccountable, unelected, and out-of-control federal bureaucrats abuse their power to put politics and ideology above the law, and to threaten the freedoms and liberties of Americans. The House has been working hard to stop the abuse and overreach coming from Washington and offending federal agencies like the IRS, EPA, Bureau of Land Management, and numerous others.

Under Article I of our Constitution, the House is constitutionally-mandated to oversee federal government operations. On a typical legislative work week, the House will conduct 25+ hearings to fulfill this function. The purpose of these hearings are (1) to find out what happened and who was involved; (2) if applicable, fix the issues that occurred; (3) consider legislative solutions to prevent similar occurrences in the future; and (4) to work with the Appropriations Committee to defund offensive federal agency activities.

Unfortunately, I believe the administration continues to be mired in an ever-increasing number of scandals, lawless activity, incompetent behavior, and executive overreach. The following is a list of the more noteworthy activities from 2009 to now:

  • Fast and Furious gun-running to Mexico.
  • IRS targeting of conservative groups.
  • Destruction and/or loss of federal data by the IRS and EPA.
  • Unlawful changes of the original Obamacare law, including numerous delays and waivers to the law.
  • Obamacare roll-out failures, including systematic problems with its website, exchanges, and enrollment reporting.
  • Failures in Benghazi that led to the death of four Americans and the cover-up of that tragic incident.
  • Failures in foreign policy in respect to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Russia/Ukraine, and our relationship with Israel.
  • Releasing five top Taliban terrorists without Congressional notification in a prisoner swap.
  • Failures to enforce current federal laws, including immigration, the Defense of Marriage Act, and drug laws.
  • Unconstitutional appointments to the National Labor Regulations Board and Consumer Financial
  • Protection Bureau, which have since been unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court.
  • Institutional failures at the VA, including phony wait-time lists, delayed health care, and disability claim backlog.
  • Targeting media personnel in violation of the First Amendment.

Earlier this year, the House passed a legislative package to combat government abuse which included several bills aimed at restoring integrity and fairness at the IRS. This troubled agency is still under investigation for its targeting of groups based on their political beliefs. The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act will ensure that the IRS does not scrutinize and audit individuals and groups for strictly ideological partisan reasons. In order to regain the trust of the American public, we must make certain that the IRS and all federal agencies are not infringing on our rights as Americans, especially freedom of speech tied to our political beliefs.

The House also passed the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments (ENFORCE) the Law Act. This bill is intended to hold the administration accountable by allowing the House or the Senate to file a lawsuit on behalf of the American people if they fail to execute the law.  By allowing Congress to challenge what I believe is executive overreach, we can work to restore the public’s confidence in our Constitutional system of governance and preserve the balance among our three branches of federal government. We are pursuing this activity to protect the Constitutional liberties of American citizens and to hold the administration accountable to the law

Additionally, the House passed the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, which ensures greater transparency and disclosure regarding the administration’s enforcement of federal law. I believe that for too long Congress and the American public has had to rely on media leaks and other unofficial sources when the administration has decided not to enforce our laws. This is unacceptable and Americans deserve to timely know when and why the administration decides to suspend the enforcement of certain laws.

Last, but not least, the House has voted to substantially reduce the funding of the IRS and EPA, giving these agencies fewer resources to hurt hardworking American families.

The American people are looking for Washington to uphold the rule of law and to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars. We can do so by forcing the administration to increase transparency and by reducing wasteful spending. The federal government must be held accountable to follow American laws and to adhere to our Constitution. We have a duty to restore American’s trust in our federal government, and I wholeheartedly remain committed to this effort.

Looking Forward
I, along with my fellow members of the Conservative House Majority, believe that America can still be exceptional. We are committed to challenging the status quo and making the federal government smaller, less costly, more accountable, and less intrusive. By doing this, Americans will regain the confidence that they need to invest in the dreams that they have for their families and for their businesses. Through this effort, we can rebuild our middle class, create healthy communities and help restore America’s promise, prosperity, and security for current and future generations.

It is an honor to represent you in the 17th Congressional District of Texas. Please feel free to contact me whenever I can be of assistance. In the coming days, I will be hosting town hall meetings and calls throughout the district. For additional details about these town halls, please visit my websitehttp://Flores.house.gov.

I encourage each of you to continue praying for our country during these challenging times, and for our military men and women and first responders who protect us each day.

With great respect,

Bill Flores
Member of Congress

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