October 21, 2011
The death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is an important milestone in the lives of the Libyan people who have been rallying for freedom for months. There is no disputing that Gadhafi was a tyrant who committed atrocities against his own people and the world is better off without him. I hope that the Libyan people will quickly find their way toward a more effective, inclusive government.
For me, the issues surrounding Libya were never about whether Gadhafi was a bad guy he was. For me, this was very simply about the role of Congress in declaring war. I still firmly believe that the Constitution entrusts Congress not the President acting alone to decide when to use America’s military might. I do not believe that the President fulfilled his obligation to seek Congress' approval with respect to military operations in Libya. I also want to make it very clear that my concerns go beyond one President and one war. There will be other Presidents and there will be other places they may want to use our military. There is no more important matter than war and peace, and the Constitution is very clear on this matter.
That being said, I congratulate the Libyan people on their dedication to seeking greater freedom and representation, and I urge them to keep that spirit in mind as they move to rebuild their country.
On a related note, you may recall that I joined a lawsuit in the spring, asserting that the President had not fulfilled his Constitutional obligation to seek the approval of Congress when engaging in military action. That lawsuit was dismissed this week. I am not surprised by this outcome. However, I do respectfully and strongly disagree with this ruling. Along with representing my constituents to the best of my ability, I firmly believe that one of my most serious obligations as a Member of Congress is to uphold the Constitution. Our country was founded on its principles and I think I have a responsibility to defend them. That is what the lawsuit was all about not about this President or this particular military action.
Telephone Community Meetings
On Wednesday November 2nd from 6:55 - 7:55 PM and on Thursday November 17th from 7:00 – 8:00 PM, I am hosting telephone community meetings. Anyone interested in participating may dial 1-877-229-8493 and use pin 13034 at the scheduled time to join the call. If you’d like to ask me a question, just press *3 after joining the meeting. We regularly get requests to conduct these telephone community meetings so we decided to schedule some before the end of the year.
There are so many important issues facing our country, from the economy and jobs to federal spending priorities. I am very interested in hearing what you think about the Super Committee, charged with putting forth a plan to reduce the federal deficit. That plan must be submitted to Congress by November 23rd and voted up or down by December 23rd. The impact of their work will be felt by all of us, whether the Super Committee can come to an agreement or not, because if they can’t reach agreement, automatic cuts will go into effect.
If you have some time on either day, I hope you can call in. We plan to schedule some additional meetings and will be posting the audio of the meetings on our website in case these November dates don’t work for you.
Also, we are in the process of scheduling some community meetings in the 8th district. As those dates and locations are finalized, I will get them to you.
The Super Committee
We are little more than a month away from the November 23rd deadline for the Super Committee to come up with a plan to reduce federal debt by at least $1.2 trillion. Although I am hopeful that a meaningful agreement will be reached, I have my doubts that the approach will be a balanced one. We all know that sacrifices must be made, but as I have said from the beginning, those sacrifices must be shared.
As the Super Committee deliberates, I have been working with many of my fellow lawmakers to advocate for some key elements in the final package. I think one of the most important tasks of the Super Committee is to approach their work with a focus on job creation how will their decisions impact employment opportunities? It is also important to raise revenue. We cannot get this job done with cuts alone.
One of the ways I believe we can stimulate the economy and create jobs is by investing in basic scientific research and technology enhancements. These sectors are especially important in Massachusetts and it would be shortsighted to cut funding too deeply.
Finally, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must be protected. So many Americans depend on these programs, and have paid into them over the years. How can we cut these programs yet not ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share? In a matter of weeks, we’ll know how the Super Committee proposes to address our deficit.
This week I joined the United States Coast Guard to mark their selection as a recipient of the Rescue 21 Communications System. This new search and rescue system makes use of an advanced direction-finding communications technology. This new system will make it easier to locate mariners in distress which will cut down on search time and increase the chances of successful rescue. I am very pleased that this new technology is being made available in Boston and was honored to join the Coast Guard at their North End Base to launch the Rescue 21 Communications System.
What’s Up Next Week
Next week the House is expected to consider two tax bills and legislation on natural resources.