Florida Congressman Allen West submitted today a timely article to the Congressional Black Caucus weekly review publication.
The article focuses on several topics including; the capture of Osama bin Laden, funding to the Palestinian Authority and Pakistan, National Debt Ceiling Crisis, and his most recent legislation, "The Small Business Encouragement Act." Presented in full below is Congressman West's article.
The Present Challenges of our
National and Economic Security
By: Congressman Allen West
This past week, our country for a slight moment was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The week ended with the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks finally meeting his maker and paying for the consequences of his decisions to attack the United States. The United States military served ultimate justice on this individual who personified evil.
Osama bin Laden did not die of natural causes. He died because our military led by General David Petreaus and assisted by our Intelligence Community, hunted him down and then took him down in a special operations attack at his compound in Pakistan.
We must acknowledge President Obama for giving the order and commend the US Navy SEALS who carried out this critical mission, as well as all of the Men and Women in uniform. Former President George W. Bush stated, "America has sent an unmistakable message... no matter how long it takes, justice will be done."
Although this is a time of exuberance, rejoicing and healing, America, as well as our allies, must be vigilant and on guard for retaliatory attacks from the Islamic terrorist groups. What strongly concerns me is that bin Laden was not found hiding in a remote cave, but in an urban area of Pakistan where Pakistani Army’s premier training institution operates. This is a war that is nowhere close to being over.
I, like many Americans, thought Osama bin Laden may be located in an isolated hidden place in the mountains of Pakistan's tribal northwest. However, we now learn that Osama bin Laden was living in a million dollar compound which was custom-built in 2005 in Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan. The heavily fortified compound, with 11- to 18-foot walls topped by barbed wire, is only a few hundred yards from the Pakistan Military Academy, described as Pakistan's West Point. The city, Abbottabad, is home to Pakistan Army 2nd Division, and is a cantonment under government control, and is located 75 miles from the Pakistan Capital of Islamabad.
It is not unreasonable for the American people to question if Osama bin Laden was located on government controlled land, next to a military academy, and so close to the nation's Capital. What real assistance was the Pakistan Government providing for the last 10 years to locate the al-Qaeda leader and bring him to justice?
Since the September 11th terrorist attack, the United States Government has provided an estimated $20 billion of assistance to the Government of Pakistan. Questions are arising on whether the Government of Pakistan may have aided and abetted this most wanted international terrorist.
I think it is quite clear that unless we get a clear explanation of what the Government of Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease. We need to understand whether the Government of Pakistan was harboring Osama bin Laden for all these years. Further, did the Government of Pakistan always know where this terrorist was but instead did not want to bring him to justice in order to continue to receive foreign aid from the United States of America. This is either a case of serious ignorance or complicity, both equally troubling.
Along with the deepening concern about Pakistan comes more unsettling news from the Middle East. Two weeks ago the Palestinian Authority made an announcement that there will be a formation of a unified government comprised of Fatah and Hamas. This united front only adds to the overall unrest and instability in the Middle East and is the first step in the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Any government, in which Hamas - a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel - plays a role, should not receive one dollar from the United States. The United States must remain firm in our commitment to the peace and security of the Jewish State and cease all funding to the Palestinian Authority immediately.
As we look at halting funds from being sent to the government of Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority, our main focus should be on the state of our current spending and economy. Back in 2006, as the vote on the debt limit came up, Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid all voted against it.
Before I pledge to vote against the debt limit, just like then Sen. Barack Obama did, let me quote the junior Senator from Illinois: "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
I agree, we do need better leadership! I think we clearly get the picture here of duplicitous hypocrisy of the greatest degree. We are at this point due to the over $5 trillion of new debt added by the Obama, Pelosi, Reid machine. Leadership is about making tough decisions, not situational ethics.
My message to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Harry Reid, and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner is simple, no raising of the debt ceiling unless we have spending control measures;
- Constitutional amendment for a balanced budget requirement on the federal government.
- Cap federal government spending at 20% of GDP, put into law.
- Cut the corporate/ business tax rate from 35% to 20% flat tax rate and remove loopholes.
- Implement a trigger control mechanism that at a certain % level of the debt ceiling being reached, automatic budget cuts kick in; this will preclude us ever having to revisit this issue again.
If we've learned anything during the recession, it's that we cannot tax and spend our way to prosperity. The best way to get people working again is to rein in the growth of government and end the uncertainty facing small businesses. By addressing both issues, our plan revives free enterprise and moves America away from a debt-driven economy.
As our economy begins to recover from the past recession, it is important for us, as members of Congress, to pass legislation that helps our nation’s most effective job creators, our small businesses. Not only are small businesses the backbone of our economy, they are the backbone of our country.
Today we face staggering unemployment hovering near nine percent, a massive deficit, and an unprecedented $14 trillion in national debt. That is why I along with 9 of my fellow Members of Congress introduced The Small Business Encouragement Act (HR 1663), which will amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow small business employers whose gross receipts in the preceding taxable year did not exceed $20 million, or who did not employ more than 100 full time employees, a work opportunity tax credit for hiring unemployed individuals as full-time employees during 2012 and 2013.
This legislation would also double the rate of such credit for employers who hire individuals from counties with high unemployment rates.
Along with the support of my colleagues, The National Black Chamber of Commerce, and the numerous Small Businesses across America, this legislation will support many minority owned businesses that have felt the impact of the recession, and will encourage many others to become innovative with job creation. This legislation will push for a wave of job creation across the nation, setting conditions for economic improvement throughout America.
In closing, I am optimistic that our efforts in the United States House of Representatives can continue to help foster the growth of our economy and unleash the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of each and every American.
Congressman Allen B. West (FL-22)