The Budget: Nothing is as easy as it looks

U.S. Representattive Richard Nugent (R-Brooksville)This week, amidst all of the focus on the government funding bill, there was a significant piece of legislation that you deserve to be aware of.

Very quickly and very quietly, Congress passed the authorization bill for the nation’s intelligence agencies.

The Presidency, Congress and war powers

U.S. Representative Richard Nugent (R-Brooksville)What many people may have missed is that Congress did not vote on the question of whether or not to authorize the President to continue air strikes in Iraq.

The border crisis: Not just Congress' problem, sir

The U.S. Border Patrol estimates that this year, they will catch roughly 90,000 unaccompanied minors entering our country illegally.

They expect that number to rise next year. And while this issue has existed for years, we’ve seen a massive spike over the last year – and that trend is expected to continue.

Federal Highway Trust Fund propped up, but at what cost?

Wow. Congress went a little crazy with the accounting gimmicks this week. They did so enthusiastically.

I’m not sure how widely known this is, but the Highway Trust Fund which funds federal infrastructure projects is almost out of money. That’s creating a lot of problems.

Border crisis is just that

Just a quick update this week on a couple of items.

First, the House passed one more funding bill this week. We’ve completed work on six out of 12 at this point.

I would suggest calling your senators to ask how they’re coming along, but my guess is you already know the answer.

Inter-branch lawsuit

Also of note - the House vs. Executive Branch lawsuit is moving forward as anticipated and we should be considering the actual details of it next week. Stay tuned for that.

The deal with the border crisis

A good week for Legislative Branch

This was a good week for Congress. I don’t mean it was a good week for me, or for my party, or for the House, or for the specific group of senators and congressmen who happen to hold office here at this particular moment.

It was a good week for the institution. It was a good week for the Legislative Branch and everything it is supposed to represent in our society.

Sgt. Bergdahl's release, Eric Cantor's defeat sound alarms

The House has continued its work on passing the appropriations bills. That’s a good thing, and we’ve got more coming up next week.

One thing I did want to touch on - As I alluded to last week, Defense Secretary Hagel showed up as scheduled to testify before the Armed Services Committee about the prisoner swap. I promise you, he’d have preferred to be at the dentist’s office.

The mysteries of Bergdahl's release

VA facilities' scandal a breach of trust

As I’m sure most of you have probably heard at this point, it’s become clear over the last few weeks that a number of VA facilities around the country have been keeping so-called “secret wait lists”.

The point of these lists, at least in the case of Arizona, was to hide the true number of veterans who had been waiting extraordinary periods for treatment at the VA.

Congress takes up Lerner, Benghazi matters

It’s been a particularly busy week for me up in Washington, so I’ll try to get through everything as swiftly as possible.

First order of business - I was asked to bring the resolution to the House floor holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify regarding her role in the IRS targeting scandal.


Congress addresses legislative, military appropriations bills

Just a quick couple updates from this week.

First, the House has officially begun the appropriations season.

We started with two bills. One, the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill sets the funding levels for Congress – the House, Senate, Library of Congress, Government Accountability Office and some other smaller ancillary line items. I offered an amendment to that bill that, unfortunately, ended up being blocked in the House.

Legislative session ends with good progress made

State Sen. Charlie DeanSession has come to an end! I am very excited by the progress we have made this year in the Florida Legislature.


Work continues on state budget, springs protection

State Sen. Charlie DeanWith one week left in Session, the Florida Legislature continued to work this week on the budget. The Florida Senate also met on the Floor to continue moving bills through the Legislature.


Florida Senate, house move toward budget conference

Work continued in the Florida Senate last week, with the Senate meeting on the Floor on Friday, in addition to committee meetings throughout the week.

One of the focal points of the week was the continuing preparations for the conference process.

With both the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives passing their chambers’ respective budgets last week, the formal conference process can now begin.

Veterans could get lifetime passes to nat'l parks in new bill

A few months back, a constituent of mine named David Chilbert sent me an email explaining a few thoughts he had on our national parks.

Specifically, he said that senior citizens currently have access to a lifetime pass for our national parks, available for a fee. Active duty members of the military also enjoy free access to our parks.

So Mr. Chilbert asked, why not create a special pass for veterans, again available for a nominal fee, that would enable them to have lifetime free access? I frankly didn’t have a good answer for why not. Couldn’t think of any.

Senate passes budget at session's halfway point

Session reached its scheduled halfway point this week, with the Senate passing its version of the budget.

Following passage, the budget now heads to the conference process where differences between the Senate’s budget and the House of Representatives’ budget are worked out between the two chambers.

The budget is the only bill the Florida Legislature is constitutionally required to pass each year.

Work continues on budget; bills proceeding

Work continued in Tallahassee last week, with the Senate meeting on the Floor on Wednesday, and the Senate Committee on Appropriations passing the Senate’s budget plan for the 2014-15 Fiscal Year on Thursday.

I am pleased with the Senate’s version of the budget, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the weeks ahead while we construct the State’s spending plan for next year.

Week 3 in the books in Tallahassee

The Legislative Session continued this past week in Tallahassee, with the Florida Senate meeting Tuesday and Thursday on the Floor.

In addition, work began in committee this week to craft the budget, the only bill the Florida Legislature is required to pass. I was excited this week to see several of my own bills move through the Legislative process.

These bills included Senate Bill 106, relating to county employees, which passed the Senate with a unanimous vote.

Budget process: More spending, greater debt, military trimmed

Just a quick update for you this week on where we stand in the budget process.

First, I wanted to bring you up to speed on some veterans-related legislation that was considered in the House this week.

First off, as you all probably know, we’re officially into budget season now.

Legislative Session continues in Tallahassee

Work continued this week in Tallahassee, with the Florida Senate meeting in committee and on the Floor.

I was especially excited to have my first bill of Session, Senate Bill 106, Relating to County Employees, heard on the Floor this past Tuesday.

I believe this bill will restore some home rule authority and flexibility for our counties, and I look forward to passing it out of the Senate next week.

Health care - work less to get more coverage

Unless you spend a lot of time on federal lands or you are directly impacted by water rights in California, this week’s legislative activity probably isn’t going to be all that interesting to you.

So, in lieu of rehashing all of the technical amendments and details of the most recent floor activity, I wanted to try to use this week’s letter to explain the stir caused by the latest economic projections related to the President’s healthcare law.


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