Rokita Report 1-4-2013

Jan 4, 2013

Dear Friend,

Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 112th and 113th Congresses. I trust this finds you and your family well.

For daily updates, please take a moment to "Like" my Facebook page by clicking here.

Recent Events (Dec. 30 - Jan. 5)
Fiscal Pothole
Last week, Congress passed legislation to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."  This fiscal pothole, as I have termed it, pales in comparison to the tidal wave of debt awaiting our children and grandchildren.


I opposed this bill because we have a spending problem, and the deal sent over by the Senate made it worse.  I refuse to consign our children to a debtors’ prison just to block President Obama’s tax hikes.

While Congress and the White House have steered the nation around a fiscal pothole, we are still hurtling toward the real fiscal cliff. We must get serious about our debt crisis before it’s too late.

113th Congress
Also this week, the 112th Congress concluded and the 113th Congress was gaveled into session with a quorum call, rules vote and selection of House leadership positions.  I am eager to get to work with the new Congress and welcome the new Hoosier representatives joining the Indiana team in the House: Susan Brooks, Luke Messer, and Jackie Walorski.

My Washington office also held an "Open House" to welcome the 113th Congress and visitors from the Hoosier state .  I was particularly glad my parents were able to make the trip from Munster.



Thank you to all who stopped in and also to the new subscribers to the Rokita Report.

K-12 Education Subcommittee Chairman
Starting in the 113th Congress, I will serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, part of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  In recent years, Indiana has helped lead the way with groundbreaking education reforms that have set an example for the rest of the nation. As chairman of this subcommittee, I will have the opportunity to ensure that other states have the flexibility and help they need to deliver top-quality education for students and families.

Education Week had a brief write-up on some of the work I've done on the Education and the Workforce Committee in the 112th Congress.  I'm eager to continue building on the groundwork laid in previous congresses.

As a parent of two young boys myself, I know firsthand how important our education system is. I look forward to working with Chairman Kline, ranking member Miller and my fellow members of the full committee – including Indiana Reps. Bucshon, Brooks, and Messer – to advance key reforms in the 113th Congress.

Key Votes on the House Floor Last Week:
American Taxpayer Relief Act
The House passed the Senate revisions to this legislation to avert the "fiscal cliff."

Passed 257-167 I voted  No. 
This bill has been signed into law by the President.

Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Improvement Act
The House passed Senate legislation that made improvements to Veterans Administration laws.  This bill transfers jurisdiction of the Clark Veterans Cemetery to the American Battle Monuments Commission, a cause undertaken by young Hoosier Nathaniel Beeler (more information below).  The bill also ensures proper treatment of our veterans who do not have the resources or next-of-kin to arrange for their burial plans.  The bill is also fiscally responsible, as the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will reduce the deficit by $35 million over ten years.

Passed 393-0 with full bipartisan support.
This bill has been presented to the President for signature.

Congressional Pay Freeze and Responsibility Act
The House passed legislation to suspend an automatic pay raise for Members of Congress.

Passed 287-129.  I voted Yea.
This bill moved to the Senate and did not receive a vote but was included in the "fiscal cliff" legislation signed into law by the President.

For a full list of all legislation considered each week, you can review the Majority Leader’s Weekly Schedule

-More information on the Clark Veterans Cemetery-
The Dignified Burial of Veterans Act, S.3202, transfers and provides for the restoration of Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines to the American Battle Monuments Commission, a cause taken up by 4th District student Nathaniel Beeler of Avon.


Rep. Rokita w/Nathaniel Beeler in Washington.

I would like to congratulate and highlight Nathaniel for diligently getting the attention of his his congressional representation to ensure the American veterans who are at rest in Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines receive the honor they are due.  Nathanial made several visits to my offices and those of Senators Lugar and Coats alerting us to the problems facing the cemetery.  Nathaniel’s tenacity in gaining support for those resting in Clark should give Hoosiers hope that the next generation can do great things.

Nathaniel is an 11-year old from Avon  and has led grassroots efforts across our country to restore the cemetery since 2011 after learning about the cemetery while studying WWII in school.  He also led the Pledge of Allegiance at one of my town hall events earlier this year. 

For more information on the history of Clark Veterans Cemetery and the troubles facing the resting place of so many American heroes from before WWII, please visit the Clark Veterans Cemetery Restoration Association website.

In Case You Missed It

Wall Street Journal Daily Wrap Podcast 1-2-13

WLFI - Rokita to Head Up House Education Subcommittee

Hendricks County Flyer - Veterans Cemetery Bill Passes House

WLFI - Rokita Meets With Small Business Owners on Fiscal Cliff

Rokita Readings
A clickable offering of books and articles that I've read recently and highly recommend, as we strive together to "Keep the Republic."

As the Washington conversation continues to focus on tax rates, some have lost sight of the real problem - spending on entitlement programs, which are the drivers of our debt.

In the recent column "It's the Spending, Stupid," John Stossel reinforces that point.  It is hard to argue with Stossell when he bluntly says, "ludicrous, irresponsible spending is why we're in trouble." 

Channeling one of the great supply-side economists, Milton Friedman, Stossell explains that spending is symptomatic of the growing size and scope of the federal government.  We must have the foresight to look at the country we are leaving the children of tomorrow and make changes now, while it's still relatively painless, as opposed to being forced to make austerity reforms on the other side of a financial collapse.

Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts in Washington. Take care. 


Todd Rokita 

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