People Over Politics

February 3, 2014
Representative Roby's Weekly Column

If you tuned into the State of the Union address on Tuesday, you heard yet another lofty speech full of nice-sounding promises from President Obama. Few will deny that he is a talented speaker, but too often his rhetoric doesn’t match reality.

He bragged about the unemployment rate, but failed to mention that participation in the labor force is at its lowest level since the 70s. He talked about income inequality, but won't acknowledge that his immigration and minimum wage proposals would undermine the middle class and working poor. He called for 'action' on jobs, but ignored the more than 30 bi-partisan, House-passed jobs bills still stuck in the Senate.

It should concern all Americans – Republicans and Democrats – that the president is promising more unilateral executive actions that circumvent the Legislative Branch. Our system of checks and balances may not be convenient for President Obama's political agenda, but they exist to protect Americans from an encroaching federal government. I will not stand by and watch President Obama erode this country's constitutional separation of powers, and that's why I'm supporting the STOP Resolution to rein in executive overreaches.

Finding Common Ground

There is obviously significant disagreement over fundamental issues between Conservatives like me and President Obama. However, his speech did touch on a few shared goals:

  • Boosting American energy production, specifically natural gas;
  • Improving job training efforts so that American workers have the skills they need to compete;
  • Prioritizing research for cures to deadly diseases;
  • And reforming outdated workplace regulations to offer working Americans more time flexibility in their jobs.

Conservatives in the House agree with these goals. In fact, we have already passed legislation addressing each topic:

  • The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which cuts red tape to allow vital pipelines to connect energy supplies;
  • The SKILLS Act, which consolidates duplicative job training programs and removes bureaucratic barriers that can hinder workforce development efforts;
  • The Kids First Act, which cuts federal funding from political conventions and redirects it to critical disease research at the National Institutes of Health;
  • And a bill I sponsored, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which allows the commonly-used government employee benefit of "comp time" to be utilized in the private sector.

This weekend, I took the opportunity to remind President Obama that each of these bills remains stuck in the Senate.  I joined my colleagues and fellow bill sponsors in delivering the Weekly Republican Address to the nation.

We urged the President to live up to his promises and get behind these bi-partisan bills. If he truly meant what he said in his speech, if his words were more than empty, campaign-style rhetoric, then he should join House Conservatives and call on the Senate to act on these bills. 

You can watch the GOP Weekly address at


A lot speculation is circulating about immigration reform proposals in Congress. I’m closely monitoring the immigration policy discussion, and will keep you informed of any significant developments.

There’s no question our immigration system is broken and in need of reform, but it matters how we do it. What the Senate passed last year is unacceptable. It amounts to amnesty with no true enforcement mechanisms to secure the border.

My position has not changed. I’m against offering amnesty for illegal immigrants. I will oppose any attempt at reform that doesn’t first secure the border. And, I will fight to ensure American taxpayers aren’t forced to pay for the addition of millions of illegal immigrants to the rolls of our assistance programs.

Enacting bad immigration policy can threaten the livelihoods of American workers and make it harder for the unemployed to find jobs. Our primary focus should be working to improve our economy and jumpstart job growth so that American moms and dads can make ends meet.

I will continue to make my colleagues in the House well-aware of my position on this subject. I would also be honored to relay your views to House leaders. If you’d like to tell me where you stand on immigration reform, visit my website at, or connect with me on Facebook at

The Week Ahead

This week, the House will be considering legislation designed to reduce college costs for war veterans and another bill aimed at protecting the traditional right of American sportsmen to fish and hunt. Specifically, the House is expected to consider:

  • H.R. 3590: The Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE),
  • H.R. 357: GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013,
  • H.R. 1791: Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, and
  • H.R. 2954: The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act.

If you have questions about any legislation under debate in Washington, need help with a federal agency, or are planning a visit to the nation’s Capitol, please do not hesitate to contact my office. It is an honor to be your voice in Washington.