Roby Column - March 5, 2012
Questioning Key Air Force Leaders on Changes to Force Structure:
During ongoing military budget debates last week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing discussing the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of the Air Force. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I questioned Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and USAF Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz about proposed reductions to the Air Force in the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal.
To get a better understanding of the decisions behind the proposed force reductions, I led an Alabama Congressional delegation letter requesting a meeting with Air Force Secretary Donley and Gen. Schwartz. The military faces challenging budget cuts, and the goal of the meeting is to get a definitive explanation on the methodology the Air Force used in its decisions. I am pleased that our delegation has a strong tradition of working together in a bipartisan fashion on issues important to Alabama. We want to ask the questions that have not yet been asked so that we can better evaluate the situation. It is important to make sure that as a delegation we are facilitating open communication so that we can do all that we can to promote the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard missions in our state.
In a time of significant budget cuts, this level of oversight and diligence is needed across each of the branches of the military. For example, we are taking a similar look at how the President’s budget proposal would impact the Army at Ft. Rucker.
Alabama Farmers Federation:
Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) traveled last week to Washington, D.C., to meet with Congressional lawmakers. As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, I was glad to get an opportunity to speak with them about agriculture policies important to Alabama. I was especially pleased to meet with the ALFA Farm Bill Committee and ALFA President Jerry Newby to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill. I am appreciative to all of the ALFA members who spent time meeting with me last week to share their views on agriculture issues important to our state.
Fox Business News Interview on Honest Budget Act:
Since introducing the Honest Budget Act earlier this year, I look for opportunities to highlight the provisions of the bill and advocate for honest budgeting in Fiscal Year 2013. Last week, Fox Business News invited me on to discuss the nine most commonly used budget gimmicks and accounting tricks that Washington relies on to conceal and enable deficit spending. The interview provided a good opportunity to speak to a national audience about the importance of bringing honesty back into the budget process by looking at ways that both Republicans and Democrats have shuffled money back and forth to create the illusion of savings that are not there. This week, I have another opportunity to discuss the Honest Budget Act when I testify before the House Budget Committee about the Fiscal Year 2013 Federal budget process.
Meetings this week:
Thanks to the many individuals, organizations, and groups who took time to meet with me to talk about the issues under consideration in Congress. I met with many last week, including the following: members of the Southern Cotton Growers; Allan Pizzato, Executive Director of Alabama Public Television; representatives from the American Legion Auxiliary; members of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET); members of the Disabled American Veterans Department of Alabama; Lt Col. Bradford Lynn and Col. William Bass with the Maxwell Civil Air Patrol; Jeff Pino, President of Sikorsky; Major General James Rogers with Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM); and members of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
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