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San Diego Congressman backs Boehner’s debt crisis plan

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who served in the Middle East Wars, said he supports House Speaker John Boehner’s debt reduction plan and will vote for it later today.

“Over the last couple months, bipartisan negotiations on the debt limit have identified almost $1 trillion in budget savings,” Hunter explained. “The Boehner plan takes those cost savings and for the first time in history, attaches them to an increase in the debt limit. In total, the plan saves $917 billion over ten years, which is more than the debt ceiling increase. This amounts to significant savings and offers a reasonable approach toward achieving substantive debt reduction over the long-run.”

The Republican plan is the second package to make it to the floor in the House that leaves military spending in place and keeps the country on offense. “It’s a plan that keeps us moving in the right direction while protecting the country’s economic interests,” Hunter said.

The Congressman warns voters that the Democrat plan could cut Pentagon spending during a war and the Republican plan may be the last chance to avoid any government disruption.

“However, in the last two days, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has derided the Speaker’s plan, in some way suggesting it’s incompatible with his vision on the debt limit when the spending cuts in the proposal were settled weeks ago. Regardless of whether Harry Reid wants to admit it, the plan the House is voting on today is perhaps the last chance for the Senate to do what’s right.”
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has confirmed the Republican plan cuts and caps spending by $917 billion over the next 10 years and will trim $22 billion in spending for FY2012.

The House plan reduces “discretionary spending each year compared to the President’s budget, $96 billion in 2012, $118 billion in 2013, $115 billion in 2014, $117 billion in 2015, and so on,” Hunter says. The plan also “requires Congress to draft proposals to produce reductions of at least $1.8 trillion that help protect programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy.”

It remains clear that the current Republican debt crisis bill doesn’t satisfy the “Tea Party” caucus in Washington, but as time runs out for America’s ability to borrow money, compromise may be the only option left.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Charter schools make sense for parents and teachers says Congressman Hunter

A Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, hearing yesterday examined the possible role of charter schools in the nation’s failing education system.

“Republicans on this committee have been strong proponents of charter schools for many years, as we recognize the opportunities they offer parents and students,” said Committee Chair Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). “Charter schools empower parents to play a more active role in their child’s education, and offer students a priceless opportunity to escape underperforming schools. These innovative institutions also open doors for teachers to experiment with fresh teaching methods and curricula that they believe will have the greatest positive impact on students in their individual community.”

Many teachers agree there is a better way to educate the nation’s children. “If you think about it, school educators are better equipped to spend an annual allotment of money at their school,” said one public school teacher in California. “We are being asked to adapt to federal and union standards for education instead of paying attention to what our particular communities need.”

Ms. DeAnna Rowe, Executive Director of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, agreed and called charter schools “an integral part of a complex system.”

Rowe further said that Charter Schools “provide an alternative for families to find the environment that will allow each student to reach his or her full potential… They have proven to be a tremendous source of innovation, providing all schools with new tools and methods of improving student achievements.”

Congressman Hunter, who has three young children, explained that these schools not only increase flexibility and autonomy, but charter schools are held accountable for their results.

“If charter schools don’t perform, they cease to exist. Performance is the bottom line. It is a brilliant marriage between business and education, explained Ms. Debbie Beyer, Executive Director of Literacy First Charter Schools in California. “It forces competition and requires serious and deliberate attention to every daily detail to justify our existence.”

“Charter schools are not the only answer to school reform,” said Ms. Elizabeth Delaney Purvis, Executive Director of the Chicago International Charter School, “but represent one way that school districts and state agencies can efficiently and affordably improve and increase educational options for families.”

Perhaps charter schools could have saved a black mother jail time and a felony conviction that will now prevent her from realizing her dream of becoming a teacher.

Kelly Williams-Bolar, an Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years probation earlier this year for sending her kids to a school in a district that she did not live. Williams-Bolar told school administers that she lived in the district with her ex-husband in order to get her kids a better education.

In addition to the jail time, the court determined the school district is owed $30,500 for two years of “tuition.” The judge, Patricia Cosgrove, stated the punishment was just and would make “others who think they might defraud the school system, perhaps, think twice.”

The judge lectured Williams-Bolar and said; “Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today. The court’s taking into consideration that is also a punishment that you will have to serve.”

However, one must wonder if the court system is prepared to arrest and penalize all the parents of illegal alien children who attend public schools across the nation, while residing illegally in the U.S.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Bipartisan effort to terminate Mexican cross-border trucking program

Responding to mounting criticism from Americans and the U.S. trucking industry two Congressmen will work together in a bi-partisan manner to terminate President Obama’s stamp of approval that allows Mexican trucks to operate in the United States.

A letter addressed to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, from Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) as well as 42 bipartisan lawmakers urged the Secretary to immediately terminate the cross-border trucking program. The plan was established more than 10 years ago under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will open U.S. roadways to Mexican truck carriers.

Hunter and Lipinski highlighted safety, security and cost concerns with the program, as reasons to leave the current system limiting Mexican carriers to a defined commercial zone in place.

“The cross-border trucking program clearly puts foreign interests above our own,” said Congressman Hunter. “It’s bad for the American economy. It’s bad for American truckers and the entire commercial trucking industry. And it’s bad for border security. Simply put, the cross-border trucking program is a straight handout to Mexico at the expense of American jobs, taxpayer dollars and security.”

Hunter continued to point out that Mexican trucks are the big winners. “They will soon have unrestricted access to U.S. roadways, leaving their American counterparts at a serious disadvantage. Adding insult to injury, American taxpayers will be expected to buy the required Electronic On-Board Recorders for Mexican trucks, while American truckers will need to purchase the same equipment themselves. There is nothing good about this agreement for the U.S., which is why it needs to be terminated immediately.”

Congressman Lipinski added, “Past inspection failures and gaps in security at the border show that opening our roads to Mexican truck traffic could result in the entry of unsafe vehicles and drivers that pose a threat to the safety of the public. Furthermore, inviting trucks from Mexico to freely transport goods throughout the U.S. provides drug traffickers with another potential avenue to exploit at a time when crime and violence in Mexico are on the rise. The fact that the agreement would also require taxpayers to subsidize required equipment for Mexican truckers that American truck operators would have to pay for themselves is yet another reason that it should be rejected.”

Another problem associated with the Mexican trucks is the pesky environmentalists who want those trucks to operate within U.S. standards. Lucky for the Mexican truckers, the U.S. taxpayer will pick up the tab to upgrade foreign-owned trucks ensuring their emissions meet environmental standards.

According to air-quality regulators, state or federal agencies cannot force trucks purchased and manufactured in Mexico to operate within the much-higher air-quality standards inside the U.S.

So clearly another problem with NAFTA presented itself. However, the folks at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) decided to implement a new program.

They decided to approach Mexican truck drivers with a compromise, the U.S. taxpayer will pay the approximately $1,600 to install a new catalytic converter that will reduce the harmful diesel emissions by 30 percent and the Mexican truck drivers can drive in the U.S. knowing they are not unnecessarily polluting the environment.

“It’s about establishing this relationship on environmental issues,” says ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. “It’s especially important on air quality because you can’t stop the air from moving across the border.”

Darwin says the best solution is to use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) money to fix the Mexican big rigs.

However, independent U.S. truckers are not entitled to the same deal.

“If I don’t pass my smog test I have to pay to fix my truck in order to get it registered,” says Tom Matthews of San Diego. “Not only are these rigs getting taxpayer money to upgrade their trucks, but they are competing with me for work. That’s just plain wrong.”

While Mexico does very little to protect the environment, it remains to be seen if retro fitting their fifth-wheeler trucks will change anything in the grand scheme of things. For example Mexico still burns its trash and the majority of the cars on the road are big-time polluters.

But Darwin contends, “That it’s really the first step.”

Matthews just wishes he could get the same deal.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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