Tuesday morning the featured speaker for the September meeting of the Greater Houston Council of Federated Republican Women was Rep Ted Poe. In recognition of Constitution Day, Rep Poe was a fitting and timely choice to update the audience on his work in Washington, D.C. Immediately after speaking he was to travel back to Washington to continue the peoples' business.
Poe noted the continued abuses of the Bill of Rights as those in government take an increased level of power and the majority of people remain silent, as though they are not concerned. He spoke of this President's habit of using Executive Orders to circumvent votes in Congress and the will of the people. The Bill of Rights is to protect the people from government, not the other way around. There is no such thing in the Bill of Rights as an Executive Order. All recent Presidents have been guilty of using Executive Orders to promote their agendas.
Poe calls the NSA the "National Spy Agency". As for citizen surveillance, Poe stated, "when in doubt, get a warrant". A former judge, Poe reminded his audience that in today's electronic world a search warrant only takes a matter of minutes to obtain. Did you know that all of your emails over six months old are being collected and stored with the use of search warrants?
On Syria, Poe said, "it's a mess, folks". He believes the U.S. has no business getting involved in that country's civil war between Sunnis and Shias. It is not in the national security interests of the U.S. He has brought forth a bill to deny funding for sending weapons to Syria. In speaking about arming the rebels, Poe pointed out the recent experience with Libya as an example. He said it is the fox watching the hen house for Russia to be taking the lead in the response to Syria, as that nation supplies chemical weapons to Syria.
On the length of time this administration has been mulling the decision on the Keystone Pipeline, Poe said that five years is far too long - Boulder Dam was built in 4 years, 5 months. He supports a "4 country alliance" of Canada, U.S., Texas, and Mexico - a North America Alliance. Yeah, you see what he did there! "Let's build the pipeline", said Poe.
Wednesday brings a new hearing on Benghazi in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Despite this administration's insistence that this attack was long ago and old news, it is not over. Poe noted that no one has been brought to justice or held responsible - that only the video producer is in jail, after he was victim of a bogus excuse for that attack. Poe said the U.S. should employ the methods of Israel and track the terrorists worldwide until they are brought into custody. He used the example of the Munich Olympics and how it took Israel 20 years but the terrorists were held accountable.
On the matter of Fast and Furious, Poe said a federal judge will decide if the contempt charge filed against the DOJ is upheld. The judge keeps postponing the case. It is a Constitutional issue that needs to be resolved. In making a decision, the judge must "take the horse and ride it."
A big focus for Poe is on human trafficking. He has traveled to other countries plagued with this human tragedy, as well as in our own country and has filed legislation with Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) which would require smugglers to be charged and persecuted, as well as the "customer". Unfortunately, Houston is a hub for the human trafficking business. He spoke of the value of working with others from across the aisle to produce worthy legislation.
Poe declared that the Senate bill on immigration will not be voted on in the House. Period.
Which brings us to the last topic Rep Poe wanted to talk about. Republicans must "think a little bigger" when it comes to the survival of our party. We will disappear as the Whigs did if the insistence by some on using litmus tests continues. "If I think I'm a Republican, I'm a Republican". Differing opinions are healthy but not for declaring who is in the party. As for the enthusiasm by some to bring a challenge in a primary election race, it is important to remember "at the end of the day, other Republicans aren't the enemy, the Democrats are". He noted that protesters have targeted his local offices and that they are paid, out of town people produced by the Democrats. Republicans would be better off funneling the excess vitriol on the other side, where it belongs in political battles. The GOP has to get rid of the image that some are not welcome in our party. We must "be more inclusive, not exclusive" to grow the party and remain a vigorous party. "I don't know why we try to write people off", Poe said, especially about minorities and those thought to be non-traditional Republican voters.
This week in Washington, the Defund Obamacare resolution will likely be brought before Congress in the budget resolution debate. "Let's be realistic", Poe said. The goal must be to push Obamacare down the road until a new administration is in power.
Rep Poe acknowledged the importance of Republican Women in electing Republican candidates. "All candidates know that they will win elections because of Republican Women." Simply put, the candidate with the support of a majority of Republican Women wins.