Lynn Westmoreland

House Republicans move forward on Benghazi, analyzing testimony for contradictions

A group of House Republicans are reviewing testimony provided by witnesses who have testified in front of congressional committees looking into the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans.

In an interview with United Liberty on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he and several other House Republicans have been reviewing testimony from congressional witnesses to look for contradictory statements.

Westmoreland said that he went to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) approximately six weeks ago to get his blessing to form a group consisting of members of three key House committees — Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs. He wanted members with prosecutorial experience to build a potential case.

“We would look at the testimony, we would look at a list of witnesses that have testified in front of Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs,” Westmoreland told United Liberty. “And we would look at them, and we would look at their testimony and see if there [were] any contradictions in testimonies that may have been presented by somebody else at another committee.”

Boehner’s staff contacted Westmoreland two weeks later, offering staff support to assist the group as it reviews some 50,000 pages of testimony and interviews.

“[I]t’s a small group,” said Westmoreland. “We don’t want any big committee chairs, we wanted the average run-of-the-mill kind of guy that could look at this and not be on TV every night, or be doing interviews and trying to make a lot of gain out of it, because the American people, they want to know the truth, and that’s what we’re doing our best.”

Podcast: UL talks health care with US Rep. Lynn Westmoreland

We hear so many conflicting stories on health care in the news, it’s hard to know what to believe. That being the case, I figured it may be best to talk to someone who’s there. So yesterday, I caught up with US Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) yesterday to chat about what exactly is going on in the House over health care.

Rep. Westmoreland tells me that he doubts the House will vote on Saturday because Democrats know they don’t have the votes. We also touched on the GOP alternative health care plan, which was scored by the CBO this week. Rep. Westmoreland also responded to criticism on the failed of Republicans to address this issue when they were in the majority.

He also stressed the need for taxpayers and constituents to make their voices heard. So, please call your representative (click the link and enter your zip code).

Rep. Westmoreland represents Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District and was elected in 2004. He serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business, and  Oversight and Government Reform committees.

You can download the podcast here (around 22 minutes/20+MB).

Big Brother: Yet another federal agency poses a grave threat to Americans’ privacy

CFPB

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) introduced the CFPB Data Collection Security Act last Tuesday. The bill deals with the unintended consequences of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s direct involvement with consumer’s affairs.

The agency, created with the noble goals of protecting the consumers from potential abuse stemming from financial institutions, is now the subject of a discussion regarding the U.S. government’s control over the average American’s personal information.

While the CFPB was designed to make sure that consumers are not hit with hidden costs when signing a contract, little do Americans know of the agency’s outstanding access to their credit information, precisely because the CFPB’s practices are everything but transparent.

Rep. Westmoreland’s bill seeks a solution to this problem by limiting the time frame the agency is able to hold information on the American consumer.

As it stands, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – a piece of legislation introduced by former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) that made the creation of the agency a possibility – does not grant the American consumer the opportunity to ask to be taken out of the system. It also does not require the consumer’s consensual compliance with the agency’s collection of data for it to be carried out by state employees.

In a statement, Westmoreland claimed that CFPB employees have full access to the consumer’s personal information including Social Security and credit card numbers.

House Intel member: Two flags flew at Benghazi — al-Qaeda and the U.S.

Lynn Westmoreland

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) held a hearing earlier this month on the controversial Benghazi talking points. Members took turns questioning former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell about the edits made to the document, including the removal of references to al-Qaeda, the false narrative that the attack was a protest to a YouTube video gone awry.

Morell insisted that there was no cover-up of the talking points, telling members of the committee that that neither he “nor anyone else at the agency, deliberately misled anyone in Congress about any aspect of the tragedy in Benghazi.” But some, including Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), aren’t so sure.

Westmoreland is a member of HPSCI and, like others on the committee, posed some tough questions to Morell about the talking points, which, he notes, gave the impression that the attack was a protest. The Georgia Republican, however, wasn’t satisfied with the answers, and he’s moving forward

United Liberty spoke with Westmoreland on Thursday about the HPSCI hearing with Morell. He explained why he has doubts about the former CIA official’s testimony and how he and others House Republicans moving forward to examine testimony and interviews of witnesses in their search for answers. (You can read our story on that here.)

Census numbers out, red states to pick up seats

The day many states have been waiting for came yesterday, as the Census Bureau released population figures that will determine which will gain or lose congressional seats:

Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation’s population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West.

The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation’s population on April 1 was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. The nation’s population grew by 13.2 percent from 1990 to 2000.
[…]
The new numbers are a boon for Republicans, with Texas leading the way among GOP-leaning states that will gain House seats, mostly at the Rust Belt’s expense. Following each once-a-decade census, the nation must reapportion the House’s 435 districts to make them roughly equal in population, with each state getting at least one seat.

That triggers an often contentious and partisan process in many states, which will draw new congressional district lines that can help or hurt either party.

In all, the census figures show a shift affecting 18 states taking effect when the 113th Congress takes office in 2013.

Texas will gain four new House seats, and Florida will gain two. Gaining one each are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Ohio and New York will lose two House seats each. Losing one House seat are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Utah Republican talks about a government shutdown

Mike Lee, the GOP nominee for United States Senate in Utah, is floating the idea of a shutdown of the federal government over the budget:

GOP Utah Senate candidate Mike Lee raised the prospect of a shutdown reminiscent of the 1995 standoff between President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

“It’s an inconvenience, it would be frustrating to many, many people, and it’s not a great thing. And yet, at the same time, it’s not something that we can rule out,” Lee said Thursday during an interview on NPR. “It may be absolutely necessary.”

Lee’s threat rises above the level of candidate bluster because he’s seen as the likely victor on Nov. 2. If he were able to take office, Lee would conceivably have the power to filibuster any budget proposal, requiring 60 senators to vote to oppose him and move toward a final vote.

Lee’s likely colleague, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), downplayed the possibility of a government shutdown during a recent debate:

Breaking with many other leaders in his party, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) warned against a government shutdown in a debate on Sunday, saying it would endanger U.S. troops.

“Well, I think as long as you’ve got men and women deployed in harm’s way in Afghanistan, the last thing in the world is you shut down the support system for those men and women,” he said in the debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club and aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting. “So I would not want to do that.”

Pence promises no compromises with Obama

During a recent radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) explained that House Republicans would not look to compromise with President Barack Obama:

Republicans aren’t interested in compromising with President Obama on major issues if they retake the House or Senate, a senior GOP lawmaker said.

“Look, the time to go along and get along is over,” said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference. “House Republicans know that. We’ve taken firm and principled stands against their big government plans throughout this Congress, and we’ve got, if the American people will send them, we’ve got a cavalry of men and women headed to Washington, D.C. that are going to stand with us.”

Pence said his party wouldn’t compromise on issues like spending or healthcare reform, two of the weightiest items on Congress’s agenda next year, when the Republicans could control one or both chambers.

“Look, there will be no compromise on stopping runaway spending, deficits and debt. There will be no compromise on repealing Obamacare. There will be no compromise on stopping Democrats from growing government and raising taxes,” Pence told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday evening. “And if I haven’t been clear enough yet, let me say again: No compromise.”

Last month, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) floated the idea of a government shutdown over budget issues. Just days after the comments, John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting, played down the comments.

Boehner says no government shutdown

Just days after Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) floated the idea of a government shutdown over the budget similar to 1995, House Minority Leader John Boeher (R-OH) killed the idea:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected the idea that Republicans will shut down the government if they come to a legislative impasse with President Barack Obama, even as some conservative activists have predicted and even pushed a shutdown next year.

“Our goal is to have a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government here in Washington DC. Our goal is not to shut down the government,” he said.

And in another sign of forgetting why they are likely going to take control of the House, we have more evidence that the House Republicans are going to end their self-imposed moratorium on earmarks.

This is the sort of stuff Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, is talking about in a recent interview with Reason TV. Here’s hoping that this new wave of freshman and tea party candidate hold them accountable.

Will we see a government shut down if the GOP takes back the House?

On Friday while speaking at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) floated the idea of a government shutdown similar to that of 1995 during the fight over the budget with Bill Clinton if Republicans win back the House of Representatives:

Westmoreland said his caucus — presuming it takes control of the House come November — aims to pass spending bills that Obama is likely to veto. He predicted Republicans would not be able to override such a veto, creating a standoff that could cause Congress to grind to a halt.

“If the government shuts down, we want you with us,” he said.

The congressman recalled a similar shutdown that took place in 1995, when Newt Gingrich — also a speaker at the conference — was serving as House speaker. A future standstill could temporarily close national parks or delay payments from the government, Westmoreland speculated.

“We have put Band-Aids on some things that need to be cleaned out,” he said. “That is going to take some pain. There’s going to have to be some pain for us to do some things that we’ve got to do to right the ship.”

Congressmen introduce Geithner Penalty Waiver Act

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) have introduced legislation, the Geithner Penalty Waiver Act, that would require the IRS to “grant all taxpayers currently seeking penalty relief on foreign deposit back taxes the same zero percent penalty rate as [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner was assessed for failure to report or pay taxes on IMF income.”

Here is video of Carter and Westmoreland, who we chatted with about ObamaCare last month, presenting the bill on the floor:


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