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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Everything In ObamaCrapCare Destroys Economy

Sen. Collins: Obamacare's 30-Hour Rule Will Damage Businesses

Saturday, 03 Aug 2013 09:49 AM
By Sandy Fitzgerald
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Obamacare has "perverse incentives" that allow employers to cut their employees' work hours, says Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who has introduced a bill to change the healthcare law's definition of full time work from 30 hours a week to 40.

Collins, in Saturday's GOP address, noted that under Obamacare, anyone working an average of 30 hours a week is considered full-time, meaning many employers may cut their hours so they won't have to provide them with insurance.

A 40-hour work week is full-time, we all know that," said Collins.

She noted in her address that her family founded a small business in Maine more than 160 years ago that continues to be run by two of her brothers.

"Our economy is built on millions of enterprises just like ours," she said. "It’s not easy to survive in today’s economy. But these employers remain our nation’s job creators. We should be doing all we can to promote policies to help them survive and thrive."

She also agreed that healthcare reform should provide people with access to quality and affordable care "while encouraging economic growth. That’s not what is happening under Obamacare."

Instead, Collins said, Obamacare discourages small businesses from creating jobs and hiring new workers, and "has perverse incentives for employers to reduce the number of hours that their employees can work."

Most small businesses want to provide health insurance, said Collins, but can't afford to do so under Obamacare.

Related: In addition, she said, that while businesses with 50 or more full-time employees are required to provide health insurance or face huge fines, they won't face fines if they only have 49 employees.

"These enormous penalties are a real threat to employers who want to add jobs," she said. "They are a powerful incentive for employers to refrain from hiring additional workers."

But even worse, Collins said, is the Obamacare provision that calls people who work 30 hour weeks full-time.

"This will only cause some businesses to reluctantly reduce the hours of their workers to fewer than 30 hours per week," she noted.

The public sector is also being affected, Collins said, telling of one school system in her state that is preparing to cap substitute teachers' work at no more than 29 hours a week.

She also quoted Teamsters President James Hoffa, who said recently that Obamacare will "destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class."

"They are right to be worried," said Collins. "In the past, most new jobs were full-time. But, this year, the overwhelming majority of new jobs are part-time."

She also quoted a study from the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, which said 10 million workers could have their hours cut because of Obamacare.

Collins admitted her "common sense" bill "won't solve the countless problems caused by Obamacare. But it would help ensure that millions of American workers do not have their hours, and their paychecks, reduced."© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

ObamaPhone Frauds Will Be Small Compared With ObamaCrapCare

The following post discusses the criminals who abuse the ObamaPhone program, however, the money lost in this program will be chump change when you look at the programs under ObamaCrapCare.  Dollars will flow out like Niagara Falls!

Take one part of the program for an example.  In the first year of ObamaCrapCare, there will be no income verification. This means that someone who earns $500,000 can claim they earn only $15,000 and get their insurance basically free. How many people will take advantage?

There will be some that say, "hey, I would never lie about my income."  It would be wonderful if everyone felt the same way, however, the ObamaPhone Program provides evidence that those feelings are far from universal.

What would happen if the IRS would actually monitor the income? The worst case would be that the person who under-reported their earnings would have to return the money that the government gave their insurance company. Not really a big down side. What if the IRS did not catch up with you for ten years and all you had to do was to pay back the last three years? Not a bad penalty!

This one tiny example is how bad this program really is. It needs to be defunded and return the choice of health insurance to the individual.

Conservative Tom

Journalist to Newsmax: 'Obamaphone' Program Filled With Abuse

Friday, 02 Aug 2013 06:21 PM
By Bill Hoffmann
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A journalist who was given three so-called "Obamaphones," meant for impoverished Americans as part of the federal Lifeline program, says cellphone companies are making a fortune off a giveaway rife with fraud.

"What I find scandalous is I'm not eligible [under the guidelines]. … You're supposed to either be on welfare or earn what's less than 136 percent of the poverty level," Jillian Melchior, a National Review columnist, told David Nelson, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I can support a family of eight on my income … [but] it was easy for me to get not one phone, but three."

Melchior decided to probe Lifeline after she heard stories of fraud and abuse associated with the program, which allows the underprivileged to have a way of communicating.

She said she was approached by various Lifeline vendors who barely checked out her eligibility. Even when she told them she was not on welfare, they still qualified her.

"They'd say, are you on welfare? I'm not on welfare, and based on my income level, I don't qualify for this program. So I tell them that, I say 'I'm not on welfare but I'd sure like to be, who wouldn't?'" she said.

"And that was enough to get them to sign me up and I was able to get three Obama phones in the mail. … You're only supposed to have one cellphone per household."

Melchior believes the huge profits that phone-service providers get from the program make the companies less stringent in checking on the recipients of the phones.

"For each person that gets signed up, phone providers get about $10 a month, per customer. That's a lot of money, that adds up fast," she said.

"The problems began when the federal government got in the cellphone business, and when the cellphone business supposedly got into the business of verifying who's on welfare and who's not. That's not the job of either of them. It's not really surprising that we have problems," she said.

Melchior takes issue with the program for claiming the phone giveaways are welfare for the poor.

"It really is corporate welfare. Big corporations are benefiting from this. Meanwhile, taxpayers are funding it and they're suffering," she said.

"It's a program that was created to benefit the poor but has gotten totally out of control."

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Al Qaida Has US On The Run

Image: Al-Qaida Threat Forces Prompts Travel Warning, Embassy Closures (AP)

Al-Qaida Threat Forces Prompts Travel Warning, Embassy Closures

Friday, 02 Aug 2013 05:59 PM

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The United States issued an extraordinary global travel warning to Americans Friday about the threat of an al-Qaida attack and closed down 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world for the weekend.The alert was the first of its kind since an announcement preceding the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This one comes with the scars still fresh from last year's deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and with the Obama administration and Congress determined to prevent any similar breach of an American Embassy or consulate.
"There is a significant threat stream and we're reacting to it," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told ABC News in an interview to be aired Sunday that the threat was "more specific" than previous ones and the "intent is to attack Western, not just U.S. interests."
The State Department warning urged American travelers to take extra precautions overseas, citing potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists and noting that previous terrorist attacks have centered on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats. It suggested travelers sign up for State Department alerts and register with U.S. consulates in the countries they visit.
The statement said that al-Qaida or its allies might target either U.S. government or private American interests. The alert expires on Aug. 31.
The State Department said the potential for terrorism was particularly acute in the Middle East and North Africa, with a possible attack occurring on or coming from the Arabian Peninsula.
U.S. officials pointed specifically to Yemen, the home of al-Qaida's most dangerous offshoot and the network blamed for several notable terrorist plots on the United States, from the foiled Christmas Day 2009 effort to bomb an airliner over Detroit to the explosives-laden parcels intercepted the following year aboard cargo flights.
"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," a department statement said.
The alert was posted a day after the U.S. announced it would shut many diplomatic facilities Sunday. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the department acted out of an "abundance of caution" and that some missions may stay closed for longer than a day. Sunday is a business day in Muslim countries, and the diplomatic offices affected stretch from Mauritania in northwest Africa to Afghanistan.
"I don't know if I can say there was a specific threat," said Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the House Foreign Affairs Committee's top Democrat, who was briefed on the State Department's decision. "There is concern over the potentiality of violence."
Although the warning coincided with "Al-Quds Day," the last Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan when people in Iran and some Arab countries express their solidarity with the Palestinians and their opposition to Israel, U.S. officials played down any connection. They said the threat wasn't directed toward a specific American diplomatic facility.
The concern by American officials over the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is not new, given the terror branch's gains in territory and reach during Yemen's prolonged Arab Spring-related instability.
The group made significant territorial gains last year, capturing towns and cities in the south amid a power struggle in the capital that ended with the resignation of Yemen's longtime leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. A U.S.-aided counteroffensive by the government has since pushed the militants back.
Yemen's current president, Abdo Rabby Mansour Hadi, met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, where both leaders cited strong counterterrorism cooperation. Earlier this week, Yemen's military reported a U.S. drone strike killed six alleged al-Qaida militants in the group's southern strongholds.
As recently as June, the group's commander, Qasim al-Rimi, released an Arabic-language video urging attacks on U.S. targets and praising the ethnic Chechen brothers accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings. "Making these bombs has become in everyone's ... reach," he said, according to the English subtitles on the video, reposted by private U.S. intelligence firm the IntelCenter.
"The blinking red intelligence appears to be pointing toward an Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula plot," said Seth Jones, counterterror expert at the Rand Corp., referring to the branch of al-Qaida known as AQAP.
Britain also took action Friday in Yemen, announcing it would close its embassy there on Sunday and Monday as a precaution.
Britain, which closely coordinates on intelligence matters with Washington, stopped short of releasing a similar region-wide alert but added that some embassy staff in Yemen had been withdrawn "due to security concerns." British embassies and consulates elsewhere in the Middle East were to remain open.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said the embassy threat was linked to al-Qaida and concerned the Middle East and Central Asia.
"In this instance, we can take a step to better protect our personnel and, out of an abundance of caution, we should," Royce said. He declined to say if the National Security Agency's much-debated surveillance program helped reveal the threat.
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel, also supported the department's decision to go public with its concerns.
"The most important thing we have to do is protect American lives," he said, describing the threat as "not the regular chitchat" picked up from would-be militants on the Internet or elsewhere.
The State Department issued another warning a year ago about potential violence connected to the Sept. 11 anniversary. Dozens of American installations were besieged by protests over reports of an anti-Islam video made by an American resident, and in Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post.
The administration no longer says Benghazi was related to the demonstrations. But the attack continues to be a flashpoint of contention with Republicans in Congress who say Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others in the government misled the country about the nature of the attack after failing to provide adequate diplomatic protection.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Who Is Right-- Snowden Or Senator Graham

As a follow up to the previous posting, this one reflects the current Washington-speak attack on Snowden.  Who is correct? Who is looking out for the American people? We sincerely do not know but are troubled by the lack of individuals who are demanding that the NSA stop spying on us, the law abiding US citizen. There seems to be a deathly silence on that subject.

Do you feel the same or are we  just being the paranoid that we admit we are?

Conservative Tom

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Snowden 'Probably' Got People Killed

Image: Sen. Lindsey Graham: Snowden 'Probably' Got People Killed
Friday, 02 Aug 2013 11:09 AM
By Dan Weil
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Sen. Lindsey Graham blamed ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for "probably" causing deaths with his leaks about the agency's surveillance programs.

"You've gotten some people killed probably, no matter what your motives were," the South Carolina Republican said in a CNN interview Thursday evening.

"The results of your conduct have put some very brave people at risk . . . You did a lot of damage to your country, and you've put a lot of people who serve the country in difficult circumstances, under the cover of darkness, at risk. And you've got their blood on your hands."

Russia announced Thursday that it has granted asylum to Snowden for a year, infuriating the Obama administration. President Barack Obama had urged his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to turn Snowden over to U.S. authorities.

Graham said he can't share publicly the "ton" of evidence showing that Snowden has put American lives at risk. But he added, "I think people have been compromised in terms of how they represent our country; the way they operate overseas has been compromised."

"I'm very worried about sources and methods of the intelligence community being compromised. I'm very worried about the diminished ability of this [NSA] program to detect terrorist attacks before they come to our shores," he continued.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Snowden Speaks Through A Former Senator

Although the following post was written before Snowden was granted asylum in Russia, the exchange between the Senator and him was very interesting.  We have only seen one side of this entire episode--the government's side. We have seen Senators and Representatives denouncing the one time NSA employee, yet we find few supporters, especially in the media.

We believe there is more to this story than meets the eye and we feel that the intentions of Snowden are good. Whether there have been missteps such as leaving for Hong Kong and then Russia, can be debated, however, we now know the depth that the NSA has taken against us as American citizens and for that we should thank Snowden.

Should he be tried in this country or maybe a better question is, can he get a fair trial in this country? Will the government make it impossible for him to get a proper hearing or will it be a kangaroo court? We might disagree with him fleeing, however, when one looks at the treatment of other whistle blowers, one has to wonder if Snowden did make the right choice.

As this story is still developing and other pieces of the puzzle start falling into place, at least for now, we will continue to be in Snowden's corner. How about you?

Conservative Tom

Edward Snowden: Traitor Or Hero?

July 26, 2013 by  
Edward Snowden: Traitor Or Hero?
Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Russia.
In today’s column, I’m going to share an extraordinary email exchange between a former U.S. Senator and Edward Snowden, the infamous betrayer of Washington secrets. I think I can promise that it will cause you to look at this controversy in a whole new way.
By now, you can almost feel a bit sorry for Snowden, the whistle-blower extraordinaire who has been forced to remain in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for more than a month. I’ve been stuck at a lot of different airports over the years, and it was never fun. And none of them, thank God, was in Russia.
Now comes word that the Russian authorities will finally permit Snowden to leave the airport while they consider his application for asylum. I have no idea why it took so long. Like bureaucracies everywhere, the ones in Moscow apparently move at their own glacial pace.
So what do you think? Is Snowden a traitorous dog who deserves the harshest penalties the United States can impose on him (if U.S. authorities can ever get their hands on him, that is)?
Or is he an authentic American hero who sacrificed a comfortable life to bring us the truth about how far our government has gone to snoop on all of us? Even the members of the intelligence committees in Congress, who supposedly knew all about the secretive surveillance being carried out by the National Security Agency and other government watchdogs, say they have been shocked to learn of the extent of what was going on.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to ask more than 1,000 liberty lovers what they thought of Snowden. I was the master of ceremonies at something called FreedomFest, an annual conference that describes itself as “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” Most of the attendees would probably describe themselves as libertarians, although traditional conservatives were certainly well-represented, both in the audience and at the podium.
When I asked the audience for their opinion of Snowden and what he did, I expected them to be fairly evenly divided. It was not even close. Fewer than 10 percent raised their hands when I asked if they thought he should be prosecuted for revealing state secrets. The overwhelming majority — by a rough estimate, more than 85 percent of the audience — said he deserved our praise and thanks for helping to expose what one speaker referred to as “the surveillance state.”
Shortly after returning home, I received a fascinating email exchange between Snowden and a former politician I remember fondly. Gordon J. Humphrey was a two-term Senator from New Hampshire. Here is the message he sent Snowden, via Glen Greenwald, the writer for The Guardian in London who broke the story of Snowden’s incredible disclosures:
Mr. Snowden,
Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms (sic) way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.
Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion.
I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere.
Kindly acknowledge this message, so that I will know it reached you.
Gordon J. Humphrey
Former United States Senator
New Hampshire
Humphrey received the following email from Snowden. Its authenticity was also confirmed by Greenwald.
Mr. Humphrey,
Thank you for your words of support. I only wish more of our lawmakers shared your principles – the actions I’ve taken would not have been necessary.
The media has distorted my actions and intentions to distract from the substance of Constitutional violations and instead focus on personalities. It seems they believe every modern narrative requires a bad guy. Perhaps it does. Perhaps, in such times, loving one’s country means being hated by its government.
If history proves that be so, I will not shy from that hatred. I will not hesitate to wear those charges of villainy for the rest of my life as a civic duty, allowing those governing few who dared not do so themselves to use me as an excuse to right these wrongs.
My intention, which I outlined when this began, is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. I remain committed to that. Though reporters and officials may never believe it, I have not provided any information that would harm our people – agent or not – and I have no intention to do so.
Further, no intelligence service – not even our own – has the capacity to compromise the secrets I continue to protect. While it has not been reported in the media, one of my specializations was to teach our people at DIA how to keep such information from being compromised even in the highest threat counter-intelligence environments (i.e. China).
You may rest easy knowing I cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture.
With my thanks for your service to the nation we both love,
Edward Snowden
So what do you think of that? When he talks about media distortions that are being done “to distract from the substance of Constitutional violations,” Snowden sounds like a columnist forPersonal Liberty Digest™, doesn’t he?
And when he wonders if “loving one’s country means being hated by its government,” he sounds like many of our readers.
Right now, there’s only one thing keeping me from coming down 100 percent on the side of “hero.” And that is the path Snowden has chosen to follow since those first incredible disclosures.
When the story first broke, I was impressed that this obscure contractor was willing to turn his life upside down to expose the truth about the NSA’s massive surveillance efforts. “Good for him,” was my first reaction. What an incredibly brave thing to do, I thought, knowing that he would immediately become the declared enemy of the most powerful government on Earth.
But it’s not civil disobedience if you’re not willing to face the consequences of your actions. I hoped that Snowden would come back to the United States and face his accusers in an open and public trial. Instead, he fled to China and then on to Russia — two countries that aren’t exactly known for a commitment to the freedom of their own citizens. And if he ever gets permission to leave Russia, he’s indicated that he might like to settle in Venezuela or Bolivia — two countries that are a lot closer to a “dictatorship of the proletariat” than anything resembling the Constitutional protections that we have long taken for granted.
What’s next? Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian attorney, told CNN: “As far as I know, he’s planning to stay in Russia to learn Russian culture, Russian language and (to) live here.” If he does, it won’t be anything like his life in Hawaii before all this happened, where Snowden himself said he lived in “paradise.”
Our government has asked Russia to extradite Snowden back to the United States, but it doesn’t sound like Russian President Vladimir Putin has any intention of granting that request. (There is no extradition treaty between the two countries.) Putin has said that Snowden will need to “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners” if he wants to remain in the country.
Meanwhile, both Venezuela and Bolivia have said they would be delighted to grant asylum to Snowden. And Nicaragua has said it would do so “if circumstances permit,” whatever that means.
Oh, and one more thing. When Greenwald contacted Humphrey, to confirm the authenticity of his original email, Humphrey expanded on what he wrote Snowden:
I object to the monumentally disproportionate campaign being waged by the U.S. Government against Edward Snowden, while no effort is being made to identify, remove from office and bring to justice those officials who have abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States and the rights of millions of unsuspecting citizens.
Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out.
Count me among those willing to speak out. I’d love to see us bring to justice those officials who have “abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States.” Wouldn’t you?
In the meantime, I think we owe Snowden a huge “thank you” for what he’s done to expose the Big Brother surveillance taking place in what used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now it seems we’re the not-so-free and the not-very-brave.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Identity Theft Target The Federal Data Services Hub

When one looks at the data that will be collected by the Federal Data Services Hub, one can see that identity thieves must be licking their lips. Your entire life, all your identities, medical information, tax information, veterans status and the like are going to be included in data that is going to be available to thousands of people.  How many of those will be thieves? How many will abuse their access?  If it is one, it is too many.

This total invasion in our lives is totally inappropriate.  However, under ObamaCrapCare, it will be available to anyone in the government who has access.  That is wrong.  

Is there a way to stop it? Doubtful as the law is going to be instituted January 1 and all this information will be linked on that date.  

Identity theft is a big issue in this country already and when you add a juicy target like this data hub, one can only expect massive amounts of new crime victims.  Hold on its going to be very bumpy ride.

Conservative Tom

A closer look at the Obamacare data hub

By Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) 08/02/13 12:00 PM ET
Over the last several months, Americans across the country have been outraged by reports of malfeasance by federal bureaucracies. Chief among the perpetrators has been the Internal Revenue Service, and it seems that with each passing day we learn of another scandal.
We’ve learned that the IRS has been improperly targeting and scrutinizing conservative groups and that the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans were inadvertently posted on The American people are outraged and rightly so.

But a critical component of Obamacare will make the potential for abuse even greater.

The Federal Data Services Hub, a key part of Obamacare’s exchanges set to go live on October 1, will connect seven different government agencies and create a new access point to the personal health information of millions of Americans. Proponents of the health care law say the hub is necessary to verify eligibility for the law’s myriad of subsidies and tax credits.

The IRS will provide employment and income verification. The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide information on veteran status. The Department of Homeland Security will furnish information on immigration status. Even the Peace Corps will be a part of the hub’s data collection effort. Individual state governments will also contribute and have access to the data.  Potentially thousands of people, scattered around the nation, could have access to every American’s private information.   

In California, where state officials are preparing to launch their exchange, State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones recently expressed concerns about protecting data. “We can have a real disaster on our hands," he told the Associated Press.

The hub’s scope will be vast, and the potential for theft or abuse of your personal information will be unprecedented. Indeed, it is cause for great concern.

Yet only a few months before the hub is slated to go live, critical questions about the hub remain unanswered: Who will have access to this information? How secure will it be from cyberattack? What training and clearances will be required to access it? What measures will be taken to protect the data from abuse?

Last month, we held a joint hearing to give Congress an opportunity to investigate these questions in detail. Appearing before us were representatives of the government agencies integral to the data hub’s creation.

Committee members of both parties expressed concerns over the security of the data that will be included in the hub. Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.) said the data hub would have a “bullseye” on it for hackers.

What we heard from the witnesses provided little confidence that the personal data of millions of Americans will be secure when the data hub goes live. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner admitted that she had still not been briefed by either the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security on the threat of cyberattack.

It’s no secret that the massive federal bureaucracy is struggling to meet key deadlines for Obamacare’s implementation. In the scramble there is a real concern that in their haste to implement this nearly impossible hub, federal bureaucrats will cut corners or make potentially dangerous mistakes. That is why we have introduced legislation to delay implementation of the data hub. It is clear that the federal government does not yet have the policies, procedures, and tools in place to keep Americans’ sensitive information secure. We must take every precaution and not rush this through to meet an arbitrary deadline. An enormous task such as this demands it.

Meehan has represented Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Ethics, the Oversight and Government Reform, the transportation and Infrastructure and the Homeland Security committees, and is chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies. Lankford has represented Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Budget and the Oversight and Government Reform committees, and is chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements.