Entries in Allen West (8)


GOP Address: Rep. West Says Obama, Dems Are 'Doing Nothing' to Avoid Massive Defense Cuts

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  One day after the White House laid out the details of $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would take effect at the end of the year unless Congress strikes a deal, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., uses the Republican address to lay into the president for the cuts West says will mean "serious consequences for our nation's security."

On Friday, the Obama Administration said billions of dollars would be slashed from defense operations and maintenance programs.

“The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions,” the administration writes in the report, which was submitted to Congress as required by law.

“Sequestration” is the technical name for the across-the-board spending cuts that were agreed to by bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress last year as a penalty for failing to achieve a deficit reduction plan.  They take effect on Jan. 2, 2013, unless lawmakers come up with a different plan totaling $1.2 trillion.

West touts the GOP-led House's proposed plan to replace the cuts while criticizing the president and the Democratic-run Senate for what he says is a failure to lead on the matter.

"Now the good news is, the Republican-led House of Representatives has approved a responsible plan to replace these ‘devastating’ cuts.  The bad news is, the people’s House is the ONLY part of our government that has acted to eliminate this threat to our national security," West claims in the Republican address.  "The Senate, a body controlled by the president’s party, has done nothing.  And the president himself has opposed or disregarded every attempt we’ve made to work with him on a solution."

“President Obama’s failure to lead is inexcusable on its face, but what makes it even more so is the fact that this ‘sequester’ was his administration’s idea in the first place," West says, adding later, "Dodging his responsibility is how the ‘sequester’ came about, so it is no surprise the president is doing the exact same thing now."

But in releasing Friday's report the White House emphasized that it had no discretion in deciding what programs would be cut or by how much.  Those details were specified by lawmakers as part of the debt ceiling deal reached last year, officials said.

West and other Republicans have accused Obama and Democrats of being willing to stomach the deep cuts.  The critics do not mention, however, that many Republicans also voted for the plan, including House Speaker John Boehner and GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.

While West points out that House Republicans have passed a measure to avoid the drastic cuts, Democrats have balked because their plan includes no new revenue (tax increases). In the address, West refers to the Dems' resistance as a "bargaining chip to raise taxes.  West aims a plea "directly" to President Obama, asking him to work with Republicans:

“Mr. President: for you -- the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces -- to sit idle and do nothing while this dark cloud hangs over our military, it is shameful, it is irresponsible, and it is wrong.  It is dead wrong.   In your nomination acceptance speech, you stated your goal was to have the strongest military the world has ever known.  You have proven this promise to the American people is nothing more than empty rhetoric.  All of this as a bargaining chip to raise taxes," he says.

"For the sake of our country and our future, I hope you will do the right thing, sir, and work with us to eliminate this threat so we can confront the grave threats to freedom around the globe, to us and our allies."

To resolve the standoff, both sides will need to compromise on taxes. Should lawmakers fail to reach a deal, some budget items will be spared: Veterans benefits, military personnel, and salaries for members of Congress, among other exempt categories.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West: That’s Racist! NAACP: No, It’s Not

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No stranger to controversy, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., wants to know where “the outrage” is after a Super PAC supporting his opponent in their congressional race put out a cartoonish ad Thursday that showed West punching two women.

West, who is black (the women in the video are white), appeared on Fox News earlier to ask why “Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton [and] the NAACP” had not stepped up to defend him.  Had it been a Democrat targeted in the ad, he said, there would have been “national outrage.”

As for the civil rights leaders, “They’re not going to say anything because they’re nothing but an effective wing of the Democrat[ic] Party,” West told Fox and Friends. “They have effectively kept them well placed so that they can continue to have a black electorate voting bloc.”

Hours later, the NAACP’s Hilary O. Shelton responded, telling The Huffington Post that the organization disagreed with the congressman’s assessment.

“It looks like a traditional, political, partisan commercial,” Shelton said. “The ad has him looking very well groomed, a serious look on his face and he’s wearing a suit. The only thing superimposed is a boxing glove as a symbolic analysis of his policies being inconsistent with the values of retirees, women and African-American families.

“I don’t see the symbolism in any way ingrained in stereotypes, whether it’s race or gender or ethnicity.”

The ad was paid for by the American Sunrise PAC, which is run, in part, by the father of West’s challenger, Patrick Murphy. In a statement Friday, Murphy’s campaign manager, Anthony Kusich, defended the content of the video but denied having any role in its production.

“It is telling that West does not dispute the votes cited in the ad,” Kusich wrote, “including his vote to dismantle Medicare, open up the prescription drug donut hole, and against women’s health care and insurance coverage. He even voted against the Violence Against Women Act.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Claim: Rep. Allen West’s Chick-fil-A Treat Pecks at Black Caucus

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., said members of the Congressional Black Caucus have lunched on fried chicken in the past, when the group’s only Republican member, Rep. Allen West of Florida, brought Chick-fil-A for his turn to provide lunch, Hastings told the Huffington Post "every member" of the group was offended.

West provided the now-controversial chicken sandwiches about six months ago, but Hastings’ recollection of the delivery carries fresh potency in light of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s open support for a “biblical definition” of marriage.

Gay rights activists were incensed by Cathy’s statements and staged a boycott of the chicken chain.  Although the caucus’ Chick-fil-A delivery took place before the recent hullabaloo, Hastings said, he saw it as an “in your face” way for West to make a statement in support of the company’s conservative views, which the primarily Democratic group does not share.

“He did it deliberately,” Hastings told the Huffington Post  Monday. “Every member of the Congressional Black Caucus that was there was offended.”

West spokeswoman Angela Melvin said his choice of Chick-fil-A “had nothing to do” with the company’s values or stance on marriage.

“He loves Chick-fil-A,” Melvin told ABC News. “Catered the event on something that was affordable and what average Americans eat. The fact that Mr. Hastings would turn this into anything else is laughable and desperate.”

Melvin said West spent about $600 on the Chick-fil-A meal and that there was “not a plate left” by the end of the meeting, suggesting that not "every member" could have been offended as Hastings suggested.

West expressed his support for Chick-fil-A during an interview in Chicago last week, telling CNBC that he wanted to open his own franchise.

“I had to come up from down South because I wanted to try to open up a Chick-fil-A franchise here in Chicago,” West said in an interview with CNBC’s Rick Santelli.

Melvin said the congressman was “being sarcastic” and does not intend to open a Chick-fil-A. West’s remarks came one week after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.  …And if you’re going to be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.”

When Santelli asked West whether it struck him as “a bit unusual” that the mayor would threaten to block a business based on the beliefs of its owner, West said he wasn’t surprised by how “the other side” reacted.

“It doesn’t when you understand the other side, the liberal side, because free speech is only free if you agree with what they say and what they believe,” West said.

Neither Hastings nor the Congressional Black Caucus returned ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West: Obama May Lose African-American Votes Over Gay Marriage Stance

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Some African-Americans will think twice about voting for President Obama in November after he declared his support for gay marriage, according to Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida.

“I think it’s going to cause an incredible discussion in the black community, because, as you know, on Sundays in the black community the most conservative people in America are in those black churches,” West told ABC News on Thursday.

“I think it may have been a huge miscalculation, especially when you have 41 states that recognize marriage between one man and one woman, and you just came off an incredible loss to them. Sixty-nine percent voted for [the recent same-sex marriage ban] in North Carolina, which is a key swing state he barely won last time,” West said.

He noted that even as African-Americans overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008, gay marriage bans passed in both Florida and California.

African-Americans oppose gay marriage 55 percent to 41 percent, while all poll respondents support it 52 percent to 43 percent, according to an ABC News poll taken in March. While 94 percent of black voters in California supported Obama in 2008, 70 percent also supported the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, according to exit polls.

Nationwide, 95 percent of African-American voters supported Obama, according to exit polls, comprising 13 percent of the national electorate.

West, a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, is one of Obama’s harshest critics, and he criticized the president as forcefully as anyone for his gay-marriage about-face.

The congressman said gay marriage will not be the prime driver of African-American discontent with Obama in November.

“The most important statistic in the African American community is 13 percent unemployment,” West said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West Doesn’t Regret Calling House Dems ‘Communists’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Allen West has no regrets over calling up to 81 of his fellow members of the House of Representatives “communists” last week.

Responding to a question about his comments, the Florida Republican doubled down on his accusation, saying that instead of calling themselves “communist,” they now call themselves “progressive.”

“No, I don’t regret it whatsoever,” West told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to be afraid about the fact that I called a spade a spade. That’s my responsibility to the American people.”

Last week West told a crowd of supporters in his home state that he believes “there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” which he said now calls itself the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  That comment came in response to an audience member asking “what percentage of the American legislature” is “card-carrying Communists?”

“At the turn of the century American communists renamed themselves progressives,” West explained on Tuesday. “There’s a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, socialism or even as Mark Levin has said statism.”

He cited Democrats’ support for the TARP bank bailout, the auto-industry bailout, Obama’s health care law and mandated contraception coverage under private insurance plans as evidence of trying “expand the welfare state” in a Communist way.

“I don’t know if that’s in keeping in your version of a constitutional republic, but you know when I went through my studies it surely was not,” West said. “So I stand by what I am saying and it was very interesting that people on the left are not debating the point that I made. They just don’t like the fact that it was made.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus sought to dispel West’s “outrageous” claims last week, issuing a statement equating West with the 1950′s era of Joe McCarthy, who accused government officials of being Communist during the Cold War.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West Says Up To 81 House Members Are Communists

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not the 1940s or the 1950s, Joe McCarthy is no longer rooting out alleged Soviet supporters in the legislature and the country is not entangled in the Cold War, but don’t tell Rep. Allen West.

The Florida Republican told a crowd in his home state Tuesday that as many as 81 members of Congress are Communists.

In a clip of the town hall-style event that was posted online Wednesday, an audience member asks, “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?”

“I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” he said in the video.

After a long pause West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, adds, "They actually don’t hide it. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

The comments soon went virtually viral online and “Allen West” became a trending topic on Twitter for part of the day.

Libero Della Piana, a vice chairman of the national Communist Party, told Politico that West’s comments were a “sad ploy.”

“I just think it’s an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues,” Della Piana said. “It’s just guilt by association taken to an extreme.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West Uses Email to Unload on Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Allen West unleashed a scathing email to House leadership to raise his objections to “unprofessional and inappropriate sophomoric behavior” from fellow Sunshine State lawmaker Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after the Florida Democrat waged what West deemed a personal character attack on the House floor Tuesday.

“You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!” West, R-Fla., wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon. “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

West sent the email to Wasserman Schultz and copied House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and his chief of staff, Jonathan Blyth, after Wasserman delivered a speech on the House floor during which she criticized West for backing the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation on the floor Tuesday.

“The gentleman from Florida,” Wasserman Schultz said of West, “who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable from a member from South Florida.”

Wasserman-Schultz, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said that the measure “slashes Medicaid and critical investments essential to winning the future in favor of protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires, and companies who ship American jobs overseas."

In his typed protest to leadership over the comments, West, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, did not hold anything back:

“I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige,” West wrote. “From this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior...which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign [headquarters], October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.”

Asked for comment Tuesday evening, West -- through a spokeswoman -- was unapologetic. “Congressman West contacted Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz directly, as well as bipartisan House leadership to express his concern with her comments and the low level she has chosen to stoop to attack Congressman West,” said Angela Sachitano, communications director for West. “The Congresswoman's actions were unprofessional and cowardly. The constituents in Florida see Congressman West as a true leader and a man of principle while Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is once again viewed as politics as usual, and her true character sadly shown today."

A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz declined to comment Tuesday evening.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West Not Afraid of the Big Bad Debt Ceiling Deadline

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- In step with several Republican colleagues, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., said on Top Line Friday that a budget package with tax increases would be off the table for him. And as for missing that Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling? That’s nothing to fear.

“You know, in my life in a combat zone, I've been in some pretty tough scrapes. I'm not afraid,” said West, a retired army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House and the Treasury Department warn that failing to raise the debt ceiling will result in economic catastrophe. But the prospect of a balanced budget before the August deadline is looking less and less likely as Republican lawmakers fled bipartisan budget talks led by Vice President Joe Biden this week.

Like many of his Republican colleagues, Rep. West said Washington does not have a revenue problem, but a spending problem, which is why he would prefer cuts to the federal government, and would vote against any package with tax increases.

“Why would I trust Washington, D.C. to get more tax payer dollars when they have not shown that they're going to be fiscally responsible?” said West.

Focusing on the August deadline, said West, is short-sighted.

“Once again, what we're talking about is in the near term, we'll make ourselves feel good but then I'll come back in about eight months, nine months and say, 'I gotta raise this debt limit again,' ” the congressman said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio