U.S. Rep. Martha Roby spoke at a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce event today about military readiness, foreign affairs, the Veterans Administration, and her frustration with national events, and the Obama Administration’s actions.
Roby, R-Montgomery, is in her third term, and serves the Second Congressional District that includes Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex, and Fort Rucker, the Army’s aviation center. The district includes a major VA medical center which had the distinction of seeing the first VA director fired for the medical center’s sub-par operations.
Members of Congress are making their last speaking rounds in their districts at the end of the August recess prior to returning to Washington, D.C., next week to face significant domestic and foreign challenges.
The audience at the Eggs & Issues breakfast co-sponsored by the Business Council of Alabama included top Air Force officers and enlisted personnel, and civilian elected leaders who listen when Roby speaks due to her seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and subcommittees on Military
Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
Roby said she understands the frustration citizens feel despite Republicans taking over both the House and Senate in the last election.
“People feel there’s no difference than the previous Congress and I get that,” she said. “It takes multiple election cycles sometimes to get things back where it was.”
Roby said Congress must remain vigilant against fiscal attacks on military spending and must prohibit attempts to institute mandatory cuts on the “backs of our military.”
“We can’t wait for a different president in the White House to keep our military strong,” she said, referring to a new president taking office in January 2017.
Roby said the United States is in danger of losing its position of leadership and that vacuum will allow other nations to fill the void such as Russia. “Our enemies are watching to see what Congress will do,” she said.
Roby, who helped expose abuses at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System in Montgomery, in August filed “The Failing VA Medical Center Act,” H.R. 3234, that would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to take over the worst-graded VA centers, much like a state school superintendent can directly take over a failing school.
“If we can’t get it right for our veterans we might as well hang it up,” she said.
Roby said the VA is slow to pay outside doctors, which negatively affects health care and the willingness of physicians to treat veterans. Strengthening that relationship can get more veterans into better care, she said.
Roby criticized President Obama’s “bad” deal with Iran and despite his success in preventing a U.S. Senate veto, “it shouldn’t stop us from talking about it.”
Roby said the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi will continue to seek answers.
The committee is scheduled to question former Secretary of Hillary Clinton on Oct. 22.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appointed Roby as one of 12 House Members to serve on the panel.
Roby said the State Department and Clinton, who claims the committee’s action is aimed at her presidential bid, have stonewalled Congress’s demand for information. “Our charge on the select committee is to find out (what happened) on behalf of four Americans who lost their lives,” she said.