Celebrating Constitution Day

Today is Constitution Day, the anniversary of when our Founding Fathers adopted the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia.

It’s also known as Citizenship Day and celebrates those who have become U.S. citizens. This is a meaningful celebration, because it recognizes those who legally and deliberately become Americans. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Being an American citizen is the world’s greatest honor. Unfortunately, too many people from other countries abuse our immigration laws. They assume that just coming to America makes you a citizen. You and I both know it doesn’t.

Enforcing the immigration laws we have is absolutely vital, and I’m usually the first to say that includes legal immigration and citizenship. But Constitution Day serves as an important reminder of the integrity of our laws and the blessings of our liberties.

Sometimes it seems like our own President needs to be reminded that the Constitution is law of the land. He’s made a habit of interpreting and enforcing it completely on his own terms.

We need to get back to the best traditions of our democracy – and that includes supporting and enforcing legal immigration into our country.

The Home of the Brave

I’ll never forget exactly where I was 13 years ago during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in an office planning meeting in my Capitol Hill office--doors closed, TVs off-- when my wife Wendy called to tell me the news of the first plane. She called back, much more frantically, when the second plane hit, telling me to get my staff and me out of there. So we rushed out of the office to the nearby National Rifle Association (NRA) office.

There were a lot of calls all throughout the day--but there was one in particular that I still get chills thinking about. I spoke with a Louisiana mother whose son was working in the second tower hit. She had talked to him by phone after the first crash but before the second. She never got to talk to him again.

Today is a solemn anniversary and timeless reminder of those we lost and the immense gratitude we owe our service men and women for their continued sacrifices.

I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City with my family earlier this year. It was a moving visit – a true testament to the home of the brave.

It’s incredibly tragic that we still see events like Benghazi two years ago and the recent attacks by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is a very serious threat – not just to states in the region, but also to our security and values.

For me, the greatest takeaway from these attacks is the vital role America plays as a world leader. We can’t just react without a strategy – we need to address these issues decisively. Whether it’s from threats abroad or securing our borders here at home, know that I’ll stand for America leading the world and defending freedom.

It’s days like today that we need to thank our service members and their families. We will always honor those whose lives were lost during and since the attacks thirteen years ago. It’s thanks to them that America is truly the home of the brave.

President Obama’s latest on Amnesty

Did you hear President Obama’s big “announcement” last week? He said that he won't be skirting our Constitution to give amnesty to illegal immigrants - or at least not yet. Apparently he's waiting until after the midterm elections to move forward with any executive amnesty.

Pushing pause on his illegal immigration maneuvers doesn't change the fact that we have a crisis on our hands now. The House of Representatives has passed several strong enforcement bills. Now it’s up to Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to pass them, so we can stop the crisis of illegal aliens flooding into Louisiana.

I introduced legislation that would halt the influx of unaccompanied alien children coming into the United States illegally by implementing mandatory detention, expedited removal, and reforms to existing trafficking law.

It’s important that we act now, because President Obama has been releasing illegal criminals into Louisiana and hiding the number of unaccompanied alien children in our state. This is already a national crisis – and we need to stop it before it becomes more of a Louisiana crisis too.

I'll continue fighting against amnesty every day, and I’ll keep working to actually secure our border.

The next flood insurance reforms we need are with FEMA

We’ve certainly seen FEMA take it’s time on improving and implementing the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. Without flood insurance and the proper rates, folks could literally lose their homes.

Even though we were able to successfully pass flood insurance reform earlier this spring, there are still major problems with the flood insurance program.

First, fewer than half of the homeowners in flood areas around the country who are required by law to have flood insurance policies actually buy them. This is a big problem because if they don’t, it could bankrupt our flood insurance program. FEMA needs to be more proactive about enforcing this law and getting folks into the program.

We also need to look at the administrative cost side of the National Flood Insurance Program. This program takes in more in premiums than it pays out in claims, and a big part the problem lies in its administrative management. The Editorial Board at the New Orleans Times-Picayune recently spoke out on this issue as well. Click here to read the editorial.

We need to continue to look at these issues and FEMA needs to get more folks around the country in the flood insurance program.

Vitter’s View: It’s Past Time for Term Limits

One of the many principles that make our country great is that we get to elect our own representatives in government. The idea behind this is that folks across the country have someone to speak on their behalf, and they have a voice in how our country is run.

But something tends to happen to a lot of representatives once they get to Washington D.C. Some of these Members of Congress uproot their perspectives from their home states in order to put down roots in Washington. And the longer they stay, the more they act like Washington elite and less like the constituents who elect them. Some may call it “clout,” others think of it as an epidemic called Potomac Fever. But whatever it is, the longer some folks are in Washington the more taxpayer money they want to spend, the more special privileges they want to protect for themselves, and the more isolated they become from the rest of America.

It’s our responsibility to end this bad habit. And one way we can do it is through term limits.

I’ve been pushing for this sort of reform since my early days in the Louisiana state legislature. And it’s so important to me that on the very first day of this Congress—the first day I could introduce new legislation—I introduced legislation that would limit U.S. Representatives to three terms in office and U.S. Senators to two terms in office.

Applying term limits to all members of Congress would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As a constitutional amendment, it would require a two-thirds majority vote approval in the House and Senate and must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

This bill is obviously unpopular among Members of Congress, and it might sound like a lot of work. Term limits weren’t popular in the Louisiana state legislature either, but I successfully fought for them and won – so I know it can be done. We’ve seen real reforms here in Louisiana, and I’ll continue fighting for them in Congress. In fact, in the past couple of weeks I’ve started meeting with various Senators, explaining to them why we need to do this – to regain the trust of those that sent us here. And I’m planning to fight for a vote on this before the end of the year.

Members of Congress shouldn’t be able to just stay in office for an eternity. Instituting term limits is one important step we need to take to make Congress more like the world back home. I believe that this is common-sense reform that can help bridge the gap between Congress and the American people.