Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 4.14.14
Monday, April 14, 2014 | Andie Pivarunas (202-225-3861)
Acre In, Acre Out
The Federal Government owns approximately 81 percent of Nevada, part of the roughly 650 million acres of land it owns throughout the United States. Nearer to home, Uncle Sam owns approximately 53 percent of Craig County and 49 percent of Alleghany County according to sources in those counties, and owns significant portions of other counties in the Ninth District as well.
About 95 percent of the Federal Government’s land ownership is done through four entities: the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
While I generally support the legitimate preservation of public lands, the country was not founded in order to have a majority of its land owned by the central government in Washington. On Tuesday, April 3, I introduced H.R. 4423, the Acre In, Acre Out Act, which would stop the Federal Government from continually increasing its land holdings. Under this bill, Uncle Sam would be required to sell a corresponding amount of currently-owned land at a fair market value for each new acre of new land acquired. If that land doesn’t sell after six months, the price would be reduced by 10 percent monthly until it sells. Proceeds from the land sales would be put towards paying down our national debt.
Not only would the Acre In, Acre Out Act stop the Federal Government from grabbing more and more land, but it would also help pay off our national debt while continuing to preserve American lands for purposes such as private ownership and exploration.
The Acre In, Acre Out Act is a good beginning, but I also believe that Congress should make the law clearer. I believe the Constitution is clear that if the Federal Government in Washington wants to take land from a citizen, it can use its power of eminent domain. But when it uses that power, it must pay fair market value for the taking. In other words, I believe that if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other government entities want to substantially devalue a citizen’s property through a regulation that has a legitimate government purpose, that is okay as long as the government pays the landowner for the taking, either wholly or partially.
Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act
Another bill I introduced recently is H.R. 4475, the Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act. Like the Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2090) I introduced, the Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act would empower patients battling deadly diseases with more control over their health care.
For patients whose doctors have exhausted current medical options and the patient has been told that the end of life is nearing, why should the government in Washington care what treatment the patient may choose.
With an appropriate “compassionate use” exemption from a physician, the patient’s own acknowledgment of the potential risks, and the patient spending their own money for the treatment or drugs, why should those treatments have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA was created to protect us from harmful drugs. If I’m dying anyway, shouldn’t I have the freedom to decide if the risk is worth it?
The Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act – previously introduced by former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) – would see that terminally ill patients have the ability to access experimental drugs or treatments without FDA approval. As the Alliance for Natural Health (supporters of this bill) has said, “They say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. The government already mandates taxes; should they really mandate how terminally ill patients die, too?”
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.