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HomeAt Home & BeyondCongressman Bilirakis Provides Updates on Critical Issues

Congressman Bilirakis Provides Updates on Critical Issues

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It has been a busy few weeks for Congressman Gus Bilirakis and the rest of our nation’s leaders, with the crisis in the Middle East and the selection of a new Speaker of the House being just some of the headlines. The representative from Florida, alongside Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH), has led calls for Turkey to cease its support of Hamas and voted for Representative Mike Johnson’s eventual election to Speaker of the House on Wednesday. Bilirakis has also been busy with other projects and provided updates on various issues concerning our nation, such as federal spending and addiction, among others.

A press release by the congressman’s office on October 27 detailed recent statements and actions taken by Bilirakis and Pappas regarding Turkey and Hamas. The pair, along with a bipartisan group totaling 45 members, asked the U.S. Department of State to hold the Republic of Turkey accountable for its role in “supporting and facilitating the operations of Hamas.” The lawmakers are not only looking for Turkey to be held to the same standard as other allies of the United States but also for the country to take steps towards stopping Hamas in a variety of ways. Designating Hamas as a terrorist organization, revoking the Turkish citizenship of their members and affiliated entities, and confiscating Turkish passports were just some of the measures that were called for.

“The longstanding political, logistical, and financial support provided by Turkey and President Erdogan to Hamas is well-known and a matter of grave concern,” the lawmakers said. “Turkey’s support for Hamas extends beyond rhetoric, a matter that has not received adequate attention from the United States. For over a decade, President Erdogan has made Turkey a sanctuary for Hamas, with experts describing it as ‘the second-largest Hamas base after Gaza,’” and that Hamas’s “Istanbul office has functioned as a crucial hub for strengthening Hamas’s capacity to launch attacks against Israel.”

The bipartisan group’s request was supported by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD Action) and Cliff Smith, Director of the Washington Project, Middle East Forum. The FDD Action noted that Turkey has been a “haven for Hamas,” calling that sort of activity by any member of NATO “unconscionable.” Smith seconded the call for change and acknowledged that previous actions taken by countries like the United States were in an effort to retain regional stability in the Middle East. Following the tragedies of October 7, Smith stated that “we can safely say that was a misguided calculation.”

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On October 25, aided by a vote from Congressman Bilirakis and all the other House Republicans, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected the 56th Speaker of the House. After three weeks and multiple nominees, members of the House voted to elevate Johnson to his new role by a count of 220-209. The congressman from Florida praised Johnson for his conservatism, his ability to unify members of the House, and his willingness to fight for Republican causes. He cited the unanimous nature of the vote on the Republican side of the aisle as evidence of this fact. Bilirakis also lauded the new speaker for his fairness and communication skills, which will be critical when he attempts to build bipartisan packages during his tenure.

“I have every confidence that he will do an outstanding job as Speaker,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “I am eager to get back to the work of governing and will work closely with him and his team to advance a conservative agenda while tackling the many pressing issues facing our nation. Together, we will deliver on our promises to the American people to secure our border, cut wasteful spending, fund our military, support veterans, and protect seniors. Given the limited amount of time before current government funding expires on November 17, we have no time to waste.”

According to the release, Speaker Johnson has an ambitious plan for the pressing issues the House is facing in the coming weeks. One of his first priorities was the passage of a resolution that is in support of Israel, secures the release of American hostages taken by Hamas, and reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense. Bilirakis also got to work with Johnson on passing the fifth of twelve appropriations bills, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2024. This bill works to reduce reckless spending while prioritizing energy security, economic independence, and funding to maintain strong national security. As NATION OPINION The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of The Hernando Sun editorial staff or Hernando Sun affiliates. The war in Israel against the forces of Hamas (and possibly Hezbollah as well) is taking center stage in this latest dog and pony show. Many of us who care about the future must bring up what happened to the Jews (and their near-genocide) less than three generations ago. It saddens my soul to see how the students of many “upper crust” universities are being indoctrinated by those pushing the Palestine agenda. There are even professors in many of those institutions who are pushing the pro-Palestine agenda and are holding their students’ grades as barter for getting them to take part in massive street protests. Now, many would say that there is nothing wrong with them doing those actions (as we are a free republic). The problem comes when they (the protestors) hunt down and create intimidation scenarios against their Jewish classmates and university staff. Anti-semitic activists are claiming that Muslim/pro-Palestine communities have been “violated” and that their rhetoric and rage are justifiable. They are also misled concerning the mass killing of a peaceful community of Jewish residents (and the slaughter of men, women, children, and even their pets). Not only is the killing of these people a crime but how they purposely tortured their victims before they did the killing was not told to these crowds as well.

The way that Hamas performed the crimes went hand in hand with the way that they livestreamed the butchering. As it was (in WW2 Nazi Germany), those who think that they are on the “right side” will go home to their family reunions (around the holidays) and make “merry and loving gestures” to each other. We (the people of the United States of America) had many of our past family members fight and die for the shared values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those of us who care enough about what has happened in the past want what is being taught to our young ones to be truthful and accurate so it should never happen again. We (as a peace-loving society) have done our nation a great disservice by not making sure that our teachers tell the whole truth! I liken it to the hatred that was visited on the Vietnamese refugees that made it here to “the Land of the Free,” only to be spat upon with their arrival. I turn on the TV and see a great many young Jew-hating students out in the streets bordering these schools, and they are openly holding large posters promoting violence against their Jewish classmates. I will leave you with this mental picture: The morning show on FOX cable television had Martha McCallum paired up with Dana Perino for the morning broadcast. Martha was allowed to start the show, mentioning that she and a few other TV journalists were brought into a room and shown a brief video depicting how the Jews were systematically shot; babies burned alive in an oven in front of the mother; and some were beheaded by this group that flew over the large wall (separating the Palestinians from the Jewish families). Ms. McCallum almost came to tears when she told of how these family members were slaughtered. One of these Hamas terrorists called his family back home (less than a few miles from where he was) and told how he was going to be a hero for personally killing 10 “of them” with his bare hands. The family members were singing praises to him on the phone. He should have mentioned that they were still mainly in their night clothes and were defenseless against a fully armed young man of fighting age. This is the mindset of those who were on the other side of the big wall. By the time this paper reaches the majority of you, there will be a small armada of various battle cruisers, aircraft carriers, and probably a couple dozen submarines, all jockeying around for the “best military positioning” in the Black Sea. I know that the country of Turkey sent a battle group to the waters just west of Gaza. Add to them the carrier “groups” sent by the U.S., and then add to that ships from Great Britain and China, and it will be “game on!” I know that there are quite a few people out in these counties and cities around us who feel that they don’t care what happens over there across the big pond. (I’ll aim this last wordage to these neighbors.) If the most aggressive “players” have the where-with-all to play in that oversized sandbox, most of them will have some extra “toys” at their beck and call that can be sent into the skies (and across the waters) to get our attention! There is a saying that “all is fair in love and war.” If a group of people finds no fault in their people barging into someone’s home and burning and decapitating little kids, then they will have no problem planting a “nuclear lolly pop” in our lands!

If we (and the other nations of this world) get through this “time of trouble” without the problem of radioactive fallout, we will be both lucky and blessed. It is hard enough as it is to teach our young ones to grow up doing right by our “Lady Liberty.” The pathway to righteousness can be narrow (and a constant uphill battle), but the path to tyranny always gets started with baby steps, and once you are aimed downhill, it is always harder to get going back the other way! STEVE GOODWIN VETERAN Steve Goodwin is a recently retired Christian conservative veteran (of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division), who still feels that “duty to country” did not end when the military uniform got hung up. He and his wife Cecelia live on the edge of a beautifully wooded tract of land just south of the bypass, and are involved in not only church activities, but also attend school board meetings and local community action events as well. The Pathway to Tyranny Starts with Baby Steps part of this act, it will eliminate billions of dollars in “wasteful funding for unrelated Green New Deal policies” and provide funding for the modernization of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is also set to be undone by the bill. This will return control of waterways that have not historically fallen under federal jurisdiction to the states.

Congressman Bilirakis cited an article by Jack Prator of the Tampa Bay Times when discussing the epidemic of addiction. Deaths by overdose rose by a concerning 13 percent from 2021 to 2022 in Pasco County and “remain far too high” in Hernando and Citrus Counties. He urges supporting prevention programs to help those who are looking to receive treatment and care in this area. People who succumb to the evils of addiction are “more than just statistics,” Bilirakis stated. They are sons, daughters, and other family members whose deaths impact families across the state. The congressman and his staff look forward to meeting and talking with constituents to gain their feedback on all of these issues. He strives to understand the positive and negative aspects of the community. One constituent sent a message of appreciation for Bilirakis’ help regarding a problem she was experiencing with FEMA.

“I want to thank you for helping me when I stopped by your office in New Port Richey,” the constituent said. “I got a confusing letter from FEMA regarding my recent flooding and the nice lady at your front desk helped calm me down. She also put me in touch with someone who could help me at FEMA.”

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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