Homeland Security

A national dialogue on Afghanistan (Sen. Bernie Sanders)

I am deeply concerned that we appear to be getting pulled into another quagmire from which we don't know how to exit - this time, in Afghanistan.

Without the kind of national debate this country needs, we are sending more and more troops into Afghanistan - about 60 percent of all the foreign troops in the country are now Americans and that percentage is going to go up. We have already spent several hundred billion dollars in Afghanistan, and that number too will go up.

What I am not hearing is the national debate about what our exit strategy is going to be. We have been there now for eight years. How many more years will we be there? Originally we went in there to find Osama bin Laden; we have not accomplished that. What are our goals now?


Jihadist indoctrination group recruiting in Chicago: AIFD calls on American Muslim organizations to denounce Hizb ut-Tahrir

On July 19, 2009 Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) (HT) held a recruitment conference at the Hilton Oak Lawn hotel just outside Chicago, IL. The event was entitled the Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam and reportedly garnered 300 attendees.

While 300 attendees may not make a movement, the meeting is significant and its occurrence should sound warning bells in the Chicago Muslim community and for all Americans. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a harbinger of much deeper efforts to convert Muslim children to an ideology that is rooted in a belief that is contrary to the liberties and ideals that Americans hold dear.

It’s time for the Corps to make the right decision on New Orleans flood control (Sen. David Vitter)

Hurricane protection and flood control are issues on which we can all agree, regardless of party affiliation, and this week, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu joined me in introducing a bill that will direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a series of specific actions regarding flood control systems in New Orleans.

I have been consistently disappointed in the Corps’ inability to come to the right conclusion when it comes to New Orleans flood control concerns.  Thousands of local residents have to contend with the very real threat of being flooded out of their homes, yet the Corps continues to recommend solutions based solely on cost, without giving proper consideration to more important concerns, such as safety.

F-22 is critical to national security (Rep. Robert Wittman)

The Senate decision to strike funding for completion of the F-22 fleet is a step in the wrong direction, as is the argument that the House should follow suit.

The original House provision authorizing $369 million to buy parts for a dozen planes provides a rational approach to the F-22 issue in that it keeps the production line open. Once the production line is shut down, our country’s hands are tied. We can not just ramp up production overnight if we need more fighters.

U.S. should invest in a strong missile defense system (Rep. Bill Shuster)

I am proud my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee succeeded in securing a 3.4 percent pay raise for our troops as well as critical advance funding for twelve new F-22 air superiority fighters in the National Defense Authorization Act. However, I am extremely disappointed that the Democrats failed to take this opportunity to draw a line in the sand and show the leaders of rogue regimes that the United States will not back down from investing in a strong missile defense system.

Without question, the Obama administration has a vastly different political ideology than its predecessor. While publicly stating its intention to project American power overseas, the Obama Administration has been under constant pressure by anti-war Democrats to break from what the left views as eight years of bellicose American foreign policy. The administration needed to cut something to silence their left wing and they chose missile defense. The implications of this $1.4 billion cut in funding will be long lasting and dangerous for our security.

President should classify detainee photos (Sen. James Inhofe)

After a House-Senate conference last week, the U.S. House is preparing to pass additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is just one problem, the bill that came out of the conference did not reflect the will of the Senate.

As part of the funding bill, the U.S. Senate had voted with unanimous consent to include a ban on the release of additional detainee abuse photos. Despite the fact that all 100 U.S. Senators had spoken with one voice on this matter, the language was stripped from the conference report—reportedly to help the measure pass the House.

Time to Support the President and Close the Facility at Guantanamo Bay (Sen. Patrick Leahy)

President Obama said in his campaign and he has repeated since the first days of his presidency that we must keep our Nation safe and secure, but we must do it in ways consistent with our values. Now that is a sentiment I share, and one that I voiced in hearings and statements for years as well. And to President Obama’s credit and to the benefit of the Nation, he has worked since his first day in office to turn these words into action and to make our national security policy and our detainee policy consistent with American laws and American values. And that, in turn, makes us more secure.

I have supported President Obama in these steps, and I will continue to do so. That is why I have voted against amendments to withhold funding to close the Guantanamo detention facility and to prohibit any Guantanamo detainees from being brought to the United States. These amendments undermine the good work the President is doing, and they make us less safe, not safer.

On Guantanamo Bay: "Mr. President, Public Safety Comes Before Public Relations" (Rep. Mike Pence)

On his second day in office, the President announced his plans to close Guantanamo Bay in an effort to improve America's image around the world. But, Republicans went to the floor of this House, we went to the airwaves, we even went to the Internet at GOP.gov to inform the American people that Guantanamo Bay holds some of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet. Men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a key facilitator of the 9/11 attacks.

Because of the strong Republican leadership in the House and the Senate, even our Democrat colleagues in the last week joined us, denying any and all funding for closing Guantanamo Bay in the war supplemental bill.

Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform is a Step in the Right Direction (Rep. Ike Skelton)

I thank my colleagues for their hard work on producing the Weapon Systems Acquisition Act of 2009, and I look forward to watching the President sign this important piece of legislation. Reforming the system we use to buy major weapon systems is not only good for taxpayers, it’s good for the security of our nation.

Too often under the current system, we end up with too few weapons that cost us too much and arrive too late. This leads to shortfalls on the battlefield that can cost lives. That is why it is so important that our defense budget is spent in the most effective ways possible. While this bill does not mean the end of our efforts to reform the defense acquisition system, it is an important and essential step.


A Call For Sensible, Responsible Gun Safety Laws

The Conference of Mayors has had strong policy on gun safety tracing back to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. On the 10th Anniversary of the Columbine massacre, and approaching the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, and with gunshots again echoing in cities across the nation, we are reminded of Washington's failure to deliver sensible, responsible gun safety laws.

Last year, mayors made gun safety a key element in our National Action Agenda on Crime for the Next President of the United States, and called for enactment of a six-point agenda: