Homeland Security

Our gun laws are part of the problem

When a man kills twenty children and seven others for no reason other than his own demons, the immediate human response is the same anywhere: deep pain, grief, anger and frustration. In the United States, unfortunately, such a tragedy carries an added weight because it is not unique.
 
Last Friday will live in our collective memory, just as Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tucson and the numerous other mass killings we have endured will live in our memory. We have become a nation overly acquainted with shock and grief.

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I will be silent no longer

Last Friday's incomprehensible tragedy in Connecticut requires every citizen, and certainly every public official, to reflect on our responsibilities to our fellow citizens, because what happened to so many innocent and helpless children and courageous educators in Newtown can happen in any of our towns to any of our neighbors.
 
I have been largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years, and I am now as sorry for that as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated, tragedy.

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Review of A123 sale critical to national interest

The United States is once again facing the risk of a U.S. born and bred company falling into the hands of a foreign competitor, and this time with significant implications for our national interests. Massachusetts-based A123 Systems is a leader in advanced battery technologies for hybrid vehicles and energy storage, and a major supplier to our military and national energy industry. Its forthcoming sale – potentially to a Chinese company – may put our national and economic security at risk unless the Obama Administration takes immediate action to protect it. 
A123 Systems was born in the American tradition of innovation: the company was the brainchild of an entrepreneur and an MIT scientist who joined forces to make critical advances in energy technology. The company has developed essential – and sensitive – technology that is used in several applications for the U.S. Defense Department. While the company has reached a tentative agreement that would keep its technology in U.S. hands, a Chinese company, Wanxiang, is pressing to top that offer in order to gain control of this key intellectual property.

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FISA needs oversight, amendment before reauthorization

To watch the Senate floor, you’d never guess that we are just weeks away from the sunset of the FISA Amendments Act – the expansive law that authorized warrantless wiretapping.


While the House passed a five-year extension earlier this fall, the Senate has yet to debate an extension, consider amendments or hold a vote. The list of ‘must-do’ items is long, but making sure the FISA amendments get a meaningful debate and amendment process must be a priority.

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Recognizing the important contributions of immigrants

As is widely known, the United States has the strongest defense program in the world. Our military, Air Force, Navy and space program are unparalleled and our long-standing commitment to scientific and technological innovation in these areas has led to American leadership and success around the world. Crucial to this leading edge are the scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology specialists (otherwise known as STEM) who work every day to make sure our national security interests are never threatened.

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Bipartisan deal possible on immigration reform

In the wake of the election, House Speaker John Boehner says he is confident that Congress and the White House can work together to enact a comprehensive approach to fix our broken immigration system. Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham have started working together on a bipartisan, immigration bill. If Speaker Boehner and Republican House Members are willing to fix our immigration system with urgency, my Democratic colleagues and I are ready and willing to work with them.
 
President Barack Obama’s re-election and the record turn-out by Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Latino voters demonstrate the nation’s support for comprehensive immigration reform. Sixty-five percent of all voters support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to the CNN National Exit Poll. The overwhelming AAPI and Latino support for President Obama illustrates the demand for prioritizing immigration reform.

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Five reasons why Congress should pass Cybersecurity Act of 2012

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated he will bring the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 to another vote in the Senate before lawmakers break for Thanksgiving. The majority of the Senate supported the bipartisan bill in early August, but the bulk of the Republican caucus blocked it from proceeding.  Here are five reasons why Congress should pass the bill before the 112th Congress adjourns:

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Congress, White House must now deliver on immigration reform

President Obama unquestionably owes his historic victory to an overwhelming 71 percent of the Latino vote. In 2004, George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanics. Four years later, John McCain, the author of an immigration reform bill, took 31 percent of Hispanics. And this year, Romney captured only 27 percent of Hispanics. Last Tuesday’s result shows that being against the DREAM Act and immigration is no longer good politics for the Republican Party. In fact, for the past eleven months, undocumented youth from across the nation rallied to expose the extreme position of Mitt Romney on immigration in swing states, including his threat to veto the DREAM Act.
 
But the election is over and it’s time for genuine leadership on immigration and the DREAM Act: it begins not only with the president, but also with Congress, specifically Republicans.

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We don't hold the fort down; We keep it from burning down

November 6, 2012, my time as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Sixth District of Florida came to an end. Not before, however, I have been witness to a troubling pattern. My opponent and now Congressman-elect Ron DeSantis, a military veteran himself, many times opened his remarks by thanking me for ‘keeping the home fires burning’ or ‘holding down the fort’ while my husband is away. I accepted this as a true expression of appreciation. That is until the media picked up on his words when they wrote “she is holding the fort at home while her husband is stationed in Afghanistan.”

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End marriage discrimination in the U.S. military

This year marks the first Veterans Day since President Obama became the first sitting president to embrace the freedom to marry (and win reelection on a freedom to marry platform). Explaining his change of heart – the same change in favor of the freedom to marry that a majority of Americans have made – the commander in hief cited his conversations with, and respect for, lesbian and gay service members, their spouses, and their families.
 
But because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), gay and lesbian people serving our country continue to be treated unequally, and their families denied critical protections provided to all others.

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