Weekly Columns

Keeping Americans Safe at Home and Abroad

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Washington, June 15, 2016 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments

Early last Sunday morning, 49 innocent people were robbed of their lives when a gunman entered a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The gunman, who I will not name, allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS during and prior to this horrific act. An attack on one American is an attack on all Americans - no matter their political party affiliation, religion, socio-economic status or sexual orientation – and I continue to keep the victims and their families, first responders, law enforcement and the entire city of Orlando in my thoughts and prayers. I am sickened and heartbroken that, once again, we have experienced a cowardly act of terror in our homeland, and I believe we must unite to defeat this evil.

While the facts surrounding this senseless attack are still being discovered and investigated, I want you to know that fighting terrorism at home and abroad will always be a priority for me as long as I serve in Congress. Just last week, the House Republicans’ Task Force on National Security released our proposal for keeping Americans safe and eliminating the threat of terrorism. Our plan includes keeping terrorists out of America with strengthened intelligence and immigration laws, taking the fight to our enemies abroad, and winning the war of ideas against this hateful ideology. I believe the American people, particularly in light of a tragedy like this, need a plan we can rally around.

And – while I believe this proposal is a better way to secure our homeland – I’m glad our work to protect the homeland has already begun. In the House of Representatives, we’ve passed several bipartisan bills to provide tools and resources specifically for counterterrorism and intelligence efforts, and that work will continue. Make no mistake, we are at war, but Americans will prevail. We will stand together, and we will fight the ideology that thinks it is okay to slaughter innocent people for no reason.

Two important bills passed by the House to address radicalization in America are H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act, and H.R. 4407, the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act. Both of these bills would help fight against the radicalization and recruitment of terrorists in America. Additionally, the House passed H.R. 4401, the Amplifying Local Efforts to Root Out Terror (ALERT) Act. The ALERT Act allows for better coordination across the federal, state, and local levels to stop radicalization and terrorist recruitment in the U.S.

We’ve also passed bills to close security gaps that allow foreign fighters to travel throughout the world. H.R. 4402, the Foreign Fighter Review Act, requires a full and comprehensive review of Americans who have become foreign fighters in hopes of identifying domestic security gaps. Further, H.R. 4314, the Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act, equips U.S. allies and high-risk countries with counterterrorism tools to stop terrorist travel while allowing the administration to suspend foreign aid to countries who do not close security gaps. These are just a few of the steps the House has taken to protect Americans at home and abroad. You can find a complete list of counterterrorism bills passed by the House here

I hope to continue to have open, honest conversations with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about ways we can keep Americans safe. I agree with House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul’s remarks this week: to defeat this enemy we must define them. The enemy is radical Islamic terrorism, and we have to work together to discredit and defeat this ideology of hate. This is a war of ideas – a war America will win – but we need buy-in from all Americans who value peace and freedom, no matter their political party affiliation, religion, socio-economic status or sexual orientation. We’re all in this together, and together we will stand.   

Feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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