Foreign Affairs issues impact all of us and are important to my work in Congress.
Foreign affairs are critical to our security. The United States of America is the only remaining global superpower and must lead by example. My time in the military gives me a unique perspective on how we must show that leadership. As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Armed Services Committee, I am positioned to ensure our leadership is free of waste and abuse, maintains strong relationships with close allies like Israel, and is appropriate and effective.
Foreign Aid Reform
I am fully committed to reining in the out of control spending in Washington and producing a budget that restores fiscal discipline. According to a recent report published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011, our country’s annual deficit will reach $1.48 trillion and spending will reach an all time high of $3.7 trillion. This continued borrowing and spending is not a path that our country can continue down, and hurts jobs creation, families, and taxpayers.
Recently, the House has reduced foreign assistance spending. In order to successfully reduce the deficit we must examine all aspects of the federal budget to identify wasteful government spending, including the budgets for our foreign assistance programs. However, we must ensure that the cuts are prudent and do not undermine the long term security needs of the United States.
I am concerned about the ever-increasing instability throughout the Middle East. During this time, the U.S. must remain committed to supporting our greatest ally in the region. I believe that U.S. assistance to Israel is vital to her security, and will do all I can to ensure that Israel maintains her qualitative military advantage.
The Administration must reject any Palestinian government that fails to renounce violence or refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. President Obama’s speech on May, 19, 2011 endorsed a key Palestinian demand that the borders of any future Palestinian state be based on the 1967 lines. I was extremely disappointed with President Obama’s statement. The mere suggestion that a two state solution be based on borders prior to the Six-Day War significantly undermines Israel’s ability to negotiate a practical and workable peace settlement. Additionally, retreating to the borders of 1967 would create an Israeli state only 8-10 miles wide, significantly inhibiting Israel’s ability to defend itself. I will continue to take a strong stance against any action that undermines this critical alliance.
I believe that U.S. assistance to Israel is vital to her security, and am working to ensure that Israel maintains her qualitative military advantage. I will continue to take a strong stance against any action that undermines this critical alliance. I joined the House GOP Israel Caucus to stay informed and take an active role in understanding the issues Israel faces amidst the ever-changing dynamic in the Middle East.
As a strong supporter of Israel, I believe that we must work to prevent Iran from acquiring the technology to develop nuclear weapons. I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 850 which further strengthens sanctions against Iran by closing loopholes in the energy and financial sanctions. It denies visas to individuals who engage in Iran's energy sector and increases the number of sanctions the Administration is required to impose. Additionally, it targets capital markets and activities by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its affiliates significantly involved in the development, extraction, production, transportation, or sale of petroleum, oil, or liquefied natural gas in Iran.
This bill serves as a strong reminder to rogue states, such as Iran, that the U.S. will not stand idly by as they threaten the safety and security of our country, as well as the rest of the world. Please be assured that I will continue to support legislation that protects our national security and keeps countries such as Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Global War on Terror
Providing for the common defense is one of the federal government’s most important responsibilities, and as an active member of the Army Reserve for over 20 years it is a responsibility that I take very seriously. The clear national security objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq required our presence there, and the efforts of coalition forces have resulted in substantial improvements to the security situation in those countries. Due to those improvements, we are in the midst of drawing down conventional troop levels in Afghanistan. Under the current strategy, 23,000 troops will leave by the end of the summer of 2012. At that point, the drawdown will continue and our mission will move from combat operations into a support role. We must ensure that any force reductions are conditions-based, reflect the conditions on the ground, and are supported by our military commanders – not any specific timeline. We must ensure victory and do not undermine the successes our troops have fought so hard to achieve.
We must ensure our foreign affairs policy is appropriate and effective. One area where we were not effective was in our handling of the situation in Benghazi. As a result of the destabilization following Muammar al-Gaddafi's ouster, concerns were raised by the American diplomatic corps that our facilities lacked adaquate security. Despite repeated requests, additional security was not deployed to American facilities in Benghazi. An American facility came under attack by a well-organized force and despite the best efforts of American security personnel, our safehouse was overrun and four Americans, including our Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed. I immediately voiced my concern to the Administration about its ignoring the requests for security and its lack of a speedy response to the attacks. Additionally, in the days after the attacks, members of the Administration misled the American people regarding what may have caused the attacks. The House Intelligence Committee has investigated this issue and we will continue our vigilance on matters related to America's diplomatic presence around the world.
For more information concerning my work and views on Foreign Affairs issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.