America’s top foreign policy goal must be to defend our citizens and our homeland from foreign threats. Combating terrorism and preventing future terrorist attacks remain national priorities, and we must oppose the policies of oppressive regimes who threaten the interests of the United States and our allies. Governments that empower violent extremists, abuse their own people, or threaten the safety of Americans are of the utmost concern. I have always voted to ensure the brave men and women of our Armed Forces have the resources and training necessary to succeed at home and abroad as well as on and off the battlefield.
The United States and its allies must also contend with threats posed by hostile regimes like Iran, North Korea, and Syria. I have supported numerous efforts to impose sanctions against rogue states like these for their illegal weapons programs, support of terrorist organizations, and widespread human rights abuses.
More recently, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. must address and rethink our relationship with China. It’s no secret that China has made immense advancements in manufacturing and distributing nearly every type of consumer product known to exist. We must also be acutely aware of the national security and public health concerns of our deeply rooted foreign supply chains and reliance on foreign production. Critical resources like medicines, medical supplies, building material, and so many other products must be readily accessible to American families and affordable for American businesses. In fact, in times of conflict or global pandemic, we must have the resources and capability to domestically produce and distribute crucial supplies like personal protective equipment (PPE) and life-saving medicines to the American people. Additionally, the U.S. must do more to demand global transparency and accurate reporting in times of crisis. China must allow for investigations to move forward. We must know what China knew and when China knew it. So far, they have been stonewalling investigations, but they must answer the questions the global community is asking.
When it comes to the Second Amendment, gun control, and gun-related violence, we need commonsense solutions now more than ever.
I support comprehensive background checks. In fact, I was one of only 56 Republicans to support the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act which established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). NICS bars felons, illegal immigrants, spousal abusers, and the mentally ill from buying or owning firearms. But clearly much work must be done to strengthen and improve this system and I support further improvements to NICS.
In 2019, I was one of eight Republicans to support H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act which would require that every firearm sale include a background check with exemptions for family and hunting transfers. I also support federal Red Flag legislation, which would incentivize states to adopt commonsense ‘Red Flag’ laws – with stringent due process and probable cause – to prevent those in imminent danger to themselves or others to have firearms.”
Outside of the important legislation I listed above, we must take steps to ensure our schools have the resources and tools to protect our children. I was a cosponsor and voted in favor of H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, to provide grants for training of local law enforcement, school personnel, and students, and create anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence. H.R. 4909 passed the U.S. House of Representatives with wide bipartisan support.
I have also made bipartisan mental health legislation a priority. Horrific mass murder-suicides highlight the connection between mental illness and gun violence. That is why I strongly supported bipartisan legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, to remove barriers to treatment and improve care. I worked to include it in my 21st Century Cures Act which was signed into law. For far too long, we have done too little for those suffering with addiction and mental illness, and in 2018, I led a bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging them to fully fund these important programs.
Foreign Aid and Refugees
In light of our current fiscal situation, I believe we must scrutinize all foreign aid to ensure it is only going to the most deserving causes and nations. Foreign aid is an important tool in advancing American and global security, and we must ensure we are making the best possible use of taxpayer dollars. Supporting refugees also falls into this category. The U.S. has a long and proud history of supporting refugees and being a safe haven for persecuted people. We should continue that tradition while we review and improve security measures to uphold our duty to the American people.
Stopping Sexual Assault in the Military
Congress passed the bipartisan Military Retaliation Prevention Act (S. 2870) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. S. 2870 made retaliation against someone who reports a crime like sexual assault an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While this was a good step, more needs to be done to protect and ensure justice for our service men and women. I support removing the decision of whether a sexual assault case goes to trail outside the victim’s chain of command and was proud to cosponsor the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act (H.R. 2016) to do that in the 113th Congress. H.R. 2016 would also have required a commanding officer who receives a report of sexual assault in his chain of command to immediately refer the report to the appropriate investigative officer.
As Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee, securing critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid and oil and gas pipelines, is one of my top priorities. In 2015, grid security and reliability measures (H.R. 2271, H.R. 2244, and H.R. 1558) advanced by the committee were signed into law as part of bipartisan highway legislation. This legislation took a big step forward in securing the electric grid by providing the Secretary of Energy with new authority to address imminent threats, requiring the department to evaluate the use of a Strategic Transformer Reserve to increase our emergency preparedness, and clarifying regulations for operators responding to threats.