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 on and off the battlefield.
As situations in the Middle East, the South China Sea, and around the globe evolve, it’s important to keep close the lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Committing our military forces to unknown challenges in the Middle East or anywhere – without a clear objective – places our service men and women at risk and jeopardizes the progress that citizens in these countries have fought for. Any future sustained military commitments require the input of Congress and the American public.
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 U.S. 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 haven for persecuted people. We should continue that tradition while we review and improve security measures to uphold our duty to the American people.
I continue to support the ongoing, bipartisan investigations occurring in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate related to possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. I publicly called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation and supported U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes decision to step away from the House investigation as well.
I believe strongly that we must follow the facts wherever they lead.
Last year, 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 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.