America’s national security is of utmost importance. As a constitutionalist, I believe that providing for our nation's common defense is the core responsibility of the federal government. I am a strong supporter of our troops and have consistently voted to provide them with the resources they need to accomplish their missions.
The United States Constitution was created—as the Preamble states— in part “to provide for the common defence”. Article I, Section 8 of our Founding Charter goes on to give Congress the power “to raise and support Armies” and “to provide and maintain a Navy”. It is also Congress’ constitutional duty to declare war—a difficult decision that the Founding Fathers intentionally left to the legislative branch so that the will of the people would be followed. Given these duties, the Congress then has a primary responsibility to ensure our service members receive the resources they need to perform the critical job of protecting our nation and its interests.
Recent decades have seen the proliferation of radicalized terrorist organizations and movements bent on destroying Western nations and their influence. We must remain vigilant opposing these threats and defending our values. In order to fully protect this nation, we must have strong active duty service branches; a well-organized law enforcement system at the federal, state, and local levels; and well-trained guardsmen and reservists. To meet these objectives, I have supported national security policy bills, defense appropriations bills, the National Defense Authorization Act and many other homeland security related initiatives.
Supporting Our Troops
I have proudly voted seven different times for important funding bills for our military in the form of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. I have also voted to give our troops a much deserved pay increase at least seven different times. The FY16 NDAA also allowed post commanders to permit members of our armed services to carry firearms on various military sites, required President Obama to lay out plan to destroy ISIS and prevented the retirement of the A-10. Unfortunately, President Obama decided to play politics with our military and initially vetoed this legislation. Click HERE to read more.
I have consistently supported efforts to freeze TRICARE fees, increase troop pay, and bolster mental health programs for our men and women in uniform. To that end, I offered an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act to shift funds from DOD bureaucracy to mental health and suicide prevention efforts.
Bases and Facilities in Arizona
A major component of national security is testing and training. As the representative for Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District, I am particularly concerned with the operations and missions of our two military bases in Yuma—the Army Proving Grounds (YPG) and the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS). YPG is one of the largest military installations in the country and is one of the premier sites for testing military equipment. MCAS Yuma is an important aviation training base specializing in air-to-ground aviation training for U.S. and NATO forces. These facilities are critical to our local economy and our nation’s national security. I am committed to protecting their missions by providing both the bases and their personnel the resources necessary to help defend our country.
I have been fighting to prevent the retirement of the Search and Rescue unit at MCAS. I offered an appropriations amendment and secured appropriation's language to prevent divestiture of the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station Search and Rescue unit. In this year's defense bill that I supported, the House provided approximately $50 million dollars for the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) hanger in Yuma. This year's defense bill also provided important funding for additional f-35's, another important plane for the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station and Luke Air Force Base. I have also voted several times and consistently supported funding for Apache helicopters manufactured in Mesa. I voted several times to prevent divestiture of the A-10 and to protect more than 8,000 jobs associated with the plane in Arizona.
Bringing Terrorists to Justice
It is deeply troubling to see Americans being tortured abroad and murdered by foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). Since the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), at least four Americans have been captured and killed by the group. James Foley, Peter Kassig, and Steven Sotloff were all abducted, and were summarily executed in a brutal and despicable manner. Kayla Mueller—a Prescott, Arizona native—was also captured and held by ISIS, only to be killed while in captivity. These heinous crimes against American civilians are inexcusable and must not be tolerated.
That is why I introduced H.R. 751, the Bringing Terrorists to Justice Act. This bipartisan bill amends current law to require the Secretary of State to offer a cash reward through the Rewards for Justice Program to individuals who provide information leading to the arrest or conviction of any person responsible for the deaths of these four Americans. In addition to military and diplomatic efforts, these cash rewards incentivize members of FTOs, or those oppressed by FTOs, to stand for what is right and help bring these cowards to justice. CLICK HERE to read more.
Standing with Israel
I have passed multiple amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act in recent years in order to fully support Israel’s inherent right to self-defense and against regional aggression. If we do not stand in support of Israel, we will witness the demise of our greatest ally in the Middle East due to lack of support and action from the White House. Now more than ever, Congress needs to continue to reaffirm its support for Israel’s security. Click HERE to read more.
Prohibiting Taxpayer Money from Going to Terrorists
I passed an amendment that would prohibit approximately $440 million dollars within the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 15 from being disbursed to ISIS, Hamas, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and other Foreign Terrorist Organizations. With our federal debt and foreign policy in shambles, it is long past time that this Congress prevents federal dollars going towards organizations and countries who actively work to harm the United States and our interests. Click HERE to read more.
Enhancing Safety at Military Installations Act
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3115, the Enhancing Safety at Military Installations Act. This commonsense legislation seeks to repeal the outdated ban which prohibits military personnel from carrying firearms on bases and recruitment facilities. The U.S. has had 19 attacks on U.S. domestic military facilities since the enactment of this misguided directive, resulting in 49 deaths and nearly 100 injuries. It's time to get rid of the ban.
The Taliban Five and Bergdahl Swap
I voted for legislation that passed the House and condemned President Obama for breaking the law by not giving Congress 30 days notice before releasing dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. On May 31, 2014, the Department of Defense (DOD) transferred five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar in exchange for U.S. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. The Government Accountability Office released a report on August 21, 2014, confirming that the DOD violated the law by releasing the Taliban 5 without providing 30 days notice to Congress. Additionally, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act for using funds to make the transfer despite a specific prohibition in law. Click HERE to read more.
Listening to my Constituents to Cut Government Waste
In response to the Army mandating new uniforms, I heard objections from many active-duty service members, veterans and constituents in my district. These citizens claimed the old CWU model is in fact safer, cheaper and more efficient. As a result, I passed an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act that was estimated to save more than $5 million by requiring the Army to move back to the CWU-27/P Army Aviation Flight Uniforms. Click HERE to read more.
Cutting other Government Waste in Defense
In the 113th Congress, an Inspector General Report highlighted a disgraceful example of government waste. The report found that in 2010 the federal government spent more than $3 million dollars on patrol boats for the Afghan National Police that were never shipped to the landlocked Afghanistan. According to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the cost of each patrol boat was more than $265,000. The Washington Post has reported that similar patrol boats can be purchased in the United States for approximately $50,000. My successful amendment passed the House and prohibited the Department of Defense from wasting more money on storage for these eight patrol boats which had already cost taxpayers more than $3 million. Click HERE to read more.
The COACH Act
In March 2015, I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2210, the Coach-Only Airfare for Capitol Hill Act, to prohibit members of Congress from using official funds known as Member Representational Allowance (MRA) to purchase first-class airline tickets while traveling for official Congressional duties. Currently, there exists a loophole that allows members of Congress to fly first-class at the expense of hardworking taxpayers. As current regulations prevent men and women serving in the U.S. military from flying first-class, there is absolutely no reason why members of Congress should be given a special exemption not offered to our nation’s heroes. It’s time to end the double standard and rein in this abuse. CLICK HERE to read more.