Ted Cruz on Homeland Security
Republican Texas Senator
CRUZ: As someone who spent much of his life in law enforcement, I believe you should start with the facts and evidence first before ending up with the verdict. When the news first broke of the US government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it's why the Congress acted to correct it. Since then, the evidence is clear that Snowden committed treason. What Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection. And Snowden's behavior afterwards--he fled to Russia, he fled to China--indicates that he was not a whistleblower, but instead he was undermining the ability to defend this country.
Likewise the Air Force. The Air Force has been reduced to about 4,000 planes. We need to increase that to a minimum of 6,000 planes so that we can project power, and use our air power superiority.
The Navy: We've got 272 ships, the least we've had since 1917, literally a century ago was the last time we had a navy with this few ships. We need to increase that to a minimum of 350 ships.
And, we need an overall force level of 1.4 million troops at a minimum [up from the current level of 1.3 million active personnel].
CRUZ: Well, under the definition of torture, no, it's not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.
Q: As president, would you bring it back?
CRUZ: I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed, I joined with Senator McCain in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels. But when it comes to keeping this country safe, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could.
Last year Congress enshrined a torture ban into federal law: In June, the Senate voted 78-21 to approve the McCain-Feinstein amendment. Cruz backed the amendment.
The McCain-Feinstein amendment requires that all interrogation comply with the Army Field Manual, a publicly available document that forbids waterboarding as well as the use of electric shocks, dogs, nudity, hypothermia and mock executions. All were elements of the CIA's interrogation program in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The administration's feckless response to Benghazi was emblematic of President Obama's long-standing approach to radical Islamic terrorism--three words that almost never enter his vocabulary in the same sentence. In his worldview, the real root problem behind terrorism is disaffected youth who have been antagonized by American and Western imperialism. He and his administration dogmatically refuse to call terrorism "Islamic" or "Islamist," nor will they reference "jihad."
I signed onto the bill as a cosponsor. The truth is that too many victims fear that their commanders cannot be objective about the men and women in their command. Nor can they know the ins and outs of sexual assault, as an experienced military prosecutor does. Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany have made reforms similar to the ones Gillibrand put forward. The result was a marked improvement in how cases of sexual assault are reported and prosecuted.
Only then did Holder say 'no.' Perhaps this reflected the view of the left that the Constitution imposes no meaningful restraints on government power other than whatever the restraints of propriety might be. There is a role for drones in military operations overseas. There may also be a legitimate role for drones to act with deadly force to prevent an imminent threat in the US, like Pearl Harbor. But there is no plausible argument under the Bill of Rights that the federal government has the authority to use a drone on US soil to target with lethal force a U.S. citizen who poses no immediate danger to the lives of other Americans.
Like Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio weighed in with one of the strongest responses, in a joint statement with Idaho's Sen. Jim Risch, calling the release of the report "reckless and irresponsible" and demanding a more current detention and interrogation policy.
"I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz said then. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did."
Paul went on to defend his foreign policy, which tends to be less interventionist than other Republicans': "I think on a lot of these issues, yes, that I'm well within the Republican tradition," Paul said.
Ted authored an amicus brief in FAIR v. Rumsfeld successfully defending the federal Solomon Amendment, which requires universities receiving federal funds to grant military recruiters equal access to campuses.
Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Prohibiting the military from forcing chaplains to perform same-sex marriages"
Congressional Summary:Expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Opponent's argument against bill:(United Nations press release, June 3, 2013):
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon str
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2014 or the USA FREEDOM Act: Congressional Summary:
Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Surveillance Reform After the USA Freedom Act", June 3, 2015): The USA Freedom Act that passed by a 67-32 margin is not as strong as we wanted. It is markedly weaker than the original version of the USA Freedom Act that the ACLU first supported in 2013. We supported a sunset of the provisions in an effort to advance more comprehensive reform, including rejecting surveillance through cybersecurity information-sharing legislation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very clear that the USA Freedom Act is a historic step forward.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute , "Cato scholars differ on USA Freedom Act", Oct., 2015): The privacy community remained divided over the USA Freedom Act. The final version of the bill reauthorized several expiring Patriot Act provisions, but limited bulk collection. Some legislators argued that to pass new legislation would only provide the government convenient new legal justification for its spying--which it would interpret broadly. On the opposite side of the argument stood some pro-privacy groups who held that modest reforms were better than no reforms at all.
Congressional Summary: To extend and enhance limitations on the transfer or release of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. No amounts appropriated for any agency of the US Government may be used, for two years, to construct or modify any facility in the US, to house an individual detained at Guantanamo.
Proponents reasons for voting YEA: Rep. WALORSKI: 21 terrorists have been released just in November alone to foreign countries. This measure would repeal current law that has allowed the administration to transfer prisoners to foreign countries and reduce the population at GTMO down to 127. Detainees at GTMO pose a real threat to our national security. HR 401 would prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen. Yemen's branch of al Qaeda was founded by former GTMO detainees. We cannot risk trusting the world's most dangerous terrorists to its most dangerous places, nor should we simply cut them loose in rich, stable countries with no security safeguards in place.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (CloseGuantanamo.org article, Jan. 2015): The prison at Guantanamo Bay has been open for 13 years. In 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. Yet it remains open, undermining America's values and national security. Almost half of the remaining 122 prisoners--55 men in total--were cleared for release in 2010 through 2013. Some of these men were previously cleared by the Bush Administration--some as long ago as 2004. It is unacceptable that the U.S. government continues to hold men that its own national security experts have recommended for release or transfer, and that Congress has intervened to maintain this deplorable state of affairs. We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo harms our nation every day it stays open, and it continues to serve as a potent symbol for terrorist recruitment.
Congressional Summary: HR 1735: The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes FY2016 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), and military construction. This bill also authorizes appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which are exempt from discretionary spending limits. The bill authorizes appropriations for base realignment and closure (BRAC) activities and prohibits an additional BRAC round.
Wikipedia Summary: The NDAA specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for Fiscal Year 2016. The law authorizes the $515 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $89.2 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO).
Opposition statement by Rep. Gerry Connolly (May 15, 2015): Congressman Connolly said he opposed the bill because it fails to end sequestration, and pits domestic investments versus defense investments. Said Connolly, "This NDAA uses a disingenuous budget mechanism to circumvent sequestration. It fails to end sequestration."
Support statement by BreakingDefense.com(Sept, 2015): Republicans bypassed the BCA spending caps (the so-called sequester) by shoving nearly $90 billion into the OCO account, designating routine spending as an emergency war expenses exempted from the caps. This gimmick got President Barack Obama the funding he requested but left the caps in place on domestic spending, a Democratic priority. "The White House's veto announcement is shameful," Sen. John McCain said. "The NDAA is a policy bill. It cannot raise the budget caps. It is absurd to veto the NDAA for something that the NDAA cannot do."
Legislative outcome: House rollcall #532 on passed 270-156-15 on Oct. 1, 2015; Senate rollcall #277 passed 70-27-3 on Oct. 7, 2015; vetoed by Pres. Obama on Oct. 22, 2015; passed and signed after amendments.
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George P. Bush
Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez
Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
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Senate Votes (analysis)
815 A Brazos, PMB 550, Austin, TX 78701