Issue: Defense and National Security

Walorski Introduces Bill to Boost Oversight of Future Gitmo Transfers

Walorski Introduces Bill to Boost Oversight of Future Gitmo Transfers

Guantanamo Recidivism Reduction Act Would Close Loophole that Allowed Obama Administration to Keep Detainee Release Agreements Secret

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) this week introduced legislation to boost oversight of future Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers by closing a loophole that allowed the Obama administration to keep secret the terms under which terrorist detainees were released.

“In a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to close Gitmo, the Obama administration rapidly accelerated the release of terrorist detainees without proper safeguards or oversight,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “In the final 13 months of the Obama presidency, 66 detainees were transferred to foreign nations under terms that remain unknown even to Congress because the administration did not put them into writing. The Trump administration has ended the reckless release of Gitmo detainees, but we must close this loophole so there is never again any doubt that appropriate steps are being taken to prevent released detainees from returning to terrorism.”

BACKGROUND

The Guantanamo Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 2993) would require the State Department to keep written records of the bilateral agreements reached between the U.S. and nations that accept released Gitmo detainees. It would also require the State Department to provide these records to Congress within 90 days and to update the relevant congressional committees annually on the whereabouts and activities of released detainees who have reengaged in terrorism.

According to a report issued in March 2017 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 21 of the 182 detainees released during the Obama are known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorism. Nearly 30 percent of Gitmo detainees released since the facility opened in 2002 are confirmed or suspected to have returned to terrorist activity.

From January 2016 through the end of President Obama’s term in office, 66 Gitmo detainees were transferred, including 20 to Oman, 18 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and 15 to Saudi Arabia. Forty-one detainees remain in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

In September 2016, the House passed a bill Walorski authored to block detainee transfers until new safeguards were implemented. The Senate did not take action on the bill.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Supports Bill to Counter ISIS Atrocities, Aid Victims

Walorski Supports Bill to Counter ISIS Atrocities, Aid Victims

Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act Provides Assistance to Christians and Other Victims of ISIS War Crimes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today supported legislation to provide relief for victims of atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and bring to justice those perpetrating a genocide against religious and ethnic minorities such as Christians and Yazidis.

“Not only does ISIS pose a grave national security threat to Americans and our allies, it is slaughtering innocent people across Iraq and Syria and committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “ISIS is the very definition of evil, and these terrorists will be defeated. As our efforts to destroy ISIS continue, this bipartisan legislation will help provide humanitarian relief for the victims of its atrocities and hold the perpetrators to account.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, would provide emergency relief for victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Iraq and Syria, as well as support efforts to hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable.

It would direct the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to support organizations, including faith-based entities, providing humanitarian relief to survivors of genocide and other victims of ISIS atrocities against religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq and Syria. It would also direct assistance to groups conducting criminal investigations and other efforts to bring ISIS war criminals to justice.

The bill passed the House by a unanimous voice vote and now heads to the Senate.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes for Tough New Sanctions on North Korea

Walorski Votes for Tough New Sanctions on North Korea

Latest Bill Passed by House to Increase Pressure on Kim Jong-un Regime

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted to impose tough new sanctions on North Korea amid increasing provocations by the Kim Jong-un regime. The House passed H.R. 1644, the Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, by a bipartisan vote of 419 to 1.

“North Korea is a rogue regime intent on destabilizing the region and threatening the U.S. and our allies,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We are taking action to impose tough new sanctions on North Korea to put pressure on Kim Jong-un and hold the regime accountable. The days of ‘strategic patience’ toward North Korean aggression are over.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 1644 would impose sanctions on North Korea, specifically targeting its shipping industry and entities abroad that use North Korean slave labor.

The House previously passed two bipartisan measures to label North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and condemn its efforts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

  • H.R. 479, the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, would require the State Department to decide whether to formally designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • H.Res. 92 would condemn North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile development program, which violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on FY2017 Funding Bill

Walorski Statement on FY2017 Funding Bill

Legislation Boosts Military Resources, Raises Troop Pay, Prevents Shutdown

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after voting for the fiscal year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill:

“This fiscally responsible bill makes America safer with critical investments in rebuilding our depleted military, and it ends the arbitrary Obama-era practice of matching increases in defense spending with increases in non-defense spending. We are putting our national security first by providing the resources our military needs to defeat any enemy and giving our troops their largest pay raise in six years.

“This legislation also supports new border security improvements, provides resources for state and local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, prevents new spending on Obamacare, and maintains important pro-life protections to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion.

“I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump and my colleagues to roll back the bureaucratic overreach of the Obama administration, restore fiscal sanity to Washington, and pass pro-growth tax reform that will jumpstart our economy.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 244, the FY2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, funds the government through September 2017. The bill passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 309 to 118 and now heads to the Senate. President Trump has said he will sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.

Bill Highlights:

  • Boosts investment in military readiness by $25 billion for the full fiscal year.
  • Funds the largest pay raise for troops in six years.
  • Continues to block funding for Gitmo detainees to be released or transferred to U.S. soil.
  • Maintains pro-life protections, including the Hyde Amendment, and prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion.
  • Improves border security with additional $1.5 billion in funding.
  • Provides resources to fight against the opioid epidemic.
  • Defunds the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of unelected bureaucrats created by Obamacare that would make health care decisions for seniors.
  • Prevents bailouts of insurance companies under Obamacare’s risk corridor program.
  • Fully funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million to protect our nation’s most precious natural resource.
  • Reforms the federal bureaucracy by ending or consolidating more than 150 programs.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Joins President Trump for Signing of Order on Aluminum Supply

Walorski Joins President Trump for Signing of Order on Aluminum Supply

Urges Careful, Balanced Investigation of National Security Implications of Aluminum Imports

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today joined President Trump in the Oval Office for the signing of a Presidential Memorandum directing the Commerce Department to investigate the impact of aluminum imports on U.S. national security.

“I applaud President Trump’s leadership to ensure U.S. imports of aluminum do not put our national security at risk,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “A careful and balanced investigation is essential to maintaining military readiness while ensuring Hoosier manufacturers continue to have a reliable supply of aluminum at fair market prices. I look forward to reviewing the Commerce Department’s evaluation and working with the administration to protect jobs and our national security.”

BACKGROUND

The Presidential Memorandum signed today directs the Department of Commerce to use its Section 232 authority to investigate the impact of aluminum imports on U.S national security. The investigation will evaluate whether unfair trade practices harm national security by limiting the availability of U.S.-produced aluminum for military equipment, including aircraft and armored vehicles.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on U.S. Airstrikes in Syria

Walorski Statement on U.S. Airstrikes in Syria

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on airstrikes carried out by the U.S. military on targets in Syria:

“The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons to attack innocent civilians demanded a decisive response. Tonight’s U.S. military airstrikes on targets in Syria send a clear message that America will not stand for such atrocities.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Takes Action to Hold North Korea Accountable

House Takes Action to Hold North Korea Accountable

Walorski Votes for Bipartisan Measures to Label North Korea a State Sponsor of Terrorism, Condemn Missile Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted for two measures to label North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and condemn the regime’s efforts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

“As North Korea poses an increasing threat to our national security, it’s time to call this rogue regime what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “With these measures, we are taking action to hold North Korea accountable and send a clear message that Kim Jong-un’s illicit missile program and provocative maneuvers are unacceptable. Congress is committed to working with the Trump administration to confront this threat and keep America and our allies safe.”

BACKGROUND

The House on Monday passed two bipartisan measures aimed at holding the North Korean regime accountable. The measures now head to the Senate for further consideration.

  • H.R. 479, the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, would require the State Department to decide whether to formally designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. The bill passed by a vote of 394 to 1.
  • H.Res. 92 would condemn North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile development program, which violates UN Security Council resolutions. The resolution passed by a vote of 393 to 2.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Bipartisan Group of House Members Seek Additional Information on Marine Obscene Photo Sharing Scandal

Bipartisan Group of House Members Seek Additional Information on Marine Obscene Photo Sharing Scandal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) on Tuesday led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis seeking additional information on the reports that as many as 30,000 Marines are being investigated as part of their involvement in distributing and commenting on obscene photos of female Marines. Walorski and Kuster are specifically requesting “an update to the investigation conducted by NCIS and a detailed explanation of actions taken to date by the Marine Corps, Navy, and DoD.”

Walorski and Kuster were joined by Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Tim Walz (MI-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Mark Takano (CA-41).

“This conduct is wholly unacceptable and disgusting,” the members wrote. “It is blatant sexual harassment and, by admission of officials within the Department of Defense, it puts these women at risk of blackmail – sexual or otherwise – and jeopardizes our national security. Further, this incident punctuates the need for greater reform by the military services.”

The members continued, “…we know you consider sexual harassment and assault to be a serious and persistent issue with the services. It leaves men and women vulnerable to retaliation and violence. Our continued operations in the Global War on Terror and against organizations like Islamic State mean men and women are at greater risk of suffering the psychological wounds of combat. The least we can do is ensure that they are not sexually traumatized by their brothers-in-arms.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

March 14, 2017

The Honorable James N. Mattis
Secretary
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Mattis,

We write to you regarding the disturbing reports of sexual harassment and dishonorable conduct by United States Marines on the Facebook group “Marines United.” As reported by the Center of Investigative Reporting, “Marines United” has thousands of followers and is populated with photographs of active-duty and veteran women. Some of these photos are themselves obscene; nearly all of the photos are accompanied by scores of obscene comments from male Marines. As of January 30, 2017, the Center for Investigative Reporting found more than a dozen women were identified by their full name, rank, and military duty station in photographs posted by some members of this group.

This conduct is wholly unacceptable and disgusting. It is blatant sexual harassment and, by admission of officials within the Department of Defense, it puts these women at risk of blackmail – sexual or otherwise – and jeopardizes our national security. Further, this incident punctuates the need for greater reform by the military services. Recent reports have uncovered additional internet message boards populated with similarly obscene photographs and comments, and run by service members across other branches. Although the anonymous nature of these message boards means it is unclear who these service members maybe, if they are service members at all, it makes us additionally concerned that these issues are not isolated to either a few service members or to the Marine Corps.

This incident is deeply disappointing – the United States Marine Corps is renowned as one of the best military services in the world. The gallantry and hard work of the men and women that call themselves United States Marines is impressive and the nation is grateful. However, with that renown and gratitude, we expect much more from the service.

Reportedly, the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy have taken corrective action to include: the shutdown of the Facebook accounts associated with the photos, discharge from active-duty of at least one Marine, and the initiation of a formal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. While these are important first steps, it is clearly not sufficient to address this issue – more than two weeks after certain Facebook accounts were deactivated, more photos of women were posted to this group.

We request that the Department of Defense consider further action that it would deem appropriate to correct this issue. We also request an update to the investigation conducted by NCIS and a detailed explanation of actions taken to date by the Marine Corps, Navy, and DoD, including any support services and counseling offered to the affected women. Lastly, we request DoD to ensure lesson learned for its investigations to this issue are appropriately applied across the Department.

Given the testimony by Marine Corps Commandant General Neller and yourself before Congress, we know you consider sexual harassment and assault to be a serious and persistent issue with the services. It leaves men and women vulnerable to retaliation and violence. Our continued operations in the Global War on Terror and against organizations like Islamic State mean men and women are at greater risk of suffering the psychological wounds of combat. The least we can do is ensure that they are not sexually traumatized by their brothers-in-arms.

As a retired and highly decorated Marine general, we know you take the motto semper fidelis to heart. We know you will ensure swift justice is served and that the finest traditions of the United States naval service are upheld.

Sincerely,

Ann McLane Kuster                                                     Jackie Walorski
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Lois Frankel                                                                 Julia Brownley
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Katherine Clark                                                           Ruben Gallego
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Cheri Bustos                                                                Beto O’Rourke
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Tim Walz                                                                     Jackie Speier
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

Mark Takano
Member of Congress

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Walorski Statement on President Trump’s Address to Congress

Walorski Statement on President Trump’s Address to Congress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress:

“In his first address to Congress, President Trump presented a positive vision and a bold agenda for our country. From jump-starting our economy and growing jobs to rebuilding our military and protecting our veterans, Congress and the president are committed to working together for real solutions that make a difference in people’s lives.

“That’s why we’re working together to fix our broken tax code and make it flatter, simpler, and fairer. We’re rolling back burdensome regulations that are crushing small businesses, manufacturers, and farmers. We’re working to provide relief to the millions of families struggling under Obamacare by repealing and replacing it with a better system that lowers costs, increases choices, and protects patients with pre-existing conditions. And we’re making sure our servicemen and women have the resources they need on the battlefield and the care they deserve when they return home.

“The president’s message was one of optimism, unity, and faith in the American spirit – just what this country needs. Congress and President Trump are off to a great start working for the American people, and I couldn’t be more excited about what we are going to accomplish together.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Resolution Would Condemn Lawfare Against Israel

Walorski Resolution Would Condemn Lawfare Against Israel

Palestinian Authority Seeking to Use International Criminal Court to Undermine Israel’s Right to Self Defense

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski recently introduced a resolution, H.Res. 109, condemning the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to use the International Criminal Court (ICC) to weaken Israel’s sovereignty and hinder its ability to defend itself from terrorism.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States is a reminder that Israel is a true ally and a fellow democracy, and that we must stand against efforts to weaken Israel’s sovereignty,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The Palestinian Authority’s actions in the International Criminal Court threaten Israel’s right to self defense and our own national security, and we should condemn this lawfare without hesitation.”

BACKGROUND

On January 15, 2015, the Palestinian Authority lodged a declaration under the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, alleging Israel committed war crimes during its defensive operations in 2014 against Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. The prosecutor of the ICC then began a preliminary examination. On April 1, 2015, the Palestinian Authority officially joined the ICC and has threatened to bring two additional charges against Israel.

This abuse of international law to put political pressure on Israel outside of accepted diplomatic processes weakens Israel’s sovereignty and its right to self defense and jeopardizes long-standing U.S. policy to insist that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties.

H.Res. 109 would condemn the actions of the Palestinian Authority to join the ICC and undertake legal action against Israel as a politically motivated act of lawfare that threatens the national security of the United State, Israel, and our other democratic allies.

The resolution would also reiterate the support of the House for a resolution to the conflict through direct talks, which are threatened by the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to seek legitimacy for unilateral statehood through international institutions.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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