Issue: Defense and National Security

Statement on House Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), issued the following statement after H.R. 1735 the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA) passed the House by a vote of 269-151. The legislation fulfills Congress’s constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense, includes a number of key reforms for military operations across the nation, and enables Indiana to continue to play a critical role in our national security:

“I am honored to show my support for our men and women in uniform by ensuring they have vital resources necessary to continue to keep American families safe and secure,” Walorski said. “The NDAA is the single largest authorization bill that Congress considers and one of my most significant accomplishments each year.”

“Two of my amendments were added in the final legislation including bipartisan support to protect our national security by imposing greater restrictions on transferring terrorists from Guantanamo Bay as well as giving Congress additional oversight over our military and foreign policy in the Middle East in light of the many issues surrounding our nuclear negotiations with Iran.

“I continued to fight for Hoosier priorities and helped secure funding opportunities for Indiana that will protect our national security. Included in the final bill are funds for the Air Force’s new KC-46A tanker, which the Secretary of the Air Force is currently considering basing at Grissom Air Force Base. In addition, funding was included for the 14,000 Hoosiers that makeup the Indiana National Guard. Finally, the bill fully funds the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, a much-needed new vehicle for our Army and Marines that has the potential to make a huge impact in Indiana’s Second Congressional District.

“My colleagues on the Armed Services Committee should be proud of their work to allow the United States to respond to emerging threats and challenges while giving our troops the tools and training they need and the support they and their families deserve. I urge the Senate to pass this bill quickly.”

Highlights Of Walorski Provisions Included In FY 2016 NDAA

  • Impose greater restrictions on transferring terrorists from Guantanamo Bay

The House yesterday voted with bipartisan support to include in the final bill Walorski’s amendment to prohibit Guantanamo detainees from coming to the U.S. for two years, prohibit detainees from being transferred to Yemen for two years, and prohibit transfers of detainees that the president’s own task force determined too dangerous to transfer.

  • Prevent the Department of Defense or State Department from entering into new security agreements until those plans have been shared with Congress

The House voted yesterday to adopt Walorski’s amendment to extend congressional oversight over any additional security guarantees associated with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Israel and our other regional allies have every right to be gravely concerned about what’s currently being proposed by the Administration. Congress absolutely must have a say before any significant changes are made to our nuclear or conventional military and foreign policy in the Middle East.

Walorski Statement on Anthem Security Breach

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued the following statement regarding the security breach on Anthem Inc.:

“News of the cyberattack at Anthem is deeply disturbing and unfortunately in this technology-driven world, we must direct more resources and attention to protecting Americans from cybersecurity threats.

“This latest attack should send a clear message that we are all at risk of this act and it is my hope that the Obama administration will take a proactive approach to protecting the personal information of the millions of American who are at risk.”

Walorski reminded Hoosiers that if they believe their personal information might have been compromised to contact the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. The number to the ID Theft Hotline is 800-382-5516.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Statement on Nomination of Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) issued the following statement following today’s nomination of Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense:

“As a member of House Armed Services Committee, I have worked with Ashton Carter previously and believe he is fully capable of performing his new duties as Secretary of Defense. Like his three predecessors, he must provide a strategy to protect our nation and our allies while the president continues to cut the defense budget. I look forward to working with him after his Senate confirmation.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee.

Walorski Lauds Passage of Annual Defense Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3979 – the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015, by a vote of 300-119. The NDAA, which is the annual bill to authorize defense spending, now heads to the Senate for further action.

“For the 53rd year in a row, Congress has passed the NDAA to ensure our military continues to have the best people, training, and resources to protect our country. From war-time operations in the Middle East, to health care programs for veterans and their families, and DOD contractors in the U.S., America will continue to maintain the strongest and best military in the world.

“Threats from countries overseas – including Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, is a growing threat. I’m pleased that language I co-authored with Rep. Roskam (IL-06) to require the Obama Administration to provide a report on the status of Iran’s nuclear program and its compliance with the interim nuclear agreement was included in the final bill.

“I also want to thank retiring Chairman Buck McKeon, for his tireless service to our fighting men and women and I wish him all the best. I’m proud to continue to serve on behalf of our service members who defend and fight for our nation and provide them with the resources and equipment they need to uphold America’s global presence to face current threats and prepare for new ones.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Budget Committee.

Walorski on Indiana Native, ISIL Hostage Peter Kassig

Mishawaka, IN – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after the news that Indiana native Peter Kassig is being held hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“My sincerest thoughts and prayers are with Peter Kassig and I ask all Hoosiers to join Dean and I in keeping him and his family in our prayers during this difficult time.”

Walorski Reaction to Airstrikes in Syria

Walorski Reaction to Airstrikes in Syria

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after President Obama ordered airstrikes in Syria to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“Given the fact that ISIL poses a clear and immediate danger to the U.S. and our interests, I appreciate the willingness of five Arab countries in joining the U.S. to launch airstrikes into Syria. I look forward to hearing from the president on how this plays into the larger attempt to destroy and defeat this radical, terrorist organization. My thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are carrying out this fight.”

Walorski Votes in Favor of Amendment to Combat ISIL

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski released the following statement after voting in favor an amendment to H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2015 that gives Congressional authorization to assist and train carefully vetted members of the Syrian opposition. The amendment passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 273-156.

“While questions still remain about the president’s strategy to ‘train and equip’ moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), I can say with certainty after attending classified briefings this week, the imminent threat this radical group poses to the U.S. and our allies is real. I hope today is one step towards crafting a broader, comprehensive strategy that allows us to stop reacting to crises as they occur and ensure the House of Representatives maintains oversight and jurisdiction of U.S. actions in the Middle East. I believe the next logical step is to pass legislation to repeal U.S. citizens’ passports that are affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, who could potentially return home and inflict harm on U.S. soil.”

Amendment Summary:

  • Authorize the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.
  • Strengthen Congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment. It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.
  • This amendment does not authorize additional funds, but does allow the Department of Defense to submit reprogramming requests to Congress, should the President request DOD funds to execute this authority. This Amendment permits the Secretary of State to accept foreign contributions.
  • Lastly, the amendment would state that nothing in this section should be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or in to situations where hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.

STATEMENT: Walorski Reaction to President’s Speech on Islamic State

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after hearing President Obama’s address to the nation on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“While I agree with the president on the destruction of ISIL, there are many questions that have been left unanswered. Tonight’s message was an ‘about face’ from the presidents’ previous comments about the growing threat of terrorism. In fact, the lack of leadership from the administration has led to a foreign policy vacuum which groups like ISIL have filled. I firmly believe that Congress must have a say in any major decision of war and peace because the American people must have a voice. That’s why I’ll be participating in a classified briefing tomorrow morning to gather more information and going back to my district to hear from Hoosiers. I’m also supporting a measure to revoke U.S. citizens’ passports that are affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. Traitors who have turned against America and joined the ranks of the terrorist army like ISIL should not be permitted to return to the United States to potentially inflict harm at home. I remain committed to the defense of this nation and believe that Congressional oversight of the president’s decisions are crucial.”

Walorski Votes to Support National Defense, Infrastructure Legislation

Authored amendment to help fund projects in Peru and Rochester

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) voted for the annual appropriations legislation to fund the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Energy. The bill passed by a vote of 253-170.

H.R. 4923, the Energy & Water Development Appropriations Act, also included an amendment offered by Walorski that provided funds to the Army Corps of Engineers for small infrastructure projects that could improve public safety, promote job creation, and strengthen Hoosier economic growth.

Specifically, the language would increase funding to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), and help dozens of communities that require studies and additional funding for small projects, including Peru and Rochester, both located in Walorski’s district.

The City of Peru received a floodplain designation due to a ditch running through northern part of the city. Since record-keeping began over 80 years ago, no flood insurance claims have ever been filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to flooding from the ditch. Unfortunately, the floodplain designation has led to costly insurance premiums forcing potential businesses to exclude the area for consideration and residents are struggling to pay their premiums.

“With my amendment, the Army Corps of Engineers could conduct a study to determine whether the ditch is likely to ever flood, and – if so – what type of project could be done to prevent flooding and bring down flood premiums,” said Walorski. “Hopefully we can help attract businesses to this community, create jobs and help taxpayers save their money.”

In Rochester, a local road has been closed due to safety concerns caused by the Tippecanoe River flowing along a portion of the road. Over time, the river has eroded soil from underneath the road, and now the road has lost several feet of its embankment, causing potential danger to motorists.

“County officials have said they can’t afford to conduct the study or do the repairs that would make this road safe again,” said Walorski. “With additional funds, the Army Corps of Engineers could examine the road, make the necessary repairs, and help keep Hoosiers roadways safe.”

The legislation now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Walorski Applauds House Passage of Defense Appropriations Legislation

Legislation Includes Walorski Amendment to Prevent Transfer of GTMO detainees to Yemen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed the annual defense spending bill, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015. H.R. 4870 passed by a vote of 340-73. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Veterans’ Affair Committee, issued the following statement:

“As always, ensuring our men and women in uniform have the necessary resources is one of my highest priorities. As they continue to fight for America’s freedom, I will continue to fight on their behalf in Washington.

“I’m delighted my amendment to stop the Secretary of Defense from using any funds to transfer or release Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen was included as part of the bill. Yemen has become a focus of terrorist activity and this language is necessary to stop the worst detainees from reengaging in plots that target Americans.

“In addition, the Department of Defense continues to capitalize on the valuable contributions Indiana makes to support our troops. The bills funds the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) modernization program as well as provide funding for our Indiana Guard and Reserve forces. As Hoosier guardsmen continue to serve our country, it’s imperative they have dependable equipment made in Mishawaka.

“This year’s legislation enables us to protect our troops by enhancing military readiness and prioritizing the well-being of our troops, while still rationally utilizing defense funds.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

HMMWVs have been a stronghold in the military for years. They are fully assembled at a Mishawaka assembly plant, in addition to several other models and equipment used by the Armed Forces.

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