Issue: Defense and National Security

House to Vote on Walorski Bill to Stop Gitmo Transfers

House to Vote on Walorski Bill to Stop Gitmo Transfers

H.R. 5351 Would Halt Detainee Transfers from Guantanamo Bay Until NDAA Signed Into Law

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced her bill to temporarily block the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay will reach the House floor next week for a vote.

“The terrorist detainees remaining in Guantanamo Bay are the worst of the worst, and the administration’s plan to release an additional 20 detainees this year in an effort to fulfill a campaign promise puts American lives at risk,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “As we mark the 15th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it’s time for the House to act to protect our national security by blocking these reckless transfers.”

H.R. 5351 would halt the transfer of any Guantanamo Bay detainees until enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017, or until the end of this year. The House-passed NDAA included a provision Walorski authored to require written agreements between the U.S. and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. It also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention plan outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.

On Thursday, President Obama reiterated his intention to continue releasing Gitmo detainees in order to pave the way for the facility’s closure. Out of 61 detainees that remain in Gitmo, 20 have been cleared for transfer.

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

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In the News: The Hill: House to vote next week to block Gitmo transfers

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House to vote next week to block Gitmo transfers

by Cristina Marcos

The House is expected to vote next week on legislation to block the transfer of any more prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Friday.

Next week’s vote would come a month after the Obama administration said it would transfer 15 detainees to the United Arab Emirates. Twenty additional detainees have been approved for transfers, with the U.S. seeking countries to take them in.

The bill, authored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), would prohibit transfers of any of the remaining 61 detainees at Guantánamo Bay until either the end of this year or the enactment of the 2017 defense authorization.

Republicans want to deny the Obama administration the ability to move any more detainees before the president’s term ends.

“The terrorist detainees remaining in Guantanamo Bay are the worst of the worst, and the administration’s plan to release an additional 20 detainees this year in an effort to fulfill a campaign promise puts American lives at risk. It’s time for the House to act to protect our national security by blocking these reckless transfers,” Walorski said in a statement.

President Obama campaigned on closing the Guantánamo Bay facility and has made it a priority to reduce the prison population while he’s still in the White House. Despite only having about four months left in his term, Obama expressed optimism at a press conference on Thursday that he could still close the prison before leaving office.

Read the full story here.

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In the News: South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

SBT

South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

by Kevin Allen

Here’s a look at what Michiana’s members of Congress did during the past week.

Monday

• The Michiana Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America selected U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, to receive the 2016 Colonel Jack Stephens Citizenship Award in recognition of her service to active duty, reserve and veteran service members in the community.

Walorski, the daughter of an Air Force veteran, sits on the Armed Services Committee, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She has devoted a significant amount of her time in Congress to issues such as providing veterans with better access to services and benefits, according to the association. She has co-sponsored legislation to improve cost-of-living adjustments for Veterans Affairs beneficiaries and require any public institution accepting GI Bill education benefits to offer in-state tuition rates to all veterans. She also has pressed the VA to reduce its service backlog.

Tuesday

• U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski R-Jimtown visited Plymouth to see nutrition programs up close and meet with those on the front lines of the fight against hunger.

At the Washington Discovery Academy, which is part of Plymouth Community School Corp. and where 65 percent of students receive free or reduced-price breakfast, Walorski learned about the school’s garden, toured classrooms and joined students for breakfast in the cafeteria. After the school tour, Walorski visited the Marshall County Neighborhood Center, a community organization whose food pantry serves more than 400 families each month.

“I’ve seen hunger up close, both overseas and here in Indiana’s 2nd District, and I am committed to fixing the way we fight poverty,” Walorski said. “As our work continues in Congress, it is critically important that I hear from those who know best what works and what doesn’t.”

Walorski has been working in Congress to study federal anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs. As chair of the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee, she has held more than a dozen hearings on the past, present and future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. In June, she joined House Speaker Paul Ryan and several colleagues to unveil “A Better Way to Fight Poverty” — a set of policy ideas for improving the effectiveness of federal anti-poverty programs.

Read the full story here.

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Walorski Statement on Administration Admitting Ransom Payment to Iran

Walorski Statement on Administration Admitting Ransom Payment to Iran

State Department Confirms $400 Million Cash Payment Was Contingent on Release of Prisoners

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today released the following statement after the State Department confirmed the cash payment of $400 million delivered to Iran was contingent on Iran’s release of four Americans illegally imprisoned there:

“After repeated denials, the Obama administration has finally confirmed what we already suspected: the $400 million cash payment to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, was made in exchange for the release of American prisoners. This is the very definition of ransom and sends a dangerous message to our enemies that kidnapping innocent Americans is profitable. The American people deserve answers after once again being misled about the Iran nuclear agreement.”

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

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Walorski Statement on Reported $400 Million Payment to Iran

Walorski Statement on Reported $400 Million Payment to Iran

Administration Reportedly Airlifted Cash to Iran as Four Detained Americans Were Released

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today released the following statement on the Obama administration’s reported cash payment of $400 million to Iran in January amid the release of four detained Americans and the implementation of the nuclear agreement:

“The Obama administration has continually hid the facts surrounding the Iran nuclear deal and misled the American people in order to reward the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. Their decision to secretly pay Iran a $400 million cash ransom for the release of illegally detained American citizens is reprehensible.”

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

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In the News: South Bend Tribune: Legislative Roundup

SBT

South Bend Tribune: Legislative Roundup

by Erin Blasko

… U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, responded to the release of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi, Osama Bin Laden’s former bodyguard, from Guantanamo Bay for transfer to Montenegro.

“The terrorist detainees being released from Guantanamo Bay — like Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard — are the worst of the worst,” Walorski said in a statement. “That is why I introduced a bill to immediately ban transfers for the rest of the year, or until new safeguards in the National Defense Authorization Act are signed into law.”

Read the full story here.

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In the News: South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

SBT

South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

by Kevin Allen

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chaired a House and Senate conference committee on legislation to address opioid abuse.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, also was a member of the conference committee. She spoke in support of measures she wrote to protect veterans from being overprescribed opioids.

Walorski said the crisis has reached a point where the Drug Enforcement Administration raided and began investigating several veterans health facilities. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion, Ind., raised DEA suspicions after it purchased more prescription drugs than any other VA facility in the northern district of Indiana, she said.

“For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on the prescription of opioids,” Walorski said. “There needs to be more oversight of prescribing practices at VA facilities, and the VA needs to explore effective, non-opioid treatments.”

Walorski spoke on the House floor about the dangers posed by the release of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay amid the ongoing manhunt for a former detainee missing in Brazil.

The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House earlier this year contains Walorski-authored provisions, including a requirement that the U.S. enter into written agreements with foreign nations that accept detainee transfers. Last month, Walorski and Sen. Steve Daines, D-Mont., introduced legislation to prohibit any Guantanamo transfers until the act is signed into law or until the end of this year.

“What we need is a comprehensive strategy to destroy terrorist organizations like ISIS,” Walorski said on the House floor. “Instead, the administration is ramping up the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees.”

Walorski and Upton voted for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. The House approved the bill by a vote of 407 to 5.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and this has to stop,” Walorski said. “There is a long battle ahead of us. A lot of damage has already been done. But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.”

Walorski wrote two provisions included in the bill. One would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs, and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Read the full story here.

 

Walorski Speaks on House Floor About Dangers Posed by Release of Gitmo Detainees

Walorski Speaks on House Floor About Dangers Posed by Release of Gitmo Detainees

Two Dozen Detainees Set for Release as Officials Lose Track of Former Detainee in Brazil Weeks Before Olympics; Walorski Bill Would Block Transfers Until New Safeguards in Place

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today spoke on the House floor about the dangers posed by the release of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay amid the ongoing manhunt for a former Gitmo detainee missing in Brazil weeks before the start of the Olympics.

The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House earlier this year contains key safeguards authored by Walorski, including a requirement that the U.S. enter into written agreements with any foreign nations that accept detainee transfers. Last month, Walorski and Senator Steve Daines (MT) introduced legislation to prohibit any Gitmo transfers until the FY17 NDAA is signed into law, or until the end of this year.

A video of Congresswoman Walorski’s speech is available here. The full text  of her remarks is below.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express grave concern over the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.

“What we need is a comprehensive strategy to destroy terrorist organizations like ISIS.

“Instead, the administration is ramping up the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

“Make no mistake: these detainees are the worst of the worst.

“One former detainee has become a leader of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

“Another released last month was Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard.

“And just weeks before the Olympics, authorities in Brazil are on the hunt for a former detainee who went missing.

“With another two dozen detainees cleared for transfer this summer, I worked to include key safeguards in next year’s National Defense Authorization Act – like requiring written agreements with foreign nations that accept Gitmo transfers.

“And I introduced legislation with Senator Steve Daines to block all Gitmo transfers until these safeguards are signed into law, or until the end of the year.

“The president wants to empty Gitmo and bring the remaining terrorists to U.S. soil.

“Mr. Speaker, we cannot allow these terrorist detainees to put American lives at risk.

“I yield back.”

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

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Walorski Statement on Release of Osama Bin Laden’s Bodyguard from Gitmo

Walorski Statement on Release of Osama Bin Laden’s Bodyguard from Gitmo

Walorski Bill Would Halt Detainee Transfers Through End of Year

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the release of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi from Guantanamo Bay:

“The terrorist detainees being released from Guantanamo Bay – like Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard – are the worst of the worst. The administration’s plan to recklessly free at least two dozen terrorists this summer in an effort to close Gitmo puts American lives at risk. That is why I introduced a bill to immediately ban transfers for the rest of the year, or until new safeguards in the National Defense Authorization Act are signed into law.”

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Walorski and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (MT) last month introduced bicameral legislation to temporarily ban the transfer or release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The administration reportedly is set to release nearly two dozen Gitmo detainees to several different countries this summer amid efforts to close the prison before the end of the president’s term. The bill (H.R. 5351 / S. 2999) would prohibit these transfers until either the end of this year or enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017.

The House-passed NDAA includes Walorski’s provision to require written agreements between the U.S. government and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. That bill also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention plan outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.

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

Walorski Votes for Critical National Security Measures to Combat Terrorism

Walorski Votes for Critical National Security Measures to Combat Terrorism

House Passes Anti-Terrorism Bills, Defense Funding for FY17

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for legislation to boost counterterrorism efforts and provide critical military funding to combat ISIS in the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attack in Orlando, Fla.

“The devastating terrorist attack in Orlando was a sobering reminder that we are a nation at war with radical Islamic terrorists,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The House acted swiftly to ensure authorities are prepared to counter terrorist recruitment and our military is equipped to confront any threat. I urge the Senate to pass these critical bills immediately, and I call on the President to not only sign them into law but also outline a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS prevent further terrorist attacks against Americans.”

BACKGROUND

The House responded to last weekend’s terrorist attack in Orland by passing the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act (H.R. 5471) by a vote of 402 to 15. The legislation, which combines three previously-passed anti-terrorism bills, would:

  • Enhance authorities’ efforts to disrupt potential terrorist plots by allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to train personnel to better identify and counter-radicalization;
  • Require DHS to use intelligence and testimonials from former violent extremists to counter propaganda and recruitment efforts by terrorist organizations like ISIS; and
  • Establish the Counterterrorism Advisory Board (CTAB), the primary anti-terrorism decision-making body at DHS, and ensures the CTAB is positioned to address evolving terrorist threats.

The Department of Defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 (H.R. 5293), which the House passed by a vote of 282 to 138, would provide $576.3 billion in funding to improve military readiness, give troops a pay raise, maintain the U.S. military’s technological edge, and ensure the military has the tools and resources needed to defeat any enemy. Last month, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the nation’s defense policies and authorizes funding levels.

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

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