Congressman Marsha Blackburn – Protecting our National Security
|This Week in Washington|
|Fellow Americans –
National security once again dominated the headlines this week. Part of my work to protect our national security has been my relentless pursuit to hold the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) accountable. After contacting HHS Secretary Burwell multiple times about ORR’s complete lack of transparency and failure to produce an Annual Report, which is required by law, we finally received their FY2014 report last Friday. Unfortunately, the FY2015 report still has not been turned over and may contain important information about the first wave of Syrian refugees brought into the country by President Obama’s expansion of the program. I will continue to put the pressure on ORR. Additionally, Congress had set a deadline for the Administration to recognize the atrocities that are being perpetrated by ISIS for what they are; genocide. Under pressure, the Administration met our deadline and formally concluded that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities. This is a step in the right direction, but it’s not the final solution. The President needs to present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS.
We are continuing our fight to end President Obama’s executive amnesty. This week the House passed H. Res. 639, which authorizes the Speaker of the House to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of United States v. Texas, which addresses whether the president’s executive order on immigration violates the Constitution. By continually overstepping his authority against the will of the American people, the House has taken action to defend the right of Congress to make laws. America is a nation of laws and lawlessness will not stand.
In Tennessee we are fortunate to have the brave men and women at Fort Campbell who serve each day to secure freedom and freedom’s cause. They are known for their commitment to excellence not only in our state, but world-wide. As many of you saw, this week they were recognized as the best installation in the Army, earning their first Gold Award in the 2016 Installation Management Command Army Communities of Excellence competition. This is a well-deserved honor and we congratulate them. It is fitting that they earned this honor the same week the Citizens for Fort Campbell made their annual trip to Washington, D.C. Their efforts truly make a difference in ensuring our government realizes and appreciates the importance of the post to the community and nation at-large. Along with discussing their priorities, dealing with logistics, and building maintenance budgets, we will continue to work together to reverse the current drawdown of the end of strength levels for U.S. Land Forces and to secure a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to authorize funding for the flying hours program at 100% levels as we have successfully done in the past. Their Capitol Hill visits are becoming legendary and we are always thrilled to welcome and host them. This year I invited my colleague, Mike Turner, Subcommittee Chairman on the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Turner has been an advocate for our flying hours program and for equipment and artillery for redeployment training.
Did you know that in 2015, 496 school employees were arrested nationwide for child abuse, and seven of those arrests were in Tennessee? As a mother and grandmother, any number above zero is unacceptable. As a result, I introduced H.R. 4666, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. This legislation requires schools receiving federal funds to perform background checks on all existing and new employees as well as contractors who have unsupervised access to children. Learn more about this legislation by watching the piece below that aired on Fox 13 in Memphis this week.
This week there has been much attention brought to the important issue of how we can better protect babies born alive during abortions thanks in part to a Senate hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act this week. It is haunting that the testimony at the hearing revealed that abortion advocates believe the right to terminate a pregnancy continues after the child has been delivered. One of our charges at the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which I chair, is to specifically look into the business practices of organizations that perform second and third trimester abortions. Science tells us that these babies can feel pain and it is simply unconscionable that any organization would allow a child born alive to die – a position that was voiced during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning. In case you missed it, here is an article published in The Tennessean this week that covers some of the work done by our Select Panel so far. There is still much important work to be done.
There is good news regarding my legislation to extend preservation at multiple areas near the Shiloh National Military Park. It one step closer to becoming law. The House Natural Resources Committee held a markup of the legislation this week, a key step in advancing the bill to the House floor for a vote. The bill passed through committee with unanimous consent. This legislation will ensure the legacy of the sacrifices made at Shiloh will be preserved for future generations to appreciate and experience. Read more about it, here.
Thank you to all the women who joined me Monday at Facebook’s Boost your Business workshop. Our small businesses have a big impact on our local economy. It was a wonderful opportunity to come together and learn from one another’s experiences. Keep in touch with me through Facebook and Twitter for updates on district events that we will hold throughout the year.
Have a great weekend,