While the United States remains vulnerable to the threat of radical Islamist terrorism, House leadership idles its time by considering a vote on a bill that cooperates with the left’s narrative and erodes the rule of law and our God-given, constitutional rights.
Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., properly called out the Democrats for the “chaos” their sit-in on gun control caused in the House. But this week, he is effectively rewarding what he called their “stunt” by proposing a vote on a gun control bill instead of focusing on how Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen slipped through the FBI’s grasp so that we can better protect Americans in the future.
The Homeland Safety and Security Act, H.R. 5611, capitulates to the left by making the debate about gun control and does nothing to tackle the underlying danger that Islamist extremism poses here in the United States. It takes no steps to solve the threat posed to the United States by Islamists across the globe. It creates a new, unelected, unaccountable assistant secretary appointed by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who has proven himself to be willfully blind to the threat posed by radical Islamist terrorism.
Just last week former Homeland Security officer Philip Haney testified that the agency eliminated more than 850 records it had that linked to the Muslim Brotherhood because the Obama administration was cooperating with the terrorist organization on counterterrorism. Why does the Republican-controlled House want to spend at least $30 million over five years on a catastrophic department that empowers Obama’s failed strategy of ignoring the true threat posed by jihadis?
Instead of taking steps to prevent another Orlando terrorist attack, this bill creates epic legal precedent by allowing the federal government to restrict rights secured in our Constitution based on what the government predicts someone will do in the future.
The bill allows a judge to restrict Americans’ constitutional rights if a judge has “probable cause to believe” that person will someday become a terrorist. And it sets the precedent that Americans can lose God-given constitutional rights arbitrarily—as long as a member of government thinks we might commit a crime. It upends the presumption of innocence and the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers.
GOP leadership considered allowing this Trojan-horse bill to come to the floor even as other, good bills that address the root causes of terrorism languish in committee.
One such bill that I support designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Another would halt the influx of refugees from the world’s terror hot spots until they are vetted properly—sending a clear message to the American people, and to those who wish to do us harm, that we in Congress are listening and will act to defend against domestic and foreign threats.
Significant portions of this terrible “homeland security” bill did not go through the regular committee approval process, nor does it appear that GOP leadership plans to allow the amendment process to follow regular order.
If someone is a convicted terrorist, they should be jailed or deported—period. There are current laws on the books that tell us exactly what should happen if someone is convicted of terrorism, and we should make sure that our government is enforcing these laws. We need neither betray our rights, nor submit to a wholesale change of due process, to arrest and detain terrorists.
To effectively combat ISIS and global Islamists, Congress must look at solutions that are much broader than just a response to what happened in Orlando. Orlando is just one of several recent terrorist attacks around the globe which ISIS and its henchmen have proudly celebrated on social media.
The United States is in a global war on terror. Even the Democrats admit as much by asking for an AUMF to authorize that war, but Congress has still not acted. The Obama administration’s response to global terror has been feckless and incompetent, but Republicans in the House seem to be content spectators instead of leaders.
Rather than looking at how to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans, GOP leadership in the House should allow votes on bills that focus on the true cause of terrorism: terrorists.
This post has been modified to reflect the status of the bill as of late July 7.