Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

John Kerry on Homeland Security

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


1971: Accused US forces of rape & carnage in Vietnam

It's been suggested that I had a role in the attacks launched by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against John Kerry in 2004. The most powerful attack they launched was to run a tape of Kerry testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 criticizing the war in Vietnam. Kerry said that his comrades in America's military had "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, cut off limbs, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." I didn't have anything to do with the ad (or the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth), but it was very effective because if used Kerry's own words to show him attacking the US military specifically and, by implication, our country. It damaged Kerry's campaign because it was true and because he was trying to run for president on his war record. [It negatively highlighted] his nearly 30-year history of voting against a strong military, including voting against funding the troops in combat in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p. 78 , Mar 9, 2010

OpEd: Lost 2004 because wouldn't stand up to terrorists

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch: I announced, independent of the Republicans, whom I had had no discussions with, that I was voting for George Bush & I didn't agree with him on a SINGLE domestic issue--but I believed that his position on fighting international terrorism was more important than ANY OTHER ISSUE and that the Democratic Party and its candidate, John Kerry, didn't have the stomach to stand up to international terrorism. That's what I said. So then I got calls from two people: Bush's former press secretary, Ari Fleischer. He came here with the head of the Republican Jewish Committee and they said to me, "We would like you to go campaigning in Philadelphia and Florida." Ultimately, I went to Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Iowa--I don't know why they sent me to Iowa; I think there are two Jews in Iowa and I met both of them, but they wanted me to go campaigning in Jewish areas, primarily Ohio and Florida--and I went. And they say I had an impact.
Source: Giuliani: Flawed or Flawless, by D. & G. Strober, p.301-302 , Jan 16, 2007

Our container ports, bridges, & plants are not secure

KERRY: 95% of our containers coming into this country are not inspected today. When you get on an airplane, your bag is x-rayed but the cargo hold isn’t x-rayed. Bush chose a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans over getting that equipment out into the homeland as fast as possible. We have bridges and tunnels that aren’t being secured. Chemical plants, nuclear plants that aren’t secured. Hospitals that are overcrowded with their emergency rooms. If we had a disaster today, could they handle it?

BUSH: We’ve tripled the homeland security budget from $10 to $30 billion. We’ll do everything we can to protect the homeland. We need good intelligence. Right after 1993 he voted to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion.

KERRY: Pres. Bush just said to you that we’ve added money. The test is not if you’ve added money. The test is have you done everything possible to make America secure. He chose a tax cut for wealthy Americans over the things that I listed to you.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Isolate the radical Muslims, not have them isolate the US

I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military and our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world, which Bush has almost not done, and beginning to isolate the radical Islamic Muslims, not have them isolate the US. I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies. We can do a better job of training the Iraqi forces to defend themselves.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Protect loose nuclear materials from the terrorists

Long before Bush and I get a tax cut - and that’s who gets it - long before we do, I’m going to invest in homeland security and I’m going to make sure we’re not cutting COPS programs in America and we’re fully staffed in our firehouses and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants. The president also unfortunately gave in to the chemical industry, which didn’t want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure. And there’s an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That’s a whole other subject, but I see we still have a little bit more time. Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union - former Soviet Union for 13 years. I’m going to do it in four years. And we’re going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Double the number of special forces

KERRY: I intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly. If it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I’d be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.

BUSH: I agree with Kerry that we shouldn’t be committing troops. We ought to be working with the African Union to do so-precisely what we did in Liberia. We helped stabilize the situation with some troops, and when the African Union came, we moved them out. My hope is that the African Union moves rapidly to help save lives. And fortunately the rainy season will be ending shortly, which will make it easier to get aid there and help the long-suffering people there.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Build the strongest network to prevent nuclear proliferation

KERRY: Right now Bush is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We’re telling other people, “You can’t have nuclear weapons,” but we’re pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. We’re going to get the job of containing all of that nuclear material in Russia done in four years. And we’re going to build the strongest international network to prevent nuclear proliferation.

BUSH: We’ve decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I’ve been the president. The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that’s why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer. Over 60 nations involved with disrupting the trans-shipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Offer a military modernization plan for the troops

We offer a military modernization plan that will create more fully modernized “digital divisions,” equipped with the latest communications technology crucial to future military success; create new “anti-proliferation” units trained and equipped to find and destroy nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and to secure the facilities that produce them; and provide full support for education and training for our troops, including on how to deal effectively with culturally diverse civilian populations.
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 19 , Aug 10, 2004

Make better use of the National Guard

We need to make better use of what should be a key asset in homeland defense - our National Guard. The National Guard has served in every war, and they are serving now. They were the first ones called on to line city streets, guard bridges, and patrol our airports after September 11th. We will make homeland security one of their primary missions, and assign Guard units to a standing national task force on homeland security commanded by a National Guard general.
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 23 , Aug 10, 2004

Keep our promises to American veterans

There are countless veterans who fought our wars who are now fighting year after year for the benefits they earned. Bush refuses to fully fund veterans’ health care. While boasting of cutting waitlists for VA health care, the Bush administration has done so by excluding nearly 500,000 veterans from enrolling. Bush has strongly opposed granting our nation’s veterans full disability and retirement pay. We will end the game of playing politics with funding for veterans health care by making it mandatory. We will end the “disabled veterans tax,” under which military retirees who receive both veteran’s pensions and disability compensation must surrender a dollar from their military retirement pay for every dollar they get for military compensation. America deserves a commander-in-chief who will fight for a constant standard of decency and respect for those who serve their country in our armed forces-on active duty and as veterans. It should be no other way and in our administration, it will be no other way
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 22 , Aug 10, 2004

Make certain the veterans have benefits

Q: What specific actions would you take to ensure that these soldiers receive the benefits that they deserve?

A: Bush has 135,000 veterans waiting six months to get their first visit with the doctor at the VA. 400,000 veterans have had their cutbacks and their accessibility to the VA altogether. He has made our military weaker by overextending them. Our troops deserve a president who’s going to keep faith with those who wore the uniform.

Source: CNN “Rock The Vote” Democratic Debate , Nov 5, 2003

Invest billions to secure loose nukes abroad

After spending trillions of dollars to win the cold war, it was worth spending a few billion dollars a year to make sure that a stricken former Soviet industry for the production of weapons of mass destruction does not become the source to a fire sale for rogue states and terrorists.

Instead the Bush administration tried to slash federal funding for these Nunn-Lugar initiatives the moment it took office, an effort it continued well after 9/11 starkly illustrated the potential costs of letting terrorists get control of weapons of mass destruction. More recently the administration has offered more support for Nunn-Lugar initiatives, but we must match that with broader, multilateral framework for identifying & securing nuclear materials wherever they may be and in whatever quantity. As Nunn and Lugar have long argued, we must help those in possession of deadly materials who lack the financial and technical means to control them to become responsible stewards under international supervision.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 57-8 , Oct 1, 2003

Stop terrorism by focusing on banks, computers & weapons

Terrorism is sometimes known as the revenge of the weak, since it is much easier to commit a terrorist act against a foreign enemy than to field an army for a conventional war. One of the greatest dangers of the terrorists is that unlike other criminals, they believe that what they are doing is morally right. They are rebels with a cause.

Those on the lower end of the geopolitical, social, and economic ladders have always had reasons for wanting violent change. What many have lacked was the means to carry out any action to express their rage, and opportune targets. With the end of the superpower struggle, increased attention has fallen on radical Islam.

Today’s terrorist networks are far harder to target, owing to their autonomy, lack of clear strategy, and rapid rate of reproduction. What is necessary to stop them is for states to focus on monitoring banks, computer networks, and weapons trafficking as essential components of detecting terrorist networks as they emerge.

Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p.113-114 , Jun 1, 1998

China sells nuclear technology to America's enemies

If Libya, Iran, Iraq, or North Korea crashes the nuclear club in coming years, it will be because the Chinese government has sold the country the components, materials, and/or expertise to construct nuclear and/or chemical weapons of mass destruction. Political considerations appear not to be paramount here. Obviously, the Chinese will not sell nuclear materials or weapons to neighboring countries with which they have hostile relations. But other than that, they seem to have few compunctions as to the buyer's politics. Nuclear weaponry turns out to be just another modern commodity.

Chinese transfers of technology--in particular magnets--to assist Pakistan's nuclear program were a principal concern. The US is considering imposing sanctions on the specific companies involved in the exports of the technology or barring financing by the US Export-Import Bank of some $800 million worth of nuclear power deals in China.

Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p. 55-56 , Jun 1, 1998

Need to be smarter about how we wage a war on terror efforts

KERRY: A fresh start, new credibility, a president who can understand what we have to do to reach out to the Muslim world to make it clear that this is not, you know - Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say that America has declared war on Islam. We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances.

BUSH: Kerry said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn’t going to determine how we defend ourselves. I decided the right action was in Iraq. He said I misled on Iraq. I don’t think he was misleading when he called Iraq a grave threat in the fall of 2002. I don’t think he was misleading when he said that it was right to disarm Iraq in the spring of 2003.What is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Automatic citizenship to immigrants who serves in army

We have about 37,000 people served in the armed forces of the United States who are legal residents. They should automatically become American citizens for having served their country in that way.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003


John Kerry on Anti-terrorism

We must break our oil addiction to win War on Terror

We cannot win the war on terror and get serious about global climate change and energy security, if we do not take bold steps to actually break our oil addiction. Talk is not enough. A safer, more secure energy future is well within our reach. The imperative has never been greater to reshape the future of our energy supply and energy use.
  1. We must establish an oil savings goal and implement an aggressive set of policies to reach it.
  2. We must immediately expand the availability of renewable fuels to run our automobiles.
  3. And we need to get serious about climate change and take measures to freeze and reverse our greenhouse gas emissions. Source: This Moment On Earth, by John Kerry, p.204-205 , Jan 1, 2007

    Cast a global net for terrorists

    Al Qaeda alone is known to operate in more than 60 countries. We need the cooperation of intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world to cast a global net for terrorists, infiltrate their cells, learn their plans, cut off their funds, and stop them before they can attack. We will strengthen the effectiveness of intelligence and law enforcement efforts around the world by forging stronger international coalitions and enhancing cooperative relationships.
    Source: Our Plan For America, p.225 , Aug 10, 2004

    Improve intelligence capabilities to counter terrorism

    We can more effectively prevent another terrorist attack by: restoring the credibility of our intelligence community by ensuring the basic integrity of the intelligence process. We will make certain that our intelligence agencies are protected from political pressures and operate in a culture of diversity of thought, dissent, and forceful challenging of assumptions; strengthening accountability & leadership by creating a true Director of National Intelligence with the authority to manage & direct all of the components of the intelligence community; maximizing coordination and integration by structuring around key threats like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and hostile countries; transforming our intelligence services to ensure that they have sufficient personnel with the skills, languages, training, & orientation needed to meet today’s threats. We will make sure that the FBI is fully prepared to perform counter-terrorism intelligence operations and strengthen our capabilities overseas.
    Source: Our Plan For America, p. 13 , Aug 10, 2004

    Cut off terrorists funds

    Terrorists need money to operate. We will: impose tough financial sanctions against nations or banks that engage in money laundering or fail to act against it; launch a “name and shame” campaign against those financing terror, and shut out of the US financial system those nations that fail to respond, end Bush’s kid-glove approach to the supply & laundering of terrorist money in Saudi Arabia, and demand Riyadh shut down Saudi-based “charities” that help finance al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.
    Source: Our Plan For America, p. 14 , Aug 10, 2004

    Prevent Afghanistan & others from becoming terrorist havens

    Our drive to topple the Taliban regime convincingly demonstrated the courage and skill of our troops, the value of powerful new technologies, and the particular importance of Special Forces units in defeating unconventional enemies. Unfortunately, we have not followed with a plan or the commitment to win the peace. Bush has all but turned away from Afghanistan, allowing it to become a forgotten front in the war on terror and once again a potential breeding ground for terrorists.
    Source: Our Plan For America, p. 15 , Aug 10, 2004

    Add 40,000 troops and double anti-terrorism special forces

    I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift & certain response. I will never give any nation or institution a veto over our national security. We need a stronger American military. We will add 40,000 active duty troops to strengthen American forces now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our anti-terrorism special forces. We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives - and win the battle.
    Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 29, 2004

    Will lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation

    We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared. We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation - to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world. We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn’t belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.
    Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 29, 2004

    Quickly implement the recommendations of the 9-11 commission

    The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn’t be letting 95% of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn’t be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in America.
    Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 29, 2004

    Four new imperatives: alliances, modernize, end Mideast oil

    It’s time for a new national security policy guided by four new imperatives: First, we must launch and lead a new era of alliances for the post 9-11 world. Second, we must modernize the world’s most powerful military to meet the new threats. Third, in addition to our military might, we must deploy all that is in America’s arsenal -- our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, and the appeal of our values and ideas. Fourth and finally, to secure our full independence and freedom, we must free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil.

    These four imperatives are a response to an inescapable reality: War has changed; the enemy is different - and we must think and act anew.

    Today, we are waging a global war against a terrorist movement committed to our destruction. Terrorists like al Qaeda are unlike any adversary our nation has faced. We do not know for certain how they are organized or how many operatives they have. But we know the destruction they can inflict.

    Source: Speech on Iraq and foreign policy, Seattle WA , May 27, 2004

    Increase military by 40,000 troops-but no draft

    Q: You said that in your first 100 days you would move to increase our armed forces by as much as 40,000 troops. You said there was a dire need for two full divisions. People are wondering right now about voluntary versus draft.

    KERRY: We don’t need a draft now and I wouldn’t be in favor of it under the current circumstances. All across this country there are families who are suffering greatly because the Guards and Reserves have been called up. They are overextended. Their deployments are too long. If we’re going to maintain this level of commitment on a global basis, and for the moment we have to because of what’s happened, we need an additional two divisions. One’s a combat division and one is a support division. That’s the responsible thing to do. That’s temporary, because I intend to go back to the UN, rejoin the community of nations, bring other boots on the ground to help us, and reduce the overall need for deployment of American forces in the globe.

    Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

    Focus more on human intelligence gathering

    Q: Do you feel there’s a problem with American intelligence-gathering?

    A: Yes, there is a problem. It’s a very serious one. The Bush Administration misled the American people with respect to intelligence related to Iraq. That’s very serious and we need to get to the bottom of the White House intelligence gathering process during the lead-up to the Iraq war. We also need to change how we gather intelligence--to increase the focus on human intelligence gathering.

    Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 7, 2003

    The New War: We are no longer safe at home

    On the periphery of the world are dangerous and unstable places, places where terrorists, absolutists, neo-Fascists, and gangsters work to undo the twentieth century and impose a new dark age. Though these forces are essentially weak and defensive and far less popular even in their home territories than the American values they oppose, they have repeatedly demonstrated the global reach of their ability to do violence.

    The proliferation of international criminal gangs and narco-terrorists in the 1990’s-a subject I wrote about I my 1997 book, The New War, was a warning that we were no longer safe at home from the dark underside of a global society. Any lingering doubt about that reality was dramatically dispelled on 9/11.

    Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 34 , Oct 1, 2003

    Modernize the Middle East to prevent future terrorism

    It isn’t only terrorism we are fighting, it’s also the beliefs that motivate terrorists and the conditions that make those beliefs possible.

    There are no full-fledged democracies among the 16 Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa. More than half of Arab women are still illiterate. These countries are among the most economically isolated in the world, with very little trade & investment and little income apart from the oil royalties. With a landscape marked by political oppression, economic stagnation, staggering unemployment, lack of education, poverty, and rapid population growth, is it any wonder these Islamic countries are recruiting grounds for terrorists?

    We need more than a one-dimensional war on terror. We must engage in a smarter, more comprehensive, and more farsighted strategy for modernizing the greater Middle East. It’s no more ambitious-and no less necessary-a task than the rebuilding of Europe that we undertook at the end of World War II.

    Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 44-6 , Oct 1, 2003


    John Kerry on Voting Record

    FactCheck: No, Kerry voted FOR 16 out of 19 defense packages

    BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: “John Kerry has repeatedly opposed weapons vital to winning the war on terror: Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Patriot missiles, B-2 Stealth bombers, F-18 fighter jets and more.”

    CNN FACT CHECK:This claim is accurate, although it primarily references his votes on several large spending bills, as opposed to votes on specific programs. It also references old positions that Kerry now disavows. However, throughout his Senate career, Kerry voted to approve 16 of 19 annual Pentagon spending bills, which authorized spending for many of the systems that the Bush-Cheney campaign says Kerry opposed. It is true that Kerry opposed many weapons systems when running for the Senate in 1984, although as a presidential candidate he has said that he should not have taken those positions in 1984. In the Senate, he has voted repeatedly to eliminate the B-2 Stealth bomber program, most recently in 1992.

    Source: CNN FactCheck on 2004 statements by Bush and Kerry , Oct 29, 2004

    Zell: Kerry voted against weapons needed for War on Terror

    This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our US Armed Forces? US forces armed with what? Spitballs?
    Source: Zell Miller’s 2004 Republican Keynote Convention speech , Sep 1, 2004

    Voted NO on cutting $221M in benefits to Filipinos who served in WWII US Army.

    Opponents argument for voting NAY:Sen. INOUYE. From the Spanish-American War in 1898, until the end of World War II, we exercised jurisdiction over the Philippines like a colonial power. In July 1941, we called upon the Filipinos to volunteer to serve the US under American command, and 470,000 Filipinos volunteered. An Executive Order in 1941 promised Filipinos if they fought for us, they could become citizens of the US and get all of the veterans' benefits. But in 1946, the Congress rescinded the 1941 act. Well, this veterans bill has a provision in it--a provision of honor--in which, finally, after six decades, we will restore our honor and tell the Filipinos: It is late, but please forgive us. Proponents argument for voting YEA:Sen. BURR. This bill is so much more than just a pension for Philippine veterans. It is $332 million in Philippine benefits, of which $221 million is devoted to a new special pension that does not exist [previously. Only that $221M would be cut]. Regardless of the outcome of my amendment, I support final passage of this bill. But we do have a difference as it relates to the pensions. I believe that there was not a promise made. We did not imply it. Those who made the decision on the 1946 Rescissions Act, they looked at the history very well.

    Sen. CORNYN. The problem I have with this bill is that the US Treasury is not bottomless, and the funding that is being provided to create this new pension would literally be at the expense of US veterans. The $221 million that is addressed by Sen. Burr's amendment would actually go back in to supplement benefits for US veterans. And while we appreciate and honor all of our allies who fought alongside of us in WWII, certainly that doesn't mean we are going to grant pension benefits to all of our allies, [like] the British or the Australians. Vote for the Burr Amendment because certainly our American veterans should be our priority.

    Reference: Burr Amendment; Bill S.Amdt. 4572 to S. 1315 ; vote number 2008-111 on Apr 24, 2008

    Voted YES on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls.

    SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. FEINGOLD: The Protect America Act (PAA) we passed last year was sold repeatedly as a way to allow the Government to collect foreign-to-foreign communications without needing the approval of the FISA Court. Now, this is something all of us support, every one of us. But the PAA actually went much further. It authorized new sweeping intrusions into the privacy of countless Americans. The bill the Senate is considering to replace the PAA does not do nearly enough to safeguard against Government abuse. So this amendment would provide those safeguards.

    [The PAA allows] acquiring all the calls and e-mails between employees of a US company and a foreign company, with no requirement to get a warrant and no requirement that there be some link to terrorism. So any American who works at a company that does business overseas should think about that.

    OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO: Sen. BOND: The purpose of this bill is, and always has been, to enable the intelligence community to act to target foreign terrorists and spies overseas.

    The amendment, as it is drafted, will have a totally unexpected impact. It is difficult to explain, in an unclassified session, why this amendment is unworkable. There are only certain communications which the intelligence community is lawfully permitted to acquire, and which it has any desire to acquire, because to acquire all the communications from all foreigners is an absolutely impossible task.

    I cannot describe in a public setting how they go about ascertaining which collections are important. But to say that if Osama bin Laden calls somebody in the US, we cannot listen in to that communication, unless we have an independent means of verifying it has some impact or a terrorist threat--That is the most important communication we need to intercept.

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment Rejected, 38-57

    Reference: Amendment to Protect America Act; Bill S.Amdt.3913 to S.2248 ; vote number 08-S012 on Feb 7, 2008

    Voted YES on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months.

    Vote on an amendment, SA2032, which amends HR1585, the Defense Authorization bill: To limit the deployment of a unit or individual of the Armed Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom to no more than 12 consecutive months; and to limit Marine Corps deployment to no more than 7 consecutive months; except in time of national emergency.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    Sen. HAGEL: The war in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the breaking point. When we deploy our military, we have an obligation to ensure that our troops are rested, ready, prepared, fully trained, and fully equipped. Today's Armed Forces are being deployed repeatedly for increasing periods of time. This is quickly wearing down the troops and their families, impacting the mental and physical health of our troops. Further, these deployments are affecting the recruiting and retention rates of the military. For example, the Army reached only a little over 80% of its recruiting goal for June. This is the second month in a row that the Army has failed to recruit the number of new soldiers needed to fill the ranks. And this is with $1 billion in large cash bonus incentives.

    Opponents recommend voting NO because:

    Sen. KYL: Time in theater and dwell times should be a goal, rather than an absolute fixed requirement that becomes the policy of the US military determined by congressional action. By mandating a certain policy for deployment time or dwell time, the Congress is engaged in the most explicit micromanaging of what is obviously a function for the Commander in Chief and military commanders to perform. This is not something Members of Congress are knowledgeable about or would have the ability to dictate in any responsible fashion. It also would be unconstitutional. Clearly, the dwell times of troops or the amount of time in theater is an obligation of the Commander in Chief, not something for the Congress to determine.

    Reference: Hagel Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill; Bill SA2032 to HR1585 ; vote number 2007-243 on Jul 11, 2007

    Voted YES on implementing the 9/11 Commission report.

    Vote on passage of a bill to implement unfinished recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) to fight the war on terror more effectively:

    Opponents recommend voting NO because:

    One of the authors of the 9/11 Commission report said, the President's announced strategy should be given a chance to succeed. That is what I think we should do, give this plan a chance to succeed. Our troops in theater, our commanders, and the Iraqi leaders all believe they can see early signs of success in this program, even though it has just begun, and they are cautiously optimistic that it can succeed. I think it would be unconscionable for the Congress, seeing the beginnings of success here, to then act in any way that would pull the rug out from under our troops and make it impossible for them to achieve their mission.

    Reference: Improving America's Security Act; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 2007-073 on Mar 13, 2007

    Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

    Sen. Specter's amendment would strike the provision regarding habeas review. The underlying bill authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. Excerpts from the Senate floor debate:

    Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.

    Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of habeas corpus is maintained.

    GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.

    SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

    GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.

    Reference: Specter Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.5087 to S.3930 ; vote number 2006-255 on Sep 28, 2006

    Voted YES on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods.

    Amendment to provide for congressional oversight of certain Central Intelligence Agency programs. The underlying bill S. 3930 authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. The amendment requires quarterly reports describing all CIA detention facilities; the name of each detainee; their suspected activities; & each interrogation technique authorized for use and guidelines on the use of each such technique.

    Opponents recommend voting NO because:

    I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.

    This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.

    If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.

    We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.

    Reference: Rockefeller Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.5095 to S.3930 ; vote number 2006-256 on Sep 28, 2006

    Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.

    This vote reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act with some modifications (amendments). Voting YEA extends the PATRIOT Act, and voting NAY would phase it out. The official summary of the bill is:
    A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
    Reference: USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments; Bill S. 2271 ; vote number 2006-025 on Mar 1, 2006

    Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.

    Vote to invoke cloture on a conference report that extends the authority of the FBI to conduct "roving wiretaps" and access business records. Voting YES would recommend, in effect, that the PATRIOT Act be extended through December 31, 2009, and would makes the provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. Voting NO would extend debate further, which would have the effect of NOT extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
    Reference: Motion for Cloture of PATRIOT Act; Bill HR 3199 ; vote number 2005-358 on Dec 16, 2005

    Voted YES on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism.

    Vote to adopt an amendment that makes US businesses and their subsidiaries liable to prosecution for dealing with foreign businesses which have links to terrorism or whose parent country supports terrorism. Voting YES would:
    Reference: Stop Business with Terrorists Act of 2005; Bill S AMDT 1351 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-203 on Jul 26, 2005

    Voted YES on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders.

    Amendment intended to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by restoring $565 million in cuts to vital first-responder programs in the Department of Homeland Security, including the State Homeland Security Grant program, by providing $150 million for port security grants and by providing $140 million for 1,000 new border patrol agents.
    Reference: State Homeland Security Grant Program Amendment; Bill S AMDT 220 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-64 on Mar 17, 2005

    Voted YES on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

    Adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would ban nuclear weapons testing six months after ratification by the 44 nations that have nuclear power plants or nucelar research reactors.
    Status: Resolution of Ratification Rejected Y)48; N)51; P)1
    Reference: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Bill Treaty Document #105-28 ; vote number 1999-325 on Oct 13, 1999

    Voted YES on allowing another round of military base closures.

    Vote on an amendment to allow one round of military base closures beginning in 2001 as determined by an independent panel.
    Reference: Bill S.1059 ; vote number 1999-147 on May 26, 1999

    Voted NO on cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.

    The Kerrey (D-NE) amdt would strike bill language requiring that U.S. strategic nuclear forces remain at START I levels through the end of fiscal 2000 unless Russia ratified START II.
    Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)56; N)44
    Reference: Motion to table Kerrey Amdt #395; Bill S. 1059 ; vote number 1999-149 on May 26, 1999

    Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP.

    Vote that the policy of the US is to deploy a National Missile Defense system capable of defending against limited ballistic missile attack as soon as it is technologically possible, and to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces.
    Reference: Bill S 257 ; vote number 1999-51 on Mar 17, 1999

    Voted YES on military pay raise of 4.8%.

    Vote to pass a bill to authorize a military pay raise of 4.8% in 2000 and annual pay increases through 2006 of 0.5% above the inflation rate. The bill would also provide additional incentives to certain enlisted personnel who remain on active duty.
    Reference: Bill S.4 ; vote number 1999-26 on Feb 24, 1999

    Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex basic training.

    Byrd Amdt (D-WV) that would prohibit same-sex military barracks and basic training.
    Status: Amdt Rejected Y)39; N)53; NV)8
    Reference: Byrd Amdt #3011; Bill S. 2057 ; vote number 1998-180 on Jun 25, 1998

    Voted NO on favoring 36 vetoed military projects.

    Overturning line-item vetoes of 36 military projects vetoed by President Clinton.
    Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)30; NV)1
    Reference: Line Item Veto Cancellation bill; Bill S. 1292 ; vote number 1997-287 on Oct 30, 1997

    Voted YES on banning chemical weapons.

    Approval of the chemical weapons ban.
    Status: Resolution of Ratification Agreed to Y)74; N)26
    Reference: Resolution of ratification of the Chemical (Comprehensive) Weapons (Convention) Ban; Bill S. Res. 75 ; vote number 1997-51 on Apr 24, 1997

    Voted NO on considering deploying NMD, and amending ABM Treaty.

    Vote to consider establishing a policy requiring the deployment of a national missile defense system by the end of 2003. The bill would also urge discussions with Russia to amend the ABM Treaty to allow deployment of the system.
    Reference: Bill S 1635 ; vote number 1996-157 on Jun 4, 1996

    Voted NO on 1996 Defense Appropriations.

    Approval of the 1996 Defense Appropriations bill.
    Status: Bill Passed Y)62; N)35; NV)3
    Reference: Defense Approps Bill FY 96; Bill S. 1087 ; vote number 1995-397 on Sep 5, 1995

    Establish Maritime Security grants for ports and vessels.

    Kerry co-sponsored the Port and Maritime Security Act

    Became Public Law No: 107-295.
    Source: Bill sponsored by 15 Senators 01-S1214 on Jul 20, 2001

    Federalize aviation security.

    Kerry co-sponsored the Aviation Security Act

    H.R. 2951 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 107-71.
    Source: Bill sponsored by 31 Senators and 25 Reps 01-S1447 on Sep 21, 2001

    Small business in developing homeland security technologies.

    Kerry introduced a resolution on small businesses

    Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) small business participation is vital to U.S. defense and should play an active role in assisting the military, Federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and State and local police to combat terrorism through the design and development of innovative products; and (2) Federal, State, and local governments should aggressively seek out and purchase innovative technologies and services from, and promote research opportunities for, American small businesses to help in homeland defense and the fight against terrorism. Passed/agreed to in Senate.

    Source: Resolution sponsored by 26 Senators 02-SR264 on May 8, 2002

    Rated 20% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

    Kerry scores 20% by SANE on peace issues

    Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...

    As the Pentagon’s budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers. At Peace Action our priorities are clear.

    The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

    Source: SANE website 03n-SANE on Dec 31, 2003

    Extend reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11.

    Kerry co-sponsored extending reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11

      Congress makes the following findings:
    1. Since September 11, 2001, members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces have been sent into harm's way and fought alongside members of the regular components of the Armed Forces.
    2. Between September 11, 2001, and December 7, 2007, more than 600,000 members of the reserve components have been mobilized in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other contingency operations.
    3. More than 142,000 members of the reserve components have been mobilized more than once during this same period.
    4. On December 7, 2007, the conference report for H. R. 1585 offered an earlier retirement benefit for members of the reserve components who are mobilized in support of contingency operations.
    5. The House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to the conference report on December 14, 2007.
    6. However, the conference report only considers service performed after the date of the enactment, and this effective date fails to recognize the service and sacrifice made by members of the reserve components since September 11, 2001.
    Source: Reservists Parity for Patriots Act (S.2836/H.R.4930) 07-S2836 on Dec 19, 2007

    Study & address suicides among veterans.

    Kerry co-sponsored studying & addressing suicides among veterans

    Veterans Suicide Study Act - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs conduct a study to determine the number of veterans who have committed suicide between January 1, 1997, and the date of the enactment of this Act. Congress makes the following findings:

    Source: Veterans Suicide Study Act (S.2899/H.R.4204) 08-S2899 on Apr 22, 2008

    Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays.

    Kerry signed HR1283&S3065

    Repeals current Department of Defense policy [popularly known as "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell"] concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces. Prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member. Authorizes the re-accession into the Armed Forces of otherwise qualified individuals previously separated for homosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexual conduct.

    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the furnishing of dependent benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of 'marriage' and 'spouse' and referred to as the 'Defense of Marriage Act').

    Source: Military Readiness Enhancement Act 10-HR1283 on Mar 3, 2010

    Restore habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror.

    Kerry co-sponsored restoring habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror

    A bill to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Sen. SPECTER. "I introduce this legislation, denominated the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. Last year, in the Military Commissions Act, the constitutional right of habeas corpus was attempted to be abrogated. I say "attempted to be abrogated" because, in my legal judgment, that provision in the Act is unconstitutional.

    "It is hard to see how there can be legislation to eliminate the constitutional right to habeas corpus when the Constitution is explicit that habeas corpus may not be suspended except in time of invasion or rebellion, and we do not have either of those circumstances present, as was conceded by the advocates of the legislation last year to take away the right of habeas corpus.

    "We have had Supreme Court decisions which have made it plain that habeas corpus is available to non-citizens and that habeas corpus applies to territory controlled by the US, specifically, including Guantanamo. More recently, however, we had a decision in the US District Court applying the habeas corpus jurisdiction stripping provision of the Military Commissions Act, but I believe we will see the appellate courts strike down this legislative provision.

    "The New York Times had an extensive article on this subject, starting on the front page, last Sunday, and continuing on a full page on the back page about what is happening at Guantanamo. It is hard to see how in America, or in a jurisdiction controlled by the United States, these proceedings could substitute for even rudimentary due process of law."

    Source: Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S.185/H.R.2826) 2007-S185 on Jun 22, 2007

    School assistance to survivors of injured federal police.

    Kerry co-sponsored the Federal Law Enforcement Dependents Assistance Act

    A bill to provide educational assistance to the dependents of Federal law enforcement officials who are killed or disabled in the performance of their duties.

    Corresponding House bill is H.R.4111. Became Public Law No: 104-238.
    Source: Bill sponsored by 12 Senators and 11 Reps 96-S2101 on Sep 20, 1996

    • Click here for 19 older quotations from John Kerry on Homeland Security.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Homeland Security.
    • Click here for policy papers on Homeland Security.
    • Click here for a profile of John Kerry.
    • Click here for VoteMatch responses by John Kerry.
    Other candidates on Homeland Security: John Kerry on other issues:
    Obama Administration:
    Pres.Barack Obama
    V.P.Joe Biden
    State:John Kerry
    DHS:Janet Napolitano
    DoD:Chuck Hagel
    A.G.:Eric Holder
    HHS:Kathleen Sebelius
    USDA:Tom Vilsack

    First Obama Administration:
    State:Hillary Clinton
    Staff:Rahm Emanuel
    DOT:Ray LaHood
    DOI:Ken Salazar
    DOL:Hilda Solis

    Former Bush Administration:
    State:Colin Powell
    State:Condi Rice
    EPA:Christie Whitman

    Former Clinton Administration:
    HUD:Andrew Cuomo
    V.P.Al Gore
    Labor:Robert Reich
    A.G.:Janet Reno
    Abortion
    Budget/Economy
    Civil Rights
    Corporations
    Crime
    Drugs
    Education
    Energy/Oil
    Environment
    Families/Children
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Immigration
    Infrastructure/Technology
    Jobs
    Principles/Values
    Social Security
    Tax Reform
    War/Iraq/Mideast
    Welfare/Poverty

    Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014