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Gus Bilirakis on Homeland Security

Republican


More funding for Department of Veterans Affairs

As Americans it is our solemn responsibility to ensure every man and woman that serve our nation in uniform is given the proper benefits to live out their life in dignity--especially those injured while in service to our nation. To this end we must ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs receives sufficient funding to meet its entire obligation to care for our sick and disabled veterans.
Source: 2006 House campaign website, gusbilirakis.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast stations
  2. cooperating with foreign broadcasting networks
  3. assisting and supporting noncommercial educational radio broadcasting
  4. paying dues to such organizations
  5. or acquiring radio programs for public broadcast.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Blackburn, R-TN]: This bill gets the Federal Government--and Federal taxpayers--out of the business of buying radio programming they do not agree with. This is a bill that is long overdue. Regardless of what you think of NPR, its programming or statements by its management, the time has come to cut the umbilical cord from the taxpayer support that has become as predictable as an entitlement program. Much has changed in the media landscape since the wiretaps, to seek certain business records, and to gather intelligence on lone terrorists who are not affiliated with a known terrorist group. The Patriot Act works. It has proved effective in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting Americans. To let these provisions expire would leave every American less safe.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Conyers, D-MI]: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret FISA court to authorize our government to collect business records or anything else, requiring that a person or business produce virtually any type record. We didn't think that that was right then. We don't think it's right now. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. And so I urge a "no" vote on the extension of these expiring provisions.

Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act; Bill H.514 ; vote number 11-HV066 on Feb 17, 2011

Voted NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US, but not abroad.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007 or RESTORE Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to provide that a court order is not required for electronic surveillance directed at the acquisition of communication between non-US citizens outside the US, whether or not the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US; and provides procedures when one party is located inside the US or is a US citizen.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. CONYERS: Earlier this year, in the Protect America Act, PAA, amendments were made to FISA, giving the Government enhanced flexibility to collect foreign intelligence information. But the broad scope of the authority without up-front court approval raised grave concerns about the need for more safeguards of innocent Americans' communications. The RESTORE Act improves upon the PAA by providing a series of checks and balances while still allowing maximum flexibility. The RESTORE Act does not require individual warrants when persons are abroad, but it is firm that a FISA warrant is required to obtain communications of people in the US.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. KING of N.Y.: Electronic surveillance is one of the strongest weapons in our arsenal. The real enemy is al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism, not our own government working so hard to protect us. The PAA updated FISA and struck the appropriate balance between protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks and protecting our civil liberties. Today's bill, the RESTORE Act, marks an undeniable retreat in the war against Islamic terrorism. It limits the type of foreign intelligence information that may be acquired and actually gives foreign targets more protections than Americans get in criminal cases here at home.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed, 213-197.

Reference: RESTORE Act; Bill H.R.3773 ; vote number 08-HR3773 on Mar 14, 2008

Voted NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.

PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE:This bill would impede efforts to protect [against] terrorist attacks because it imposes several unnecessary and unacceptable burdens on our Intelligence Community. [I reject] subjecting two additional vital positions to a more protracted process of Senate confirmation [and I reject] a new office of Inspector General for the Intelligence Community as duplicative. [Most sigficantly,] it is vitally important that the CIA be allowed to maintain a separate and classified interrogation program, [and not] use only the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations. My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique such as waterboarding. Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA program that will shield from disclosure to terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon capture.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. REYES: This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances. Well, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. HOEKSTRA: This bill fails to give the intelligence community the tools that it needs to protect the American people from radical jihadists. The debate on this authorization bill is not about a single issue, [waterboarding], as some would have you believe. It is about the need to ensure that we give the right tools to our intelligence professionals in this time of enhanced threat.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 225-188 (2/3rds required)

Bill Veto override on H.R. 2082 ; vote number 08-HR2082 on Mar 11, 2008

Voted YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad.

Vote on passage of S.1927, the Protect America Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to state that the restrictions on "electronic surveillance" should not encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.

A modified version, S.2011, failed in the Senate; it called for amending FISA to provide that a court order is not required for the electronic surveillance of communication between foreign persons who are not located within the US for collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. LEVIN: Both bills cure the problem that exists: Our intelligence agencies must obtain a court order to monitor the communications of foreigners suspected of terrorist activities who are physically located in foreign countries. Now, what are the major differences? Our bill (S2011) is limited to foreign targets limited overseas, unlike the Bond bill (S1927), which does not have that key limitation and which very clearly applies to US citizens overseas. Our bill does not. Now, if there is an incidental access to US citizens, we obviously will permit that. But the Bond bill goes beyond that, citing "any person." It does not say a "foreign person." We avoid getting to the communications of Americans. There you have to go for a warrant.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LIEBERMAN: I will vote for the Bond proposal (S1927) because we are at war, & there is increased terrorist activity. We have a crisis. This proposal will allow us to gather intelligence information on that enemy we otherwise would not gather. This is not the time for striving for legislative perfection. Let us not strive for perfection. Let us put national security first. We are going to have 6 months to reason together to find something better.

Reference: Protect America Act; Bill S.1927 ; vote number 2007-0836 on Aug 4, 2007

Voted YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts.

  1. Improving the Quality of Contracts--to restrict the contract period of noncompetitive contracts to the minimum period necessary to meet urgent requirements; and not more than one year unless the the government would be seriously injured.
  2. Increasing Contract Oversight--to make publicly available (on websites) justification documents for using noncompetitive contract procedures.
  3. Promoting Integrity in Contracting--to prohibit former federal officials from accepting compensation from contractors as lawyers or lobbyists.

Proponents support voting YES because:

In Iraq, we were told we needed Halliburton to get a contract without any competition because they were the only ones who know how to put out oil well fires. So they got a contract on a cost-plus basis even though they had a history of overcharging the taxpayers. And then later we found out that they didn't do anything about putting out oil well fires in the first Gulf war; it was Bechtel, not Halliburton. Contractors were given special treatment by not having healthy competition.

In dealing with Hurricane Katrina, and we have seen the same mistakes again: No-competition contracts; cost-plus contracts. We have seen what the result has been: Wasted taxpayer dollars. This bill requires that if there is an emergency to give a contract, give it. But then have bidding within a year.

Opponents support voting NO because:

We support transparency and accountability in decision-making, but this bill asks for audit reports that are only advisory. To provide those to Congress not only gives you too much information, a lot of it can be misleading and can increase the number of contract disputes.

When you are fighting a war, you need to move quickly. You don't give a 6-month appeal to the folks that lose the competition. You don't give small business set-asides because there is one thing you don't have, you don't have time.

Reference: Accountability in Contracting Act; Bill H R 1362 ; vote number 2007-156 on Mar 15, 2007

Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.

Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to allow the President & Attorney General to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order to acquire foreign intelligence information, after certifying that the surveillance is directed at the acquisition of communications of foreign agents.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Intelligence is the first line of defense in the war on terrorism. That means we have to have intelligence agencies and capabilities that are agile, that are responsive to changes in technology, and that also protect the civil liberties of Americans. Let me make an analogy. With modernization, we replaced Route 66 with Interstate 40. We no longer have the stoplights and the intersections. We created on ramps and off ramps and concrete barriers to protect the citizens where traffic was moving very quickly. That is like what we are trying to do here--FISA needs modernization.

Opponents support voting NO because:

We are legislating in the dark. We do not even know what the President is doing now because he will not tell us. The New York Times exposed that the administration had authorized secret surveillance of domestic conversations. When exposed, the President claimed he was operating under inherent powers, but court decisions have found that the President cannot simply declare administration actions constitutional and lawful, whether or not they are.

Yet rather than finding out what is going on, this legislation retroactively legalizes whatever has been going on. The President already has broad latitude to conduct domestic surveillance, including surveillance of American citizens, so long as it is overseen by the FISA court.

This bill does not enhance security, but it does allow surveillance without the traditional checks and balances that have served our Nation well.

Reference: Update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; Bill H.R.5825 ; vote number 2006-502 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.

A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Voting YES indicates support of the current methods for intelligence-gathering used by the CIA and other agencies. The resolution's opponents say:
Reference: Intelligence Authorization Act; Bill HR 5020 resolution H RES 774 ; vote number 2006-108 on Apr 26, 2006

Extend reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11.

Bilirakis 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

Free postage for soldiers serving abroad.

Bilirakis signed H.R.704

Supply Our Soldiers Act H.R.704 1/27/2009 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.00704:

Source: Fair Tax Act 09-HR704 on Jan 27, 2009

Member of House Committee on Homeland Security.

Bilirakis is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security

The House Committee on Homeland Security conducts oversight and handles legislation related to the security of the United States. The committee may amend, approve, or table (kill) homeland security related bills. It also has the power to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and subpoena witnesses. Additionally, the committee has authorization and policy oversight responsibilities over the Department of Homeland Security.

The committee organized itself into six subcommittees, with each focusing on different aspects of security:

Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-HSC on Feb 3, 2011

Leader of House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Bilirakis is a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs oversees agencies, reviews current legislation, and recommends new bills or amendments concerning veterans. Jurisdiction includes retiring and disability pensions, life insurance, education (including the G.I. Bill), vocational training, medical care, and home loan guarantees. The committee oversees the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans' hospitals, and veterans' cemeteries, except cemeteries under the Secretary of the Interior.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-Vet on Feb 3, 2011

Sell F16 fighter aircraft to Taiwan.

Bilirakis signed Taiwan Policy Act

The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011 states that nothing in this Act shall be construed to amend or supersede the Taiwan Relations Act.

    States that it shall be US policy to:
  1. support Taiwan and the human rights of its people,
  2. permit senior leaders of Taiwan to enter the US under conditions of appropriate respect and permit meetings between high level Taiwanese and US officials in all US executive departments,
  3. sign a comprehensive extradition agreement,
  4. accept a letter of request from Taiwan for price and availability data or for a formal sales offer regarding the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon aircraft, and
  5. include Taiwan in the visa waiver program.
States that in conducting relations with Taiwan and China the United States continues to assent to the six assurances provided to Taiwan in 1982.
Source: H.R.2918 11-HR2918 on Sep 14, 2011

Sponsored opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Bilirakis co-sponsored Resolution on UN

Congressional Summary:Expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

  1. the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and that the Senate should not ratify the ATT; and
  2. that no Federal funds should be authorized to implement the ATT.

Opponent's argument against bill:(United Nations press release, June 3, 2013):

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon str

Source: S.CON.RES.7 & H.CON.RES.23 : 13-HCR23 on Mar 13, 2013

Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.

Bilirakis signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

Source: S.475&HR.1182 2009-S475 on Feb 25, 2009

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Homeland Security: Gus Bilirakis on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Charlie Crist
Jeb Bush
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Marco Rubio

Left 113th Congress, 2013-2014:
AL-1: Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
FL-13:Bill Young(R,deceased)
FL-19:Trey Radel(R,arrested)
IL-2: Jesse L. Jackson(D,convicted)
LA-5: Rodney Alexander(R,resigned)
MA-5: Ed Markey(D,elected)
MO-8: Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
NC-12:Mel Watt(D,appointed)
NJ-1: Rob Andrews(D,investigated)
SC-1: Tim Scott(R,appointed)

Newly-elected special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
FL-13:David Jolly(R)
FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12: Pending Jul.15
NJ-1: Pending Nov.4
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
Won primary 2014:
TX-4: John Ratcliffe(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

Retiring to run for Senate in 2014:
AR-4: Tom Cotton(R)
CO-4: Cory Gardner(R)
GA-1: Jack Kingston(R)
GA-10:Paul Broun(R)
GA-11:Phil Gingrey(R)
HI-1: Colleen Hanabusa(D)
IA-1: Bruce Braley(D)
LA-6: Bill Cassidy(R)
MI-14:Gary Peters(D)
MT-0: Steve Daines(R)
OK-5: James Lankford(R)
TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)
WV-2: Shelley Moore Capito(R)

Former Reps running for House in 2014:
AL-5: Parker Griffith(R)
CA-3: Doug Ose(R)
GA-11:Bob Barr(R)
CA-31:Joe Baca(D)
IL-10:Bob Dold(R)
IL-17:Bobby Schilling(R)
MS-4: Gene Taylor(D)
MT-0: Denny Rehberg(R)
NH-1: Frank Guinta(R)
NY-11:Vito Fossella(R)
NY-18:Nan Hayworth(R)
OH-7: John Boccieri(D)
PA-13:Marjorie Margolies(D)
TX-23:Francisco Canseco(R)
Lost primary 2014:
TX-4: Ralph Hall(R)
VA-7: Eric Cantor(R)

Retiring to run for State Office in 2014:
AR-2: Tim Griffin(R)
CA-35:Gloria McLeod(D)
ME-2: Mike Michaud(D)
PA-13:Allyson Schwartz(D)
VI-0: Donna Christensen(D)

Retiring effective Jan. 2015:
AL-6: Spencer Bachus(R)
AZ-7: Ed Pastor(D)
CA-11:George Miller(D)
CA-25:Howard McKeon(R)
CA-31:Gary Miller(R)
CA-33:Henry Waxman(D)
CA-45:John Campbell(R)
IA-3: Tom Latham(R)
MI-4: Dave Camp(R)
MI-6: Tom Petri(R)
MI-12:John Dingell(D)
MN-6: Michele Bachmann(R)
NC-6: Howard Coble(R)
NC-7: Mike McIntyre(D)
NJ-3: Jon Runyan(R)
NJ-12:Rush Holt(D)
NY-4: Carolyn McCarthy(D)
NY-21:Bill Owens(D)
PA-6: Jim Gerlach(R)
UT-4: Jim Matheson(D)
VA-8: James Moran(D)
VA-10:Frank Wolf(R)
WA-4: Doc Hastings(R)
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Page last updated: Jul 16, 2014