Rob Wittman on Homeland Security
Ensure military funding needed for war on terror
I know we have a duty to support our military members as they proudly serve our nation. I will oppose those in Congress who hold military funding hostage for political gain. I will ensure that the men and women in our military receive the funding
and equipment they need in the war on terror, and that they receive the support and care they need when they return home.
Source: 2008 House campaign website, robwittmanforcongress.com
, Apr 1, 2008
Terrorist networks must be disrupted
I support a strong foreign policy that links like-minded nations together to confront the terrorist threat. Terrorist networks must be disrupted and their funding sources exposed. By being vigilant against violent terrorist groups abroad, we can
better prevent attacks here in America.
I will oppose those in Congress who hold military funding hostage for political gain. I will ensure that the men and women in our military receive the funding and equipment they need in the war on terror.
Source: 2008 House campaign website, robwittmanforcongress.com
, Mar 8, 2008
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;
; 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
Extend reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11.
Wittman co-sponsored extending reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11
Congress makes the following findings:
Source: Reservists Parity for Patriots Act (S.2836/H.R.4930) 07-S2836 on Dec 19, 2007
- 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.
- 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.
- More than 142,000 members of the reserve components have been mobilized more than once during this same period.
- 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.
The House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to the conference report on December 14, 2007.
- 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.
Member of House Committee on Armed Services.
Wittman is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services
United States House Committee on Armed Services retains exclusive jurisdiction for: defense policy generally, ongoing military operations, the organization and reform of the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, counter-drug programs, acquisition and industrial base policy, technology transfer and export controls, joint interoperability, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, Department of Energy nonproliferation programs, and detainee affairs and policy.
The Committee on Armed Services maintains six permanent subcommittees, an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and a Defense Acquisition Reform Panel. Each of the subcommittees have differing jurisdictions, which overlap on key issues, but all are dedicated to providing for the men and women of America's Armed Forces and the nation's common defense. The subcommittees are:
Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-AS on Feb 3, 2011
- Tactical Air and Land Forces
- Military Personnel
- Oversight & Investigations
- Seapower & Projection Forces
- Strategic Forces
- Emerging Threats & Capabilities
Sponsored opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
Wittman co-sponsored Resolution on UN
Congressional Summary:Expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
- WHEREAS the ATT poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the US as well as to the constitutional rights of US citizens and US sovereignty;
- WHEREAS the ATT fails to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms;
- WHEREAS the ATT places free democracies and totalitarian regimes on a basis of equality, recognizing their equal right to transfer arms, and is thereby dangerous to the security of the US;
- WHEREAS the ATT will create opportunities to engage in 'lawfare' against the US via the misuse of the treaty's tribunals;
- WHEREAS the ATT could hinder the US from fulfilling its strategic and moral commitments to provide arms to allies such as Taiwan & Israel;
- Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that--
- the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty,
and that the Senate should not ratify the ATT; and
- 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
End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.
Wittman co-sponsored USA FREEDOM Act
Congressional summary:: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act or the USA FREEDOM Act:
- Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to require that the records sought pertain to an individual in contact with a foreign power.
- Amends the USA PATRIOT Act to minimize the acquisition and retention of information and to prohibit its unauthorized dissemination.
- Imposes additional requirements on the authorized use of pen registers and trap and trace devices (devices for recording incoming and outgoing telephone numbers).
- Prohibits the searching of collections of communications of US persons.
Opponent's argument against (Electronic Frontier Foundation): The bill only addresses a small portion of the problems created by NSA spying. It does not touch problems like NSA programs to sabotage encryption standards; it does not effectively tackle
the issue of collecting information on people outside of the US; and it doesn't address the authority that the government is supposedly using to tap the data links between service provider data centers, such as those owned by Google and Yahoo. The bill also does not address excessive secrecy; it won't deal with the major over-classification issues or the state secrets privilege.
Opponent's argument against (J. Kirk Wiebe, former NSA Senior Intelligence Analyst interview with TheRealNews.com): It's window dressing. Stopping bulk collection is a good step, but the only thing that's going to fix this is direct access into NSA's databases by an independent group of hackers, techie types, people like Snowden who know how to get into a network and look at things and verify that the data they're collecting and what they're doing with it complies with the Constitution. The NSA has essentially operated illegally--unconstitutionally--for 60% of its existence.
Source: HR3361 & S1599 14-H3361 on Oct 29, 2013
No transfers of Gitmo prisoners to US or abroad.
Wittman co-sponsored H.R.401 & S.165
Congressional Summary: To extend and enhance limitations on the transfer or release of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. No amounts appropriated for any agency of the US Government may be used, for two years, to construct or modify any facility in the US, to house an individual detained at Guantanamo.
Proponents reasons for voting YEA: Rep. WALORSKI: 21 terrorists have been released just in November alone to foreign countries. This measure would repeal current law that has allowed the administration to transfer prisoners to foreign countries and reduce the population at GTMO down to 127. Detainees at GTMO pose a real threat to our national security. HR 401 would prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen. Yemen's branch of al Qaeda was founded by former GTMO detainees. We cannot risk trusting the world's most dangerous terrorists to its most dangerous places, nor should we simply cut them loose in rich, stable countries with no security
safeguards in place.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (CloseGuantanamo.org article, Jan. 2015): The prison at Guantanamo Bay has been open for 13 years. In 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. Yet it remains open, undermining America's values and national security. Almost half of the remaining 122 prisoners--55 men in total--were cleared for release in 2010 through 2013. Some of these men were previously cleared by the Bush Administration--some as long ago as 2004. It is unacceptable that the U.S. government continues to hold men that its own national security experts have recommended for release or transfer, and that Congress has intervened to maintain this deplorable state of affairs. We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo harms our nation every day it stays open, and it continues to serve as a potent symbol for terrorist recruitment.
Source: Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act 15_H401 on Jan 16, 2015
Set minimum spending on defense at 4% of GDP.
Wittman co-sponsored setting minimum spending on defense at 4% of GDP
The resolution supports a base Defense Budget that at the very minimum matches 4% of gross domestic product:
- Whereas the defense of the US is contingent unconditional moral and monetary support from the Congress;
- Whereas the US is engaged in a long war with those who employ terror;
- Whereas current equipment is being worn out and damaged and must be rebuilt or replaced;
- Whereas there is a broad consensus that there must be significant personnel increases of 94,000 soldiers within the next 5 years;
- Whereas the defense budget is scheduled to drop in the coming years, to just 3.2% of GDP by 2012;
Whereas a defense budget of 4% of GDP is far lower than during the Cold War and almost a full percentage point lower than the 'hollow force' era following the Vietnam War;
- Therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House, That it is the policy of the United States to commit a minimum of 4% of the Nation's gross domestic product to the base defense budget in order to meet the fundamental National security requirements of the United States.
Source: Resolution for Minimum Defense Budget (HJ.Res.67/SJ.Res.26) 2007-HJR67 on Dec 6, 2007
Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.
Wittman signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act
A bill to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to guarantee the equity of spouses of military personnel with regard to matters of residency, and for other purposes.
Source: S.475&HR.1182 2009-S475 on Feb 25, 2009
- Prohibits, for purposes of voting for a federal, state, or local office, deeming a person to have lost a residence or domicile in a state, acquired a residence or domicile in any other state, or become a resident in or of any other state solely because the person is absent from a state because the person is accompanying the person's spouse who is absent from the state in compliance with military or naval orders.
Prohibits a servicemember's spouse from either losing or acquiring a residence or domicile for purposes of taxation because of being absent or present in any U.S. tax jurisdiction solely to be with the servicemember in compliance with the servicemember's military orders if the residence or domicile is the same for the servicemember and the spouse. Prohibits a spouse's income from being considered income earned in a tax jurisdiction if the spouse is not a resident or domiciliary of such jurisdiction when the spouse is in that jurisdiction solely to be with a servicemember serving under military orders.
- Suspends land rights residency requirements for spouses accompanying servicemembers serving under military orders.
Page last updated: Jul 25, 2017