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Sam Brownback on Homeland Security

Republican Sr Senator (KS)


Donít-ask-donít-tell is a good policy

General Peter Pace, recent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stood up for the ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ policy in the US when criticized for that. It was part of his faith, and he believed that this was the right thing to stand up for.

I stood up for General Pace, because we should stand up for other people when they will stand up for these basics thatís saying that ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ is a good policy, and itís saying that this is the right thing for us to do in the military.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Militant Islamists is central battle for a generation

Q: Whatís your strategy to protect our American way of life from the designs of radical Islam?

A: I think itís the central battle of our day, and I believe itís a fight weíre going to be in for a generation. I think we need to start talking very clearly and convincingly to the American public about it, that we are going to be confronting this battle as long as we did communism, probably, and that this is dedicated force, militant Islamists, that means to wipe out Israel and come after us. And they have said it in their papers, and they have put it forward in their documentation. I think this next president thatís coming in has to come in with some foreign policy experience on how you do this, because we have got to work with Islamic countries, and we have got to contain and confront others--like we have to contain Iran--and we have got to work with others like Pakistan and Egypt. This is a central fight, and I am going to continue the fight, as President Bush is.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Allow Christian symbols in national war memorials

Q: The ACLU has challenged the Mt. Soledad cross, the centerpiece of a war memorial located in San Diego, because it is a Christian religious symbol--a cross honoring our war dead, in the federally-owned Mojave National Preserve. Will you take steps to preserve our national war memorials and landmarks which contain Christian symbols?
Source: [Xref Keyes] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Limit student visas to citizens of terrorist states

Q: US policy of extending student visas to foreign students has been much too lenient. Many of the 9/11 hijackers received student visas. Would you support continued issuing of student visas to nationals of countries that are state-sponsors of terrorist groups?BROWNBACK: We ought to limit a lot of these, but I donít think you can go and just block them altogether.
Source: [Xref Brownback] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Voted YES 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 NO 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 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 nothing under its definition of "electronic surveillance" should encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.

A modified version, S.2011, failed; 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 2007-309 on Aug 3, 2007

Voted NO 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 NO 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 NO 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 YES 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 NO 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 NO 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 NO 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 NO 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 YES 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 YES 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 YES 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 NO 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

Federalize aviation security.

Brownback 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

Rated 0% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

Brownback scores 0% 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 Pentagonís 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

Improve mental health care benefits for returning veterans.

Brownback co-sponsored improving mental health care benefits for returning veterans

Honoring Our Nation's Obligation to Returning Warriors Act (HONOR Warriors Act): House version is H.R.6268; Senate versions are S.2963 and S.3008. Legislative Summary:

  1. To improve and enhance the mental health care benefits available to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to enhance counseling and other benefits available to survivors of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes.
  2. Scholarship program for education and training of behavioral health care specialists for vet centers.
  3. Eligibility of members of the armed forces who serve in operation Iraqi freedom or operation enduring freedom for counseling and services through vets centers.
  4. Restoration of authority of vets centers to provide referral and other assistance upon request to former members of the armed forces not authorized counseling.
  5. Treatment of suicides of certain former members of the armed forces as deaths in line of duty for purposes of eligibility of survivors for certain benefits.
  6. Grants for non-profit organizations for the provision of emotional support services to survivors of members of the armed forces and veterans.
  7. Pilot programs on awareness enhancement for members of the army regarding post traumatic stress disorder.
Source: HONOR Warriors Act (H.R.6268) 08-H6268 on Jun 12, 2008

Improve educational assistance for veterans.

Brownback co-sponsored improving educational assistance for veterans

A bill to improve educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces and veterans in order to enhance recruitment and retention for the Armed Forces.

Congress makes the following findings:
  1. The World War II-era GI Bill assisted almost 8,000,000 members of the Armed Forces in readjusting to civilian life after completing their service to the nation.
  2. The establishment of the All Volunteer Force in 1973 has produced highly professional Armed Forces.
  3. The Sonny Montgomery GI Bill was enacted in 1984 to sustain the All Volunteer Force by providing educational benefits to aid in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified personnel.
  4. The All Volunteer Force depends for its effectiveness and vitality on successful recruiting of highly capable men and women.
  5. The achievement of educational goals, including obtaining the means to a college degree, has traditionally been a key reason for volunteering for service in the Armed Forces.
Source: Enhancement of Recruitment ThrU Education Act (S2938/HR5944) 08-S2938 on Apr 29, 2008

Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.

Brownback signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

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

Other governors on Homeland Security: Sam Brownback on other issues:

KS Senatorial:
Jerry Moran
Pat Roberts

Newly seated 2013:
IN: Mike Pence (R)
NC: Pat McCrory (R)
NH: Maggie Hassan (D)
MT: Steve Bullock (D)
WA: Jay Inslee (D)

Re-elected 2012:
DE: Jack Markell (D)
MO: Jay Nixon (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
UT: Gary Herbert (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WV: Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Up for election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie
NJ-D: Barbara Buono
VA: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe
Up for re-election 2014:
AK: Sean Parnell
AL: Robert Bentley
AR: Mike Beebe
AZ: Jan Brewer
CA: Jerry Brown
CO: John Hickenlooper
CT: Dan Malloy
FL: Rick Scott
GA: Nathan Deal
HI: Neil Abercrombie
IA: Terry Branstad
ID: Butch Otter
IL: Pat Quinn
KS: Sam Brownback
MA: Deval Patrick
MD: Martin O'Malley
ME: Paul LePage
MI: Rick Snyder
MN: Mark Dayton
NH: Maggie Hassan
NM: Susana Martinez
NV: Brian Sandoval
NY: Andrew Cuomo
OH: John Kasich
OK: Mary Fallin
OR: John Kitzhaber
PA: Tom Corbett
RI: Linc Chafee
SC: Nikki Haley
SD: Dennis Daugaard
TN: Bill Haslam
TX: Rick Perry
VT: Peter Shumlin
WI: Scott Walker
WY: Matt Mead
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Contact info:
Fax Number:
202-228-1265
Mailing Address:
Senate Office SH-303, Washington, DC 20510
Phone number:
(202) 224-6521

Page last updated: Jul 02, 2013