Mark Begich on Homeland Security

Democratic Jr Senator


Consult with Congress on major military actions

Q: Under what circumstances would you vote to authorize the president to take military action?

A: I respect the president’s role as commander-in-chief, but believe he should consult with Congress on major military actions. A strong case must be made the US interests are at risk and our people threatened.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Ratify Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; no new nukes

Q: Do you oppose the development of new nuclear weapons by the United States or any other nation?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty?

A: Yes.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Repeal the Patriot Act

The Patriot Act granted the federal government far too many powers to pry into the private lives of Alaskans & other Americans. Fighting terrorists doesn’t require that we invade the lives of innocent Americans at the expense of essential civil liberties Mark will work to repeal the Patriot Act and put in place national security resources built on human intelligence and Special Forces that will identify, focus on and respond to real terrorist threats--and not what books you read at the local library.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com , Aug 19, 2008

Pledges full support for the 21st Century GI Bill

The 21st Century G.I. Bill provides veterans the financial support needed to go to college--that means covering not just the cost of tuition--but also room and board, books and tutoring. Right now, under the current GI Bill, veterans only get an average of $1,100 a month. This falls far short of covering the costs of school. When our veterans come home from Iraq, Afghanistan, or other areas, we want them to have the same educational opportunities as those that served before them in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. To support anything less is wrong. The 1,600 plus veterans currently enrolled in the University of Alaska system should not have to be saddled with thousands of dollars of debt when they graduate. Senator Webb’s bill provides those who have served our country since 9/11 the full cost of going to the highest cost public school in each state. It also creates incentives for private universities to partner with the federal government to cut the cost at private institutions.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Issues” , May 21, 2008

Increased Anchorage’s support for military personnel

With one of the nation’s largest concentrations of both active duty military and veterans, Begich has increased the city’s support for military personnel. At his request, the U.S. Conference of Mayors established a new Community/Military Relations Task Force. Anchorage First Lady Deborah Bonito has raised thousands of dollars for military personnel and their dependents.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Bio” , Apr 4, 2008

Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.

Congressional Summary: A bill to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Smith, R-TX]: America is safe today not because terrorists and spies have given up their goal to destroy our freedoms and our way of life. We are safe today because the men and women of our Armed Forces, our intelligence community, and our law enforcement agencies work every single day to protect us. And Congress must ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to counteract continuing terrorist threats. On Feb. 28, three important provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. These provisions give investigators in national security cases the authority to conduct "roving" 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.
Status: Passed 86-12

Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act; Bill H.514 ; vote number 11-SV019 on Feb 17, 2011

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

Begich 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

End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.

Begich 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: