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Sherrod Brown on Homeland Security

Democratic Sr Senator; previously Representative (OH-13)

 


Screen returning veterans for PTSD, and offer entitlements

Q: After war, many veterans struggle upon re-entering society as they deal with injuries, homelessness and post-traumatic stress disorder. What are you and the U.S. Senate specifically doing to combat this?

SB: The Department of Defense and the VA knows veterans are returning home the moment they get home. One of the things we have done is better connect the two so they're talking to each other. We also want the VA to get the men and women coming home from overseas screened and tested for head injuries or potential post-traumatic stress disorder. We're also working to ensure veterans receive the reimbursements they're entitled to and have better care.

Q: What can the average American do to support veterans returning back to the U.S.?

SB: A lot of politicians vote to fund wars, but they're not willing to support veterans. The more people in Sandusky, Monroeville, Bellevue and Huron that speak out and support our veterans, the better Congress will respond.

Source: Sandusky Register on 2018 Ohio Senate race , Jan 1, 2017

Voted every time in favor of final intelligence budgets

DEWINE: Brown voted 10 separate times to cut our intelligence spending.

BROWN: You know better than making charges like that, that are just unsubstantiated.

DEWINE: The roll call was there.

BROWN: I ultimately voted every time for those intelligence budgets. And he knows that.

DEWINE: The majority of times of those 10 times where Sherrod Brown voted to cut our intelligence spending, he was the minority even of his own party.

Source: 2006 Ohio Senate Debate on NBC Meet the Press [X-ref DeWine] , Oct 1, 2006

End the use of anti-personnel mines.

Brown co-sponsored the Landmine Elimination and Victim Assistance Act:

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:

  1. the Department of Defense should field currently available weapons and other technologies, and use tactics and operational concepts, that provide suitable alternatives to anti-personnel mines and mixed anti-tank mine systems; and

  2. the United States should end its use of such mines and join the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.

  3. Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 to make permanent (currently terminates on October 23, 2003) the prohibition on the transfer of anti-personnel landmines.

  4. Directs the President to establish an interagency working group to develop a comprehensive plan for expanded mine action programs, including victim rehabilitation, social support, and economic reintegration.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR948 on Mar 8, 2001

Rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record.

Brown scores 100% 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

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

Brown 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

Non-proliferation includes disposing of nuclear materials.

Brown signed Letter from Congress on nuclear material security

Press Release from Sen. Merkley`s officeCiting the dangers to US national security posed by terrorists and rogue states seeking nuclear weapons, a bipartisan group of 26 senators sent a letter last week to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), calling on the President to support increased funding in the FY2016 budget to more rapidly secure and permanently dispose of nuclear and radiological materials. The letter comes in response to the President`s proposals in recent years to decrease funding for nuclear material security and nonproliferation programs.

The senators indicated that unsecured nuclear material poses unacceptably high risks to the safety of Americans and argued that the rate at which nuclear and radiological materials are secured and permanently disposed of must be accelerated. The senators expressed concern that cutting funds would slow what has been a successful process of elimination and reduction of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium in the international community. In just the last five years, nuclear security and non-proliferation programs have proven successful in eliminating HEU and separated plutonium from 13 countries, including Ukraine.

`Reducing budgets for agencies and programs that help keep nuclear and radiological materials out of the hands of terrorists is out of sync with the high priority that the President has rightly placed on nuclear and radiological material security and signals a major retreat in the effort to lock down these materials at an accelerated rate,` the senators wrote. `The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world`s most dangerous weapons and materials.`

In the past two fiscal years, Congress has enacted $280 million additional dollars to the President`s proposed funding for core non-proliferation activities.

Source: Merkley/Feinstein letter to OMB 14_Lt_HS on Aug 18, 2014

Restrict domestic monitoring of phone calls.

Brown signed restricting domestic monitoring of phone calls

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2014 or the USA FREEDOM Act: Congressional Summary:

  • Requires the FBI, when seeking phone call records, to show both relevance and a reasonable suspicion that the specific selection term is associated with a foreign power engaged in international terrorism.
  • Requires a judge approving the release, on a daily basis, of call detail records; and to limit production of records to a period of 180 days.
  • Requires a declassification review of each decision issued by the FISA court; and make such decisions publicly available, subject to permissible redactions.

    Opposing argument: (ACLU, `Surveillance Reform After the USA Freedom Act`, June 3, 2015): The USA Freedom Act that passed by a 67-32 margin is not as strong as we wanted. It is markedly weaker than the original version of the USA Freedom Act that the ACLU first supported in 2013. We supported a sunset of the provisions in an effort to advance more comprehensive reform, including rejecting surveillance through cybersecurity information-sharing legislation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very clear that the USA Freedom Act is a historic step forward.

    Opposing argument: (Cato Institute , `Cato scholars differ on USA Freedom Act`, Oct., 2015): The privacy community remained divided over the USA Freedom Act. The final version of the bill reauthorized several expiring Patriot Act provisions, but limited bulk collection. Some legislators argued that to pass new legislation would only provide the government convenient new legal justification for its spying--which it would interpret broadly. On the opposite side of the argument stood some pro-privacy groups who held that modest reforms were better than no reforms at all.

    Source: USA FREEDOM Act 14-S1123 on Apr 28, 2015

    Funding wars separately is gimmick against sequestration.

    Brown voted NAY National Defense Authorization Act

    Congressional Summary: HR 1735: The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes FY2016 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), and military construction. This bill also authorizes appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which are exempt from discretionary spending limits. The bill authorizes appropriations for base realignment and closure (BRAC) activities and prohibits an additional BRAC round.

    Wikipedia Summary: The NDAA specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for Fiscal Year 2016. The law authorizes the $515 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $89.2 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO).

    Opposition statement by Rep. Gerry Connolly (May 15, 2015): Congressman Connolly said he opposed the bill because it fails to end sequestration, and pits domestic investments versus defense investments. Said Connolly, `This NDAA uses a disingenuous budget mechanism to circumvent sequestration. It fails to end sequestration.`

    Support statement by BreakingDefense.com(Sept, 2015): Republicans bypassed the BCA spending caps (the so-called sequester) by shoving nearly $90 billion into the OCO account, designating routine spending as an emergency war expenses exempted from the caps. This gimmick got President Barack Obama the funding he requested but left the caps in place on domestic spending, a Democratic priority. `The White House`s veto announcement is shameful,` Sen. John McCain said. `The NDAA is a policy bill. It cannot raise the budget caps. It is absurd to veto the NDAA for something that the NDAA cannot do.`

    Legislative outcome: House rollcall #532 on passed 270-156-15 on Oct. 1, 2015; Senate rollcall #277 passed 70-27-3 on Oct. 7, 2015; vetoed by Pres. Obama on Oct. 22, 2015; passed and signed after amendments.

    Source: Congressional vote 15-HR1735 on Apr 13, 2015

    Exempt Veterans Affairs from federal hiring freeze.

    Brown signed exempting Veterans Affairs from federal hiring freeze

    Excerpts from Letter from 53 Senators to President Trump We are deeply troubled that your freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees will have a negative and disproportionate impact on our nation`s veterans. As such, we urge you to take stock of this hiring freeze`s effect on our nation`s veterans and exempt the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from your Hiring Freeze.

    We urge you to classify VA`s delivery of health care as a national security and public safety responsibility, and exempt it from this hiring freeze. To do otherwise is to jeopardize the national security and public safety of our nation.

    Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, `Eliminate Redundant Government Hiring,` May 9, 2017): It`s not hard to find federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective. The president`s executive order requires all agency heads to submit plans for reorganizing their operations. Their proposals are to `include recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies and programs.` That all sounds great, but what does it actually mean?

    Well, for starters, it means the previous federal hiring freeze is no more. But it doesn`t mean programs and departments are free to hire willy-nilly. Instead, they`ve been instructed to follow a smart-hiring plan, consistent with the President`s America First Budget Blueprint.

    A few agencies, like the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs, will beef up staff. Most, however, will have to pare down employment. All federal employees can expect to see resources shift to higher-priority ones. Many may be asked to do something new or different with the goal of optimizing employees` skills and time.

    Source: Letter on DVA 17LTR-DVA on Jan 26, 2017

    Address abuses of electronic monitoring in the workplace.

    Brown co-sponsored addressing abuses of electronic monitoring in the workplace

    Source: Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act (H.R.1900) 1993-H1900 on Apr 28, 1993

    Restore habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror.

    Brown 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

    Establish global strategy to defeat al Qaeda.

    Brown co-sponsored establishing global strategy to defeat al Qaeda

    A bill to require a report setting forth the global strategy of the United States to combat and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates. Directs the Secretaries of Defense, State, and Homeland Security to jointly submit to Congress a report setting forth U.S. global strategy to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates.

    Source: S.2634 2008-S2634 on Feb 13, 2008

    Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.

    Brown signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

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

    Expand health services for women veterans.

    Brown signed Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act

      A bill to expand and improve health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to:
    1. report on barriers to the receipt of comprehensive health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encountered by women veterans, especially those of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom;
    2. provide for an independent study on health consequences for women veterans serving on active duty in deployments in such Operations; and
    3. report on the employment of full-time managers for women veterans programs at VA medical centers.
      Requires the Secretary to:
    1. develop a plan to improve the provision of VA health care services to women veterans;
    2. carry out a program of education, training, certification, and continuing medical education for mental health professionals providing care for veterans suffering from sexual trauma;
    3. carry out a pilot program of providing reintegration and readjustment services in group retreat settings to women veterans recently separated from service after a prolonged deployment; and
    4. carry out a pilot program on subsidies for child care for certain women veterans receiving health care from VA facilities.
    Requires women veterans recently separated from service to be included on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.

    Authorizes the Secretary to furnish care to a newborn child of a woman veteran receiving VA maternity care for up to seven days after the birth of the child.

    Source: S.597 2009-S597 on Mar 16, 2009

    Combat international and domestic Islamophobia.

    Brown voted YEA Combating International Islamophobia Act

    H.R.5665: Combating International Islamophobia Act: This bill establishes within the Department of State the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia and addresses related issues. The bill requires annual reports to Congress about human rights and religious freedom in foreign countries to include information about Islamophobia, such as:

    1. acts of physical violence or harassment of Muslim people,
    2. instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote hatred or incite violence against Muslim people, and
    3. actions taken by a country`s government to respond to such acts. The office shall coordinate and assist in preparing these portions of the reports.

    Rationale to vote NO (Rep. Zeldin, R-NY, 12/14/21)::: Lee Zeldin, one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, announced that he will vote against H.R. 5665, a partisan resolution: `Rep. Ilhan Omar`s bill that is supposed to combat Islamophobia does not even define `Islamophobia`. In fact, the way the bill is worded intentionally plays into Omar`s calculating game that any criticism about any topic relating to her, even if it has absolutely nothing at all to do with her religion, could be defined as `Islamophobia`. That is absurd and I will vote `no`!`

    Rationale to vote YES (NY1.com, 12/15/21)::: `Our country`s commitment to defending freedom of religion and belief goes back centuries, and the Administration strongly believes that people of all faiths and backgrounds should be treated with equal dignity and respect around the world,` a statement of support issued by the White House read. The bill comes after Republicans in Congress have targeted the three Muslim members of Congress as members of a `jihad squad.`

    Legislative Outcome: Passed House 219-212-3 on 12/14/2021, Roll no. 448)` introduced in Senate on 12/15/21 and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations; no further Senate action during 2021.

    Source: Congressional vote 21-HR5665 on Oct 21, 2021

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