Column

House Takes Action to Combat Radical Islamic Extremism

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Washington, June 15, 2016 | comments

Though President Obama can’t so much as utter the words “radical Islamic extremism,” the House has been acting to combat radicalization in America and to enhance counterterrorism efforts.

Last week, House Republicans unveiled a plan to keep Americans safe. This proposal includes more than 67 detailed policy recommendations, including several specifically focused on defeating radical Islamic terrorism at home and abroad. It discusses the importance of countering extremist ideology by amplifying countervailing views from former radicals and the need to push back against the surge of online radicalization. It also calls on the president to present a clear strategy to defeat ISIS.

In addition, below is the list of national security bills that have passed the House this Congress.

Bills to Address Terrorist Radicalization in America 

HR 4401 – Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror (ALERT) Act:  “Scales-up” efforts to counter radicalization and terrorist recruitment nationwide by allowing the government to better use existing fusion centers to reach out to communities (Rep. Loudermilk) – Passed by voice vote

HR 4820 – Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act:  Requires DHS to use the testimonials of former extremists to fight back against terrorist recruiting of Americans (Rep. Fleischmann) – Passed 322-79

HR 4407 – Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act:  Establishes the central counterterrorism decision making body at DHS and sets the procedures for issuing terrorism alerts (Rep. Katko) – Passed 389-5

Other Counterterrorism Bills 

HR 4239 – Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act:  Increases intelligence community focus on foreign fighter travel to/from emerging terrorist safe havens (Rep. LoBiondo) – Passed 423-0

HR 4408 – National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act:  Requires a U.S. national strategy on combating terrorist travel—for the first time in a decade—and requires future administrations to put forward regular action plans for fixing U.S. vulnerabilities to terrorist infiltration (Rep. Katko) – Passed 392-0

HR 4402 – Foreign Fighter Review Act:  Requires top-to-bottom Administration review of instances where Americans became foreign fighters; requirement to identify and close security gaps (Rep. Hurd) – Passed 397-0

HR 4314 – Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act:  Quickly equips U.S. allies and high-risk countries with key counterterrorism tools (e.g. watchlisting/screening) for stopping terrorist travel and allows Administration to suspend foreign aid to countries who don’t close security gaps (Rep. Zeldin) – Passed 371-2

HR 4403 – Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act:  Authorizes DHS and State to develop and provide new watchlisting/screening technologies to foreign governments (Rep. Hurd) – Passed by voice vote

HR 4240 – No Fly for Foreign Fighters Act:  Requires comprehensive review of the terror watchlist to ensure past weaknesses have been fixed and to identify other vulnerabilities. (Rep. Jackson-Lee) – Passed by voice vote

Additionally, the terrorist attack in Orlando has called into question the vetting process. The FBI twice investigated the Orlando shooter. This reveals vetting is nearly impossible and begs the question of how the government can honestly say it’s adequately vetting Syrian refugees. Our openness to refugees” is not how we will defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). That is delusional. This is why I filed H.R. 4218 last December to suspend the admission of refugees to the United States.

HR 4218 - To suspend the admission to the United States of refugees, and for other purposes: Provides that no funding shall be made available for refugee resettlement operations until the following four conditions are met: 1. Congress passes a joint resolution approving the President’s refugee resettlement plan; 2. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides a report to Congress scoring the long term cost of any refugee resettlement proposal; 3. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submits a report identifying terrorist and criminal activity of refugees admitted into the U.S. since 2001; and 4. President Obama submits a report to Congress of the prior year’s cost of admitting refugees and proposes offsetting spending cuts to pay for his resettlement agenda.

 

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