Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, voted today for a stopgap measure (H.J.Res.124) to prevent a government shutdown and keep federal agencies operating under current FY 2014 rates until mid December. The short-term funding bill passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 319 to 108 and now awaits action in the Senate.
“This bipartisan agreement ensures our government remains operational as Congress completes its work to pass line-by-line appropriations bills for the remainder of the upcoming fiscal year. I am hopeful that the Senate will follow the House’s lead and act without haste.”
H.J.Res.124 keeps government operations at current levels into the new fiscal year, until December 11, 2014. The extension affords the House and Senate time to complete its work on full-year appropriations legislation for FY 2015.
Upton also voted in favor of an amendment to the underlying funding bill that authorizes the Pentagon to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition groups in the battle against the terrorist organization ISIS. Offered by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., the amendment was adopted by a vote of 273 to 156.
“Thirteen years ago, our world was shaken as we witnessed the heinous destruction of thousands of innocent lives here on U.S. soil. We saw evil, looked it in the eye and vowed never again. The threat posed by ISIS and other radical terrorist organizations is all too real and must be eradicated. The United States does not stand alone it this effort, but we have a responsibility to lead.”
The McKeon amendment does not authorize use of military force. It also ensures congressional oversight and greater transparency through reporting requirements. The provision does not authorize additional funds, but requires the President to submit a reprogramming request to Congress for existing funds.
To ensure our homeland remains protected in the event of an attack, the United States must be prepared for the worst, says Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who met today with Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the current director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Sitting in his Washington, DC office, Upton made a strong case for the selection of the Fort Custer Training Center of Augusta, Mich. Fort Custer is one of four locations being considered by the MDA for a potential interceptor site capable of shielding the eastern-half of the United States against threats posed by nations like Iran and North Korea.
“Southwest Michigan not only has the infrastructure, resources, and leadership, we have the strong public backing to support this critical national security mission,” said Upton, who attended a public scoping meeting hosted by the MDA at the Sherman Lake YMCA in Augusta in late August.
In addition to the support of the local community, Upton noted the selection of Fort Custer has the strong endorsement of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as well as Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, the Adjutant General who commands the Michigan Army and Air National Guard units.
“Governor Snyder and I are really pleased and appreciate the incredible support from the community and Congressman Upton to construct GBI at Fort Custer, should the decision be made to move forward,” said Maj. Gen. Vadnais.
Building the missile defense system would infuse more than $3 billion into Southwest Michigan’s economy, resulting in the addition of 300 new direct jobs and as many as 1,800 indirect jobs.
Upton recently submitted a letter in strong support of the selection of Fort Custer as part of the official public comment period. A copy of the letter may be found here, the full text of which follows immediately below.
September 12, 2014
Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp
Attn: MDA CIS EIS
6601 College Boulevard
Overland Park, KS 66211-1504
To Whom It May Concern:
As the Department of Defense studies potential locations for an East Coast missile defense site, I wish to express my strong support for the Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Michigan, as the future home of this important national security mission.
Strategically located between Chicago and Detroit, the region surrounding Fort Custer boasts the robust critical infrastructure necessary to support the construction and long-term success of this mission, including surface and air transportation; energy; housing; and education. Positioned near two major interstates highways (I-94 and I-69), the location is a stone’s throw away from the 110th Airlift Wing at the W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base, which boasts a 10,000-foot runway capable of meeting Department of Defense needs. Presently home to the Michigan Army National Guard’s 177th Regiment, the Regional Training Institute, and the Augusta Armory, the Fort Custer Training Center is the heart of a community with a proud and longstanding history of supporting our military and its veterans.
Public support for the selection of Fort Custer has been overwhelming at every level. Both our state’s Governor and Adjutant General are strong supporters and recognize the importance of this mission. The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners, and the Michigan State Senate (among others) have all passed resolutions formally endorsing the site, and the Michigan State House is expected to do the same. Fort Custer also has the backing of the region’s two leading economic development organizations – Southwest Michigan First and Battle Creek Unlimited – as well as the recent endorsement of the Kalamazoo Gazette – the area’s largest print and online news source.
I recently attended the Missile Defense Agency’s public scoping meeting in Augusta, which was preceded by a tour of the two potential interceptor sites at the training center location. The meeting was well-planned, informative, and well-attended – MDA leadership and staff deserve to be commended for a job well done.
I am one who has always recognized that providing for our national security and care of our veterans are priorities that rise above politics. I have never hesitated to stand by our Armed Forces to ensure that they have the training, resources, and funding necessary to succeed both here at home and abroad. I have also supported efforts to provide for greater collaboration with our first responders to prepare for any contingency.
With growing threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea – along with emerging threats posed by well-financed terrorist organizations like ISIS – we as a nation need to be prepared for the worst. The location of a future interceptor site is a decision that is vital to our national security and thus must be based on that above all else. That is why I am excited that we have such a top-notch site ready to go here in Southwest Michigan. I respectfully urge you to locate the next interceptor site at Fort Custer.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Member of Congress
Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s evening address to the nation on countering the terrorist organization ISIS. Upton joined fellow House Republican leaders earlier today for an hour-long closed-door briefing on ISIS and the evolving situations in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS poses a very serious and credible threat to the world and here at home. There is no question that we must destroy that radical threat before its terrors reach our shores. The United States should be part of a broad coalition of forces to get that job done, and I look forward to hearing the specific details of such a strategy in the days ahead.”
Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today supported a bipartisan resolution (H.Res.644) condemning the Obama administration for its failure to properly notify Congress before releasing five senior Taliban members from the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) – the federal government’s independent internal watchdog agency – found the action to be in violation of U.S. law, which requires Congress to be notified at least 30 days in advance of such a transfer. H.Res.644 passed by a vote of 249 to 163.
“The administration broke the law, and in doing so deprived Congress of its responsibility to consider the sequences to our national security. The lack of accountability and regard for the law is appalling,” said Upton. “Time and again we have seen former captives return to the field of battle to take up arms against the United States and our allies. The five prisoners released in May were not casual observers; they were the ones the Taliban wanted back.”
On May 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense released the five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the State of Qatar, which brokered the exchange between the United States and the Taliban. Pursuant to the agreement, these five individuals are to remain in Qatar for one year. Each of these detainees was a senior Taliban leader who previously had associations with al-Qaeda or had engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.
In 2010, the Obama administration undertook an evaluation of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay to determine those who could be transferred. The evaluation concluded that the five men involved in the Bergdahl exchange were too dangerous to transfer.
While the Obama administration failed to properly notify relevant congressional leaders and committees of the exchange, approximately 80 to 90 administration officials and an unknown number of Qatari officials received notification prior to the transfer.
The GAO also found the administration to be in violation of the Antideficiency Act for spending nearly $1 million in excess of available appropriations to facilitate the transfer.Read More
2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) is proud to represent the commonsense values of southwest Michigan. In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, healthcare, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations.
Prior to his election to Congress, Fred worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he learned from President Reagan’s example that it does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done.
Fred has a well-earned reputation for getting things done in Washington and at home in southwest Michigan. The South Bend Tribune writes that Fred “attacks government spending and wants tax cuts retained and the budget balanced.” Fred’s hometown paper, The Herald Palladium, praises Fred as someone who has “consistently fought against out-of-control spending and bigger government” and has “always treated constituent services as a vital part of his job.”
Fred’s top priorities are job creation and economic growth in southwest Michigan.
Fred strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that puts a greater emphasis on domestic energy production, the advancement of breakthrough technologies, and the development of safe nuclear power. Fred has also been a leading opponent of overreaching federal regulations that stifle economic growth, harm jobs, and raise energy costs for Michigan families and businesses.
Fred values our constitutional system of government checks and balances. Fred is focused on ensuring the federal government remains limited, transparent, and accountable, as our Founding Fathers intended. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, Fred has led the over-year-long investigation of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that was the recipient of a half-billion dollar Department of Energy loan guarantee.
Fred has also worked to increase the deployment of telecommunications services as well as ensure that free speech and private innovation remain the hallmarks of this industry by opposing needless regulation. Fred helped oversee the successful transition from analog to digital broadcasting – one of the top priorities of the 9-11 Commission. Fred has also worked to guarantee that our children are protected from online predators and indecent material.
Fred has pushed for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, one of Fred’s top priorities is to repeal the President’s controversial healthcare law and replace it with commonsense, market-based reforms that benefit patients, doctors, and employers.
Fred was born on April 23, 1953 and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Amey have two children.
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