J. Randy Forbes

J. Randy Forbes

VIRGINIA's 4th DISTRICT

Tomorrow: House Judiciary Committee to Markup Forbes' Visa Integrity & Security Act

2016/05/24

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), will markup the Visa Integrity & Security Act of 2016, (H.R. 5203), which was introduced by Congressman J. Randy Forbes on May 12, 2016. The VISA Act seeks to strengthen the United States’ visa application screening process by combating immigration fraud, utilizing social media to detect threat indicators, and adding additional security vetting for countries of concern, such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan.

WHAT: Markup of the Visa Integrity & Security Act of 2016 (VISA Act), H.R. 5203

WHEN: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10:00AM

WHERE: House Judiciary Committee, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Currently, vulnerabilities in the United States’ visa application screening process leave the U.S. dangerously susceptible to terrorist attacks. The most recent high-profile case showing vulnerabilities in the visa screening process was that of the San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik, who was approved for a fiancé visa despite an incomplete application and granted entry to the U.S. The Visa Integrity & Security Act of 2016 (VISA Act), introduced by Congressman Forbes, strengthens the visa process to better combat immigration fraud and future terrorist attacks like the one that occurred on December 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California.

For additional information, or to schedule an interview with Congressman Forbes, please contact Hailey Sadler at (202) 225-6365 or Hailey.Sadler@mail.house.gov.

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Stand with Israel

2016/05/20

I remember stepping out onto the ground and lifting my face up to the warm sun. I remember walking the dirt and sand hills where so much history had been made, seeing with my own eyes the ancient ruins. I remember dipping my fingers into the fresh water of the Sea of Galilea. I've walked the Golan Heights with vantage points of the Syrian border. I've toured an Iron Dome missile battery.

Over the years, I’ve had the distinct privilege of visiting the nation of Israel multiple times. It is a beautiful place – words can hardly do it justice – and at every visit I’ve also been struck by the deep, abiding faith upon which the nation is built. Israel is strong, because it has to be, and gentle, because that is its nature.

On a number of those visits, I’ve had the honor of sitting down with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And at each conversation we’ve had, I’ve looked him in the eye and stated my firm belief: America must stand with Israel.

A unique bond exists between the United States and Israel. It’s a bond that is grounded partly in the common interests our two nations share, and built on a shared past.

The United States was the first nation to formally recognize the state of Israel in 1948. Since then, over the past six decades, Israel has looked to America for diplomatic support and political encouragement. Collectively we share a determination to stand, uncompromising, against those who would seek to destroy the nation.

And so American presidents since that point have recognized – with great esteem – the shared values between our two nations. Israel is one of our most important friends. Our commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity has brought mutual benefit. The ripple effect of this special relationship has brought security and greater stability to Israel’s region, the benefit of which has undoubtedly stretched across the world in ways we may never fully know. 

Yet, today our relationship with Israel stands at potentially one of its most fragile point in decades. We have a President who seems bent on prioritizing relationships with hostile nations over our friendship with Israel. The Obama Administration has repeatedly prioritized a relationship with nuclear obsessed Iran; last year’s nuclear agreement threatens Israel and the entire region. The Administration’s failure to respond seriously to Iran’s overt acts of aggression has led to more misbehavior and threats to the nation of Israel and the surrounding region.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel – the decade-long agreement that governs our security partnership – is set to expire next year. The Obama Administration has yet to forge a new agreement with Israel, and recent talks suggest that the Administration wants to fix the amount of support so that it can’t be adjusted by Congress.

Grave threats face the free world. Iran’s ongoing quest for nuclear weapons is clear. Its malicious activity in the Arabian Gulf, including its recent detainment of 10 U.S. sailors, gives a small sample of its aggressive nature. At the same time, ISIS and Islamic extremists want nothing more than to see Israel’s destruction. And through it all, Israel has made difficult concessions to bring peace and stability to a region fraught with turmoil.

The result of the President’s lukewarm attitude towards Israel has left the nation in a position for which they will certainly pay a heavy price. The President’s quest to build a legacy of assuaging relationships with hostile nations comes at the expense of a long-standing allied relationship.

To allow the American commitment to the nation of Israel wane is not just shortsighted – it is detrimental to security and U.S. interests in the region. Our message to the rest of the world must be crystal clear – we will never turn our back on Israel or our other allies.

As a senior member of the United States House Armed Services Committee and the Chairman of its Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, one of my priorities is to ensure we maintain an adequate defense partnership with Israel. Just recently, I, along with other members of the Committee, made decisions about what provisions would go into the annual defense policy bill that passed the House this week.

Included in it were several important priorities for our relationship with Israel, including a commitment to work with Israel on missile defense programs like Iron Dome and help Israel develop new technology to defend its people from missile and rocket attacks.

We also have to take a strong stand against nations like Iran that seek to do Israel harm. I continue to be concerned that we are too lenient with Iran. I remain a strong opponent of the Administration’s dangerous nuclear deal and weak response in the face of Iran’s aggression. Just recently, I introduced legislation that condemns Iran’s detention of 10 U.S. sailors and tying the treatment of our servicemembers to future sanctions. I refuse to put hostile nations before the interest of our own citizens, servicemembers, or allies.

Our nation has always set a high bar for our foreign policy. Part of that standard has been maintaining our most critical allied relationships. I will not allow America to turn our back on one of our closest friends.

We need to reaffirm, not reevaluate, our relationship with Israel. We need to view our relationship with Israel as unbreakable, not dissolvable. 

Israel is an anchor of stability – for the region, our national security, and the world.

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Forbes Praises House Passage of Defense Policy Bill

2016/05/19

Washington, D.C. –Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released the following statement on the House of Representatives’ passage of the annual defense policy bill, the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“There is no higher Constitutional obligation than to provide for our national security, and the defense policy bill just passed by the House does that. My legislation to increase shipbuilding to the highest level since the Reagan-era, included in this bill, begins the process of building the 350-ship Navy our country requires. The next President will face a dangerous world with growing threats, and this legislation is a down-payment on the military needed to meet those threats. I look forward to working with the Senate to send legislation to the President’s desk that gives our warriors the tools they need to execute their missions and come home safely.”

Among the key provisions in Forbes’ Seapower legislation that were included in the House-passed defense policy bill:

 

  • Revitalizes Navy Shipbuilding and Accelerates Key Programs. The mark authorizes procurement of 3 additional ships ($433M for a destroyer, $856M for an amphibious ship, and $385M for a Littoral Combat Ship) above the administration’s plan. Between the SCN account and the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, it authorizes $20.6 billion for shipbuilding—$2.3 billion more than the President’s budget and the highest level of shipbuilding funding, accounting for inflation, since Fiscal Year 1988.
  • Prohibits Inactivation of Navy Cruisers. The Seapower mark prevents the administration from inactivating 11 of 22 cruisers under a “phased modernization plan” and holds the administration accountable for cruiser modernization by withholding funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense until modernization contracts have been signed.
  • Denies Navy’s Request for Authority to Disestablish a Carrier Air Wing. The mark, along with efforts made by the Readiness and Military Personnel Subcommittees in their marks, denies the Navy’s request for authority to disestablish one of ten extant carrier air wings (CVW) and funds the continued operation of that critical element of force structure.
  • Transfers Funding into the National Sea-Based Deterrent Fund and expands its authorities. The mark shifts the first procurement funding for the Ohio Replacement submarines into the NSBDF and grants the fund additional authority for “continuous production,” allowing the Navy to procure components like missile tubes in one large production run at substantially lower costs.
  • Calls for Navy to Build Aircraft Carriers 20% Faster. Forbes’ legislation calls upon the Navy to build aircraft carriers every four years instead of five, a change in tempo that will increase the size of the carrier fleet. The mark also authorizes the “block buy” of components for multiple carriers, reducing costs for the taxpayer. Carriers will continue to be the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s ability to prevent and win America’s wars.

 

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Forbes Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter on Basing MQ-4C Triton at Wallops Island

2016/05/19

Washington, D.C. –Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations urging the use of Wallops Island, Virginia as the permanent East Coast base for the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. The letter was signed by 18 members of the House and Senate from Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

“Wallops is an ideal site for basing unmanned aircraft…,” the letter said. “Despite its central location in the Mid-Atlantic, Wallops enjoys uncrowded airspace and its rural environs generate no encroachment issues. With two 8000-foot runways and the taxiways and apron space to support additional aircraft, Wallops is ready to accommodate Triton with minimal additional construction. In addition, it is already an established center of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) activity and home to a number of UAVs, including NASA’s RQ-4 Global Hawks, an aircraft very similar to Triton.”

Congressman Forbes recently visited Wallops Island and has been outspoken about the benefits of basing the Triton at Wallops Island.  The Navy is currently considering Wallops as one of three East Coast options for permanently basing the MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime patrol aircraft. The Triton provides real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in maritime and coastal regions. Should the Navy select Wallops as the permanent East Coast location, it would serve as both a launch and recovery site, as well as an operational-level maintenance hub, supporting rotational deployments of personnel and aircraft outside the United States. Roughly 400 additional personnel plus their families would be stationed there.

Wallops’ central location in the Mid-Atlantic Region; its proximity to Patuxent River, Maryland where the Triton is developed; the presence of NASA’s own RQ-4 Global Hawks (a similar aircraft) at Wallops; and the facility’s relatively uncrowded airspace make it an ideal permanent location for this platform. Currently, the Navy is conducting an environmental assessment, with a decision on the permanent basing of the Triton expected later this year.

The facility at Wallops Island, Virginia is home to some of the most innovative work in the commercial space industry, and supports the needs of both NASA and the Department of Defense. Whether it is providing field carrier landing practice to Navy pilots, supporting rocket launches as part of Missile Defense Agency exercises, or serving as one of two U.S. sites launching vital cargo to support the International Space Station, Wallops is an integral part of U.S. space efforts.


See below for text of the letter:

                                                      May 18, 2016

 

The Honorable Ray Mabus                                              Admiral John Richardson
Secretary of the Navy                                                     Chief of Naval Operations
1000 Navy Pentagon                                                      2000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670                                           Washington, DC 20350-2000

 

Dear Secretary Mabus and Admiral Richardson,

We write in support of selecting Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as the East Coast Forward Operating Base for MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft.  We believe Wallops will provide an ideal home for these revolutionary aircraft and for the Sailors and families supporting them.   

Located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Wallops is located less than 100 miles from the fleet concentration area in Hampton Roads.  Naval aviation already has a well-established presence at Wallops, with E-2 and C-2 aircraft using Wallops on a routine basis for fleet carrier landing practice.  Basing the first operational Tritons at Wallops would locate those aircraft in close proximity to NAS Patuxent River and Naval Air Systems Command, where the Triton was developed and tested.  It would also place them in close proximity to the fleet at Naval Station Norfolk, the Master Jet Base at NAS Oceana, and the entire Virginia Capes operating area.  We believe that basing Triton in close proximity to these other Navy facilities, headquarters, and operating forces will create synergies and facilitate the faster integration of Triton into the Navy’s battle network.  We also believe that Wallops’ location provides a superior base of operations for conducting maritime surveillance missions throughout the entire Atlantic.     

Wallops is an ideal site for basing unmanned aircraft, in particular.  Despite its central location in the Mid-Atlantic, Wallops enjoys uncrowded airspace and its rural environs generate no encroachment issues.  With two 8000-foot runways and the taxiways and apron space to support additional aircraft, Wallops is ready to accommodate Triton with minimal additional construction. In addition, it is already an established center of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) activity and home to a number of UAVs, including NASA’s RQ-4 Global Hawks, an aircraft very similar to Triton.  Unlike at many other locations, UAVs are a familiar sight in Wallops’ airspace.  Air traffic controllers in the region are familiar and comfortable with UAVs, including the Triton, stemming from its development period at nearby Patuxent River.  Compared to other locations being considered, Wallops is also less adversely impacted by severe weather and flooding, and enjoys lower costs for housing, living, and construction.  Last but not least, Wallops and other Navy, Department of Defense, and Federal facilities in Virginia benefit from the strong support of the communities of which they are a part.  As those communities’ representatives in the House and Senate, we pledge to fully support an expanded Navy mission at Wallops. 

We look forward to further discussing this matter with you, and providing whatever support the basing selection process may require. 

Sincerely,

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Senator Tom Carper

Senator Christopher A. Coons

Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

Senator Mark R. Warner

Representative Donald S. Beyer, Jr.

Representative John C. Carney, Jr.

Representative Barbara Comstock

Representative Gerald E. Connolly

Representative Donna Edwards

Representative J. Randy Forbes

Representative Andy Harris

Representative Scott Rigell

Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

Representative Chris Van Hollen

Representative Robert J. Wittman

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forbes Receives 2016 Robert M. Thompson Award for Outstanding Civilian Leadership

2016/05/19

Washington, D.C. – Congressman J. Randy Forbes was selected by the Navy League of the United States as the 2016 recipient of the Robert M. Thompson Award for Outstanding Civilian Leadership. Forbes received this award in recognition of his unwavering support of our men and women in uniform and his significant contributions towards strengthening the U.S. Navy through his work as Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.



The certificate of recognition, which was presented to Congressman Forbes today by the Navy League, reads, in part: “His dedicated and outstanding efforts to maintaining powerful naval forces and ensuring that our Sailors and Marines have the tools they need to complete their missions reflect great credit upon him and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Navy and the Navy League of the United States.”

Upon receiving the award, Congressman Forbes said: “My greatest obligation as I serve in Congress is ensuring that our heroes are the best equipped and best trained, so that they never find themselves in a fair fight. I am both humbled and honored to receive the same award as great advocates for the U.S. Navy like Carl Vinson and John C. Stennis.  As a Member of Congress, I take very seriously the Constitutional command to “provide and maintain a Navy.”  America is a maritime nation, and the ability of our Navy and Marine Corps to project power overseas is a cornerstone of our national security. That is why I will continue to fight for our Sailors and Marines and to ensure that our seapower and projection forces are sized, resourced, postured, and maintained to meet the missions we ask of them.”

Named after the Father of the Navy League, the Robert M. Thompson Award was established in 1957 to recognize inspirational individuals who have been vigilant in maintaining America’s maritime strength. This award is selected by the Navy League Sea Services Awards Board consisting of distinguished former leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps and chaired for the 39th year by former Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf, II.

The Navy League was founded in 1902 and serves as a voice for the sea service members and their families to inform Congress and the American public of the importance of strong sea services. To learn more about the Navy League, click here.

 

 

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Forbes Named "Champion of Healthcare Innovation" By National Healthcare Leaders

2016/05/17

Washington, D.C. – Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) was honored as a “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” by The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of the nation’s premier healthcare companies and organizations, at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C.


“We’re on the verge of a remarkable era in American healthcare. Genomic and biologic research, improved data analytics, and advanced mobile technologies are enabling people to live longer, healthier lives,” said HLC President Mary R. Grealy. “To continue this exciting transformation, we need visionary leadership and sound policymaking. We honored Representative Forbes for providing important advocacy and leadership for patients and consumers.”

“America’s healthcare system should be defined by discovery, not bureaucracy,” said Congressman Forbes. “That’s why my priorities will continue to be growing and advancing medical research with proven success, promoting common sense ways to use existing drugs for new treatments, and working towards a patient-centric system. People should always come before politics, and innovation should drive America’s healthcare policies in Congress and in our communities."

The award presentation took place at the Council’s annual Healthcare Innovations Expo on Capitol Hill. The day-long event is dedicated to providing an opportunity for some of our nation’s leading healthcare companies and institutions to display the newest developments in healthcare technologies, treatments, and practices. 

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Visas are Weapons in the Hands of Terrorists

2016/05/14

To terrorists, travel documents are weapons. Family-based immigration visas, fiancé visas, and other documents required for entry into our nation can be used as the Trojan horses – the means to destructive plots.

Such was the case with a Pakistani visa applicant who entered the United States in 2014 when her soon- to-be husband submitted a petition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. officials requested more evidence to verify that she and her future husband had actually met in person – a requirement for fiancé visas – but the evidence was never provided. The petition was incomplete. Yet, she was approved for a visa and allowed entry into the United States.

Americans came to know her as Tashfeen Malik when her photo flashed across television screens, smartphones, and internet news sites in December 2015. She and her husband opened fire at a holiday party at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center. They killed 14 Americans and seriously injured 22 others. Unfortunately, the current visa vetting system allowed Malik to get through.

But it’s not just Tashfeen Malik who wishes us harm. And the negligence may have not been a fluke.

Earlier this year, the DHS Inspector General stated in testimony that, “the present system presents risks to our national security – in that we may be admitting individuals who wish to do us harm, or who do not meet the requirements for a visa.

It’s a problem that has existed for quite some time. Four years ago, a separate DHS Inspector General report revealed that some U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicators were “required to approve specific cases against their will” giving visas a rubber stamp even when fraud was suspected. The report exposed that getting to yes was an unofficial policy of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Those who want to do us harm can apply for visas and attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities in our vetting practices. And we, as citizens, bear the consequence of negligence in the system.

America is only as strong as our weakest link. Terrorists will always find a way to exploit the vulnerabilities in our immigration system to gain access to American soil, but we shouldn’t be able to look inside the immigration files of an individual and see gaping holes. Our top priority must always be the safety and security of American citizens. From the border to the visa process, we need to do everything in our power to prevent terrorists and others who want to do us harm. And there are some common sense steps we should take.

We should require immigration officials to use available tools to determine who may be a threat to the United States. Social media is a hotbed for jihadi propaganda. Immigration officials should be required to look at all publically available information – like Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts – of visa applicants to learn more about  individuals who are trying to gain access to our country. Even employers do social media checks on potential employees -- it only makes sense for our government to do the same when it comes to potential visa holders.

We should have heightened scrutiny for visa applications coming from countries where we have heightened security concerns. This includes countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and any other countries where the Secretary of State determines extra scrutiny is warranted.

We should require in-person interviews with those seeking immigration benefits in the U.S. We need to talk to the individuals who want to change their immigration status. Do their stories check out? What is their motive for staying here? We need to know.

We should make sure we are using the most innovative technology to detect fraud. We have available to us today cutting edge, savvy advanced analytics software solutions. Our immigration officials should be equipped with the most advanced software to safeguard against applications from individuals who pose a threat to our national security.

We should require that ALL requests for document translations and additional information on an applicant be completed, otherwise the application will automatically be denied. It’s just common sense.

This week, I’ve introduced legislation this week in Congress that would mandate these actions as well as other common sense reforms. The Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 (H.R. 5203) strengthens visa security by placing extra scrutiny on applications from countries of concern. It would require the use of social media and other publically available information to help detect threats. It would require immediate denial of incomplete visa applications. And it would facilitate further communication between federal agencies so every national official who touches our immigration process is walking lockstep with one goal in mind: protect Americans.

Our commitment to our visa security is a direct reflection of our commitment to the American people and the supreme law of the land. Entry into this country is a privilege, not a right. America’s number one priority must be the safety and security of U.S. citizens. Period.

We cannot guarantee that terrorists will not attack again. But we must do everything in our power to remove the visa weapon from their arsenal.                        Read More

MEDIA ADVISORY: Forbes, Wittman, Courtney to Chair Bipartisan Joint Seapower-Readiness Hearing on Aircraft Carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 23rd

2016/05/13

Washington, D.C. –Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, will chair a joint hearing of the Seapower and Readiness Subcommittees aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) at Naval Station Norfolk on Monday, May 23, 2016. The field hearing will focus on the challenges facing the Navy in the current budgetary environment, and will provide the perspectives of both top Navy leaders and a panel of operators representing multiple communities across the fleet.

“Whether striking ISIS or deterring Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, the aircraft carrier remains the most effective instrument of U.S. power projection, and it is appropriate that we are conducting this hearing aboard the USS Eisenhower,” Forbes said. “The reckless cuts of the last eight years have forced the Navy to reduce readiness to the bone, with very real consequences for the operators in the Fleet. At this hearing we will hear directly from the men responsible for sailing our ships and flying our planes about the consequences of these short-sighted cuts. I expect their testimony will be a great aid to Congress as we work to change the trend lines, halt further budget cuts, and start building the 350-ship Navy that we so clearly need.”

WHAT: House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower & Projection Forces and House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing entitled, “Navy Force Structure and Readiness: Perspectives from the Fleet.”

WHO: Remarks from ADM Philip S. Davidson, USN, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command; witnesses include CAPT Randy Stearns, USN, Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic; CAPT Scott Robertson, USN, Commanding Officer, USS Normandy (CG 60); CAPT Greg McRae, USN, Deputy, Submarine Squadron 6, and CAPT Paul Odenthal, USN, Commander, Naval Construction Group TWO.

WHEN: Monday, May 23, 2016 at 9:00 AM

WHERE: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Norfolk Naval Station, Norfolk, VA.

TO RSVP: For Washington, DC-based media, please contact CMDR Tamara Lawrence, USN at tamara.lawrence@navy.mil. For Hampton Roads-based media, please contact LCMDR Cate Cook, USN at cate.cook@navy.mil. The hearing can be viewed by the public here.

 

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Forbes Introduces Bill to Strengthen Visa Security

2016/05/12

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) introduced legislation to address critical vulnerabilities in the United States' current visa application screening process, which leave the U.S. dangerously open to terrorist attacks.  The Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 (H.R. 5203) strengthens the visa screening process to combat immigration fraud, utilize social media to detect threat indicators, and better detect terrorists who may be plotting attacks like the one that occurred in San Bernardino, California this past December.

Joining with Forbes in the introduction of this important legislation are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy.



“Terrorists use travel documents as weapons,” said Congressman Forbes. “Existing vulnerabilities in our visa screening process allow foreign nationals like the San Bernardino terrorist, Tashfeen Malik, to be admitted into the United States. This bill strengthens visa security with common sense provisions to enhance national security and the integrity of our immigration system. That is why it is crucial that Congress acts now to make necessary changes to the current visa screening system. Entry into this country is not a right, but a privilege – and the U.S. government’s top priority must be ensuring the safety and security of U.S. citizens.”

“From the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the more recent attack in San Bernardino, we are reminded that terrorists have and will continue to exploit our nation’s generous immigration system to carry out their heinous plots,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte said. “Visa security is critical to national security and we must address gaping holes in our immigration system that allow those who wish Americans harm and fraudsters to game the system. The Visa Integrity and Security Act takes a number of steps to strengthen visa security, curb fraud, and enhance the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. Notably, it expands a critical visa vetting program to ensure all visa applicants receive additional screening and requires the government to examine open source Internet postings to determine if a visa applicant is a security threat. I thank Congressman Randy Forbes for his work on this bill and look forward to moving it through the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.”

"When it comes to our national security, we cannot afford to take any risks,” said Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy. “As we have witnessed, the failure to properly vet all foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States could result in the loss of innocent Americans. The Visa Integrity and Security Act will close security gaps in our current immigration system and ensure our embassies and consulates have the tools necessary to determine whether a visa applicant presents a potential risk to the United States. I applaud Congressman Forbes for his dedication to strengthening our visa processing procedures and I thank him for his work on this legislation." 


Terrorists continually seek opportunities to exploit the weaknesses in the U.S. system to harm Americans. A 2012 Inspector General (IG) report highlighted the risk arising from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service officers rushing questionable visa applications through even when fraud was suspected. In fact, according to a recent testimony from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) IG on March, 15, 2016, the present system presents risks to our national security – in that we may be admitting individuals who wish to do us harm, or who do not meet the requirements for a visa.”

Four years after the initial IG report was published in 2012, questionable visa applications like Tashfeen Malik's can still slip through the cracks and could potentially cost the lives of innocent Americans.

The Visa Integrity & Security Act of 2016 helps to ensure more effective and complete security screening for all individuals seeking to enter the U.S. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Requires the completion of a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) as part of the comprehensive security check process for nationals from certain countries of concern, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.

  • Requires the Departments of Homeland Security and State to utilize social media and other publically available information to help determine if the visa applicant is eligible for a visa and if they are a security threat to the United States.

  • Expands the Visa Security Program to all U.S. embassies and consular posts, ensuring that all visa applicants received additional screening.

  • Requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of, and report to Congress on, the security of visa processing, including screening and background checks as well as how those results are considered in the adjudication process.

  • Requires officials at DHS to conduct in-person interviews of petitioners and beneficiaries located in the United States seeking to change their immigration status.

  • Within six months of enactment of the bill, it requires the DHS Secretary to provide the House and Senate Judiciary Committees a plan for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to use advanced analytics software to ensure the proactive detection of fraud in immigration benefits applications and petitions and to ensure applicants are not a threat to national security. The plan must be implemented one year after it is provided to the Committees.

  • Requires the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) to conduct benefit fraud assessments on various immigration programs and report their findings to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

  • Requires proof of relationship through DNA testing, paid for by the applicant, to be submitted with any family-based immigrant visa petition.

  • Applicants must answer each question completely and each line must be filled out properly. Requires any document containing foreign language submitted as part of the immigration benefits adjudication process to be accompanied by a full English translation by a certified translator.

  • For a visa to be issued by officials at the Departments of Homeland Security and State, the applicant must prove eligibility by clear and convincing evidence.

  • Requires that any request for additional documentation or evidence to substantiate the applicant’s eligibility for a visa must be fulfilled; otherwise the application will be denied.





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Street Signs and the Constitution

2016/05/09

Along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, visitors and residents find their way to the sandy beaches, favorite restaurants, concerts, and other activities by street number. Whether heading to the 24th street stage, the 31st street park, the pier by 14th street, or to Grommet Island park at 2nd street,  street signs provide orientation for residents and  tourists among the sandy embankments and endless waves. For those of us who grew up in Hampton Roads, these street signs are more than just numbers – they bookmark the memories of where we played as children, or for me, where Shirley and I strolled on one of our first dates. Even for the casual passerby, these street signs serve as important guides. They remind you of where you have been and direct you to where you are going.

Our Constitution serves as a similar type of sign, providing valuable markers as we move forward as a nation. As with the street signs along Virginia Beach’s boardwalks, the articles and amendments in our Constitution serve as a way to orient our nation, reminding us of our purpose and place as a country. They are meant to direct our decisions here in Congress. They help us in the midst of reflection, choice, and debate.

Recently however, many have come to view the Constitution as merely a series of suggestions rather than an absolute guide, particularly as it relates to one constitutional aim: providing for our common defense.

Every day we see the threats of the 21st century coming more clearly into focus. News of uprisings, ISIS attacks, regional tensions, and aggressive actions by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea paint a clear picture of the national security challenges we will continue to face in the coming decades. These days, the commitment we make today towards our national defense stretches far beyond our own national security. A robust national defense is essential to securing U.S. interests across the globe.

Are we prepared to face these global challenges for the long term? I would argue that we are not, largely because we are failing to adequately achieve Article 1, Section 8 in our Constitution, which commands us to “raise and support Armies…To provide and maintain a Navy.”

Instead of making our national security a priority, the Administration has failed to fully provide the resources needed to face 21st century threats. Reckless cuts to our national defense have placed U.S. national security in danger. From my vantage point as Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, the threat assessments that I receive in briefings and hearings continue to get worse. We are seeing patterns that are escalating.

Just this year, Russian aircraft repeatedly buzzed the destroyer USS Donald Cook, Iran seized two U.S. Navy vessels and 10 American sailors (violating international law), North Korea continues to conduct missile tests, and China is rapidly building up its military power.

Yet as security needs increase, our defense budget and resources are getting tighter. In 1990, the U.S. had a 570-ship Navy; today we have 272. The U.S. had 76 Army combat brigades in 1990; today we are on a path to 32. Two decades ago, the Air Force had twice as many fighter and bomber aircraft as today. We do not have a comprehensive missile defense system. We have yet to clearly define our regional interests and strategy with respect to the Asia-Pacific region. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines lack the resources they need to successfully accomplish their missions and return home safely.

It’s not enough to talk about raising armies and maintaining navies. Our Founding Fathers deemed Article I, Section 8 so important that they made it a constitutionally mandated priority. They chose this level of commitment because they knew that without a strong national security, our fledgling nation would falter. Something as unique and vulnerable as the American experiment deserved – and still deserves – the strongest protection.

We aren’t the same fledgling nation we were over 200 years ago. Our core convictions are the same, but we have grown and adapted to new challenges and opportunities. Today, the United States of America serves as a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope and freedom to millions across the globe.

We have a responsibility to be economical about our defense budget dollars, particularly as it relates to waste, but this doesn’t mean we have to cheapen the Constitutional command to provide for a common defense.  Without the bolstering weight of a robust, capable, and agile military, the United States risks losing its powerful diplomatic influence in the world.

Providing for the common defense is a Constitutional directive because it is necessary for a well-guarded peace. We cannot afford to cheapen our national security. We must ensure our military men and women are the best trained, best equipped in the world. We would be foolish to ignore this directive, because a strong defense means a strong America. Read More

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2015-11-17 20:30:06


Forbes Defends Coach's Right to Pray

2015-11-04 21:56:14


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2015-10-08 21:48:22


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2015-09-09 21:00:30


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Prayer of Pastor Langford, guest chaplain

2015-07-17 17:17:18


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2015-06-19 18:55:23


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2015-05-13 20:29:06


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2015-04-22 21:48:48


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2015-04-17 14:52:02


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Forbes Questions ICE Director Sarah Saldana

2015-04-14 17:52:29


Contact Information

2135 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6365
Fax 202-226-1170
randyforbes.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Armed Services

Judiciary

Placed prominently on the wall of Congressman Randy Forbes’ Washington office is a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence surrounded by portraits of the fifty-six founding fathers who signed the document asserting our nation’s freedom. Frequently when Randy is in our nation’s capital, he can be found personally escorting constituents through his office to tell the story of how this powerful document and its signatories serve as reminder of the sacrifices that were made during birth of our nation and the weight of responsibility on elected officials to preserve the freedom for which so many have fought and died.

Since his constituents elected him to Congress in 2001, one of Randy’s key priorities has been to protect and defend our nation. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Randy is responsible for the research, development, acquisition, and sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force’s bomber and tanker fleets. Randy’s position is central in developing the nation’s long-term strategies to meet our future security needs. As a result of his work on behalf of our military, in 2009, Randy became one of only a few individuals to have been honored with the highest civilian award offered by both the United States Army and the United States Navy.

In a time of broken government and stale ideas, Randy has focused on legislative solutions that have proven to be refreshing alternative to the status quo. His much-hailed New Manhattan Project for Energy led the Wall Street Journal to ask: “Why is Randy Forbes all alone? … The surprising thing is that there aren’t 100 Randy Forbes out there, issuing similar calls to arms to seize this moment and finally cure the country’s oil addiction.” The Virginian Pilot, similarly, commented: “Outrage won’t solve the nation’s energy troubles, or safeguard jobs. For that, you need something else, something Forbes is displaying: Leadership.”

Randy has rejected Washington political rhetoric and has instead focused on solutions-based leadership to tackle issues such as economic recovery, health care, tax reform and government spending. In health care, Randy has introduced proposals to protect seniors and individuals with preexisting conditions from health insurance cancellation, to harness the potential in ethical stem-cell research, and to double the investment the federal government is making in research to cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. His work has earned him the award, “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights.” In addition, Randy has introduced legislation to improve efficiency in government agencies, and he has been named a “Hero of Taxpayers”. Instead of abandoning sound fiscal policy in the face of economic challenge, Randy was one of only 17 Members of Congress to vote against each stimulus and bailout package under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Randy founded and chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has led this group of bipartisan Members in national efforts to protect prayer and our nation’s spiritual history. He is known as a skilled orator on the Judiciary Committee and, as the former Ranking Member of the Crime Subcommittee, Randy is often called upon to lead the debate on national issues such as gang crime or immigration reform. As founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Randy has introduced legislation to combat Chinese espionage and is frequently tapped as a national commentator on Sino-American relations. Groups as diverse as the US Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, the National Taxpayers Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation have all recognized the work Randy has done in Congress – a testament to Randy’s independent problem-solving and focus on bipartisan solutions.

While Randy’s legislative proposals have received significant national and local attention, Randy’s commitment to improving quality of life for his constituents has been the hallmark of his career in Congress. Randy places a high-priority on partnering with community leaders and elected officials of all political persuasions to bring about greater economic prosperity, increased educational opportunities, safer communities, and improved local transportation and infrastructure for the Fourth District. His work to position Fort Lee through the last BRAC round led to the arrival of nearly 12,000 jobs in the Chesterfield/Tri-Cities area and his work as founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus has elevated Hampton Roads as a premier destination for high-paying tech jobs.

Working in Washington has not changed Randy’s enthusiasm for serving those that elected him. Richmond Times Dispatch noted Randy has “earned a reputation for constituent service” for his ability to cut through red tape and for his unparalleled constituent communications. Randy publishes a weekly email newsletter with over 85,000 subscribers that includes commentary and as well as factual information on the issues before Congress.

Randy has long worked under the belief that transparency is a key condition of good government. In addition to his unparalleled work to inform and solicit input from his constituents, Randy was one of the first members of Congress to publish appropriations requests to his website, causing the Richmond Times Dispatch to call him, “an admirable example for openness.” His website was selected by the Congressional Management Foundation as one of the best websites in Congress and was specifically commended for offering constituents a “clear understanding of his work in Congress”.

A life-long resident of Virginia, Randy began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. From 1989-2001, he served the Commonwealth of Virginia in the General Assembly. As a member of the House of Delegates, he served 7 years, quickly establishing himself and serving as the Floor Leader until his election to the State Senate in 1997. One year later, he became the Senate Floor Leader. He served in the State Senate for 3 1/2 years, until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Randy graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake in 1970. He was valedictorian of his 1974 class at Randolph-Macon College. In 1977, Randy graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Randy attends Great Bridge Baptist Church, where he has taught adult Sunday school for over 20 years. He was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia where he still resides with his wife Shirley. He and Shirley have been married since 1978 and have four children: Neil, Jamie, Jordan, and Justin.


Serving With

Rob Wittman

VIRGINIA's 1st DISTRICT

Scott Rigell

VIRGINIA's 2nd DISTRICT

Robert Hurt

VIRGINIA's 5th DISTRICT

Bob Goodlatte

VIRGINIA's 6th DISTRICT

Dave Brat

VIRGINIA's 7th DISTRICT

Morgan Griffith

VIRGINIA's 9th DISTRICT

Barbara Comstock

VIRGINIA's 10th DISTRICT

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