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.
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.
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.Read More
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):
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
2135 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
Retweeted by randy_forbes
Retweeted by randy_forbes
Retweeted by randy_forbes
.@Randy_Forbes: "This administration's strategy is shocking. The bullies are only getting worse."
Retweeted by randy_forbes
.@Randy_Forbes: "Instead of saying it was wrong, the Obama Administration thanked Iran."
Retweeted by randy_forbes
Yesterday, I led a group of Democrat and Republican lawmakers down to Naval Station Norfolk to hear firsthand from some of our Navy warfighters
In the hands of terrorists, travel documents are weapons. That’s why I introduced the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 -- to address
They fight for freedom. They protect our Homeland. They serve long, sacrifice much, and put their lives on the line in the name of duty and honor.
Great editorial in the Daily Press about the “Sputnik moment” our nation faces in the area of hypersonics. I’m pleased the Daily Press
I believe all American funds should be withheld until the United Nations can demonstrate transparency and accountability for U.S. dollars. Where