By Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) - 10/21/14
Recently, we have seen a hydra of terrorist organizations wreak havoc around the world. ISIS continues to destabilize the Middle East and has ambitions to expand globally. Al Qaeda recently expanded its operations to India and had plans to attack a U.S. aircraft carrier on 9/11. Boko Haram kidnapped 50 more women in Nigeria and continues pursuing an Islamic caliphate in Africa. Only a year ago, Al Shabaab attacked Westgate Mall in Kenya, and Hezbollah attempted several assassinations around the world. Such an uptick in terrorism was reflected in an April report published by the State Department, which found terrorist attacks had increased 40 percent worldwide since 2013.
As the Obama administration stumbles its way toward a strategy to confront ISIS, some have suggested that the US could try to enlist help from Iran to combat this threat. Specifically, Secretary of State John Kerry said on September 19 that “there is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.” This would be a monumentally bad decision. Iran is one of the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism and has directly enabled groups like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda to flourish. Additionally, it also continues its march towards nuclear weapons and its attempts to shift the balance of power in Iraq and Syria to its favor. Iran has deeply engaged in Latin America, and its presence and networks have the potential to directly threaten the U.S. homeland.
Iran has a record of terrorism in our hemisphere. Iran sponsored car bombings in Buenos Aires, Argentina of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994. Iran has also plotted terrorism on American soil, such as the 2007 attempt to blow up the JFK airport in Queens, NY, and the 2011 attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington, DC.
Talk of coordinating with Iran on ISIS shows just how deaf this administration is from even its own commanders who have sounded alarms about Iran’s presence in our neighborhood.
In February, U.S. Southern Commander Gen. John Kelly testified before Congress that “Lebanese Hezbollah has long considered [Latin America] a potential attack venue against Israeli and other Western targets.” He emphasized that “Iran’s involvement in the Western Hemisphere is a matter for concern.”
However, Gen. Kelly was brutally honest stating, “U.S. Southern Command’s limited intelligence assets may prevent full awareness of the activities of Iranian and terrorist support networks in the region.”
Yet President Obama has done nothing to address this threat, and I am deeply concerned that our nation remains vulnerable.
Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published findings of an investigation to examine Iran’s threat to the U.S. homeland. GAO considered whether the administration followed U.S. law, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act (P.L. 112-220), which required an assessment of the Iranian threat to the U.S. and develop a strategy to address it.
This bipartisan law was the result of multiple Congressional hearings, classified briefings, and visits to Latin America. In December 2012, President Obama signed the bill into law, and in June 2013, the Administration delivered its report to Congress. The report did not say much: it found that Iran’s influence in the Western hemisphere was “waning” but provided little support to justify its conclusion.
Today, GAO found that the Administration failed to follow the law as mandated by Congress. GAO found four major flaws:
First, the State Department failed to reach out to all of the U.S. posts in the Western hemisphere and did not get input from key foreign partners, such as Mexico. Second, while the State Department found support for its conclusion that Iran’s influence was “waning” from Washington bureaucrats, it did not have the agreement of U.S. military personnel: U.S. Southern Command provided a “notable dissent from the consensus.” Third, the State Department only fully addressed two of the 12 elements required by law and did not address four elements at all. Fourth, the State Department’s bureaucracy prevented its strategic thinking, as its internal policy that its reports to Congress “be limited to five pages” prevented a complete answer to the required elements.
Similarly, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) “did not report on elements for which they had no information.” Instead of identifying its lack of information as intelligence gaps or offering recommendations to Congress on ways to address these gaps, ODNI chose to ignore the question.
GAO also recommended the administration reassess its findings and provide Congress with updated information.
The administration’s flippant attempt to follow the law is stunning to me given Iran’s blatant history in the hemisphere and repeated Congressional attention to this issue. In June 2013, I held yet another hearing to examine Iran’s influence in the region and further urge the administration to take this issue seriously.
The security of the American people and our interests in Latin America require a cohesive strategy and clear situational awareness of Iranian activity. Iran should not have the capability to direct or support terrorist activity in our own hemisphere. We must do more to connect the dots, secure our borders, and protect the U.S. homeland.
I sincerely hope the administration will address the issues raised in today’s GAO report.
Duncan has represented South Carolina's 3rd Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Foreign Affairs; the Natural Resources; and the Homeland Security committees, and is chairman of Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency.
Here is a copy of the GAO Report referenced above http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666202.pdf
Laurens, SC – Today, South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency within the House Committee on Homeland Security, joined the Chairman of the full Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul, and other Committee members calling on U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Department of State Secretary John Kerry to temporarily suspend travel visas for individuals traveling from areas of West Africa impacted by the Ebola virus until the outbreak is under control.
Congressman Duncan has also previously advocated for adopting quarantine protocols for any persons traveling into the United States from West Africa.
Below is the text of the letter sent to Secretaries Johnson and Kerry outlining the request.
October 15, 2014
The Honorable Jeh Johnson Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Nebraska Avenue Center Washington, DC 20528
The Honorable John Kerry Secretary U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretaries Johnson and Kerry,
We write today concerning the urgent need to contain the Ebola Virus. While we understand significant efforts are underway to screen travelers at the point of exit leaving West Africa, as well as recently established procedures established at five ports of entry in the United States, we believe additional steps should be considered to curtail the potential spread of Ebola to the United States.
Last week, the Committee on Homeland Security held a field hearing in Dallas, Texas, where we received testimony from Federal, State and local officials on the government’s current response to the recent Ebola cases in Texas. While we remain confident in CBP’s ability to adequately screen individuals with overt signs of disease, given the virus’s long incubation period of up to 21 days, individuals carrying the virus may not show symptoms when they leave West Africa or upon entry in the United States. As was the case with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola case in Dallas, symptoms manifested days after he arrived.
Despite the strong public health system in the United States to combat a spread of Ebola, the most recent cases involving the two Dallas health care workers demonstrates the vulnerabilities of our system and steep learning curve public health officials are facing. In light of these current vulnerabilities, we urge you to consider temporarily suspending visas of individuals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone until the outbreak is under control. Such a measure would ensure healthcare workers and supplies are able to be transported to impacted areas of West Africa, while also ensuring the public health and safety of the American public.
Taking such action to temporarily suspend some of the 13,500 visas would improve the American public’s confidence of public health officials to limit the spread of Ebola to the United States, while simultaneously permitting a robust effort by the U.S. Government and global health agencies to combat this vicious disease in West Africa. Moreover, we believe that any individuals that are diagnosed with Ebola should go to one of the four hospitals (Emory University Hospital, National Institutes of Health, Nebraska Medical Center, St. Patrick Hospital in Montana) that specialize in the treatment of this disease.
I urge your consideration of these necessary steps to prohibit the spread of this deadly virus. I thank you for your attention to this grave matter and wish you the best of luck as our nation faces this public health crisis.
Representative Michael McCaul Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security
Representative Candice Miller Chairman, Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
Representative Peter King Chairman, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
Representative Jeff Duncan Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
Representative Richard Hudson Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Security
Representative Susan Brooks Chairman, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications
Alexandria, Virginia – Legendary entertainer Pat Boone, spokesman for the national non-partisan senior citizen group the 60 Plus Association today announced that Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina’s third Congressional district has earned the group’s Guardian of Seniors’ Rights award.
Chairman Jim Martin, who founded 60 Plus in 1992, commented, Jeff Duncan can be counted on to protect Social Security and Medicare, fight to repeal Obamacare and end the 'death tax.' As a trusted public servant, Jeff Duncan will continue to protect the pocket books of senior citizens and end the wasteful spending of our tax dollars, which has our government now borrowing over 40 cents of every dollar to pay its bills. Seniors have to live within their means and so should our government.”
In a statement released by 60 Plus, Boone remarked, “I’m still singing at concerts, but today I’m singing the praises of Jeff Duncan. Seniors can depend on Jeff Duncan.” Boone, 80, and his wife of 60 years, Shirley, reside in Beverly Hills, California.
Boone is familiar to audiences as a star of music, film and television. Boone has had 38 top-ten hits since his recording career began in the 1950s, and, according to Billboard magazine, still holds the record for the most consecutive weeks (220) on the charts by any performer.
Martin added, Jeff Duncan is more than just a committed public servant with a distinguished track record of fighting on behalf of seniors in Washington; Jeff Duncan is a trusted voice for smaller, more effective and less expensive government. Jeff Duncan is a tireless worker who makes decisions every day based on what's best for our children and grandchildren. Seniors have no better friend in the U.S. House of Representatives than Congressman Jeff Duncan.”
Washington, DC--Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, held a hearing today to hold senior Administration officials accountable for mismanagement of the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters project at the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast Washington DC. The hearing examined a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released at the hearing. GAO found that DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA) have failed to conduct proper management and oversight of the project. Specifically, DHS and GSA did not follow leading practices for capital decision making, cost and schedule estimates were unreliable and overly optimistic, and plans that began in 2006 had not been updated. The report echoed similar findings outlined in a subcommittee Majority staff report released in January 2014.
Congressman Duncan said “the truth is that DHS and GSA don’t have any idea how much St. Elizabeths will cost or when it could be finished.” The GAO report made several recommendations and called on Congress to make funding contingent on the agencies strengthening their plans. Congressman Duncan noted “Congress should heed GAO’s recommendation that no new funding be appropriated until DHS and GSA get their act together.”
Congressman Duncan has lead efforts to save taxpayer dollars and improve oversight of DHS’s major purchases. In June, the House passed Congressman Duncan’s bipartisan legislation—H.R. 4228, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act—which seeks to empower senior leaders to hold programs accountable, better inform Congress of troubled programs, and develop a strategy for DHS’s future major purchases. The legislation awaits action in the United States Senate.
A copy of the GAO report can be found here: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-648
WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jeff Duncan released the following statement on the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks:
“It’s been 13 years since the September 11th attacks, but the memory, anger, and sadness of that fateful day remains. We remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, and those who were later killed in the defense of freedom while fighting the war of terrorism. The anniversary of September 11th, 2001 has also become a time for us to remember the dedication and sacrifice of our First Responders, the brave men and women who constantly place themselves in harm’s way to protect the innocent.”
“From the beginning of recorded time, there have been those who have sought to oppress, conquer and destroy. To those people, freedom is the enemy. And for those who embrace freedom, the shadow of tyranny will always be present. The rise of Islamic State is more than a humanitarian crisis taking place across an ocean; it represents a direct threat to our very way of life. Islamic State, radical Islam, and countries that sponsor their activities should concern everyone who believes in our God given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
“Terrorists don’t respect borders, human rights, or the rule of law. They impose their will by inflicting pain on the weak and innocent. Ronald Reagan showed the world that the best way to secure peace is to show strength. The United States must demonstrate that leadership and wisdom again today.”
“May we remember those who have been victims in the fight against terror. May we have the resolve to avenge their deaths and the strength to protect the innocent. May we stand up for freedom wherever freedom is under attack, and may we never forget the events of September 11th 2001.”
Washington, DC- Congressman Jeff Duncan along with Congressmen Bill Flores, Scott Rigell, and Richard Hudson sent a letter of support to the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell urging the Department to proceed with a “rigorous lease sale schedule” and to significantly expand the area available for energy development in the new Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. The letter, which was signed by 164 Members of the House, including the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings and the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, states that a “broad, bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the American public have long supported increased development of our nation’s outer continental shelf resources.”
“The commencement of (a new Five Year Plan) occurs at a critical time in our country’s resurgence as an energy superpower. Increasing onshore production on state and private lands is helping to pull our nation out of a recession and driving down our trade deficit. At the state and local level in Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota and many others, economic activity related to energy production is creating thousands of jobs and generating increased revenues that are being reinvested in public education, transportation projects, and other municipal improvements. The energy boom on state and private lands stands as a paradigm of our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit. There is no reason why we cannot replicate this vigorous job growth in more states by opening new OCS areas for development as was envisioned in 2008 when the moratoria on the OCS was lifted in a bipartisan fashion between the then Democrat Majority House and President Bush,” the letter reads.
In regards to safety, Members noted that both the Administration and the Department of the Interior have made “considerable changes to the structure and regulations that govern offshore energy development to enhance safety. The industry has also stepped up with the development of best practices and technologies focused on the areas of spill prevention, containment, and recovery. We are confident that these changes will allow offshore exploration and development to proceed in an environmentally responsible way.”
In conclusion, the letter reads “It is our sincere hope that you will demonstrate a similar commitment to our nation’s energy future by crafting a program that increases offshore production in new areas to create more American jobs, provide much-needed federal and local government revenue, and fortify our nation’s growing position as an energy leader.”
A copy of the letter can be found below.
Duncan’s Supports 2nd Highest Level of Spending Cuts in the Entire US House
Washington, DC – The National Taxpayers Union Foundation released its annual BillTally report, which analyzes each Congressman’s impact on government spending, measuring the costs or savings associated with legislation they have cosponsored. The report found that Congressman Jeff Duncan would save the taxpayers $250 billion per year if legislation he cosponsored was signed into law. That savings total was the highest of all but one other House Member in the 113th Congress.
“As our $17 trillion debt continues to grow, if we as a nation don’t have the courage to change course now, when will we? We cannot continue to live in excess and expect our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab. This kind of generational theft must end. I’m proud to support common sense reforms that cut spending, and force Washington to operate under the same rules that families and small businesses have always had to follow,” said Duncan.
Below you can find the complete report from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation:
National Taxpayers Union Foundation has just released the latest spending data for the 113th Congress in our BillTally report. The study analyzes the fiscal impact of Members’ legislative agendas by cross-referencing our database of scored bills with each Senator and Representative’s sponsorship and co-sponsorship records. Below are our overall findings as well as a breakdown of the South Carolina delegation for the First Session (all figures are annualized).
Net Spending Agenda
# of Increase
# of Decrease
The full report contains lots of other data points, including the cost of all bills introduced in each Chamber and a look at fiscally-related member caucuses such as the Tea Party Caucus.
116 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Jeff Duncan is a South Carolina native and a 1988 graduate of Clemson University. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Duncan served as branch manager and an Assistant Vice President during his seven years of working in community banking. Later, he became the President and CEO of J. Duncan Associates, a South Carolina based, family owned real estate marketing firm which specialized in statewide real estate auctions.
Duncan served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2002-2010, where he served as the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee from 2007 to 2009.
During his tenure in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Jeff was known as one of the most conservative House Members, earning recognition as a “Taxpayer’s Hero” from Governor Mark Sanford for his work combating wasteful government spending and fighting against tax increases. Jeff has also received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB); he had an A+ rating from the Club for Growth; he was awarded the Palmetto Leadership Award from the SC Policy Council during his Freshman term; “Legislator of the Year” recognition from both the SC Recreation and Parks Association and the SC Wildlife Federation. In 2010, Jeff Duncan was awarded The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina.
Congressman Duncan is passionate about American Energy Independence. While a State Legislator, Jeff served on the US Department of the Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf’s 5 year Planning Sub-Committee which was charged with making recommendations for oil and natural gas leases on offshore areas. In addition, he served on the state’s Natural Gas Offshore Drilling Study Committee and was appointed to represent the state of South Carolina on the Southern States Energy Board.
Elected in 2010 to the 112th Congress, Jeff currently sits on three House committees including the Natural Resources Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also serves as the Subcommittee Chairman of Homeland Security’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. Additionally, Congressman Duncan was appointed by Speaker John Boehner to the Executive Committee for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
The Natural Resources Committee gives Duncan an outlet to promote US energy policy. He is an integral part of the GOP’s House Energy Action Team (HEAT) which supports expedited permitting of energy projects and the use of currently undeveloped areas for energy production in the United States, including areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other Federal land.
Jeff takes a particular interest in the promotion of nuclear energy, a topic especially important to South Carolina, home of the Savannah River Site nuclear complex. Energy independence is vital to national security and a segue to job creation. Congressman Duncan views nuclear power as a key ingredient in that equation. He supports the use of the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada as a long-term storage site for nuclear waste. Although he is a strong proponent of American solutions to American energy issues, Congressman Duncan is not in favor of federal energy subsidies for alternative energy or ethanol.
As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, Jeff can advocate for some of his passions: the enjoyment of the great outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman. Jeff sits on the subcommittee for fisheries and wildlife.
A member of both the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus, Jeff took a strong stand on major fiscal issues in the 112th Congress. Dissatisfied with the level of spending cuts offered, he split from a majority of Republicans in his opposition of: the final fiscal 2011 spending deal; the final debt limit increase deal in August 2011; both versions of a bill to keep the government operating at the start of fiscal 2012; and the final FY 2012 Appropriations bill. A strong believer in the Constitution, Jeff fought against ambiguous language in the National Defense Authorization Act which he feels could put certain American liberties in peril.
In February 2011, he introduced a resolution that would create a new committee called the Committee on the Elimination of Nonessential Federal Programs, with the express purpose of reducing federal outlays. He supports taking a closer look at any government agency that is not included in the constitutional role of the federal government.
Jeff strongly believes that border security does fit the Constitutional definition of a federal duty and is proudly a member of the Border and Maritime Security subcommittee. He advocates an “all-of-the-above” strategy for border enforcement, including physical fencing, greater use of surveillance technology and increased manpower. His stance on border security includes an immigration policy aspect, as well as a national security element. He supports stronger enforcement of immigration laws and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.
Duncan has also worked the national security angle to border enforcement from his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee. When news reports broke in October 2011 that the Iranian government allegedly wanted members of Mexican drug cartels to carry out an assassination on U.S. soil, Duncan introduced a resolution urging the government to consider Iran a threat to the Western Hemisphere when formulating counterterrorism strategy.
Act! for America presented Representative Duncan with the “2011 National Security Patriot Award” because of his strong and enduring commitment to protecting our national security and democratic values.
Jeff also serves as the co-chairman of the Sovereignty Caucus along with Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn. The Caucus seeks to combat the influence of international organizations and multilateral agreements on United States policy. He urges greater scrutiny of foreign aid and has been an advocate for blocking economic assistance to governments that oppose the United States in the U.N. General Assembly.
In September 2011, Duncan became the only member of Congress with a 100 percent rating on the Heritage Action for America legislative scorecard “covering the full spectrum of conservatism.” He finished the 112th Congress at the top of the House leader board.
Jeff has been married to his wife Melody for twenty-five years and they have three sons: Graham, John Philip, and Parker. The Duncan family are members of First Baptist Church of Clinton, South Carolina.
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Following laws has been a problem for the Admin from the beginning but I had hoped they would take an issue like national security seriously
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A copy of the report can be viewed here. I wrote the legislation referenced and it was signed into law in 2012 http://t.co/LZYx8uvZKt
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A GAO report released today shows that the Obama Admin has done a poor job implementing the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act
In December of 2012, President Obama signed into law the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, bipartisan legislation that I wrote to
Several weeks ago, I called for a more proactive strategy from our government regarding the Ebola outbreak. Travel bans, restricting visas, and
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