Mac Thornberry

Mac Thornberry


House passes annual government spending bill


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill yesterday that provides funding for nearly all of the government’s operations through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The exception is the Department of Homeland Security, which will receive funding for less than 90 days, expiring on February 27, 2015.  Under the agreement, overall discretionary spending has been reduced by $165 billion since Fiscal Year 2010.  The legislation passed with a bipartisan vote of  219 to 206.  Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) voted in favor of the bill.   
“This bill fulfills our constitutional responsibility to fund the government, while also reining in spending and executive and other federal overreach,” said Rep. Thornberry.  “We have been able to reduce spending by $165 billion since 2010.  We plan to build on this progress with additional meaningful cuts and changes when Congress returns in January with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate.”
The bill funds important Department of Defense programs and projects, offers a pay raise for troops, and provides resources to help prepare for current and future threats.  The defense portion of the bill also includes funding for local national security facilities, including missions at Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls.  In addition, it contains nearly $2.8 billion for Bell Helicopter’s V-22  and other aircraft programs, much of which is done in Amarillo. It also increases funding for nuclear weapons activities—much of which is performed at Pantex—to $8.2 billion.  To help address the backlog of deferred maintenance on physical infrastructure in the nuclear weapons facilities, the agreement provides $37.4 million specifically for recapitalization projects at Pantex. 
The BLM Red River land dispute issue is addressed in the funding bill as well. It includes language to help ensure that the Bureau of Land Management defers any final decision-making regarding land use plans along the Red River in Texas until appropriate surveys have been conducted to determine ownership. 
Notably, the legislation provides no new funding for Obamacare; cuts $345.6 million from the Internal Revenue Service and $60 million from the Environmental Protection Agency; gives states the power to relax Obama Administration’s onerous school lunch rules; also, includes many provisions to rein in regulatory overreach.  

The bill also offers emergency funding to help combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and to address the domestic and international Ebola crisis.  

Bill Highlights – 

Spending Cuts: Cuts total discretionary spending for the 5th year in a row, which reduces spending to levels lower than under George W. Bush in constant dollars.     

Limited Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Funding: Funds DHS only until Feb. 27, 2015, (less than 90 days) so the new Republican Congress can tackle the issue of Obama’s immigration action in February.

Defense Spending: Funds our nation’s security, military readiness, support for our troops at home and abroad, and care for military families.  It also includes emergency funds to pay for operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

          • Military Personnel and Pay: The bill fully funds the pay raise for the military and provides $215 million above the request to fully fund the cost-of-living allowance for military retirees. 

          • Pantex:  Increases funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons activities including Pantex.  The bill also provides $37.4 million specifically for recapitalization projects at Pantex.  

          • Bell:  Includes about $2.8 billion total for Bell V-22 and helicopter programs, much of which is done in Amarillo, including procurement of 19 new Ospreys and 28 new helicopters for the Marine Corps.

          • Sheppard AFB:  Includes funding for activities at Sheppard AFB in the personnel account and operations and maintenance account.

Red River: Includes report language to help ensure that the Bureau of Land Management does not make any final decisions regarding land use plans along the Red River in Texas until appropriate surveys have been conducted to determine ownership. 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Cuts IRS funding by $345.6 million and includes extensive oversight requirements, bringing IRS funding to below FY 2008 levels.  The bill also prohibits funding to target organizations for regulatory scrutiny based on their political beliefs. 

Restricts Clean Water Act (CWA): Restricts the application of the CWA in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches.

Environmental Protection Agency: Cuts EPA by $60 million and reduces its staffing to the lowest level since 1989.

GIPSA:  Includes restrictions on the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from implementing regulations harmful to the livestock and poultry industry. 

Light Bulbs: Bans the Administration’s onerous “light bulb” standard.

Obamacare: Provides no new funding for Obamacare and blocks the Obamacare slush fund.  Cuts the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) by $10 million and continues restrictions on using taxpayer dollars to lobby for Obamacare.

Department of Justice: Prohibits implementation of a potential Arms Trade Treaty and increases funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program by $6.5 million to $245 million.  The HIDTA program was created by Congress to provide assistance to State law enforcement agencies in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions in the United States.  Recently, Randall and Potter County sheriffs have petitioned to be deemed a HIDTA area. 

Dodd-Frank: Amends the swaps “push-out” requirement included in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform law.  This regulation would require banks to separate, or push out, their derivatives business from the part of the institution that is federally insured.  Opponents of the push out provision say it will be costly to financial institutions while not actually reducing risk to the financial system.  Former Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has expressed opposition to the provision.

Second Amendment: Prohibits funding for the EPA to regulate lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle. 

Department of Transportation (DOT): Suspends DOT regulations requiring two nights of rest after a week of driving for long-haul truckers.

Export-Import Bank: Prohibit the Export-Import Bank and OPIC from blocking coal and other power-generation projects – helping to increase exports of U.S. goods and services. 

Abortion: Continues the ban on public funding for abortions in DC and a ban on using federal funding for federal prisoners. 

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Thornberry Statement on Nomination of Ash Carter as Secretary of Defense


Congressman Mac Thornberry, the Chairman-elect of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following comments after President Obama nominated Ash Carter as the next Secretary of Defense:

"I respect Ash Carter.  He knows the Pentagon, and he knows that some reforms are essential if we are to meet the national security needs of the country.

If confirmed, his challenge will be to resist the micromanagement of the White House staff that has plagued his three predecessors and to speak candidly to Congress and the American people on what is required to defend the country.  The world is growing more dangerous, and strong, stable U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever."

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Thornberry's Red River bill advances out of Committee


A bill to protect private property along the Red River was approved by the House Resources Committee on Wednesday, moving the legislation one step closer toward full consideration by the House of Representatives.

“We will not let up in our efforts to assure landowners that their private property along the Red River will be protected, and the fact that the Resources Committee approved the bill shows that we have both common sense and momentum on our side,” says Thornberry.

The “Red River Private Property Protection Act (H.R. 4979)," introduced by area Congressman Mac Thornberry, seeks to settle all federal ownership claims by providing legal certainty to landowners along the Red River. It directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to relinquish federal claims and issue deeds to landowners who can prove ownership through official State and county records. It also prevents the BLM from including any privately owned acres in a current or future Resource Management Plan.

The legislation was debated along with other proposals dealing with property rights that fall under the House Natural Resources Committee’s jurisdiction.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), acknowledged the land issue is “complicated” and that the bill continues to evolve. He also said, “Mr. Thornberry and his staff have logged many hours and undertaken extensive outreach in order to address and try to resolve this ownership dispute.” Finally, he called the bill’s mark up a “crucial benchmark to assist in the evolution of the bill and bring certainty to folks along the Red River in both Texas and Oklahoma.”

Back in July, the Resources Committee held a hearing on the topic. As a part of the hearing, both Rep. Thornberry and a local Texas landowner whose land along the Red River has been called into question testified about the need to settle the issue.

Additional information can be found on Congressman Thornberry’s website by clicking here. Read More

Rep. Thornberry Selected House Armed Services Committee Chairman


WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Mac Thornberry has been chosen to chair the House Armed Services Committee for the 114th Congress.  Thornberry is the first Texan – Republican or Democrat – ever selected to lead the Committee or its predecessors.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and also mindful of the responsibility it entails,” Thornberry said.  “The men and women who serve our nation in the military deserve the full support and backing of the Congress and of the country.  Providing that support will be my top priority.”

Thornberry was selected to serve as Chairman by the Steering Committee of the House Republican Conference.  His selection is expected to be approved by a vote of all House Republicans tomorrow.

The Armed Services Committee has a responsibility to oversee the Pentagon, all military services, and all Department of Defense agencies.  Each year it writes a defense authorization bill, which authorizes military spending and sets the policies for the Pentagon to follow.

The outgoing Chairman, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), said that the “Armed Services Committee will be in the most capable of hands with Chairman-select Thornberry, and so will our Armed Forces.”  He continued, “During my four years as Chairman, I’ve come to rely on Mac as a policy expert, a gifted communicator, a trusted confidant, and a friend. He has skillfully helped  our Committee as Vice-Chairman, and his national security smarts have earned the respect of both Congress and defense experts alike. But most importantly, Mac is a leader with a servant’s heart. His devotion and loyalty is, above all, to the men and women of our military.

Thornberry’s counterpart in the Senate is Senator John McCain of Arizona, who will chair the Senate Armed Services Committee.  

“This opportunity is only possible because of the help and support I have received over the years from my family, employers and mentors, co-workers, my official and campaign staffs, and especially from the people of the 13th congressional District of Texas.  I am extremely grateful for the confidence they have shown in me and will do my best to live up to the responsibilities of this position on their behalf.”

Thornberry has deep experience in national security issues, having worked as a congressional staff member on defense issues and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department in the Reagan Administration.  He has served in Congress since 1995 and has been a member of the Armed Services Committee during his entire tenure.  He has also served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence since 2004.

“Our country faces a wide array of serious national security challenges from the renewed aggression of major powers to terrorism and attacks in cyberspace.  Congress has an indispensable role to play in meeting those challenges, and the Committee will work to see that our country remains strong.” Read More

Forty Texas Panhandle Veterans Come to Washington


Forty Panhandle veterans traveled to the capital this week to visit the memorials and other sites that commemorate their service and sacrifice.  Today, the group joined Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) for a special tour of the U.S. Capitol where he had the opportunity to speak to them on the Floor of the House.

“Giving these veterans a tour of the Capitol is one of the highlights of my year,” says Rep. Thornberry.  “To sit in a room with men and women who bravely put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and form of government is both humbling and inspiring.  Each of them has shaped our history, defended our values, and each of them has a story worth hearing.”

The Texas Panhandle Honor Flight is organized and sponsored by the local chapter of America Supports You Texas (ASYT), which is headquartered in Amarillo.  The Honor Flights are part of ASYT’s efforts to promote awareness and support for our U.S. military service members and veterans, as well as their families.  The group also organizes care boxes for active duty personnel, sponsors an annual Armed Forces Day banquet, and organizes welcome home and return to duty rallies.

Among the Panhandle veterans on this trip, six served in World War II, eighteen served in Korea, and nine served in Vietnam. 

“I never dreamed I’d get to come to Washington and see what I’m getting to see,” says World War II Veteran Benjamin “Smitty” Smith from Tulia.
“Organizations like America Supports You Texas help remind us that our country remains strong because of what these veterans sacrificed.  Groups like this play an important role in ensuring our veterans receive our deepest gratitude and thanks,” Thornberry says.  

Honor Flight is a national program that began a decade ago as a project to offer World War II veterans all-expenses-paid overnight trips to Washington, D.C., to see the National World War II Memorial.  Today, these flights honor America’s veterans by paying for and transporting groups of veterans from all over the country to see the memorials designed and erected to honor their service.
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Thornberry Statement on Secret Service Security Breaches


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the security breaches under the U.S. Secret Service:

"It was appropriate for the Director of the Secret Service to resign amidst the disturbing episodes that have come to light so far.  As with the VA, however, just changing the person at the top is not enough to change the culture and professionalism of the whole organization.  Much more will be required."​ Read More

Thornberry Statement on Airstrikes in Syria


Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the recent airstrikes against ISIL in Syria:

"These airstrikes carried out by the U.S. and the other nations are a necessary first step in dealing with the terrorist threat of ISIL.  Much more will be required by many nations because ISIL cannot be stopped by only bombing from the air.

"We continue to be grateful for the dedicated professionals serving our nation in the military who are engaged in this effort.  They will continue to be in my prayers." Read More

Training Syrians to Combat ISIL


Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the McKeon Amendment, authorizing the U.S. to train and equip Syrians to fight ISIL:

“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presents a significant danger to the United States, our friends, and allies.  They are the best-equipped, best-trained, and best-funded terrorist organization we have faced.  In addition, they have thousands of fighters with Western passports who can easily travel to the U.S. and Europe.

"This threat will not be eliminated solely from the air; it will require competent ground forces to defeat it.  Allowing the military to train Syrians to be part of that ground force makes sense.  The McKeon Amendment also places clear restrictions on the Administration’s authority, is time-limited, and strengthens Congress’s oversight by requiring detailed progress reports and stringent vetting of Syrian forces for training.
"Of course, training Syrians is only one part of what must be a larger strategy.  The responsibility rests with the President as Commander-in-Chief to implement that strategy, gather allies in the effort, and see that it works to protect the vital security interests of the United States."

The McKeon Amendment passed the House by a vote of 273 to 156. Read More

Thornberry Statement on the President's Speech


Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement in response to the President's address to the nation yesterday evening:

“The President’s speech certainly had a different tone than his previous statements.  It remains to be seen whether he has had a true change of heart or whether he is simply reacting to the polls.

"I believe the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a significant threat to the safety of Americans and to the security of the United States.  Failing to take action will allow this danger to grow.

"We are left with few good options in a very complex situation.  Helping develop more capable ground forces in the region and supporting them with American airpower and intelligence makes sense.  But it will take more than a speech and a few bombs to defeat this powerful terrorist threat.

"In addition, the President has not yet provided a global strategy for dealing with terrorism.  ISIL is not the only terrorist organization aiming to attack the United States.  The potential for attacks from home-grown, self-radicalized individuals here in America also exists.  The country needs a broader plan to protect Americans from a threat that is in many ways more serious today than on 9/11 thirteen years ago." Read More

Thornberry Halts EPA Regulatory Overreach


As part of the ongoing effort to halt EPA regulatory overreach, the House passed a bill today that would prevent the agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from greatly expanding federal jurisdiction and waters covered under the Clean Water Act.  Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) is an original co-sponsor of the measure aimed at protecting farmers, ranchers, businesses, and landowners from further federal restrictions on their private property.  “The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078)" was approved by a bipartisan vote of 262 to 152.

“Personal property and water rights are fundamental to the American way of life, a family’s business, and many people’s livelihoods,” said Thornberry.  “No landowner should have to worry whether the federal government will get in the way of their business because of the bar ditch behind their house.  That is why our bill to restrict the power of the EPA and ensure a transparent regulatory process is so important,” he continued.

In March 2014, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed a rule that would expand regulation of the agriculture community, businesses, and other landowners under the Clean Water Act.  According to the rule, only 56 specified activities would receive exemption from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act, leaving in question the status of all other activities being subject to further EPA regulation.  Many of the activities in question are normal functions of daily farming and ranching routines.  In order to protect business, H.R. 5078 would invalidate the rule as well as prohibit the EPA from exerting more federal control over waters in the United States.  

The bill also requires the EPA and the Corps to seek state and local officials’ recommendations in developing regulatory proposals in the future.  The Secretary of the Army and Administrator of the EPA must submit a report to Congress defining the waters under federal and state jurisdiction, according to the recommendations from state and local officials.  

Concerned that the federal government and the EPA was getting more and more aggressive in its attempts to expand its authority, Congressman Thornberry has been working on a number of measures to restrict federal overreach.  In 2013, he introduced a bill (H.R. 3377) to explicitly clarify that the waters subject to federal control must be in fact “navigable,” i.e. a river, ocean, or lake.  The bill also prohibited the EPA and Corps from defining what is “navigable water” without Congressional authorization and protected the rights of states to have the primary authority over the land within their borders.   The bill already has more than 30 co-sponsors in the House.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a Senate version of the bill in May 2013. Read More

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Contact Information

2329 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3706
Fax 202-225-3486

A fifth generation Texan, Mac Thornberry has strong ties to the people he serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the area since 1881 – a family business in which Mac remains actively involved.

Mac shares the values of the people he represents and continues to fight for the things that are important to them. He is a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited government. Boosting domestic energy production, protecting private property rights, and reforming health care are top priorities for Mac. He strongly supports cutting government spending and creating the kind of policies that encourage economic growth, rather than suffocating it.  Additionally, as one of the few Members of Congress personally involved in agriculture, Mac understands the challenges agricultural producers face and has been a key player in efforts to support producers in the 13th District.

Mac has established himself as a leader in national security, an area in which he continues to be given new responsibilities and opportunities to help advance the security of our nation.  He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee where he also leads the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities.  He also continues to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
In early 2011, Mac was tapped by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader to spearhead a Cybersecurity Task Force to guide House legislative action on this growing national security and economic threat. Well-respected by Members on both sides of the aisle for his insight and leadership, they asked Mac to chair a group of lawmakers representing nine major committees of jurisdiction. The charge was to make recommendations in a number of areas including updating existing laws, protecting critical infrastructure, and sharing cybersecurity information. On October 5, 2011, the Task Force released its recommendations, which have received a favorable response from Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, as well as the White House, private businesses, and other outside organizations.
Mac is also widely respected as an innovator and strategic thinker.  He was one of the first in Congress to recognize the need to confront the threat of terrorism. Six months before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Mac introduced a bill to create a new Department of Homeland Security, which formed the basis of legislation signed into law by President Bush 20 months later. He has also played a major role in shaping national policy on transformation of the military and strategic nuclear issues. In addition, he is at the forefront of efforts in Congress to protect the country from threats ranging from terrorist attacks to nuclear proliferation.
Born in Clarendon and raised on the family ranch in Donley County, Mac graduated from Clarendon High School before continuing his education at Texas Tech University. After obtaining a B.A. in history from Tech in 1980, he went on to the University of Texas Law School where he graduated in 1983. For the next several years, he worked in Washington, including serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in the State Department under President Reagan.In 1989, Mac joined his brothers in the cattle business and practiced law in Amarillo.  He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.

Mac’s wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two children.

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Sam Johnson


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Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


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Bill Flores


Randy Neugebauer


Lamar Smith


Pete Olson


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


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