Rep. Mark Meadows Introduces D.C. School Choice Bill
Sen. Ted Cruz introduced the companion bill in the Senate
Washington, D.C.— Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Educational Freedom Accounts Act (H.R. 4426) on Tuesday, which creates a school choice program in Washington, D.C. This legislation was originally introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the Senate.
The Educational Freedom Accounts Act would create an innovative school choice program built around establishing Education Savings Accounts for students in the District of Columbia.
“Parents – not the government – know what's best for their children,” Rep. Meadows said. “I’m proud to join Sen. Ted Cruz, a long time defender of school choice, in support of this important legislation that empowers parents to choose the best education to meet the individual needs of their children. Education shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Education Savings Accounts make it possible for parents to create customizable education plans that are tailored to the needs of their child. This is the sort of commonsense policy that deserves widespread bipartisan support.”
“School choice is the civil rights issue of our era. Each and every child has the right to access a quality education,” Sen. Cruz said. “Not only does school choice give low-income children the same choices and opportunities that children from wealthy families have always had, it also improves public schools, making them stronger and more effective. This legislation ensures that all children in Washington, D.C., regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code, have the same opportunity to choose the schools that best fit their needs and will help them achieve their very best. I am honored to work with Rep. Meadows on this issue.”
Read the full text of the bill here.
Fifteen years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States government still has little idea how many foreign travelers overstay their visas annually and remain in the U.S. This, despite the fact that two September 11 hijackers, Satam al-Suqami and Nawaf al-Hazmi, overstayed their visas before carrying out the deadly attacks that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead. Two other 9/11 hijackers had also previously overstayed their visas.
Foreign travelers overstaying their visas to remain in the U.S. illegally represents one of the gravest national security threats to the homeland. We know the risk posed by not enforcing our visa laws—it’s unacceptable that we are turning a blind eye to these violations.
Federal law requires that agencies of jurisdiction annually report to Congress an estimate of the number of individuals who have overstayed their visas. However, in flagrant violation of that Congressional mandate, neither the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nor its predecessor has submitted a report since 1994.
After numerous Congressional requests and inquiries, DHS released a report this past week indicating that 500,000 foreign travelers overstayed their visas in 2015 to remain in the U.S. illegally.
However, that figure does not represent the full number of visa overstays in the U.S., since the data is only for those who came into the United States through certain modes of entry and does not include some visa types including student and fiancé visas. Tashfeen Malik, who carried out the deadly terrorist attack with her husband in San Bernardino, had come to the U.S. on a K-1 or fiancé visa.
And it gets worse.
Since 1996, Congress has required the agency of jurisdiction—now DHS— to set up a biometric exit system to track visa overstays.
Yet here we are in 2016 and it has yet to be implemented. Exit checks are absolutely critical to monitor if those who come into the U.S. on visas actually do in fact leave the country when their visa is up. Estimates reveal that at least 40 percent of illegal immigrants come to the U.S. on temporary visas and simply overstay.
Annually, Congress has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars to go towards the implementation of the biometric exit program, yet it still isn’t operational.
It’s absolutely ludicrous that these basic security measures have not been put in place to track the flow of visitors coming and going in and out of our country. It’s not just irresponsible of DHS—it’s inexcusable.
When we talk about the national security threat posed by visa overstays, we are not speaking in hypotheticals. We are facing the reality of recent history.
Two of the 9/11 hijackers exploited the security vulnerabilities in the United States’ visa program and were able to carry out their attacks. It is astounding that over a decade later DHS still has done little to fix the problem.
Republican Mark Meadows represents North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Read the full op-ed at Fox News here.
Washington, D.C.— On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report indicating that more than 500,000 foreign travelers had overstayed their visas in 2015 and remained in the U.S. illegally. Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement:
“Foreigners overstaying their visas to remain in the U.S. illegally represents one of the gravest national security threats to the homeland. Two of the 9/11 hijackers overstayed their visas at the time of the attack that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead. Furthermore, two others involved had previously overstayed their visas. We know the risk posed by not enforcing our visa laws—it’s unacceptable that we are turning a blind eye to these violations.
The 500,000 figure does not represent the full number of visa overstays in the U.S., since the data is only for those who came into the United States through certain modes of entry and does not include some visa types including student and fiancé visas.
Since 1996, Congress has required the agency of jurisdiction—now DHS— to set up a biometric exit system to track visa overstays. Nearly 20 years later, that system has yet to be put in place. DHS must immediately take measures to implement a thorough exit screening system to ensure that anyone who enters the U.S. on a visa actually leaves. There is no excuse not to.
For months, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has worked tirelessly to get to the bottom of the number of visas overstays in the United States. I personally requested these figures directly from senior DHS officials on numerous occasions. This is a matter of national security and of the highest priority. DHS must be quicker to comply with Congressional requests.”
President Barack Obama delivered the final State of the Union speech of his presidency on Tuesday night, hours after the Pentagon confirmed that Iran apprehended a U.S. Navy boat and is detaining 10 American sailors. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement:
“What an unfortunate juxtaposition for the President: as he took to the podium to defend his Iran nuclear deal and other foreign policy initiatives, American sailors were being detained in Iran. Make no mistake, the signing of the Iran Deal has only been emboldened the Iranian regime and Tehran grows increasingly more hostile to the West by the day. Let us not forget that in addition to these sailors being held, four innocent Americans have remained imprisoned in Iran for years.
The world is becoming a more dangerous place because of the Obama Administration’s failed foreign policy that fundamentally misunderstands America’s enemies. At nearly every turn, the President has unilaterally made foreign policy decisions that baffle the American people. From failing to temporarily halt Syrian refugees from being admitted into the U.S. until we improve our vetting system, to bypassing Congress and unlawfully initiating the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, the American people are perplexed by the Obama foreign policy.
More than a year into the conflict with ISIS, the U.S. is engaging in anemic airstrikes with no clear strategy, creating a vacuum for Russian leadership in a conflict that demands American leadership. There’s no such thing as a lame duck President in times of war—and that is precisely what the United States is engaged in with ISIS. The President must fundamentally alter his foreign policy—and quickly—or there will be repercussions for decades to come.
After 7 years in office, it’s time President Obama try a new strategy: working with Congress to address these critical issues for the American people.”Read More
Washington, D.C.— Henderson County Public Schools’ Superintendent David L. Jones announced his retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 school year, effective July 2016. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), who represents Henderson County in the United States Congress, released the following statement:
“David L. Jones is a dedicated public servant with whom I have had the honor and privilege of working with over the years. His commitment to the students and families of Henderson County has been demonstrated time and time again over his 38-year career. I’ve met with Mr. Jones on numerous occasions while visiting Henderson County Schools and have always found him to be a person who puts his students first and has the best interests of his teachers at the core of what he proposes. He will be sadly missed and will leave behind big shoes to fill.”Read More
Washington, D.C.— On Tuesday, President Obama announced new executive actions limiting the sale of firearms. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement:
President Obama is once again bypassing the legislative branch and subverting its will. Our founders enshrined in the Constitution the right to keep and bear arms and that cannot be changed through executive fiat. Combatting gun violence in the U.S. is critically important, but the actions announced by President Obama today would do nothing to address it and would instead unlawfully restrict law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms. I am a committed defender of the 2nd Amendment and because of that oppose President Obama's efforts to restrict those Constitutional rights.
By Rep. Mark Meadows
According to recent reports, the Obama administration condoned the spying on of senior officials within the Israeli government, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that among the intercepted conversations were communications between U.S. lawmakers and Israeli officials.
This shocking report underscores the belief that the Executive Branch continually exceeds its constitutional authorities and has deliberately encroached on the powers granted specifically to the legislative body. If reports are verified, then this most recent gathering of constitutionally protected information cannot be chalked up to an inadvertent mistake but a deliberate attempt to commit an unconstitutional act to influence public opinion and members of Congress.
Spying on the prime minister of Israel and Congress has nothing to do with national security — only politics.
Some may ask how there could be such confidence that this act was deliberate and not an inadvertent result of a more comprehensive dragnet, but they need to only look at the actions that followed the spying to verify the inappropriate behavior.
Once the collection of conversations between the Israeli government and members of Congress occurred, had it been inadvertent, then they would have been destroyed instead of redacted for further use. Had they been inadvertent, then they would not have been forwarded to the White House for review in their redacted form. Had they been inadvertent, then senior administration officials wouldn't have tried to justify their actions under a National Security Waiver.
The deliberate collection of phone conversations from a trusted ally to influence a debate in Congress is troublesome on its own. But the decision to review and analyze those same conversations that include the deliberative process between those allies and members of Congress is an abuse of power. If National Security Agency (NSA) heads fundamentally lack an understanding of what constitutes constitutionally protected communications, or worse, chose to disregard those directives, then it's time for the appropriate heads of these agencies to resign.
During recent congressional hearings, we have heard from Obama administration officials that Facebook conversations of non-citizens were somehow considered protected communications. It seems very hypocritical that rights of non-citizens, who are potential terrorists, would be protected but not those of members of the United States Congress.
Earlier this week Republicans on the House Oversight And Government Reform Committee sent a letter to the NSA demanding that it turn over all guidance provided to employees on intercepted communications involving members of Congress.
It is time for resignations and some real accountability at the NSA and any other agencies involved.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, requesting that the State Department revoke the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) waiver to maintain an office in Washington, D.C. The letter, signed by 32 members of Congress, cites Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports that the PLO funds terrorism by paying “salaries” to Palestinians who are put in Israeli jails as a way of rewarding and incentivizing terror attacks.
“Our close ally Israel is enduring another wave of Palestinian terrorism in the form of car-ramming, rock-throwing, and brutal knife attacks,” Sen. Cruz said. “These horrific acts of terrorism are due to the continued incitement and glorification of violence by Palestinian leadership. Just last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the recent attacks a ‘justified popular uprising’ following his remarks in September, in which he said, ‘We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.’ It is long past time for the United States to hold the PLO and its leaders accountable for engaging in such rampant incitement, for celebrating the murder of Jews, and for providing payment to Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel and their families. We must make it clear such actions are blatantly unacceptable and close the PLO office in Washington, D.C.”
“For too long the PLO has not just tolerated acts of terrorism against the Israeli people-but incited others to commit acts of violence in the name of jihad,” Rep. Meadows said. “It goes against everything we stand for as an American people to allow the PLO to retain an office in our nation’s capital, considering its long and well-documented history of encouraging violence and terror against our Israeli allies. It’s time we send a clear signal that the United States does not tolerate extremism and demonstrate our unwavering support for our allies in Israel by revoking this waiver.”
The full text of the letter can be read here or below:
The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520
December 18, 2015
Dear Secretary Kerry,
Palestinian incitement to violence is a serious and ongoing threat to peace. In recent months, Israel has seen a dramatic increase in deadly attacks carried out by Palestinians sympathetic to the message of hatred and intolerance proclaimed by leaders within the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The spike in violence in Israel is directly connected to the Palestinian government’s teaching of hate and glorification of terrorism.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the PLO funds terrorism by paying “salaries” to Palestinians who are put in Israeli jails as a way of rewarding and incentivizing terror attacks. The longer the term, the higher the salary. Each year, the PLO provides about $150 million to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and families of deceased terrorists.
Shockingly, despite being complicit in spreading hatred and terror, the PLO retains an office in Washington, D.C. In the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, Congress forbade the PLO from establishing or maintaining an office in the United States. However, each year since 1994, a President has signed a waiver allowing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. to remain open.
This fall, both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed resolutions condemning Palestinian incitement. The United States government has an obligation to publicly denounce the PLO’s actions and should immediately revoke its waiver. Allowing the PLO to maintain an office in Washington, D.C. provides no benefit to the United States or the peace process.
We ask that the State Department revoke the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s waiver to maintain an office in the United States. Closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. would send a clear statement that the kind of incitement to violence perpetrated by the PLO and its leaders will not be tolerated.
Member of Congress
United States Senator
Washington, D.C.— The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, H.R. 2297, on Wednesday, a landmark bill using financial sanctions to cripple the terrorist organization’s foreign assets and global criminal operations. The bill, originally introduced in the 113th Congress by Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature.
This legislation also targets Hizballah’s international narcotics trafficking, it’s media arm and propaganda tool, al-Manar, and will require the President to designate the terrorist organization as a Transnational Criminal Organization, allowing the U.S. Department of the Treasury and law enforcement personnel the ability to crack down on Hizballah’s criminal and terrorist activities.
“The United States cannot sit back idly and allow Hizbollah’s terrorist and criminal operations to continue unabated. Hizballah poses a direct threat to the United States and our allies abroad, particularly Israel. We must do all that we can in our power to stop Hizballah’s global terrorist reach,” said Congressman Meadows.
This bipartisan bill passed the House unanimously in the 113th Congress. It was re-introduced in the 114th Congress by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elliot Engel (D-NY). In the Senate, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the companion legislation, which advanced with broad support before being sent back to the House with an amendment.
“I’m grateful to Senators Rubio and Shaheen for their bipartisan efforts to advance this critically important legislation, which will truly help make the world a safer place. The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act will cripple the terrorist organization’s extensive, illegal financial network. Hizballah’s days of unhindered criminal operations and terrorist activity are numbered,” Meadows said.
Washington, D.C.— The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced the bipartisan Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015, H.R. 4180, introduced by Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Ranking Member Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to combat fraud at federal agencies and save American taxpayer dollars.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported nearly a $125 billion in improper payments just last year, much of which is the result of individuals deliberately defrauding federal agencies. The Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Comptroller General to establish government-wide guidelines for agencies to monitor, detect, and combat fraud in real-time, rather than relying on end-of-year audits.
The bill also calls for the creation of a working group tasked with building multi-agency data channels to fight fraud with the power of big data.
“Detecting, preventing, and eliminating fraud within our federal agencies is an important bipartisan issue that will save taxpayer dollars. Federal agencies must be pro-active, not reactive in their anti-fraud efforts,” Chairman Meadows (R-NC) said.
“The fight against fraud and improper payments is a long-standing challenge transcending Presidential administrations and affecting all federal agencies,” said Representative Gerry Connolly. “Our committee has investigated this issue in-depth, and when it comes to rooting out fraud, we would be wise to heed Benjamin Franklin’s famous axiom that, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee for Government Operations.
Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tom Carper (D-DE) are leading the Senate-version of the bill.
1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
After working as a small business owner for 27 years, Representative Mark Meadows brings a business-style approach to Washington, D.C.
From owning and selling a successful restaurant to building a development company, Mark understands what the 63.7 million people in the United States who are self-employed or work for small businesses need to grow their businesses. He believes real job creation comes from the private sector, not the federal government. Mark recognizes that regulations are stifling job growth in this country and without a budget to set spending priorities, our federal government will continue to spend beyond its means.
While serving on the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure, Mark will hold the government accountable, protect American citizens and interests abroad, and ensure we have a modern transportation network which meets the needs of Western North Carolina and our country as a whole.
He is dedicated to providing top-notch constituent services to North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and committed to upholding his Christian values and conservative principles while serving in Congress.
Mark lives in Jackson County with his wife Debbie. They have two college-age children, Blake and Haley.
Justice Scalia was an American hero who loved the Constitution, liberty, & this great nation. Our nation mourns the loss of a true patriot.
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
Justice #Scalia was an American hero who loved the Constitution, liberty, & this great nation. Our nation mourns the loss of a true patriot.
Proud to cast my vote today in support of even stronger sanctions against #NorthKorea. Kim Jong Un continues to try to provoke the West while
LIVE @ 1pm: House Oversight Committee will hear from top #IRS officials on the agency's failure to protect sensitive data. Last summer, the #IRS
Our national debt just hit $19 trillion. How does President Obama respond? By once again proposing a #budget that NEVER balances. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/obama-release-trillion-budget-2017-36801662
Stocked up on Doritos after seeing the #SuperBowl ad. #prolife #standforLife