Included in House Passed H.R. 5931
Washington D.C. – Representative Sean Duffy’s (WI-07) Amendment to ban any future cash payments to state sponsors of terror, and North Korea, was included in H.R. 5931, Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, which passed the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
The bill would prohibit the U.S. from making future cash payments to Iran – directly or indirectly – and require regular reports to Congress on settlements and judgments made pursuant to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague. Rep. Duffy’s amendment would broaden the prohibition of cash payments beyond Iran and include any country designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism as well as North Korea, a country which has detained at least 14 Americans in the past decade. Additionally, his amendment would prohibit payments in precious metal (such as gold) in addition to promissory notes (cash).
During debate on the amendment, Rep. Duffy decried that it should not take an act of Congress to prevent this Administration, or any other, from paying a state sponsor of terror in the currency of terrorism: cash! Click below to watch his full remarks:
COMMENTARY BY Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) & Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
September 21, 2016
The incredible ingenuity of the American people invented the Internet—one of the most transformational technologies in human history. But even though we created and paid for the Internet, we did not keep it for ourselves; we shared it for the benefit of all humanity. That spirit of freedom and generosity is the very essence of our great nation.
Since the internet’s inception, the United States government has played a critical role in supervising the core internet functions that allow websites to interface with the internet. If any other country had created the internet, this power could have been used to deny internet access to websites that were deemed politically undesirable, unpopular, threatening, or disfavored by the ruling elite.
But not here in the United States. The internet is an oasis of freedom today because of our First Amendment, which is unparalleled in the protection it affords free speech. So long as the U.S. government is involved in internet governance, it cannot deny any website Internet access on account of the ideas it espouses.
That could soon change. In 9 days, without seeking the approval of Congress, the Obama administration intends to hand over the government’s historic oversight role to the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
What is ICANN? It is not a democratic body. It is an international conglomerate of global corporations and foreign countries, including oppressive regimes such as China, Russia, and Iran.
The internet is an oasis of freedom today because of our First Amendment, which is unparalleled in the protection it affords free speech.
As a private organization, ICANN is not bound by the First Amendment, which ICANN’s CEO and President Göran Marby admitted in a recent Senate hearing. The First Amendment applies only to the government. So if the government is out of the picture, the First Amendment is too. And that means that ICANN would be free to regulate Internet speech by restricting which websites can gain access to the Internet based on their speech.
While proponents of the handover dismiss this possibility, it is not farfetched. It’s important to remember that the devil is always in the details, and what the administration attempts to spin as a “clerical” function can easily be used to bludgeon free speech. As the body responsible for delegating all top-level domains like .com or .org to registry operators, ICANN has unique leverage and influence over the policies that govern the entire internet ecosystem.
Under ICANN’s post-handover bylaws, foreign governments and global corporations will have an increased voice within ICANN moving forward. Instead of only being able to set and enforce censorship policies at the edge of the internet, foreign governments and global corporations will be able to wield significant influence at the internet’s core, although now without the oversight of the United States that has guaranteed the free and open internet we enjoy today.
So, for example, ICANN could amend its agreements with registry operators if it deems that doing so is in the public interest. Allowing ICANN to determine what is in the public interest by implementing broad consensus policies is a dangerous slippery slope that could create a path toward dictating what constitutes “accepted speech” on the global Internet.
Of course, ICANN would never get away with any such thing now because it is under contract with the U.S. government. If ICANN and its “stakeholders” ever attempted to censor the registries in violation of the First Amendment, the government could simply take the contract away.
But that won’t be the case once ICANN is out from under United States supervision. ICANN will be free to impose whatever restrictions it wants, and the United States will be powerless to stop it.
In a world that does not share our robust commitment to free speech, that possibility is frightening. Imagine an internet where so-called “hate speech”—a notoriously malleable concept—is prohibited, like in many European countries, or where blasphemy is banned, like in many Middle Eastern countries, or where political criticism is penalized, like in China.
That’s the future we could face if Congress does not act to stop President Barack Obama’s reckless abandonment of U.S. oversight.
So why is Obama willing to jeopardize Internet freedom? The administration believes that continued U.S. supervision of the domain name system will prompt China, Russia, Iran, and other countries that have been clamoring for more influence in internet governance to fracture the internet by setting up their own networks, perhaps under United Nations control.
At the same time, however, the administration tells us that the planned transition to ICANN will involve no increase in foreign government influence over the Internet. But if that’s true, then why would China, Russia, and Iran or any other foreign government be satisfied with the transition? They won’t. And that’s the problem. They will never relent in their pursuit to control the global internet infrastructure.
Imagine an internet where so-called “hate speech”—a notoriously malleable concept—is prohibited, like in many European countries, or where blasphemy is banned, like in many Middle Eastern countries, or where political criticism is penalized, like in China.
By ending U.S. oversight, the Obama administration will disempower the American people and empower China, Russia, and Iran, putting those regimes one step closer to their goal. Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence E. Strickling effectively admitted as much at a recent hearing when he confirmed that the United States would be on the very same footing as China, Russia, and Iran after the handover is complete. With the United States reduced to a single vote within ICANN, these regimes will be able to wield more influence than they’ve ever had before.
And that should concern all Americans. For example, ICANN officials have already begun showing an extraordinary affinity for China, the world’s leading abuser of the internet according to Freedom House in 2015. ICANN gatherings have even featured Chinese officials responsible for government censorship and Communist Party propaganda. In fact, ICANN’s former president and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, recently joined a high-level working group for China’s World Internet Conference whose actions had prompted Reporters Without Borders to declare China an “enemy of the Internet.”
And don’t be fooled into believing that the multinational corporations within ICANN’s governing structure will stand up for free speech in the face of Chinese threats. That would be dangerously naïve. Companies that are seeking to expand their businesses globally can hardly be trusted to put free speech ahead of their bottom lines. It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that Human Rights Watch found American companies, like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype, to have been complicit in Chinese censorship.
In the end, relinquishing U.S. oversight will only empower countries and international corporations that do not share the United States’ commitment to freedom and are not bound by the First Amendment. A decision as momentous and important as the decision whether to terminate United States oversight of the Internet and hand it over to an international body should not occur without the affirmative approval of Congress. And it certainly shouldn’t be undertaken until all concerns have been adequately addressed.
Once Obama gives away American guardianship of the Internet, we won’t be able to get it back. Congress must act now to prevent that from happening.Read More
Washington D.C. – Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07) urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to heed Governor Scott Walker’s request to assist farmers who suffered crop losses as a result of heavy rains and flooding in July in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties, all of which reside in the 7th Congressional District. The full text of Rep. Duffy’s letter is pasted below and may be found here.
September 20, 2016
The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
On September 15, 2016, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wrote requesting a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretarial Disaster Designation to help farmers in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties that suffered crop losses as a result of heavy rains and flooding in July. These three counties lost at least 30 percent of their alfalfa, barley, corn, oat, and wheat crops. We write to respectfully ask that you promptly consider Governor Walker’s request so the affected producers may obtain relief as soon as possible.
Unusually heavy and prolonged rainfall on July 11 through July 12, 2016 led to flooding, followed by recurring rain through July 21, 2016. This resulted in many fields remaining underwater or oversaturated for an extended period of time, killing crops or dramatically reducing yields. By declaring these counties disaster areas, farmers in the impacted counties will be eligible for a variety of federal assistance programs. This financial assistance is necessary to ensure that agricultural operations and family farmers in Wisconsin are able to manage these severe losses.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact my office. I look forward to working with you on this important issue.
Member of Congress
Cc: Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy’s (WI-07) amendment to help Veterans receive better access to hearing healthcare was included in The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which passed the House with a bipartisan majority, 310 to 116 on Wednesday. Upon the Bill’s passage, Rep. Duffy offered the following comments:
"At a time when the VA is desperate for some good news, this is an opportunity for Congress and the VA to get it right. Veterans in my district are driving up to 90 miles one way just to get hearing services from an audiologist at the Veteran’s Administration,” said Congressman Duffy. “These Veterans could receive the same service from a local hearing aid specialist, but under current law, the VA is only allowed to use audiologists. My amendment fixes this problem by adding hearing aid specialists to the list of providers the VA is allowed to use. This will provide greater freedom, flexibility, and more options for the men and women who have served our great nation."
“I am grateful to Chairman Miller for including it in his bill, thank you to my colleagues for supporting it and I am hopeful that the Senate will also vote on this bill and get it to the President’s desk!”
Watch Rep. Duffy’s comments from debate on the bill:
Rep. Duffy’s amendment passed nearly unanimously, 423 - 1.
Washington D.C. – House Financial Services Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (WI-07) held a hearing on the Administration’s $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran. Hearing witnesses made startling comments as to the nature of the deal. The top three moments from Chairman Duffy’s line of questioning below:
1. A State Department official could not guarantee that the $1.7 billion cash payment would not be used to fund terrorism: "I just want to note that there is a risk that you have taken in providing $1.7 billion to the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world. I don't want to be chastised on this committee about information that could hurt your negotiations when I feel this deal has endangered security in the region and for U.S. citizens."
2. The payment would not necessarily have been made without the exchange of five American prisoners: "I think more common sense Americans say, 'hey, this was $400 million for the release of five prisoners which, in everyone's assessment, leads us to believe that - as the Chairman noted- per Webster's dictionary is a ransom payment."
3. $1.7 million payment did not have to be in cash: "Did Iran request money come in cash payment?" Admin. Official: Iran wanted immediate access to the money and the only way to provide that immediate payment was through this mechanism"... a.k.a. CASH
Watch the full exchange here.
Washington D.C. – House Financial Services Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (WI-07) released the following statement after it was revealed that the Administration paid Iran, the leading State sponsor of terrorism, an additional $1.3 billion in interest on top of the widely reported $400 million dollars – all in cash:
"This new revelation raises additional questions and underscores the need for Administration officials to answer them at Thursday’s hearing. Today’s briefing was conducted at the staff level without any of the American people’s representatives in Congress and much of what was discussed was unclassified. There is no reason why the Administration shouldn’t answer questions in an open setting about why the United States sent more than a billion dollars to Iran in cold hard cash.”
Chairman Duffy is leading a hearing on the issue, along with the impact of such a payment on terrorism financing, Thursday at 10:00 AM.
It was a picturesque day in Glenwood City, WI last Wednesday. Nearly 100 people turned-out to honor the heroic life of 2nd Lt. Ellen Ainsworth. She was the only woman from Wisconsin to perish during World War II, but not before she saved the lives of dozens of soldiers. Her story is told often at the Sicily Rome Cemetery where she is buried, but until recently, it was rarely told back home in Wisconsin.
After learning her story, I knew that this was one that was worth telling – and re-telling- as often as possible and for as long as possible. Sen. Johnson and I passed a bill to re-name the Glenwood City Post Office in her honor, the President signed it into law in June, and this past week the Post Office was officially re-named. It is no longer just a place where people can send letters and packages, it now holds a story, and we as a community now have an obligation to learn it and tell it. Take a look at some highlights from the event – and it was quite the event!
Payment or Ransom? On Thursday, the Subcommittee that I Chair on the House Financial Services Committee will investigate whether the $400 million payment the Obama Administration made to Iran was just a payment – as they claim – or if it was ransom in exchange for the Americans they were holding hostage. Read more about the hearing here , and make sure to watch it LIVE on the Committee’s website September 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM.
STEM your mind! As more businesses look for STEM-based skills in their applicants, we want to help ensure that they have qualified candidates from right here in Wisconsin. I am very happy that there seems to be significant interest from so many young, bright, 7th District students to take part in this year’s Congressional App Challenge competition - only a few days left to code! Click on the image below for full submission details:
Thank You: On this Labor Day, we take a moment to celebrate the people who’s hard-work and innovation has made our country the greatest this world has ever known. Thank you to all of our local businesses and the hard-working Wisconsinites who keep them, and our economy, going. I wish everyone a safe and restful Labor Day with your friends and families.
Until next week…
Have a great week,
I have asked many of you, including in this e-newsletter, to share your thoughts and concerns with me. I love it when people take me up on this! I spent the better part of last week, and will do it again this week, meeting with various community leaders to discuss the issues that are at the tops of their minds and brainstorming how we can work together to find a better way to serve our respective constituencies. As I begin my last week of this District work period, I am very excited to take our conversations and ideas with me to Washington next week. Take a look at a few photos from my meetings, and we have a cool event coming-up this week that we want everyone to be a part of – more details on that at the very end.
Back to School: It is back to school for almost all of the Duffy kids, as well as most all of the students in Wisconsin’s 7th District! I was able to meet with some of the new teachers in the Hudson area: I shared with them several opportunities throughout the year to engage with us – including the Paul Bunyan award, Congressional Art Competition and Google hangouts – and it was also neat to hear their ideas for getting their students more engaged in the process of how our government works. It sounds like it’s going to be a great school year!
A community of faiths: An event I always look forward to is our interfaith breakfast. I met with faith leaders in both Hudson and Wausau last week. We touched on several topics, including freedom of religion, and conversely, religious persecution both abroad and closer to home.
Taking Action: I caught-up with a great group of engaged constituents during a Heritage roundtable. Our conversation ranged from what we should be doing about ISIS, to the ongoing efforts to reduce red tape.
Poverty Roundtable: In addition to my main poverty summit at the end of the year, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with smaller groups of people throughout the year to discuss the ongoing issues and needs facing a specific area. Grace Place in New Richmond has always been a great partner in this effort; it was great to catch-up with folks in that area this past week.
Harvest Season: As we head into another harvest season, I particularly appreciated the opportunity to meet with some of our farmers. The opportunity to sit down around the kitchen table and have a candid conversation about the current and projected status of our agricultural community is a helpful guide for my efforts on their behalf.
Join us to pay tribute to a local hero! This Wednesday, we are paying tribute to the heroic life of 2nd Lt. Ellen Ainsworth of Glenwood City. She was the only woman from Wisconsin to be killed in action in World War II. We are dedicating the Glenwood City post office in her honor. If you have never had the opportunity to witness a post office naming, it is quite the event! You can watch it LIVE on my Facebook page at 2:00PM CT this Wednesday!
Thank you, as always, for the opportunity to be your voice in Congress. Please continue to share your thoughts and ideas with me – you know I really appreciate them! That’s the round-up for this week.
Have a great week,
P.S. – If you are still coming-up with ideas for the next big app idea, do not forget about the Congressional App Challenge!
Our USA Olympic team is putting on quite the performance in Rio and is giving us a lot to cheer about. We also have a lot to be proud of right here at home. This week, it was my honor to award Fong Moua of Wausau, Wisconsin the winner of our 3rd annual “Paul Bunyan Service Above Self Award”. He is showing kids – and our community – that volunteering is rewarding, and a lot of fun as well! Click here to get to know a little more about his work!
Cheese, beer…and cranberries! Nearly 60% of the country's cranberries are produced right here in Wisconsin. Thanks to the new CranGrowers cooperative in Warrens, even more cranberries and nearly 100 new jobs are also on the way. It was great to be part of the official ribbon cutting with Governor Scott Walker this past week. Check it out!
The Next Big Thing: We are still accepting entries for this year’s Congressional App Challenge. I encourage students in the area to put these last days of summer to good use and start thinking about the next great idea! Click below for all the details:
That is a quick round-up of a few things happening in our area. If you have ideas, issues or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my team and me. Until next week...
Have a great week,
1208 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Sean Duffy was born and raised in Hayward, Wisconsin. His great, great grandfather was one of the state’s early pioneers and a laborer for the Northwestern Lumber Company. His great grandfather, one of Hayward’s founding settlers, was a sawyer for 27 years.
Congressman Duffy has never strayed far from his roots, becoming a nationally recognized professional lumberjack athlete. He is a two-time world champion in the 90-foot speed climb, three-time champion in the 60-foot and an accomplished log-roller. Sean has been a color commentator for ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games, as well as a Badger State Games Honorary Athlete and takes pride in bringing national attention to a sport with vital roots in Wisconsin’s proud history.
The tenth of eleven siblings, Congressman Duffy worked his way through law school by performing in lumberjack shows and exhibitions across the state of Wisconsin and around the country. After graduating from law school he practiced law for two years in Hayward before becoming a special prosecutor in Ashland, Wisconsin. Shortly thereafter, he became the acting assistant D.A, and later the District Attorney of Ashland County. He is most proud of his dedication to prosecuting child sex crimes. Working together with law enforcement, Congressman Duffy helped make Ashland County one of the first counties in the state to investigate and prosecute child Internet sex crimes.
Congressman Duffy met his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy, an Arizona native, through the MTV show, “The Real World,” Together, they are the proud parents of six children: Evita, Jack, Lucia-Belen, John-Paul, Paloma, and MariaVictoria.
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@RepTomPrice glad to have your support for this incredibly important cause - and bill.
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You guys rock! Thanks for sharing your story as a caregiver - such an important perspective. Let's keep this going! https://t.co/VlYDlX0Ej2
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That's the sound of freedom! Awesome video about the meaning and tradition of the pre-game flyover. My bill, The Sound of Freedom Act, would
It should not take an act of Congress to prevent this Administration, or any other, from paying a state sponsor of terror in the currency of
Awesome day yesterday with Broadway stars, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, who are lending their incredibly powerful voices to raise awareness
Awesome to meet up with Deputy Hanson of the Polk County Sheriff's Department & Amery PD Officers Krumrie and Harris! Thanks for all that you
In nine days, the Administration will relinquish control of core functions of our American-made Internet. Senator Ted Cruz and I introduced companion