Mr. Speaker, targeted, bullied, and terrorized, these are the words that Bonnie Scott used to describe her dismissal from the Peace Corps. One month after reported allegations that another U.S. Peace Corps member had harassed and sexually assaulted two local women, Scott was dismissed—interesting.
This is not the first time that we have heard of these actions. In 2015, a report found that one in five Peace Corps volunteers were victims of sexual assault.
Half of the victims do not report their attacks. Many state that they were blamed by the Peace Corps for their sexual assaults. Even though Congress has passed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, the Peace Corps has work to do to protect these amazing ambassadors abroad.
Mr. Speaker, Peace Corps volunteers are the best America has. These volunteers must know that America will protect them overseas.
If a crime occurs against them, America will stand by them, not abandon them. And if a crime is committed, they need to know the crime is not their fault; it is the fault of the perpetrator.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
I thank the chairman for bringing this bill up and for his work on it in a bipartisan way. I especially want to thank Congressman YODER for pushing this legislation that has overwhelming support in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Speaker, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed in 1986—30 years ago. It was an eternity. Understand that IBM invented and put on the market its first laptop in 1986.
A lot has changed since that day 30 years ago. As the chairman mentioned, the cloud was where rain came from, or sometimes we see it here in Washington, D.C.—the cloud.
No one even knew what that was. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act needs to be fixed because it does not protect the right of privacy of Americans. If something is stored in the cloud that is over 180 days old, then it is open season for government to seize all of that information.
All governments— local or State or Federal—can go in and get those emails, texts, photographs, documents that you are storing. Up to 180 days, it is protected by the Constitution. Interesting—180 days of constitutional rights—but on the 181st day, you have no right of privacy.
That is absurd. This bill fixes that former legislation. I used to be a judge in Texas for 22 years, and I had peace officers all the time come to see me who wanted a warrant.
They followed the Fourth Amendment and described the place to be searched. They would go in with that warrant, after stating probable cause, and they were allowed to seize whatever they could seize under the warrant. The Fourth Amendment ought to apply today.
It ought to apply in the electronic age. It ought to apply to emails that are stored in the cloud or to anything else that is stored in the cloud. If the police officers have to have a warrant to go into your house and take documents you store in your desk or wherever, then they have to have a warrant if you store documents in the cloud.
That is what this legislation does, and it makes sense that we protect the constitutional right. The government cannot tap our phones without a warrant, it can’t read hard mail without a warrant, and it can’t enter our homes without a warrant because of the Fourth Amendment.
We are unique among all peoples because we have in our Constitution the Fourth Amendment that protects Americans—I think better than any other population anywhere—of their rights. Speaking of rights, the government doesn’t have rights.
People have rights, and the Bill of Rights protects the citizens of the United States. Government has authority—it has power—and if you read the Bill of Rights, the 10 Amendments especially, it is to limit government power and authority against us, the citizens.
So, of course, the Fourth Amendment should apply to the Federal Government in this area. Unfortunately, we have seen in our own government abuses of the government in the area, especially of snooping and spying on Americans, with the NSA and its story that we are all familiar with.
We have to control government, and it is our obligation, the House of Representatives, to protect the Constitution—the Bill of Rights especially—from government intrusion.
I support this legislation. It is a good piece of legislation. I thank the chairman and the ranking member and Ms. LOFGREN for her support of this legislation that we have been working on for a long time. Let Congress speak out and support the right of privacy for all Americans and keep the government out of the snooping business.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
Mr. Speaker, the State of Israel has always been threatened by nations and terror groups that hate Israel simply because it is a Jewish state. In recent years, the threats to Israel have become even more dangerous.
Just this week, 16 people were wounded in a bus bombing in Jerusalem. The volatile civil war in Syria has allowed the region to become a full-blown terrorist haven which directly threatens Israeli security.
Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the al Nusrah Front, has literally straddled the Syrian-Israeli border. ISIS, which is even more brutal than al-Qaeda, controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, and it won’t be long before they turn their sights on Israel.
Lebanese Hezbollah, which is also heavily imbedded in the Syrian civil war, acts as Iran’s terrorist proxy. Iran has moved advanced weapons systems into Lebanon, including anti-ship cruise missiles, air defense systems, and precision-guided surface-to-surface missiles.
That means Hezbollah has an estimated 150,000 missiles sitting in their stockpile. Equally concerning is that Hezbollah is amassing valuable tactical experience while fighting in this Syrian civil war that could be used against Israel.
Compounding the terrorist threat in Israel is the recent spate of Palestinian lone-wolf attacks, which include stabbings, vehicle ramming, and shootings. The latest wave of attacks has killed 34 people and injured over 400.
Among those killed were two American citizens: Ezra Schwartz of Massachusetts and Taylor Force from my home state of Texas. These attacks are directly fueled by the hateful incitement of the Palestinian Authority which must be stymied.
Meanwhile, down in Gaza, Israeli officials now believe that Hamas has completely replenished its rocket supply that Israel depleted in 2014. Just recently Israeli officials announced the discovery of a new tunnel built by Hamas into leading into Israel.
The sole purpose of these tunnels is to secure arms supply lines and then strike at the heart of Israeli population centers. Aside from terrorism, the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has led an onslaught of de-legitimization campaigns targeting Israel in recent years.
Five American scholarly associations have already joined this cause citing what they refer to as Israel’s ‘‘violation of human rights.’’ Interestingly, the organizations only boycott Israel and not other countries with much worse human rights records.
Israel must also deal with the fallout from the Iran nuclear deal made by this Administration. Iran’s most recent ballistic missile test launched missiles marked with the words ‘‘Israel must be wiped off the earth.’’
Thanks to this deal, it is only a matter of time before the mullahs in Tehran develop a nuclear weapon and aim it towards Israel. It’s no wonder why Israeli leaders call the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a ‘‘bad deal’’ that threatens Israel’s survival.
You would think that with all these threats facing our ally Israel, the United States would draw closer to its friend and help it protect itself. But that has not happened.
Despite these threats, our relationship with Israel has become strained under this Administration. We must do more to repair our partnership and protect our friends and allies in Israel from the growing dangers that surround them.
We must recognize that the threats that confront Israel also confront the United States. The same terrorist groups that want to destroy Israel also want to destroy the United States.
The same Iran that calls Israel the ‘little Satan’ also calls the United States the ‘Great Satan’. We must face these common threats together.
And that’s just the way it is.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, Congressmen Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) wrote a letter to the Obama Administration inquiring as to whether there is any evidence of China providing ballistic missile assistance to Pakistan. Recent reports have stated that the transport carrier for Pakistan’s’ new medium range nuclear ballistic missile was designed by the same Chinese company that transferred six similar carriers to North Korea in 2011.Read More
With the federal disaster declaration, Harris County residents may be eligible for FEMA major disaster benefits, including:
Disaster Housing may be available for up to 18 months, using local resources, for displaced persons whose residences were heavily damaged or destroyed. Funding also can be provided for housing repairs and replacement of damaged items to make homes habitable.
Disaster Grants are available to help meet other serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs. These may include replacement of personal property, and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.
Low-Interest Disaster Loans
Low-Interest Disaster Loans are available after a disaster for homeowners, renters and small businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured property losses. Loans may be available for repair or replacement of homes, automobiles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Loans are also available to businesses for property loss and economic injury.
Other Disaster Aid Programs
Other Disaster Aid Programs include crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and Veteran's benefits.
After the application is taken, the damaged property is inspected to verify the loss. If approved, an applicant will soon receive a check for rental assistance or a grant. Loan applications require more information and approval may take several weeks after application. The deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days following the President's major disaster declaration.
Application forms and additional information can be found at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
If you need any help with your application or if you have any questions regarding the process, please call my district office at (281) 446-0242.
Mr. Speaker, while horrific trench warfare was taking place in Europe, half a continent away on April 25, 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, ANZAC, set out to capture the Dardanelles and Gallipoli, but met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turks.
It was World War I, 100 years ago. What was originally intended to quickly eliminate Turkey from the war turned into a bloody, 8-month battle. More than 8,000 Australians and 2,400 New Zealanders died in that campaign.
The battle and the losses of so many caused Australians and New Zealanders to remember the sacrifice of all those who died on ANZAC Day, a day of remembrance, April 25. The Australians have built a magnificent memorial to their war dead.
Having seen it, I was humbly inspired how Australians show gratitude to their fallen warriors. Mr. Speaker, join me in honoring our friends and allies, the Aussies and the Kiwis across the sea, as they honor their fallen on ANZAC Day, those who died in the war to end all wars.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
Cyprus Creek Mirror
Dozen of speakers provided a closer look on the growing markets affecting Houston’s economy at the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Forum on Friday, April 1.
Keynote speaker Commissioner R. Jack Cagle gave a brief overview of what is happening in Precinct 4 and Harris County. Cagle received applause for sharing why his job at the event was easy, which is to brag about what is going on in Precinct 4.
“When you live in the best Precinct, which is Precinct 4, the best county, Harris County and the best state, the state of Texas and the best country, the United States and the best world, earth and God’s great galaxy, it’s an easy job,” he said.
Other speakers included leaders sharing their views from a perspective from Washington. U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, Ted Poe and Sheila Jackson Lee provided insights on ways to boost the local economy and what lies ahead for Houston.
Poe spoke about legislation on human trafficking, and natural gas and its relation to the Port of Houston, a major part of the region’s economy.
“The Port of Houston is responsible for 50 percent of the economy of the Houston area, and about 50 percent of this is related to energy … not necessary fuel. Half of our economy comes from the Port of Houston and we are an export port, we sell and ship things,” he said.
Brady discussed job recovery and what needs to be done to get people back into the workforce. The economy adding new jobs is good, said Brady, but it is still not good enough.
“We are missing 6 million jobs for the economy and 40,000 American jobs are gone and will never come back,” he said.
After speaking on the panel, Jackson Lee and Brady spoke with media regarding controversial issues. Addressing a question regarding affordable healthcare, Brady said “Obamacare” does not benefit the majority of the people.
“I think Obamacare has helped some but it has hurt many others who are not able to see their local doctors. People who have these plans have high deductibles and co-pays which they simply cannot pay. I think there is a better way to provide healthcare.”
Addressing the same question, Lee gave her viewpoint on why she believes the Affordable Care Act is helping and not hurting the economy.
Lee said they can be more effective by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, healthcare costs such as doctor visits and other hospital expenses. She stated how they are working on changing these things but overall the results of the ACA speaks for itself.
“I think actions speak louder than words; 20 million new people now have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act,” she said.Read More
HOUSTON, TX—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) and the entire Texas Congressional delegation joined together to call on President Obama to grant a federal major disaster declaration for Texas in light of the significant damage caused by the major April 17th storm in Harris County. The letter reads: “The Governor has determined that this event is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments.”
In the days after the storm, Congressman Poe toured multiple sites in his Congressional district that were affected by flooding in the Houston area. “Local officials in the Houston area have done a good job with the resources they have to help recover from this deadly storm,” said Rep. Poe. “However, the Federal Government should stand ready and willing to support Southeast Texas just as it has after disasters in other parts of the country.”Read More
“According to reports, the Administration is now using taxpayer money to support Iran’s nuclear program in the latest tranche of the disastrous nuclear deal. Once again, the only winner is Iran. The Administration should demand that Iran destroy its excess heavy water, not profit from it. This White House seems to be more concerned with propping up Iran’s nuclear program than dismantling it. American taxpayers should not foot the bill for this reckless and misguided deal that threatens our national security.”Read More
Mr. Speaker, in the marshy plains where the San Jacinto River meets Buffalo Bayou, now near Houston, General Sam Houston and his volunteer Army of Texians—men from most States and several countries, including Mexico, England, and Germany—faced the invading army under dictator Santa Anna of Mexico.
Texas was fighting for independence from Mexico because Mexico had abolished its democracy and became an oppressive dictatorship. It was the afternoon of April 21, 1836—180 years ago today.
The Texian volunteers, although outnumbered 2–1, caught the enemy literally by surprise. On that hot afternoon, General Sam, with his Tejano Cavalry protecting the flank, charged the invaders with the battle cry: Remember the Alamo. Remember Goliad.
In 18 minutes, the battle was over. Half of the enemy were killed, and the other half were captured. On that day, Texas gained freedom and independence. Sam Houston became President of the Republic of Texas.
Texas was an independent country for 9 years and then joined the United States. Mr. Speaker, our past has allowed us to have today’s freedom. We thank those Texian freedom fighters, on April 21, 1836, San Jacinto Day, for their bold sacrifices, for choosing freedom over tyranny and creating Texas.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
The NCAA Men’s Final Four is a time of excitement, suspense, and this year, it’s an opportunity to display Houston’s hospitality to the hundreds of thousands of people who will travel to our great city for the games. We welcome each and every visitor with open arms, friendly competition, our world famous Tex-Mex food and a cautionary message about an important topic that impacts too many in our community: human trafficking.
An increase in human trafficking can come with any event that brings in a large amount of people from around the country and the world. Traffickers view these events as a golden opportunity. In recent years there has been more awareness of this heinous crime surrounding the Super Bowl. Houston will also host the Super Bowl in 2017, and preparedness efforts are already underway, but this is not an annual effort unique to major sporting events. The buying and selling of human beings happens every day in Houston and throughout the United States. Unfortunately, our city has become a national hub for human trafficking. The good news is that many are fighting to end this scourge. We have come a long way already, but there is still a long way to go to eradicate modern day slavery in our city.
Combatting human trafficking is a priority at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure that our city is safe not only during popular events like the Final Four and Super Bowl 51, but also every other day. When it comes to human trafficking law enforcement, government at all levels and nonprofit organizations that serve victims are coordinating and deploying proven approaches. What we really need more of is heightened awareness and participation from the community. Houstonians can continue to help by making calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (1-888-373-7888) if they suspect human trafficking is occurring. In recent years, Texas has unfortunately had the second highest amount of calls to this hotline. While it is a good thing that the public is engaging, it is unfortunate that so many calls come from our state. With the public’s continued help, we can make sure that Texas is no longer one of the national ‘hotspots’ for this heinous crime.
Last year, we were able to obtain passage and enactment of the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This federal law gives law enforcement additional tools to take down human traffickers. It targets the buyers - those predators who purchase humans - helps to ensure that those who have been sold into slavery are treated as victims, and creates a fund primarily paid for by the perpetrators themselves to serve trafficked victims. Locally, a brand new position dedicated to combatting trafficking was created within the Office of the Mayor.
This year, we’ve also seen city, county, and state law enforcement, government and non-profits working together to breakup trafficking rings and rescue trafficking victims. This is not done hastily. It requires time, collaboration and tremendous work. Texans have been on the front lines in the national fight against human trafficking. In January and February, an innovative sting, Operation Traveling Circus, brought together multiple law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts, and victims’ services in order to arrest traffickers, buyers, and provide victims with resources. In total, 259 buyers and 6 pimps were arrested. A hallmark of this sting was the important decision to not publicize the photos of the women arrested or rescued. After all, it can take time to determine the circumstances of those billed as “prostitutes,” as many actually may be victims of human trafficking.
In addition, just last week, Operation Batman led to the arrest of an acclaimed United Airlines pilot—Bruce Wayne Wallis. While many knew him as an aviator, authorities say he was a hard-nosed pimp, running brothels throughout Houston, selling up to 60 women at a time. In a joint operation of the Houston Police Department Vice Division and Texas Department of Public Safety, Wallis was arrested along with others believed to be involved with the ring of brothels.
Houston should serve as a shining example to the rest of the country in battling modern day slavery. In fact, the HPD Vice Division just won the Law Enforcement Innovation Award from the Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Network. This work will not stop. We will do all that we can to deter human trafficking, arrest those who buy and sell humans, and rescue and restore victims, not just during the big events in our city, but each and every day for as long as it is necessary.Read More
Austin, Texas – This year’s Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony, honoring those who died in the line of duty in 2015, will be held on May 1-2 at the Texas Capitol grounds.
The event will begin with a Candlelight Vigil at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Memorial wall with United States Congressman Ted Poe delivering the keynote address. The Memorial Ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Monday on the south steps of the Capitol. This will include Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick presenting medals and resolutions to the surviving family members.
"This annual Memorial Ceremony is a priceless opportunity for both the civic and Law Enforcement communities to come together to honor and pay tribute to our fallen peace officers. These heroes have paid the ultimate sacrifice while courageously protecting and serving the citizens of the great State of Texas. We will be forever thankful for what these families have sacrificed," said Ashlee Hardy, President of Metroplex Concerns of Police Survivors.
Members of Law enforcement from across the state, friends and families of our fallen officers, elected officials, and countless supporters of law enforcement will be in attendance.
The ceremony is coordinated and hosted by the Texas Chapters of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), which includes the Metroplex, Greater Houston, and South Texas chapters.
The fallen officers being honored are:
Eligio Ruiz Garcia, JR., Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Christopher A. Davis, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Richard K. Martin, Houston Police Department
Christopher Dan Kelley, Hutto Police Department
Korby Lee Kennedy, San Angelo Police Department
Tronoski D. Jones, Harris County Sheriff’s Office
Darren H. Goforth, Harris County Sheriff’s Office
Jeffrey Emmons Radford, Bell County Constable’s Office
William Karl Keesee, Texas Department of Public Safety
Darrell L. Allen, Marlin Police Department
Timothy A. Davison, Texas Department of Criminal JusticeRead More
Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the historical case of United States v. Texas, on Monday, regarding executive overreach. People all over the country are interested in this case, but only a handful of spectators could see the public proceedings.
The courtroom is small, and seating is limited. If the public has the right to be present in the courtroom of the Supreme Court, the public should be allowed to view the proceedings in their entirety on television or through live streaming.
Imagine the benefit to law school students to see actual proceedings of the Supreme Court. Also, the public is concerned and wants to know what happens behind those closed doors.
It is time to educate the world about what actually occurs in the most important court in the world—the United States Supreme Court. I was one of the first judges in Texas to allow cameras in the courtroom.
All the naysayers said it wouldn’t work, but it did. It was a benefit to all. Let the world know what happens in the Supreme Court.
Allow these cameras. Currently, Representative CONNOLLY from Virginia and I are cosponsoring a bill to do exactly this. It is better to show all of the proceedings to the public than to rely on a 30-second sound bite from a news reporter on television during the 5 o’clock news.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
2412 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Texas Congressman Ted Poe is a leading advocate in Washington for limited government, free markets, low taxes and individual liberty.
Prior to serving in Congress, Ted Poe served for 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston where he garnered national media attention for his innovative sentences – dubbed “Poetic Justice.” Prior to that, he served for 8 years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where he became the chief felony prosecutor and never lost a jury trial.
Congressman Ted Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. An outspoken advocate on border security, he travels regularly to the southern border to meet directly with local law enforcement and residents. He also often visits our troops in Afghanistan and around the world. Congressman Ted Poe established the bipartisan Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) to advocate on behalf of victims in our nation’s capital. A strong constitutionalist, Congressman Poe stands firmly in the belief of “we the people” not “we the subjects.”
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