Ted Poe

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

In Memory of Jane Maharam

2016/05/26

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Members of Congress Urge DOJ to Fully Implement Human Trafficking Law

2016/05/25

For Immediate Release

May 25, 2016

Contact:

Meghan Burris [Wagner]

Jennifer Bell [Maloney]

Shaylyn Hynes [Poe]

Dominic Manecke [Beatty]

Washington – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-02), along with Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), held a joint press conference to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to fully implement the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) of 2015. Nearly a year after JVTA became law, the Members expressed concern that the DOJ has yet to implement the entirety of the law. Lack of implementation would thwart Congressional efforts to combat modern day slavery.

In addition to the press conference, Wagner, Maloney, Poe and Beatty sent a bipartisan letter signed by 37 Members of Congress, to Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging DOJ to immediately act and shed light on several areas of delayed implementation, including the prosecution of buyers and populating the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund.

“JVTA clarifies that those who buy sex from trafficking victims are human traffickers, can and should be punished under federal law, and are subject to the same penalties as sellers,” said Congressman Poe. “JVTA has done a lot to change the mindset of people in this country. But we need the law to be fully implemented by all the agencies charged with executing the law including DOJ, HHS, and DHS. We anxiously await the response to our letter. A society will be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable.”

“Whether victims are manipulated online or abducted off the streets, we have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable from this form of modern day slavery,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “I am grateful for the steps the DOJ has taken thus far to implement portions of the JVTA. However, there is more work ahead of all of us, and as an advocate, I refuse to pass this law and just walk away. The DOJ must implement every portion of JVTA, including my legislation within the package—the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act.”

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is happening every day in every state, generating billions of dollars in illegal profits by stripping women, men, and children of their freedoms, of their dignity, and for some, their lives.  And, until last year, our laws were backwards. Instead of going after the traffickers our laws were punishing the victims,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “That’s why passing the JVTA was a milestone in the campaign to end human trafficking. I am proud to join my colleagues in this call to the Department of Justice to fully implement this landmark legislation that will bring traffickers to justice and justice to victims.”

“I consider the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to be one of my proudest moments in Congress. As we mark the Act’s one year anniversary, several provisions have yet to be implemented,” said Congresswoman Beatty. “I join my Congressional colleagues in calling on the Department of Justice to expedite implementation of outstanding JVTA provisions to help eradicate human trafficking and to provide services for victims.”

The Members expressed their gratitude for the support and advice of: Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International; Courtney’s House; The Covering House; Crisis Aid International; Demand Abolition; ECPAT-USA; Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now; Equality NOW; National Children's Alliance; Rights4Girls; Second Life Chattanooga; and Shared Hope International.

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Bipartisan Letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch

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Justice for Victims of Trafficking One Year Anniversary

2016/05/25

It happened right under the entire community’s nose.

Eight year old Jen Spry was raped and tortured on a daily basis.

She was not kidnapped by a stranger in a dark alley

. She was trafficked just a few doors down from her mother’s house.

It was NOT just Jen who was trafficked.

Her younger sister, a male cousin, and a whole group of kids from her hometown of Norristown Pennsylvania were victims as well

No one ever went looking for the children, simply because they never went missing.

From 3-6 pm every day she was forced to have sex with strangers, because, as she describes it, it was her job.

The children were coerced into participating and threatened into keeping it a secret. The trafficking finally ended when she was about 10 when the neighbor suddenly moved away.

Jen went to great lengths to hide the abuse from her single mother, who never found out about the tragedies that Jen experienced.

In fact, Jen did not speak out about what happened until after her mother passed away.

Stories like Jen’s drove us to write JVTA. As did stories like Tina Frundt’s, who joins us today

She is a huge part of the solution with her organization Courtney’s House and her membership on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking created by JVTA as well as the persistence of many of the groups present today

.

The United States views itself as a leader in the fight against human trafficking

. Even going as far as to grade other countries on their efforts to combat trafficking in persons. 

Yet, before the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) became law,

I heard about common issues from survivors anti-trafficking organizations on the national, state, and local levels, as well as law enforcement and local leaders

. Some of the common concerns included:

The federal government barely funds efforts to combat trafficking in the United States.

Trafficking victims are often arrested and treated as criminals, but buyers are often not. 

Many Americans including those that interact with trafficking victims--law enforcement, educators, medical professionals, and others --do not know about human trafficking or understand how to identify victims.

Hearing this message loud and clear,

a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress set out to write a bill

using the survivor experience to guide us

and learning from programs around the country that are working to fight trafficking and serve victims

.

Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York and I  lead the effort on JVTA in the House. Congresswoman Maloney and I hardly speak the same language

Being from New York she thinks I talk funny

and as Texan I can hardly understand her either

the effort was led by another unusual pair in the Senate

.

A Texas Republican, Senator John Cornyn

and an Oregon Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden

11 anti-trafficking bills passed through the House,

including those lead by some of the wonderful women here today.

The bills were combined in the Senate,

came back to the House, passed overwhelmingly

and were signed into law

.

The law addresses the common problems we heard from the field

. We created a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund that makes those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. 

A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related charges,

and goes into a Fund to provide resources to victims and those fighting trafficking.

A fundamental goal of JVTA is for victims of human trafficking to be treated as victims and not criminals. This is addressed in a number of provisions in the law, including a newly created community-based block grant. 

We also focus on the demand—buyers, those that exploit women and children. While many call these people “johns,” I call them child molesters. 

John is a name from the Bible, a good guy, not someone who pays money to abuse a fellow person. 

JVTA clarifies that those who buy sex from trafficking victims are human traffickers, can and should be punished under federal law, and are subject to the same penalties as sellers. 

JVTA has done a lot to change the mindset of people in this country

. But we need the law to be fully implemented by all the agencies charged with executing the law including DOJ, HHS, and DHS

.

In order to truly be the leader in the fight against modern day slavery. We anxiously await the response to our letter. A society will be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable

.

And that’s just the way it is

 

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LIVING IN A WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE

2016/05/25

Mr. Speaker, the VA is not the ‘‘Happiest Place on Earth.’’ It is not Disneyland, and our veterans are not living in a world of make-believe. Secretary McDonald should be ashamed of himself for belittling our veterans. Dying in line waiting for medical services is not the same as waiting for Mickey Mouse. Disneyland

Dying in line waiting for medical services is not the same as waiting for Mickey Mouse. Disneyland wait times are a matter of hours—not months. Reports find that nearly half of vets never see a doctor because of failure of VA staff to schedule an appointment. The VA owes our veterans an apology. Veterans should be allowed to get vouchers for private physicians. Next week we observe Memorial Day—honoring our warriors who died for America. We also will honor those who fought in

Reports find that nearly half of vets never see a doctor because of failure of VA staff to schedule an appointment. The VA owes our veterans an apology. Veterans should be allowed to get vouchers for private physicians. Next week we observe Memorial Day—honoring our warriors who died for America. We also will honor those who fought in

Veterans should be allowed to get vouchers for private physicians. Next week we observe Memorial Day—honoring our warriors who died for America. We also will honor those who fought in far away distant lands just to come home and be a casualty of the VA’s incompetence.

Secretary McDonald should be replaced with someone who respects America’s heroes and ensures that no one else dies in line waiting for care at the fault of the VA.

And that’s just the way it is.

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REPS. POE & CONYERS LEAD BIPARTISAN HOUSE COALITION TO STOPping GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE AND HACKING

2016/05/25

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) along with Congressman Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced H.R. 5321 the Stop Mass Hacking Act. This is the companion bill to legislation introduced on the Senate side by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The Department of Justice has recently moved to make an administrative rule change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that would give the government the ability to hack the computers of a massive amount of American citizens just by obtaining a single warrant.  If Congress does not act by December 1, 2016, this change will be in effect. The Stop Massive Hacking Act prevents these changes to Rule 41 from going into effect.

“Government does not have the authority to unilaterally legalize widespread government hacking,” said Rep. Poe.  “Americans have rights. It is Congress’ responsibility to safeguard the constitutional rights of the people they represent from a power hungry Executive Branch. As such, we are moving to stop this change that condones hacking the property of the very people we are entrusted to protect.”

“I stand by the Stop Mass Hacking Act because I am not yet convinced that the proposed changes to Rule 41 are wise or necessary,” said Rep. Conyers. “This rule change is designed to streamline investigative techniques that allow law enforcement to gain unauthorized access and control to remote computer systems.  Until Congress has had an opportunity to examine this proposal in detail—and until we have adequately addressed the privacy concerns raised by my colleagues—this rule change should not take effect.”

“This bill hits pause on a new rule which facilitates hacking of foreign entities and hijacking devices owned by the victims of malware attacks without their permission,” said Rep. Lofgren.  “These troubling activities, and the international, privacy, and security ramifications which may arise as a result, deserve serious deliberation and debate in Congress.”

“We’re in the midst right now of one of the biggest battles in the privacy world that we have faced,” said Rep Farenthold. “Because of the horrendous terrorist attacks we’ve witnessed, there’s a willingness to give up some of our freedoms and privacy in order to feel safe. That’s completely understandable, but if we keep down this path, we’re going to wake up in a few years in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ This is why, as we fight for security, the intrusion on privacy necessary to fight the war on terror needs to be narrowly tailored and aggressively overseen.”

“Representatives Poe, Conyers, Farenthold and Lofgren are leading the fight to protect Americans’ freedoms by introducing the Stopping Mass Hacking Act in the House of Representatives,” said Senator Wyden. “They’re proof that a growing, bipartisan coalition agrees that this expansion of the government’s hacking and surveillance authority simply goes too far.”

Read a one-page summary and bill text of the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act.

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Living in a World of Make Believe

2016/05/25

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), released the following statement regarding Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald’s comparison of the VA wait times to that of Disneyland.  

“The VA is not the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’. It is not Disneyland, and our veterans are not living in a world of make-believe. Secretary McDonald should be ashamed of himself for belittling our veterans. Dying in line waiting for medical services is not the same as waiting for Mickey Mouse.”

“Disneyland wait times are a matter of hours- not months. Reports find that nearly half of vets never see a doctor because of failure of VA staff to schedule an appointment. The VA owes our veterans an apology. Veterans should be allowed to get vouchers for private physicians. “

“Next week we observe memorial day- honoring our warriors who died for America. We also will honor those who fought in faraway- distant lands just to come home and be a casualty of the VA’s incompetence. Secretary McDonald should be replaced with someone who respects America’s heroes and ensures that no one else dies in line waiting for care at the fault of the VA.”

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TSGT VIRGIL POE, UNITED STATES ARMY: CHARTER MEMBER OF THE GREATEST GENERATION

2016/05/25

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JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

2016/05/25

Mr. Speaker, it happened right under the entire community’s nose. Eight year old Jen Spry was raped and tortured on a daily basis. She was not kidnapped by a stranger in a dark alley.

She was trafficked just a few doors down from her mother’s house. It was not just Jen who was trafficked. Her younger sister, a male cousin, and a whole group of kids from her hometown of Norristown Pennsylvania were victims as well.

No one ever went looking for the children, simply because they never went missing. From 3–6 p.m. every day she was forced to have sex with strangers, because, as she describes it, it was her job. The children were coerced into participating and threatened into keeping it a secret. The trafficking finally ended when she was about 10 when the neighbor suddenly moved away.

Jen went to great lengths to hide the abuse from her single mother, who never found out about the tragedies that Jen experienced. In fact, Jen did not speak out about what happened until after her mother passed away. Stories like Jen’s drove us to write JVTA. As did stories like Tina Frundt’s, who joins us today.

She is a huge part of the solution with her organization Courtney’s House and her membership on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking created by JVTA as well as the persistence of many of the groups present today. The United States views itself as a leader in the fight against human trafficking.

Even going as far as to grade other countries on their efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Yet, before the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) became law, I heard about common issues from survivors and anti-trafficking organizations on the national, state, and local levels, as well as law enforcement and local leaders.

Some of the common concerns included: The federal government barely funds efforts to combat trafficking in the United States. Trafficking victims are often arrested and treated as criminals, but buyers are often not. Many Americans including those that interact with trafficking victims—law enforcement, educators, medical professionals, and others —do not know about human trafficking or understand how to identify victims. Hearing this message loud and clear, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress set out to write a bill using the survivor experience to guide us and learning from programs around the country that are working to fight trafficking and serve victims. CAROLYN MALONEY, a Democrat from New York and I lead the effort on JVTA in the House. Congresswoman MALONEY and I hardly speak the same language. Being from New York she thinks I talk funny and as a Texan I can hardly understand her either the effort was led by another unusual pair in the Senate. A Texas Republican, Senator JOHN CORNYN and an Oregon Democrat, Senator RON WYDEN. 11 anti-trafficking bills passed through the House, including those led by some of the wonderful women here today. The bills were combined in the Senate, came back to the House, passed overwhelmingly and were signed into law. The law addresses the common problems we heard from the field. We created a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund that makes those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related

Hearing this message loud and clear, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress set out to write a bill using the survivor experience to guide us and learning from programs around the country that are working to fight trafficking and serve victims. CAROLYN MALONEY, a Democrat from New York and I lead the effort on JVTA in the House. Congresswoman MALONEY and I hardly speak the same language. Being from New York she thinks I talk funny and as a Texan I can hardly understand her either the effort was led by another unusual pair in the Senate. A Texas Republican, Senator JOHN CORNYN and an Oregon Democrat, Senator RON WYDEN. 11 anti-trafficking bills passed through the House, including those led by some of the wonderful women here today. The bills were combined in the Senate, came back to the House, passed overwhelmingly and were signed into law. The law addresses the common problems we heard from the field. We created a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund that makes those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related

Congresswoman MALONEY and I hardly speak the same language. Being from New York she thinks I talk funny and as a Texan I can hardly understand her either the effort was led by another unusual pair in the Senate. A Texas Republican, Senator JOHN CORNYN and an Oregon Democrat, Senator RON WYDEN. 11 anti-trafficking bills passed through the House, including those led by some of the wonderful women here today. The bills were combined in the Senate, came back to the House, passed overwhelmingly and were signed into law. The law addresses the common problems we heard from the field. We created a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund that makes those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related

11 anti-trafficking bills passed through the House, including those led by some of the wonderful women here today. The bills were combined in the Senate, came back to the House, passed overwhelmingly and were signed into law. The law addresses the common problems we heard from the field. We created a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund that makes those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related charges, and goes into a Fund to provide resources to victims and those fighting trafficking.

A fundamental goal of JVTA is for victims of human trafficking to be treated as victims and not criminals. This is addressed in a number of provisions in the law, including a newly created community-based block grant. We also focus on the demand—buyers, those that exploit women and children. While many call these people ‘‘johns,’’ I call them child molesters. John is a name from the Bible, a good guy, not someone who pays money to abuse a fellow person. JVTA clarifies that those who buy sex from trafficking victims are human traffickers, can and should be punished under federal law, and are subject to the same penalties as sellers. JVTA has done a lot to change the mindset of people in this country. But we need the law to be fully implemented by all the agencies charged with executing the law including DOJ, HHS, and DHS. In order to truly be the leader in the fight against

John is a name from the Bible, a good guy, not someone who pays money to abuse a fellow person. JVTA clarifies that those who buy sex from trafficking victims are human traffickers, can and should be punished under federal law, and are subject to the same penalties as sellers. JVTA has done a lot to change the mindset of people in this country. But we need the law to be fully implemented by all the agencies charged with executing the law including DOJ, HHS, and DHS. In order to truly be the leader in the fight against modern day slavery. We anxiously await the response to our letter. A society will be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable. And that’s just the way it is.

But we need the law to be fully implemented by all the agencies charged with executing the law including DOJ, HHS, and DHS. In order to truly be the leader in the fight against modern day slavery. We anxiously await the response to our letter. A society will be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable. And that’s just the way it is.

And that’s just the way it is.

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TSGT VIRGIL POE, UNITED STATES ARMY: CHARTER MEMBER OF THE GREATEST GENERATION

2016/05/25

Mr. Speaker, born in the 1920s, he grew up in the Depression of the 1930s, poor, like more most rural American children. Fresh vegetables were grown in the family garden behind the small frame house. His mother made sandwiches for school out of homemade bread.

Store-bought bread was for the rich. He grew up belonging to the Boy Scouts, playing the trumpet in the high school band, and he went to church on almost all Sundays. In 1944, this 18-year-old country boy, who had never been more than 50 miles from home, quickly found himself going through basic training at the United States Army at Camp Wolters in Camp Wolters, Texas.

After that, he rode a train with hundreds of other young teenagers—American males—to New York City for the ocean trip on a cramped Liberty ship to fight in the great World War II. While crossing the Atlantic, he witnessed another Liberty ship next to his that was sunk by a German U-boat.

As a soldier in the Seventh Army, he went from France to survive the Battle of the Bulge and through the cities of Aachen, Stuttgart, Cologne, and Bonn. As a teenager, he saw the brutal concentration camps of the Nazis and saw the victims. He saw incredible numbers of other teenage Americans buried in graves throughout Europe. A solemn monument to those soldiers is at Normandy.

After Germany surrendered, he was ordered back to Fort Hood, Texas. He was being reequipped for the invasion of Japan. Then Japan surrendered. It was there he met Mom at a Wednesday night prayer meeting service. My mom was a Red Cross volunteer in WWII.

Until a few years ago, this GI—my dad—would never talk about World War II. He still won’t say much, but he does say frequently that the heroes are the ones who are buried today in Europe. After the war was over, he opened a DX service station, where he pumped gas, sold tires, fixed cars, and began a family. Deciding he wanted to go to college, he moved to west Texas and enrolled in a small Christian college named Abilene Christian College.

He and his wife and two small children lived in an old, converted Army barracks with other such families. He supported us by working nights at the KRBC radio station and by climbing telephone poles for Ma Bell, which was later called Southwestern Bell.

He finished college, became an engineer, and worked 40-plus years for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Houston, Texas. He turned down a promotion and a transfer to New York City because it was not Texas and he didn’t want to raise his family in New York.

Dad instilled in my sister and me the values of being a neighbor to everybody, of loving the USA, of loving our heritage, and of always doing the right thing to all people. He still gets mad at the media. He flies Old Glory on holidays.

He goes to church on Sunday, and he takes Mom out to eat on Friday nights. He stands in the front yard and talks to his neighbors, and he can still fix anything. He can still mow his own grass even though he is 90 years of age. He has a strong opinion on politics and world events.

He gives plenty of advice to everybody, including a lot of advice to me. He has two computers in his home office. He sends emails to hundreds of his buddies all over the world. Dad and Mom still live in Houston, Texas, where I grew up.

So today, Mr. Speaker, as we approach Memorial Day and honor the fallen warriors of all wars, we also honor all who fought in the great World War II and who got to come home. We honor my dad, but also other American warriors.

My dad was one of those individuals of the Greatest Generation. He is the best man I ever met, and he certainly is a charter member of the Greatest Generation. So I hope I turn out like him, Tech Sergeant Virgil Poe, United States Army, good man, good father. That is enough for one life.

And that is just the way it is.

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Dr. Jim W. Cain

2016/05/24

I would like to recognize the fine career and outstanding public service of Dr. Jim Cain, superintendent of Klein ISD. Dr. Cain has devoted over 47 years to the education of our youth, serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, instructional officer for technology, director of school administration, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He has devoted his life to education and bettering our community, and it is with great pleasure that I express my admiration and gratitude. I offer him my utmost congratulations for his long and successful career.

 

Dr. Cain began his career as a teacher, in his home state of Illinois, after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1969. He then made one the best decisions of his life, he moved to the great state of Texas and in 1978 he took his first job at Klein ISD at Benfer Elementary. He has served in many different roles during his 36 years with the district, 12 of those as superintendent. Dr. Cain has achieved recognition and numerous awards at the local, state and federal level for his leadership and hands on involvement in the success of the students at Klein ISD. Last Thursday, at the Klein ISD staff banquet, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. His dedication has earned him the respect and admiration of the teachers, staff and students under his supervision as well as the community. His intellect, eagerness, and vision will be sincerely missed by not only Klein, but the many other communities that he has touched.

   

Dr. Cain is a dedicated family man, having been married to his wife Susan for 39 years, and the proud father of two adult children; Ross and Ashley. Dr. Cain and Susan are looking forward to traveling and spending time with their four grandchildren. 

 

On behalf of the Second Congressional District of Texas, I commend this remarkable leader for his exemplary service and dedication to the State of Texas. I thank him for a job well done and I wish him the best of luck in the future as he enters into this new phase of life. 

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ISIS MURDERS CHRISTIAN GIRL

2016/05/23

Mr. Speaker, last week, ISIS terrorists came to the house of a Christian family in Iraq to collect the religious tax imposed on all non-Muslims.ISIS told the mother of the home: You have two choices. You are to leave now or you are to pay the tax.

The mother pled: I will pay, but give me a few seconds because my daughter is in the shower. But the ISIS terrorists did not wait.

Instead, they set fire to the house. The mother, clutching a small child, escaped. But the girl was trapped in the burning home.

Later, she was found. She had such severe burns, she died in her mother’s arms. The last thing she said to her mother was: Forgive them.

The girl is a better person than most of us. From beheading to burning little Christian girls alive, ISIS’ evil genocide knows no bounds.

ISIS murders in the name of religious jihad. Will we allow this evil to continue?

Or shall all religions unite and hold ISIS accountable? We must stop ISIS’ malicious murder of the innocent.

Justice demands it. And, Mr. Speaker, justice is what we are supposed to do.

And that is just the way it is

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Congressman Poe Testifies on ADA Reform

2016/05/20


Congressman Poe on NDAA

2016/05/20

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HOUSE PASSES NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT, INCLUDES FOUR POE AMENDMENTS

2016/05/19

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism issued the following statement on the House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. The defense funding bill included four amendments authored by Chairman Poe.

 

SUMMARY OF AMENDMENTS:

 

  • Poe Amendment # 14: Gives State and Federal Border Security Agencies preference for excess DOD equipment for the purpose of strengthening U.S. border security. This equipment (all currently used by CBP) includes: Humvees, night-vision goggles & unmanned surveillance aerial vehicles. Passed with Bipartisan Support
  • Poe Amendment #104: Responds to Pakistan’s questionable relationship with the Taliban and Haqqani network terrorists by adding a condition on U.S. aid to Pakistan. The new condition requires the administration to certify that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani Network senior leaders and mid-level operatives.  The Choice: either really go after the Haqqani network or lose hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
  • Poe Amendment #106:  Cracks down on Russia’s blatant violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by prohibiting government contracts with entities that have contribute to Russia’s violation of the treaty. In 2008, the Russians tested a missile with prohibited range under the treaty. It took 2 years for the Administration to report any concerns to Congress and 6 years for the State Department to find them in violation. And today, 8 years later, there have still been no consequences. This Amendment puts penalties in place for Russia’s actions. Passed the House unanimously
  • Poe Amendment #297: Requires DOD to establish an evaluation policy for how it spends foreign aid. This evaluation policy must help determine if the taxpayer dollars we are sending overseas are achieving the desired outcome. Passed the House unanimously

 

“From Czar Putin in Russia to deceitful Pakistan and dangerous actors who wish to infiltrate our porous Southern border, America is under more threats than ever before and as such Congress must provide smart funding for the Department of Defense,” said Chairman Poe. “Provide Border States the equipment they need to protect the sovereignty of our country. Give Pakistan an ultimatum—you are either with us or you are with the terrorists. Islamabad can no longer collect U.S. aid while using the Haqqani network as a ‘veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency’. Crack down on Putin’s flagrant and bold violations of the INF, a treaty that is meaningless if both sides don’t hold up their end of the bargain. Finally, be smart about how we spend foreign aid in the Department of Defense. Monitoring and evaluation will ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and effectively in ways that will ultimately protect our own national interests. All three of these Amendments are meant for one purpose: to keep our country safe. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, I believe the House passed bipartisan National Defense bill will achieve this purpose.”

 

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Congressman Poe Testifies On ADA Reform Act

2016/05/19

May 19, 2016 Statement by: Representative Poe on “H.R. 3765 ADA Education and Reform Act 2015” Before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet For the hearing “Examining Legislation to Promote the Effect Enforcement of the ADA’s Public Accommodation Provisions.”

I would like to thank Chairman Franks and Ranking Member Cohen for inviting me to testify today on H.R. 3765, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015. H.R. 3765 is a common sense, bipartisan bill that aims to ensure access to public accommodations for all citizens while curbing some of the abusive practices that have become common in recent years.

Within the past 10 years or so, there has been a strong uptick in frivolous lawsuits filed under the public accommodation section of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Let me be clear, these are often illegitimate lawsuits. These are individuals who are shaking down business, sometimes without even visiting the locations, by sending them phony demand letters alleging a violation of the ADA. Common practices include alleging that a pool does not have the proper pool lift (sometimes even at properties that do not even have a pool) or other vague alleged violation. Often, the businesses are so confused or frightened of litigation that they will simply pay instead of risking going to court. In these instances, the motivation is not to fix any alleged violations; it is to intimidate businesses into settlement.

Often, it is the same individuals or organizations who are making many of these claims. The business model has been working so well it has become a cottage industry. For example, in Florida, a plaintiff named Howard Cohan filed 529 such suits. He is not alone. In California, a plaintiff named Martin Vogel filed 124 suits. In Pennsylvania, a plaintiff named Christopher Mielo brought 21 lawsuits. In New York, a plaintiff named Zoltan Hirsch brought 24 lawsuits.

In 2015, Howard Cohen sued the Marquesa Hotel in Key West for an alleged violation at their pool despite the fact he had never been a registered guest at the hotel. ADA expert Bill Norkunas, who wrote the original ADA and helped the hotel fight this case, stated that Howard Cohan was essentially operating a “continuing criminal enterprise that boils down to extortion.” 2 Individuals like this are not out to provide public accommodation, they are out for their own profit.

H.R. 3765 takes a series of steps to help curb this abuse of the ADA and to ensure that all citizens have equal access to public accommodations. H.R. 3765 requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to consult with property owners and the disability rights community and develop a program to educate State and local governments and property owners on effective and efficient strategies to promote access to facilities by disabled persons. This section is intended to promote compliance by getting business and the disability rights community all on the same page so that issues can be resolved quickly and easily without excessive litigation.

The bill also prohibits sending a demand letter for an alleged violation unless the letter includes specific information such as the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access, the address of the property, and whether or not a request was made to remediate the alleged issue. This section will prevent scam artists like Howard Cohan from sending hundreds of demand letters to businesses he hasn’t even visited in an attempt to solicit settlements. I am open to clarification with the language of this section if necessary.

Section 4 of the bill provides that after an owner and operator are given written notice of an alleged violation they have 60 days to respond in writing to that notice and outline how they plan to remedy the situation, followed by 120 days to make the necessary changes. If the business owner does not complete either one of those steps, the plaintiff may then go to court to commence litigation. This section strikes a thoughtful balance between giving businesses a reasonable time to remedy an alleged violation while also ensuring that a lawsuit may still be filed if a business either refuses or does not reply to a request for a remedy.

Section 5 of the bill directs the Judicial Conference of the United States to consult with property owners and representatives of the disability rights community to develop a model program to utilize alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve these kinds of claims. These mechanisms would be completely voluntary.

This legislation enjoys wide bipartisan support and has been endorsed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Apartment Association, National Federation of Independent Businesses, National Restaurant Association, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association among others.

I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and I look forward to any questions.

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Big Government: TSA's Failures

2016/05/18


OVERSIGHT OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S COUNTERTERRORISM BUREAU

2016/05/18

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, nearly two years after the President vowed to ‘‘degrade and ultimately destroy’’ ISIS, the terrorists are still holding their sanctuary in Iraq and Syria. Foreign fighters are still flocking to ISIS’ so-called caliphate to fight alongside the terrorist group and tyrannize local populations. But ISIS has not stopped there. In 2015, ISIS significantly stepped up its attacks outside Iraq and Syria. From the Charlie Hebdo attack last January to the attack last May at the Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, ISIS has illustrated its dangerous capability to strike outside of its territory. The bloody year was finally capped off with the tragic massacre in Paris that left 130 people dead. Then came the attacks in Brussels only two months ago. ISIS suicide bombers killed 32 people and wounded over 300 in the heart of the European Union. The attacks showed the world that despite a year of pulling off these coordinated attacks, ISIS’ appetite for carnage and its ability to strike have not abated. Besides the looming threat of ISIS, terrorism has continued to plague countries the world over. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Bangladesh. These are just a few countries facing serious and destabilizing terrorist threats. In fact, more people were killed by terrorists in 2014 than ever before. There was an 80 percent increase in terrorist related deaths in 2014 compared to 2013. Yet in the midst of this struggle against terrorism, the Administration wants to cut the main antiterrorism account by 25 percent while increasing a general foreign aid account by 41 percent. The State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau is not saved from this cut. In fact, State Department wants 31 percent less dollars for 2017 than 2016 for the CT Bureau. That budget request does not match the Administration’s rhetoric that countering terrorism is a top priority. Originally set up as an office back in 1972 in response to the terrorist attack at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, the primary mission of the Bureau for Counterterrorism is to forge partnerships with non-state actors, multilateral organizations, and foreign governments to advance the counterterrorism objectives and national security of the United States. Under that broad mission it has five principal responsibilities: 1) countering violent extremism; 2) capacity building; 3) counterterrorism diplomacy; 4) U.S. counterterrorism strategy and operations; and 5) homeland security coordination. As the Bureau has grown in size, it has struggled to keep up with evaluating its programs to see if they really work. Even though the Bureau accepts the idea that it should be spending 3 to 5 percent of program resources on monitoring and evaluation, it has no way of tracking how much was actually spent so it can know if it is meeting that goal. Over the last 5 years, the Bureau has completed 5 evaluations. It needs to be doing more. It also needs to be doing better evaluations. The Bureau should do an impact evaluation to see if its project really made any difference. The Bureau should go back a year or longer after a project is completed to see if that project made a lasting difference. This year, the Bureau is putting strong emphasis on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Even as it faces a 31 percent cut, the Bureau wants to set up a new office, hire more staff, and expand its CVE programs. But CVE, which the Administration hails as a ‘‘pillar’’ of its counterterrorism strategy, has never even been evaluated by the Bureau. A GAO study stated that while the Bureau has promised to evaluate CVE since 2012 it still has not evaluated it. I’m glad to hear the Bureau finally has plans in the works to evaluate CVE, but if this evaluation was done years ago, we could be a lot more confident the new dollars going to CVE would be well spent.In January, the State Department announced the establishment of another office, the Global Engagement Center (GEC). Outside of the CT Bureau, it is tasked with coordinating messaging that delegitimizes violent extremists. It is not yet clear how the Bureau will engage and coordinate with the GEC or how it will not duplicate efforts. A big part of countering violent extremism is winning the battle online, especially over social media. ISIS has been able to recruit over 20,000 foreign fighters, from more than 90 different countries, partly because of the organization’s use of social media. In 2011, the White House acknowledged terrorists’ use of social media to spread hate and promised a strategy to prevent online radicalization. Five years later, we are still waiting. In a time of limited resources and dangerous terrorist threats; we cannot afford to waste any dollars. Our national security depends on it. It is clear that terror attacks are on the rise. Despite the Administration’s so-called progress at winning back territory in Iraq and Syria, terrorists successfully conduct deadly attacks worldwide. ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates continue to grow deeper roots in local communities thanks in large part to their use of social media. Now more than ever is a time to be vigilant about our counterterrorism efforts. The Department of State’s role in this fight is not to be taken lightly. We need to make sure these programs are effective at combatting radicalization and the threat of terrorist attacks. The State Department must prioritize the monitoring and evaluation of their programs and ensure that lessons from such evaluations are implemented in a timely manner. We must develop a better understanding of what is working and what is not. The safety of Americans and our allies depends on it. And that’s just the way it is. Read More

POE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TARGETING INDIVIDUALS WITH TIES TO TERROR IN THE NON-PROFIT WORLD

2016/05/17

POE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TARGETING INDIVIDUALS WITH

TIES TO TERROR IN THE NON-PROFIT WORLD

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, has introduced H.R. 5185, the Charity Transparency Act of 2016. This bill will amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require disclosure of charity employees and board members previously implicated in financially supporting a designated foreign terrorist organization. 

“America is home to some of the best non-profit organizations in the world. Unfortunately, the non-profit community has been polluted by individuals with ties to terrorism,” said Chairman Poe. “Right now, individuals who have been identified and flagged are able to freely move to other non-profit organizations without the knowledge of their donors. Individuals with ties to terrorism should not be involved in the American non-profit world, period. If they are, donors of organizations must be made aware of who is employed by the non-profit they are donating to. The Charity Transparency Act of 2015 will require that.”

THE PROBLEM:

  • Right now, there are former employees of charities that were disbanded for funneling money to designated foreign terrorist groups holding leadership positions in new charities with donors oblivious to their questionable employment histories.
  • The Treasury Department and the IRS must protect donors by requiring greater transparency.
  • At a recent subcommittee hearing, it was revealed that numerous employees of charities shut down by Treasury for sending money to terrorist organizations are currently working in new 501(c)(3) organizations unbeknownst to many of the non-profit’s donors.
  • Charitable individuals who might be interested in making donations to these tax exempt organizations currently have no way of knowing that employees in their leadership positions were formerly employed at organizations engaged in illicit activity.

THE SOLUTION:

  • H.R. 5185, The Charity Transparency Act of 2015, would address this issue and grant greater access to information to potential donors. The bill requires organizations applying for 501(c)(3) status, as well as those renewing their application for the tax exemption, to disclose if any of their employees in leadership positions were previously employed at organizations disbanded on terrorism finance grounds, blocked pending investigation, or found civilly liable in supporting terrorist groups.

 

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National Police Week

2016/05/17

Dear Neighbor,

National Police week serves as a time to honor those brave men and women who put on the uniform, pin on the badge and place themselves in harm’s way each day to protect and serve our community. During my 30 years as a prosecutor and criminal court judge, I had the privilege of working alongside some of America’s heroes who have worn the badge—the shield—or the star over their heart. Each day they leave their families knowing they may not come home. Why? To protect ours. 

These men and women represent the best of our country. Underneath these uniforms are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins and friends. They dedicate their lives to protecting our communities. As Americans, we must let them know that we support them and that we are grateful for all they do.

Yesterday I, along with the City of Humble, hosted the Second Annual Police Memorial Ceremony honoring the 128 fallen police officers who gave their lives, paying the ultimate sacrifice in 2015.  In Texas, we lost 11 officers in the line of duty to gunfire, automobile accidents and vehicular assaults, and two K-9s. Deputy Darren Goforth and Officer Tronoski Jones and Officer Richard Martin were from right here in Harris County. The families that have lost a loved one in the line of duty need to know that they are not alone, their loved one’s loss will not be forgotten and we will continue to honor their lives. 

I also had the opportunity to speak at the Texas Peace Officers Memorial ceremony in Austin, honoring all those Texans who gave their lives. Texans of all backgrounds and ages joined together to mourn for our brothers and sisters in blue whom we have lost. We all stood united, together in tribute. 

The thin blue line stands strong.  We stand united that in our freedom loving state and nation, good will always triumph over evil. To those in uniform, thank you. Thank you for representing everything that is good and right about our society. Know that despite the rhetoric that has taken over our communities and TVs at times, you do noble and just work. You are the everyday unsung heroes. Please join me in thanking our police officers. Back the Blue.

Click here to share your thoughts with me.

GOD and TEXAS,

TED POE
Member of Congress
TEXAS     

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North Houston Police Memorial Ceremony honors local law enforcement officers

2016/05/17

The Kingwood Observer

By Jennifer Summer

Three pictures stood on easels to the side of the stage, showing three men in uniform with a smile on their face.

All three men — Houston Police Officer Richard Martin, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Darren Goforth and Harris County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Tronoski Jones — were all killed in the line of duty.

For the second year, District 2 U.S. Rep. Ted Poe hosted the North Houston Second Annual Police Memorial Ceremony Monday, May 16 at the Humble Civic Center where local police officers were honored for their hard work and dedication.

National Police Week is marked May 15 – 21 by communities across the nation hosting similar memorial ceremonies to honor local, state and federal law enforcement officers for their tireless dedication and to remember those lost in fulfillment of their duties.

“We honor those police officers who have been killed in the line of duty and those who continue to serve,” Poe said. “Today, we honor the great men and women who put on the uniform, put on the badge, put on the shield and put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us.”

Law enforcement officers from various departments such as the Humble Police Department, Houston Police Department, the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety Region 2 and the Texas Rangers were all recognized during the event.

City of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron was the first to speak during the memorial ceremony where he thanked the sea of blue for their continued service to the community.

“When I look out at this crowd, I see courage, integrity, honor, devotion and character,” Aaron said.

Humble Police Chief Delbert Dawes welcomes guests, but especially the future police officers that were in the audience during the special ceremony.

“I think about my time when I was a patrolman and I would get up, put my uniform on, tell my wife and family goodbye and there was a little thought in the back of my mind, how do I pay it forward,” Dawes said. “e got out, complete our duties each day to protect our loved ones and our community and we do the best we can; that’s how we can pay it back.”

Peace officers have protected Americans for over 200 years, but the nation has formally recognized their service and remembered their sacrifices since 1962 when President John F. Kennedy first proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Houston Police Officers’ Union President Ray Hunt recalled a recent story featuring HPD Officer Richard Martin’s son who attended an event in honor of his dad and was nervous how he looked because he knew that he would be the representative for his father.

“At this moment, I realized not only was Martin a heck of a police officer, he was an outstanding father,” Hunt said. “We’ve had 113 officers killed in Houston PD since it’s inception and number 113 was Martin.”

HPD Interim Chief Martha Montalvo followed Hunt’s comments by adding that it was also important to honor and recognized the loved ones of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect their community.

“We are eternally grateful for what these officers did and that these officers are heroes in the truest sense of the word; they are heroes because they confronted darkness so that we can be safe and heroes because they did something they felt was right for the greater good of society,” Montalvo said.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and DPS Region 2 Commander Duane Steen were among the fellow guest speakers during the ceremony.

Janet Green, a mother of a deceased officer and from Greater Houston COPS, read aloud the 13 names of Texas peace officers killed in the line of duty in 2015.

At the conclusion of the event, Poe discussed the “Thin Blue Line” which is often a symbol or emblem that represents that camaraderie between officers and is often used to commemorate fallen law enforcement officers.

“The Thin Blue Line is a phrase — it’s a thin line that separates the good from evil, a thin line that protects a civil society from anarchy,” Poe said. “I think Texas appreciates law enforcement officers better than most other places on Earth.”

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Contact Information

2412 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6565
Fax 202-225-5547
poe.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Foreign Affairs

Judiciary

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.”


Serving With

Louie Gohmert

TEXAS' 1st DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

John Ratcliffe

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Jeb Hensarling

TEXAS' 5th DISTRICT

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

John Culberson

TEXAS' 7th DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Kay Granger

TEXAS' 12th DISTRICT

Mac Thornberry

TEXAS' 13th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Will Hurd

TEXAS' 23rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Roger Williams

TEXAS' 25th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Blake Farenthold

TEXAS' 27th DISTRICT

John Carter

TEXAS' 31st DISTRICT

Pete Sessions

TEXAS' 32nd DISTRICT

Brian Babin

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

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