Ted Poe

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

POE HAILS SENATE PASSAGE OF H.R. 3766, THE FOREIGN AID TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

2016/06/28

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement following the Senate passage of the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (HR 3766). HR 3766 first passed the House unanimously in December.  Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The amended version of the House bill passed the Senate today and the House is expected to take it up soon.

The “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act” requires the President to establish guidelines on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for foreign aid programs. Secondly, it would increase aid transparency by codifying what is currently being done through the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and increasing the amount of information required to be posted online, including actual expenditures and evaluations.

Congressman Poe: “It is time to modernize and reform our outdated foreign aid system. For the first time in over 50 years, this bill requires our foreign aid to be rigorously evaluated. This bipartisan bill would increase public oversight over foreign aid by requiring federal agencies to show both where taxpayer money is spent around the world and how effective that aid is. Under the current system, billions of taxpayer dollars are sent to a majority of the countries in the world, but no one really knows how efficient or effective that aid is. Implementing a system to evaluate the success (or failure) of each program will increase accountability.  It is also important for Americans to know exactly where their money is sent, which is why the new transparency requirements in this bill are so important. The unanimous passage in the Senate today shows just how common sense this bill is. I look forward to the House quickly taking it up.”

Congressman Connolly: "I welcome the Senate’s passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. Foreign assistance is a critical and necessary tool for protecting and proliferating democratic values. We need to expand, not disinvest, in our global leadership. This bill will bring needed transparency to an often misunderstood part of the federal budget, which will in turn allow us to continue to grow our investment in stability and prosperity abroad. I look forward to moving quickly to consideration in the House of Representatives, which passed a version of the bill by voice vote in December.”

Senator Rubio: “Foreign assistance programs help us to advance American interests, reinforce our alliances and support the spread of economic and political freedom around the world, but we must remember that they are funded here at home by the American people, who have a right to know how and where their money is being spent. Not only will this act increase the amount of information that is shared regarding these programs, it will also help us to evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring that American dollars are spent wisely.”

Senator Cardin: “The United States remains a generous leader on foreign development, aid programs and economic assistance worldwide. But with more than a dozen federal departments and agencies delivering U.S. foreign assistance, we must ensure the highest possible efficiency,  effectiveness, and transparency of our precious foreign assistance investments. The Senate’s passage of the Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act sends a clear message to the American taxpayer, as well as governments and civil society in developing countries,  that transparency and accountability are absolutely critical to the effectiveness of our foreign assistance programs. This information will not only enable American citizens to better understand our foreign assistance efforts, but will allow recipient countries to better include aid flows in their budgets and planning, and will provide NGOs, legislators and citizens in the developing world with the information they need to hold their governments accountable for the assistance they receive. Today’s Senate passage also takes us one step closer toward fulfilling our obligations under the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).”

 

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POE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: SHOW US YOUR STRATEGY

2016/06/24

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, sent a letter to the White House inquiring about the Administration’s failure to meet a June 18th deadline required by law for the Administration to submit a report to Congress on the U.S. government’s counterterrorism strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and their affiliated groups.

“The Administration has yet again ignored the law and missed a mandated deadline, this time one affecting our national security. Nearly two years after the President admitted that ‘we don’t have a strategy’, we still don’t have a strategy. In the meantime, according to CIA Director John Brennan, ISIS’ capability and global reach have not reduced. ISIS continues to inspire attackers who murder innocent Americans right here in the United States. Last December, the House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which included language I authored requiring the President to submit to Congress his strategy to defeat ISIS by June 18. June 18th has come and gone with no strategy in sight or response from the White House. There is no excuse not to have a strategy. Too many Americans have already lost their lives.”

CLICK HERE for full text of letter. 

 

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Texas Fathers Response to Stanford Rape Case

2016/06/14


MARITIME PIRACY AND PIRATES

2016/06/14

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, when the word pirate comes to mind, many envision treasure seeking ruffians with eye patches. Unbeknownst to most of us, pirates still exist: lurking the coast of East Africa, specifically Somalia and Kenya, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Guinea, The Malacca Strait, and the Indian subcontinent. Pirates today, however, can do more damage than forcing a poor fellow to walk the plank.
Regions plagued by poverty and extreme terrorism have raised a whole new breed of manipulative, violent, maritime hijackers who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Modern piracy is not simply a matter of economic loss or threatened safety, but a risk to the entire globe due to the close-knit ties pirates have with terrorists. All eyes of the international community were suddenly turned to the coast of Somalia when pirates hijacked a Russian supertanker full of oil and army tanks. 
What did the American government do? Nothing. Nothing that is, until the unimaginable happened. A U.S. cargo ship was openly attacked by pirates, and the captain was held as ransom for several days. Since then, efforts have been taken to defend ships from maritime crime, such as legalization of weapons on board for commercial shipping vessels. 
Is this passive defense enough? When analyzing the cost of insurance, freight, rerouting, and ransoms, the price we pay to watch these pirates roam the high seas ranges to as high as $16 billion a year. Yet there are far greater non-monetary costs awaiting us in the future. If a ship is attacked at just the right place, it could result in the closure and seizure of invaluable international waterways. 
Though many pirates have different motives than terrorists, terrorist tactics are frequently used in hijackings. Both terrorists and pirates traumatize civilians and prey off of fear. As of now there is no international community specifically designated to prevent piracy like there is for terrorism, simply because the legal jurisdiction of piracy is in question. 
What we all should agree on, however, is that maritime piracy is a devastating form of terrorism. The topic of most apprehension is the proven fact that modern pirates fund terrorist groups. Whether taken by force or friendship from the pirates, Al-Qaeda now possesses around 15 cargo vessels. Confiscation of vessels hasn’t been the only recent breach in maritime security. Thanks to unobstructed leadership of Somali pirates, we’ve experienced an increase in maritime trafficking of narcotics, people and illicit goods, and arms proliferation. 
The evidence shows that maritime terrorism has recently gained the attention of most terrorist groups. Large and heavily loaded commercial vessels, offshore gas rigs, and maritime hub ports are easy shots for maritime terrorists, who seek mass destruction of human life, infrastructure, and nature. Though piracy off the Somalia coast has recently decreased, it has caught flame and prospered in other regions of Africa, such as the waters of Guinea and Nigeria. Squashing these pirates once and for all is easier said than done.
They do not proudly announce their presence on the sea, but rather use silence and stealth to steal an average of $5,000 to $15,000 per ship. Some of these raids are exceedingly violent, while others are bloodless. In both terrorism and maritime piracy, there must be extensive planning, and those involved must be willing to sacrifice their lives. Our friends in England recently recognized a dire loophole in worldwide attempts to combat terrorism. Since 2010, the international community has poured billions into the hands of pirates as ransom for the release of vessels and crew. These pirates are not necessarily terrorists themselves, yet many have direct connections to major terror groups. We can be sure that piracy has summoned nearby terrorist groups with the scent of money and the bribe of civilian fear. 
Maritime piracy is now used as the ever-prosperous bank for terrorists. Great Britain understands this and is in the midst of editing a bill which prohibits all forms of ransom payments to terrorists. Somali pirates appear to give the ransoms from their pirated material to al-Qaeda. There is no doubt that piracy could not only fund, but also be used as a form of terrorism or for political purposes, especially because of the unusual amount of security breaches easily accessible on ports and at sea compared to land. Take for example al-Qaeda’s attack on United States. It only took two men in a tiny boat to kill seventeen U.S. citizens and injure 39 more, just by placing a shape charge against the hull of the USS Cole while it was refueling at a Yemeni port. 
We must ensure the future does not hold a pirate-terrorist group merger. This event would spin to a halt all anti-terrorism efforts. Al Shabaab and al-Qaeda are difficult and resilient as it is, but imagine these groups with access to strategic waterways, billions of dollars, high grade ships in their grasp, and American captives at their disposal. Debate on the floor of the House has found, Piracy is ‘‘Booming without any credible deterrence, without the type of deterrence you saw at one point in time from the British navy or from the U.S. fleet. As we speak, there are 27 vessels and 449 hostages being held by Somali pirates’’ 
Yet nothing substantial is done. Though many ships are now well-armed, piracy continues without hiccup. It’s time the United States takes some action and put these outlaws in the high seas out of business and send them to Davy Jones’ locker. An estimated $160 million was paid as ransoms to pirates in one year alone. Using a private navy is almost as drastic of a cost. So, the question is: what should we do? One of the most considered solutions is that of modern privateering. 
Privateers as defined by international law are ‘‘vessels belonging to private owners, and sailing under commission of war empowering the person to whom it is granted to carry on all forms of hostility which are permissible at sea by the usages of war.’’ 
Privateers will be given the opportunity to disable dangerous non-state enemies, and in the process, create revenue. This is not a hard decision. It’s a win-win. The U.S. military has used a form of privateering in the past certain types of air combat and warfare. In fact, in the 1930’s, the U.S. Navy bought blimps from—and hired—a private company, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, to build a fleet of airships and blimps. These blimps were previously used for advertising, yet the Navy used these simple civilian mechanisms to help defend the country. 
In the past, the problem of piracy was largely wiped out due to privateers. The privateers, though used as a sort of political pawn, were extremely successful and motivated. In a system of capitalism, it’s important to consider all parties, and the relationship in which each benefits another. If privateering and letters of marque were used by the United States government today, the government would gain a significant amount of hegemony, credibility, and sea power. 
The privateering ship owners would receive rewards or payments in return for the seized pirate ships, as well as a higher safety and low insurance prices. Maritime piracy is indeed a threat that, if not soon stopped, will lead to increased terrorism and economic disaster. In my Congressional office, we employ interns to help with writing and tasks around the office. 
One of our interns, Rachel Jones, researched this issue regarding piracy on the open seas. Her help this summer was valuable and I thank her for all of her work and assistance. I wish Rachel luck in her future endeavors and with the rest of her time at my alma mater—Abilene Christian University. 
And that’s just the way it is.
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TUESDAY’S IN TEXAS: RED ADAIR

2016/06/14

Mr. Speaker, born the son of an Irish blacksmith in Houston, Paul Neal Adair, commonly known as ‘‘Red’’ started his long service as a fire fighter in World War II with the 139th Bomb Disposal Squadron.

While enlisted, he was sent across Japan to find undetonated bombs and safely disarm them. However, it wasn’t until after his service in the Army that he became renowned for his bravery and skill as a fire fighter. He began working under Myron Kinley, a pioneer and innovator in oil-well firefighting.

Adair worked diligently to learn the many new inventions and techniques Kinley had created, and by 1959 he was ready to strike out on his own. He founded the Red Adair Co., a private company solely devoted to fighting large scale oil fires, and over the course of his career he put out more than two thousand of these fires, both on land and on offshore platforms.

In November of 1961, a particularly large fire, nicknamed the ‘‘Devil’s Cigarette Lighter,’’ broke out in the middle of the Algerian Sahara. Mr. Speaker, the flame was over four hundred and fifty feet high.

Despite best efforts, the fire burned continuously, with no end in sight. That was, until Adair and his crew were called to the scene. Driving a modified bulldozer right up to the well where the fire was burning, Adair was able to get a large nitroglycerin charge into the well, allowing the explosion to displace enough oxygen that the monster of a fire was finally extinguished.

His feats in the Sahara gained him and his crew a reputation worldwide. They additionally helped with a large gas leak off the coast of Australia, and contributed to capping the biggest oil well blowout to have ever been recorded in the North Sea. Even in 1991 at the age of seventy-five, Adair took part in the extinguishing of countless oil well fires that were set by Iraqi troops in Kuwait during the Gulf War.

Soon after he retired, he sold his world famous company. His top employees went on to form their own company, the International Well Control. His great courage and success in his field led to a John Wayne movie called ‘‘Hellfighters’’ to be made, which was loosely based on his encounters in the Sahara. In 2004, at the age of eighty-nine, Paul Adair passed away, but both his men and many others will remember him as a pioneer in firefighting who not only saved many cities from millions of dollars in damages from these large scale oil fires, but also thousands of lives.

And that’s just the way it is.

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A DAUGHTER WILL NOT BE WITH HER FATHER THIS FATHER’S DAY

2016/06/14

Mr. Speaker, a Texas father wrote me this week:

‘‘I heard your statements . . . about removing the so-called judge in the Stanford swimmer’s rape case. I do hope you pursue this all the way to his elimination. As the father of a daughter that was raped a number of years ago while she was jogging at night near a college campus in Texas, I would even consider the death penalty for the perpetrator.

Why? Because that is what happened to my daughter.

The feeling of violation and uncleanness caused her to take her own life in later years. The judge does not know the meaning of rape and the effects it has on a female.’’

Mr. Speaker, the father is correct. Rape victims live lives of quiet hopelessness and despair.

That is why the weak-kneed judges like the one in California need to be removed. Sunday is Father’s Day, and I will be with my 4 kids and 11 grandkids.

The father I referenced here will not be with his daughter. We must deliver justice for rape victims, daughters, and families because, Mr. Speaker, justice is what we do in America.

And that is just the way it is.

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8-YEAR-OLD VICTIM OF SEX SLAVERY

2016/06/13

Mr. Speaker, it happened right under the entire community’s nose: 8-year-old Jen—that is correct, 8 years old—was raped and tortured almost on a daily basis. 
Jen was not kidnapped by a stranger or abused by a relative. She was sold for sex by a neighbor at the neighbor’s house. It was not just Jen who was sold for sex. It was also her younger sister, a male cousin, and a whole group of kids from her hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania. 
She and her fellow victims were coerced into participating and keeping it a secret through an elaborate con of gifts and threats. No one ever went looking for Jen because she was not ever missing. 
From 3 to 6 p.m., she was forced to have sex with strangers. The trafficking finally ended when she was about 10 years of age because the neighbor just disappeared. 
Mr. Speaker, sex slavery happens. As parents and grandparents, we need to know where our kids are because monsters that hurt victims must be prosecuted, both the sellers and the buyers, even if they are neighbors. 
The message is clear: Our children are not for sale. Leave them alone. 
And that is just the way it is.
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8 Year Old Human Trafficking Victim

2016/06/13


POE RESPONDS TO ORLANDO TERRORIST ATTACK

2016/06/13

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, issued the following statement on the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida.

“This weekend, as innocent young men and women were ending their Saturday night celebration, a radical Islamic gunman stormed Pulse night club in Orlando, murdering 49 people and injuring dozens of others. This radical Islamic terrorist pledged allegiance to ISIS during the horrific massacre. ISIS’s hatred knows few bounds: they hate Americans, Christians, Jews, other Muslims who don’t hold its radical beliefs, women, and the gay community. This terrorist attack was an attack on the gay community in Orlando, but it was also an attack on our nation – the worst attack on U.S. soil since September 11th.  A terrorist attack on one community is an attack on us all. This is a reminder to all of us that we are at war with an evil ideology that has already infiltrated our borders, that hates our nation and our people – as individuals and as groups -- and is determined to attack us wherever it can.  As Americans, we should ALL come together to stand united against those radical ideologies that seek to destroy our communities based on their own distorted faith. The Administration must eliminate this 21st Century enemy-without-borders and do everything it can to better protect our citizens. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims as they grieve and mourn.”

 

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Congressman Poe Receives Georgian Medal of Honor

2016/06/10

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) received the Georgian Presidential Medal of Honor. As a long time advocate for the continued relationship between the United States and Georgia, he is proud to have received this award.

 

“The Georgian people and their government share our Western values; as the world leader in freedom and democracy, it is in our national interest to see the same freedoms we enjoy spread to people throughout the world,” said Congressman Poe. The Republic of Georgia has known authoritarian rule for most of its young life. However, in their past 25 years of freedom, they have been continuously ranked as the freest country in the region. I am honored to stand resolutely with the Republic of Georgia and am pleased to accept this gracious award.”    

 

“The Medal of Honor is presented to the Honorable Ted Poe, U.S. House Representative, for the enhancement of strategic relations between the United States and Georgia as well as for his staunch support rendered to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, national interests, and sovereignty,” said David Abesadze, Senior Counselor of the Georgian Embassy.

 

Congressman Poe received the Presidential Medal of Honor last night at a dinner with the Georgian Embassy.

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BRETAGNE: A K–9 HERO

2016/06/10

Mr. Speaker, heroes and servants of our country come in all shapes and sizes. Sept. 11, 2001 is one of those days that will live in infamy. The shameful attack of that morning, as President Bush noted in his address, was meant to frighten our nation. But we did not descend into chaos and retreat.
September 12 was a day that saw our country united and resolved. A helping hand was extended by individuals and organizations from all across this nation. We all came together, and in doing so we won the first battle of the war on terror. The men responsible for that attack wanted to shake the foundations of America, but in the wake of the disaster we demonstrated the power of our country, e pluribus unum, in full glory. 
An example of that glory manifested can be found in Texas Task Force One, which came over 1600 miles to lend a hand in the search for survivors. One invaluable member of that force was Bretagne (pronounced Britney), a rescue dog of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department in Cypress, Texas. 
She helped members of the rescue team search the rubble of the World Trade Center. It is important that we show tribute to all, even the four-legged soldiers. Sixteen year old Bretagne, a golden retriever from Cypress, Texas, was the last living search and rescue dog who worked at Ground Zero after the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks. 
She recently passed away at age 16. She was a beloved member of the team, and we are grateful for her service to this country. She first became a rescue dog in 2000, at the Cy-Fair Fire Department. Bretagne not only aided the heroes of 9/11, but also located and rescued hundreds of citizens after natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. When in Houston, Bretagne visited elementary schools, as a symbol to the children that courage doesn’t just have one face. 
To the despair of the Cypress community that so loved and adored her, brave little Bretagne’s health declined. Her years of loyal service and devotion to the American people began to take a toll, and the veterinarians were given no choice but to put her down. She was given the hero’s salute by the fire department just the other day, as she made her last walk into the office. I too salute you, Bretagne, and all other surviving heroes of 9/ 11. Our nation deeply thanks all of you. 
And that is just the way it is. 
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THE SPIES AMONG US—AND GOVERNMENT ABUSE OF 702

2016/06/10

Mr. Speaker, almost 3 years have passed since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of surveillance that was occurring on U.S. citizens. Edward Snowden is no patriot. However, the alarming information about the NSA’s abuse of power he revealed cannot be ignored. Until Snowden, most Americans were unaware that their own government was trampling on their Fourth Amendment rights. 

Most people did not know their every move could be tracked by Big Brother. They trusted that this agency acted purely in the interest of national security to keep us safe. Post 9/11 and with two ongoing wars, many believed that government surveillance—including warrantless searches and seizures—was limited to foreign nationals, not American citizens.
That would be consistent with federal law and the Constitution. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. In recent years, we have learned that the agency has misused and expanded the intent of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). NSA uses Section 702 as a means to gather not only data but content and to allow law enforcement to later search this data for information about American citizens without a warrant. Because it gathers and searches content of individual communications, I believe Section 702 is more intrusive than even Section 215 which has garnered significant attention.
 FISA permits the collection of such data of a suspected agent of a foreign power, but the federal government is also storing and later searching the content of emails, text messages and phone calls of American citizens —all without a warrant. In the course of this collection, the data of American citizens, many of which have done nothing wrong or illegal, gets collected. That kind of reverse targeting of American citizens is not what Congress intended, is inconsistent with the Constitution, and it must stop. It’s time for Congress to reign in this blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment and stop the warrantless searches of Americans.
This issue—protecting the Fourth Amendment—has unified liberals and conservatives. My colleague Congressman LOFGREN and I may not agree on every issue before Congress, but we agree on this 100 percent. Earlier this year, Congresswoman ZOE LOFGREN (D–CA), Congressman THOMAS MASSIE (R–KY) and I introduced H.R. 2233, the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act. 
The bill would prohibit warrantless searches of government databases for information that pertains to U.S. citizens. It would also forbid government agencies from mandating or requesting ‘‘back doors’’ into commercial products that can be used for surveillance. The legislation mirrors an amendment we offered to the USA Freedom Act when it came up last year. Failure to address this gaping loophole in FISA leaves the constitutional rights of millions of Americans vulnerable and unprotected. 
This bill also ensures that the federal government does not force companies to enable its spying activities. The NSA has and will continue to violate the constitutional protections guaranteed to every American unless Congress intervenes. Until we fix this and make the law clear, citizens can never be sure that their private conversations are safe from the eyes of the government. Last year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed similar legislation as an amendment to DOD Appropriations and I unanimously passed one provision of this bill as an amendment to the DOJ appropriations bill. 
Yet, we have still not seen any action on the standalone bill. Why wouldn’t Congress move on an issue that has so much bipartisan support? We need to push this standalone legislation and also push that 702 be significantly reformed when FISA is reauthorized to ensure that information regarding American citizens can NEVER be searched by law enforcement unless it was collected through a search authorized by a warrant. 
Technology may change but the Constitution does not. It is our duty to make this right and ensure that the Fourth Amendment rights of the people we represent will no longer be trampled on by the NSA. The Fourth amendment right against unlawful search and seizure must be protected in both the physical and digital worlds at all times. Thank you for coming today and I look forward to working together to work towards this goal.
And that is just the way it is. 
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ZERO TOLERANCE FOR RAPE

2016/06/09

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, two Stanford students were biking one night when they noticed a half naked woman lying motionless behind a dumpster with a male student on top of her. When they confronted the attacker, the man took off in the darkness of the night. The Good Samaritans were able to catch the coward and knock him to the ground.

The woman, just 22 years of age at the time, was being raped, and the rapist was caught in the act. When the victim regained consciousness, she was on a gurney, covered with pine needles, and was bleeding. Her assailant was Brock Turner, a scholarship swimmer at Stanford. Brock was found guilty of sexual assault on three counts.

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, two Stanford students were biking one night when they noticed a half naked woman lying motionless behind a dumpster with a male student on top of her. When they confronted the attacker, the man took off in the darkness of the night. The Good Samaritans were able to catch the coward and knock him to the ground.

 The woman, just 22 years of age at the time, was being raped, and the rapist was caught in the act. When the victim regained consciousness, she was on a gurney, covered with pine needles, and was bleeding. Her assailant was Brock Turner, a scholarship swimmer at Stanford. Brock was found guilty of sexual assault on three counts. His sentence? A mere 6 months in prison and 3 years probation. Because the judge said ‘‘a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.’’

Well, isn’t that the point? Mr. Speaker, the punishment for rape should be longer than a semester in college. The defendant’s dad called it a ‘‘steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.’’ Clearly, Brock is a chip off the old block and daddy will never be named father of the year. For many victims, Mr. Speaker, rape is a fate worse than death. Here is why. Because rape victims say that after being raped, they die emotionally many times; and with homicide, one dies only once.

After the sentencing, the brave victim read, Mr. Speaker, a 7,200-word statement to her attacker, the rapist. She said in part: ‘‘I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. I became isolated from the ones I loved the most. After I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the news article listed his swimming times, saying ‘by the way, he’s really good at swimming.’ ‘‘I was the wounded antelope of the herd, completely alone and vulnerable, physically unable to fend for myself, and he chose me. During the investigation, I was pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name.

‘‘My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice. ‘‘While you worry about your shattered reputation, I can’t sleep alone at night without having a light on, like a 5-year-old, because I have nightmares of being touched where I cannot wake up. I did this thing where I waited until the sun came up and I felt safe enough to sleep.’’

Mr. Speaker, I was a prosecutor and a criminal court judge in Texas for over 30 years. I met a lot of rape victims and learned how these attacks sometimes devastate their lives. This judge got it wrong. There is an archaic philosophy in some courts ‘‘that sin ain’t sin as long as good folk do it.’’ In this case, the court and the defendant’s father wanted a pass for the rapist because he was a big-shot swimmer. The judge should be removed.

The rapist should do more time for the dastardly deed that he did that night. This arrogant defendant has appealed the sentence. I hope the appeals court does grant the appeal and make it right and overturn the pathetic sentence and give him the punishment he deserves. As a country, Mr. Speaker, we must change our mentality and make sure that people recognize sexual assault and rape for the horrible crimes that they are.

As a grandfather of 11, I want to know that my granddaughters are growing up in a society that has zero tolerance for this criminal conduct. No means no. A woman who is unconscious does not even have the ability to consent or fight back. Victims, like this remarkable woman, must know that society and the justice system are on their side.

Too often the focus is on defending, protecting, and excusing sex offenders like Brock Turner. The entitlement mentality, being a good college athlete, and self-righteousness do not trump justice. In 6 months, when Brock Turner is out of prison, he will return to his life, but the life of the victim may never be the same.

The criminal has given her a life sentence of mental pain, anguish, and turmoil. Mr. Speaker, when rape occurs, the criminal is trying to steal the very soul of the victim. Justice demands the judge be removed. The defendant should receive more time in prison.

We, the people, the community, must support and assist the victim in all possible ways because, Mr. Speaker, rape is never the fault of the victim.

And that is just the way it is.

Mr. Speaker, I include in the RECORD the statement of the victim in this case. 

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POE CALLS FOR OVERTURNED SENTENCE & JUDGE’S REMOVAL IN STANFORD CASE

2016/06/09

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THE FORT HOOD, TEXAS, NINE

2016/06/07

Mr. Speaker, Texas has been hammered by historic torrential rain and flooding. As the Texas floodwaters rose, 12 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, were crossing Owl Creek in a 21⁄2-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle when it became stuck in the Owl Creek low water crossing.

Suddenly, the vehicle was swept over and sent downstream by fast-moving water. Nine American soldiers drowned in the massive flood waters. Today, we remember them, and here they are: Staff Sergeant Miguel Colon Vazquez, 38, from New York.

He had just spent four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan; Specialist Christine Armstrong, 27, of California; PFC Brandon Banner, 22, of Florida; PFC Zachery Fuller, 23, of Florida; Private Isaac Deleon, 19, of Texas. He was the youngest of all of them.

He had only been in the Army for 17 months; Private Eddy Rae’Laurin Gates, 20, of North Carolina—a former homecoming queen; Private Tysheena James, 21, of New Jersey; West Point cadet Mitchell Winey, 21, of Indiana; Specialist Yingming Sun, 25, of California. These are the nine who drowned recently in the Texas floods.

The soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division. These American soldiers were volunteers who swore to protect the United States.

They were a cut above the rest and were ready to defend freedom at home and abroad. Their lives were ripped from this world and their families all too soon. We are grateful for them and their families for their service and their sacrifices.

 These soldiers are the best of America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers and their families, who have been devastated by the floods of Texas this spring.

 And that is just the way it is.

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TUESDAY’S IN TEXAS: ‘‘BIG FOOT’’ WALLACE

2016/06/07

Mr. Speaker,

The year was 1840 when one of the most faithful Texans joined the Texas Rangers and began a decade’s long service to the great state of Texas.  William A. A. Wallace, more often known as “Big Foot” Wallace, was born in Virginia in 1817. He moved to Texas in 1837 after hearing that a brother and a cousin were killed by the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution. Not long after he would join the Texas rangers and spent the better part of his life defending Texas.

Though there are many legends about the emergence of his nickname, Wallace contended that the nickname derived from an incident with a Comanche. During the time he lived in Austin before he joined the Texas Rangers, a Comanche with large feet stole property in the area and was tracked by Wallace. When the Comanche raided the kitchen of man in town, the man followed the Comanche’s tracks to Wallace’s House and thus accused Wallace of the raid. But a quick thinking Wallace pointed out that the tracks were much larger than his. It was this case of mistaken identity that led Wallace to assume the name “Big Foot.”

Wallace is a descendent of the Scottish legend William Wallace, immortalized in the film Braveheart, who led a rebellion against King Edward I of England during the Wars of Scottish Independence.  Like his ancestor who fought courageously and for a cause he wholeheartedly believed in, “Big Foot” Wallace spend decades fighting faithfully for a cause he believed in, the defense of Texas. As a side note, Mr. Speaker, I too have a connection to William Wallace. My family is decedents of the Weems Clan (Wemyss) of Scotland. The Wemyss fought on the side of Robert Bruce and Wallace during the Scottish war of Independence. When the war was over and their side lost, the English crown confiscated much of their inherited land.

In 1840, Wallace joined the Texas Rangers and subsequently fought various skirmishes with Texas Indians and Mexicans. Two years later when fighting an invading Mexican Army during the Somervell and Mier expeditions, Wallace was among 150 men captured by Mexican forces. During this time in a Mexican prison 1 in 10 men was to be executed. Their fate was determined by drawing either a white or black bean from a jar. Those who drew the black bean were executed.  Luckily, Wallace drew a white bean and spared, and eventually released. The executions would later become known to all those who study Texas history as the “Black Bean Episode”.

His time in the Mexican prison must have furthered his resolve because he once again volunteered to serve with the Texas Rangers and during the Mexican War he served in a company of Mounted Volunteers in the United States Army. Following the Mexican War and through the Civil War, this Loyal Texan once again served with the Texas rangers fighting to protect the Texas frontier from bandits, Indians, deserters and Union soldiers.

As a testament to his loyal service to Texas, Wallace was given a tract of land in Frio County, in South Texas, where he lived until his death in 1899.  He was ultimately buried at the Texas State Cemetery at the feet of Stephen F. Austin. He has become a folk legend for those in Texas and beyond. The words at his final resting place say it all, “Here lies he who spent his manhood defending the homes of Texas. Brave, honest, and faithful.”

And that’s just the way it is. 

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DR. GUY SCONZO

2016/06/07

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to recognize the fine career and outstanding public service of my friend, Dr. Guy Sconzo. Dr. Sconzo has devoted four decades to the education of our nation’s youth; beginning as a teacher and then working as an administrator. He is retiring after leading Humble Independent School District for the last 15 years as 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 for his lifelong service. I offer him my utmost congratulations for his long and successful career.

Dr. Sconzo began his career as a teacher-in his home state of New York-after graduating from Wagner College in 1973. He then earned his Master’s Degree at New York University, and his doctorate at Ohio State University. He served in many different teaching and administrative roles in New York, Ohio, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. He then made one of the best decisions of his life, he moved to the great State of Texas in 2001 as Superintendent for Humble ISD.

During his career, he has achieved numerous awards and recognition at the local, state and federal level for his leadership and hands on involvement in the success of the students at Humble ISD. In 2013, he earned Superintendent of the Year by Region 4 and last year he led Humble ISD to being named the Best Large District in Texas by H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. 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 Humble, but the many other communities that he has touched.

Dr. Sconzo is a dedicated family man, having been married to his wife Diane for 41 years, and the proud father of two adult children; Michael and Jennifer. Dr. Sconzo and Diane 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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THE FORT HOOD, TEXAS, NINE

2016/06/07


Congressman Poe Responds to CDC regarding Mosquito Control

2016/06/07

Last week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding its mechanism for funding local communities’ response to the Zika virus. According to the CDC, Harris County, the third largest county in the country, is ineligible for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement grants.

“Without this source of funding, I am concerned that Harris County will be unable to protect its citizens from the public health threat posed by the Zika virus,” said Congressman Ted Poe.” “Texas is roughly the same size as France. In a state that is so large, we must actively work to ensure that Harris County is not overlooked by the CDC. We are vulnerable to the threat of Zika virus for several reasons.  Both mosquito vectors that carry Zika virus are present in Harris County. Located on the Gulf Coast, we have experienced high flood waters in recent months. In addition, there are also areas of our community that are poverty stricken. Each of these factors create conditions that are ideal for mosquitoes to breed. The CDC must work with our community both now and in the future to address this flawed grant system and help allocate federal dollars for Harris County’s public health response.”

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POE RESPONDS TO STATE DEPARTMENT TERRORISM REPORT

2016/06/03

“According to the State Department’s 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism released on Thursday, Pakistan “did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or HQN [Haqqani Network]” and has done little to deter home-grown jihadist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. That is why I recently authored an amendment to the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act that 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 actually go after the Haqqani network once and for all or lose hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid. 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’.”

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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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