Evil is a constant in this fragile world and evil feeds and grows on indecisive indifference. Groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL [Levant]) and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) state that they are determined to kill American's both in the Middle East and on United States soil.
This past week, the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to hear and discuss this threat with the three top counter-terrorism officials: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey, National Counter-Terrorism Center director, Matthew G. Olsen, and Secretary Jeh Johnson of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
During the hearing, all three stated the need for lawmakers and public officials to understand the dangerous level global terrorism has reached. This is because of the growth of safe havens and the resurgence of groups such as ISIS and AQAP in Iraq, Syria, and the greater Middle East.
Olsen in his testimony warned about the "greater than 15,000 foreign fighters who could potentially return to their home countries to participate in, or support terrorist attacks" and noted his specific concerns of those fighters who may return to their countries "battle-hardened, radicalized and determine to attack us." Olsen followed up with a warning that "homegrown violent extremists remain the most likely immediate threat to the homeland."
Recent news reports have highlighted the effective use of online recruitment by terrorism networks to foster the threat from the homegrown, or "lone wolf" attackers. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified at the hearing that this is the hardest threat to detect and the one he worries about the most.
Both FBI Director James Comey and Olsen noted the effectiveness of the tools for terror groups who recruited the accused Boston Marathon bombers - who killed three people and injured 264 when they set off pressure cooker bombs in April 2013 - through the group's English language magazine.
In addition to the high profile Western nation recruits that have joined the terror group ISIS, global terrorist organizations are seeing a rise in recruits that come from western nations, including the United States, where there have been over 70 instances of home grown terrorist plots since 9/11.
FBI Director James Comey said that one main tool needed to combat the growing risk of homegrown terrorist fighters returning to the United States, is revoking the passports of those traveling to Syria for the purposes of joining ISIS. Director Comey said that he supports the move but that it would be implemented on a case by case basis.
Secretary Jeh Johnson also agreed, "I agree with the FBI Director that suspension of passports should be on a case by case basis. The State Department has the authority to suspend passports" and that "I agree given the current environment and real threat to America's homeland, that we need to seriously consider limiting the ability of certain individuals to travel."
I completely agree that our counter-terrorism efforts must include suspending passports of those that seek to train with ISIS and return to the United States for the purposes of committing a terrorist act. Using tools like revoking passports is a front-line measure our government can take to protect our homeland from terror before any radicalized Americans have the chance to return and cause mass harm.
While we live in one of the safest countries in the world, our counter-terrorism and homeland security officials must use all the tools afforded to them by law to ensure this safety for Americans at home and abroad.
Congressman Latham to Speak at Lean Government Forum
To graduate from college is a celebrated accomplishment. However, years of hard work culminate in a degree that often comes with a high price tag. To complicate things further, our broken tax codes add obstacles and make it difficult for Americans to truly plan for the cost of college.
H.R. 3393, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, brings the American student a simplified solution. It takes the 15 overlapping provisions and 90 pages of IRS instructions of the current American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Hope Scholarship Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the college tuition deduction and consolidates it into one simplified credit. It also allows Pell Grants to be used for more expenses, including room and board, without triggering additional tax liability.
“This legislation represents a true bipartisan collaboration in the U.S. House. Reducing the amount of bureaucratic red-tape helps students get the assistance they need without endless paperwork. I am proud to vote for H.R. 3393 which has bipartisan support and will give American students an easier route to increased opportunities and their American dream.“ said Congressman Latham.
Washington has piled a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren during the spending binge of the last several years. It’s absolutely critical that we use every tool at our disposal to end the out-of-control spending and borrowing. Too many agencies, including the VA, do not provide effective or efficient services and continually waste taxpayer’s dollars. The announcement that over 57,000 veterans are currently waiting for their first appointment at the VA is appalling. This problem is systemic and shines light on a larger, more pervasive problem in the federal government: It wastes too much.
The vast scope of the federal government creates plenty of opportunities for waste, fraud and duplication to gum up the works and make government less efficient and more costly. Sprawling federal bureaucracies with budgets that only seem to grow year after year make it increasingly difficult for taxpayers to even gain an understanding of just how much of their hard-earned money is wasted every year. We must do everything we can to make sure every single tax dollar is spent wisely.
That’s why I’ve introduced legislation that would cut waste in every sector of the federal government and bring light into some of the darkest corners of the bureaucratic maze, HR. 5064, The Lean and Responsive Government Act
When veterans wait an unnecessarily long time to see a doctor, when agencies waste their time, they very well may be taking the only time the veteran has left. That time is precious to anyone who wants to see their loved ones or just enjoy a life they have fought hard for.
A coordinated and innovative approach to improve process speed, reduce waste, and incorporate data-driven analysis could save hundreds of billions of tax dollars and drastically improve government services, and that’s exactly what my Lean and Responsive Government Act would do.
Politicians have promised to cut waste for decades, but those pledges have almost always amounted to little more than lip service. However, my legislation is different, and here is why:
This legislation centers around continuous process improvement methods that reduce waste and improve effectiveness. The goals of a continuous process improvement operation are to drastically reduce defects, mistakes, and variation. Agencies will put taxpayers first and constantly use data to evaluate its results.
The process already proves successful in the government entities that use it, including NASA and State governments. The Lean and Responsive Government Act requires the chief operating officer of every federal agency to implement these continuous process improvement techniques and include information on their efforts in an annual report to Congress.
Unlike any successful company or business, the federal government does not operate under an overarching strategic plan. Instead, the government operates under hundreds of individual operating plans for each agency. The result is a vast and chaotic alphabet soup of agencies and programs that often duplicate services and sometimes compete with one another. The Lean and Responsive Government Act would provide the federal government with a unified and consistent method for reducing the duplication and wasted resources.
We can save massive sums of money by cutting waste and making government services more efficient. Waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication gobble up hundreds of billions of tax dollars every year and can cause taxpayers to wait for services that may be life saving.
On one hand, we have a federal government that is piling up debt faster than at any point in our history and is so inefficient that veterans may die while waiting for care or trying to navigate the bureaucracy.
On the other hand, the federal government wastes hundreds of billions of dollars every year through inefficiency and mismanagement that has destroyed American's faith in the federal government. We simply can’t afford to lose so many tax dollars to waste.
American taxpayers don't have an unlimited amount of time or money and neither does the federal government. That’s why I’ve introduced the Lean and Responsive Government Act. With these innovative processes, we can significantly reduce wasted money and services, and reign in the new "fourth branch of government": the sprawling federal bureaucracy.
2217 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Tom Latham came to Washington with a vision of changing the way Washington works and changing the work that Washington does. Latham, a ten-term Republican, has represented the people of Iowa since January of 1995.
Latham, 65, knows the Iowa traditions of hard work, community service, and strong values very well because it is where he was born, raised, and educated. He grew up and raised his family near Alexander, Iowa, a town of 168 people. He is a farmer and a small business owner. Tom, along with two of his brothers, ran Latham Seeds, the family seed company that his father started in 1947. Today, the company is operated by Congressman Latham’s niece and nephews, making them the third generation of the family to run the company.
Congressman Latham and his wife, Kathy, have three adult children: Justin, Jennifer, and Jill. They also have one granddaughter, Emerson, and four grandsons named Jack, Keaton, Mason and Carson.
Since his very first day in Congress, Tom Latham has been dedicated to the ideals of change in Washington. His Iowa values and common sense are a testament to the work he strives to accomplish, such as the promotion of individual liberty, economic opportunity, personal responsibility, and a smaller and smarter federal government.
Latham, the Dean of Iowa’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, has established himself in Washington as a champion of fiscal responsibility. One Iowa newspaper proclaimed that Latham is “a fiscal conservative who not only talks the talk but walks the walk when it comes to spending he controls.” His work in Congress has also been noted with awards and recognition by several budget, taxpayer, senior, agriculture, small business, and anti-government waste advocacy groups.
He is Iowa’s only member of the House Appropriations Committee, considered to be one of the most influential in Congress. Through his work on the committee, Latham has provided significant support for Iowa’s homeland security first-responders, law enforcement, the Iowa National Guard, transportation projects, agriculture, environmental and public education initiatives, health care, community, and economic and small business development. Congressman Latham serves as the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. He also serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
Tom Latham believes in this country and her people. He sees a great future in a nation that protects individual freedom and responsibility over that of an intrusive federal government that spends beyond its means. Congressman Latham believes if we hold to these values, America’s greatest days are yet to be seen.
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Good Luck, Susan Brown of Granger: after beating breast cancer, now going to beat Machu Picchu in Peru http://t.co/zQponFSsmy
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