Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016
This week, the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which included authorization for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. This legislation is critical to expanding business and boosting the economy both in South Carolina and nationwide. The South Carolina Port Authority is an industry leader, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs each year, especially in the Upstate where international businesses depend on the Port to move goods from South Carolina throughout the world. Our delegation worked hard on WRDA, which is vital to creating even more jobs in South Carolina.
On Wednesday evening, the House voted on a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government only through December 9, 2016. While funding our government is a fundamental responsibility of Congress, passing spending bills which reflect the values, priorities and constitutional parameters of those we represent is equally as fundamental. During my time in Congress, I have pushed for long term solutions that provide certainty, rein in government spending, and only fund programs that are in the country’s best interests. With a burgeoning debt, significant annual deficits despite tax increases, and interest on the debt consuming a larger portion of our revenue, it is simply past time to budget responsibly.
Although I have supported Continuing Resolutions in the past, I was not able to support this one for several reasons. Funding should be done through the normal appropriations process, not another 60-day patch to simply move us along toward this next fiscal showdown. There are a number of specific budget and appropriations issues that could have been addressed had the normal, regular appropriations process been followed. For instance, the State Department has been nothing short of obstructionist with respect to cooperation with congress. This could have been and should have been addressed. The Department of Justice should have had the scalpel applied in several areas. Waste, fraud and abuse at the IRS, EPA, and even the National Park Service could have been and should have been addressed through the normal appropriations process. Moreover, national security is the preeminent function of the federal government and the normal appropriations process is the constitutional place for the legislative branch to assert its positions on border security, the Iranian nuclear deal, Gitmo, and reforming the asylum, visa, and refugee programs.
With respect to the latter, South Carolina has witnessed firsthand the challenges presented by the refugee program - from the State Department's failure to ensure questions were adequately answered on the front end to this administration's own national security experts conceding vetting is not possible with inadequate databases. The program’s shortcomings, combined with the national security risks posed by our government’s inability to certify each admitted refugee is not a security threat, led Governor Haley, most of our congressional delegation and many local leaders to conclude the program should be halted until safeguards are in place to ensure the safety and security of our fellow citizens. While this Continuing Resolution fell short, I am committed to working with my colleagues to restore regular order in the appropriations process so the legislative branch can more fully meet the constitutional expectations of our fellow citizens and find a better solution for funding the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2017.
House Judiciary Committee Update
On Wednesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the FBI. During the hearing, I asked Director Comey to explain what evidence he would have needed to prosecute Secretary Clinton or others for the mishandling of classified information. As I have said countless times before, this is not about any one individual or even about a single investigation. This is about having a Department of Justice that is respected and evenly applies the law. The bedrock of our republic is a justice system that is respected by everyone regardless of politics, religion, race or any other characteristic or factor. Quite simply, the law is the most unifying and equalizing force in our culture and it should be treated with respect and adherence.
Watch the questioning below.
Before the hearing, I spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business and Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel. Watch the interviews below.
Washington, DC - Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04) issued the following statement after the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which included authorization for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.
"Today’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which includes authorization of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, is critical to expanding business and boosting the economy both in South Carolina and nationwide. The South Carolina Port Authority is an industry leader, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs each year. The Port is truly a statewide asset — especially in the Upstate where international businesses depend on the Port to move goods from South Carolina throughout the world. I am proud of our delegation’s hard work on this bill and support for the Charleston Port, which is vital to creating even more jobs in South Carolina.”
In case you missed it: Rep. Gowdy questions FBI Director Comey during the House Judiciary hearing titled, "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"What concerns me Director is when you have five immunity agreements and no prosecution… when you are allowing witnesses who happen to be lawyers sit in on an interview. That is not the FBI that I used to work with."
Washington, DC - Chairman Trey Gowdy delivered the following opening statement during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing titled, “New Orleans: How the Crescent City Became a Sanctuary City.”
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “New Orleans: How the Crescent City Became a Sanctuary City.” At the hearing, members will seek answers about the Justice Department’s involvement in crafting the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) sanctuary policy.
In 2010, the mayor of the City of New Orleans requested the Justice Department to “reform” the NOPD. In 2012, officials at DOJ’s Civil Rights Division sued the city for alleged civil rights violations, resulting in a consent decree joined by the parties. As part of the consent decree, NOPD officers were prevented from considering an individual’s immigration status when performing their law enforcement duties. In February 2016, the NOPD enacted written policies pursuant to the consent decree that prevent officers from responding to requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding criminal aliens in custody, except in very limited circumstances. The Justice Department reviewed and approved those policies prior to their enactment by the NOPD, even though they appear to be in violation of federal law. And despite these concerning policies, the NOPD still continues to receive Department of Justice grant funds.
Earlier this year, Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) pressed the Department of Justice on its involvement in the NOPD’s sanctuary policy, but to date the Department has failed to explain how the policy is lawful.
Witnesses for the hearing are:
Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte issued the statement below in advance of this hearing
“It is outrageous that the Justice Department would seek a consent decree with the New Orleans Police Department to actually inhibit the ability of the federal government to enforce federal law. By hindering federal immigration officers’ ability to apprehend criminal aliens, the Justice Department consciously disregards the safety and security of the American public by enabling the release of these criminals back into our communities to commit more crimes.
“Next week, the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will examine DOJ’s role in coercing the New Orleans Police Department to adopt dangerous sanctuary policies and will seek answers from the Department. We look forward to hearing their explanation as to why they would encourage a local jurisdiction to violate federal law.”
This hearing will take place in 2237 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov. Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) today called on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to investigate and begin the process of revoking citizenship for people that obtained citizenship despite being ineligible and due to the Department’s systemic failures.
Earlier this month, the DHS Office of Inspector General (IG) issued a report finding that at least 858 individuals who were ordered deported were instead granted citizenship because they used another identity when applying for citizenship and were not caught by federal immigration authorities since their fingerprints were never digitized and uploaded to government databases. The IG report also found that about 148,000 fingerprint records have not been digitized for aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives.
In their letter to Secretary Johnson, Goodlatte and Gowdy call on the Department of Homeland Security to initiate a plan to investigate and refer for criminal prosecution and denaturalization proceedings each person identified in the IG’s report who has been granted citizenship based on fraudulent identity. They also call on DHS to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee about what it has done to remedy this systemic failure.
Below is the text of the letter. The signed copy can be found here.
September 22, 2016
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Johnson,
We write regarding the September 8, 2016, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (IG) report entitled, “Potentially Ineligible Individuals Have Been Granted U.S. Citizenship Because of Incomplete Fingerprint Records.”
The IG report stated that, “USCIS granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not in the DHS digital fingerprint repository, IDENT.” In addition, the IG found that, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has identified about 148,000 older fingerprint records that have not been digitized of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives.” Thus, still more individuals could have been naturalized despite their ineligibility to do so.
Administration officials repeatedly tell those of us in Congress and the American people that the immigration benefits vetting process is robust and secure. Concerns we raise about the process are continuously dismissed in favor of Administration actions to expand the scope of eligibility for immigration benefits.
Yet time and time again, those concerns are proven valid. Whether it is with the improper grant of a fiancée visa to an individual who goes on to commit a terrorist attack in California, or with the improper naturalization of hundreds of individuals whose fingerprints were never automated, there is no doubt that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) adjudication is not the secure and robust process that we are asked to believe.
USCIS’ first responsibility is to the American people, and that responsibility is to ensure that foreign nationals approved for immigration benefits are, in fact, who they claim to be. Without such elementary knowledge of the individuals seeking immigration benefits, the U.S. immigration system and any claimed security protections therein are rendered useless.
In addition, naturalization not only bestows rights and benefits to the individual naturalized, but also for their family members. So through chain migration, one individual fraudulently naturalized can result in hundreds of additional naturalizations. Such actions make a mockery of U.S. immigration law and policy.
As you also know, federal law allows USCIS to refer an individual to the Department of Justice for denaturalization proceedings in the case of an individual who USCIS believes to have “illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation,” naturalization. Federal law also allows such referrals for criminal prosecution.
Thus, we request that you initiate a plan to investigate and refer for criminal prosecution and denaturalization proceedings, each individual in the group described by the IG to have been naturalized based on a fraudulent identity and despite having fingerprints that were not previously entered into the system.
In addition, we request the following information:
1) For the 858 individuals who were found to have been naturalized despite being ordered deported or removed under a different identity:
2) For the 148,000 fingerprint records that have not been digitized of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives:
Please respond to the above questions no later than October 5, 2016. If you have questions regarding this letter, please contact Andrea Loving on the House Judiciary Committee staff at (202) 225-3926.
We appreciate in advance, your prompt response.
Bob Goodlatte Trey Gowdy
Chairman Sub Committee Chairman
Washington, DC - Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement in response to this week's tragic events in Tulsa, OK and Charlotte, NC:
"The shedding of innocent blood devastates all people of good conscience – but violence cannot begat violence. The frustration and anger felt when innocent citizens are killed by law enforcement officers or law enforcement officers are killed by citizens must result in swift and certain justice. But it must be justice – not vigilantism. This is why it is imperative we have a single justice system that treats each of us as we are – equal in the eyes of the law and our Creator. This justice system must be swift, certain, proportional and respected. And it must be a single justice system with the same rules applying to each of us.
Law cannot make people treat others with dignity, justice and respect. It is us who must decide our common decency, desire for law and order, respect for due process, and shared citizenry are larger than the desire to lash out. Hurting innocent people does not level the score – it merely breeds and perpetuates the enmity that begat the original violence.
Through a series of roundtable discussions, Senator Tim Scott and I have assembled women and men of good conscience from all perspectives and backgrounds in South Carolina to first understand one another and then unite around the common goals of safety, security, peacefulness and justice. But these conversations are just one step toward building solutions. We must have a system of justice that is so respected it overwhelms the desire to take matters into our own hands. Hurting innocent people does nothing to break the cycle of violence and retribution so antithetical to a peaceful and ordered society."
Last November, Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified the law “currently does not allow” the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. In January, Defense Secretary Ash Carter agreed. Additionally, last fall, the President signed into law the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, which included language to halt the transfer of detainees to U.S. soil. Nonetheless, President Obama continues to transfer detainees to other countries in an effort to close the prison before the end of his term.
According to the Director of National Intelligence, nearly one-third of detainees currently or formerly held at Guantanamo Bay are suspected or confirmed of re-engaging in terrorism. Today the House passed H.R. 5351, introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski, which bans the transfer or release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay until either the end of this year or the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017. While the President is risking our national security to fulfill campaign promises he never should have made, Congress will continue to put our national security first.
Last week, the House unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to protect survivors of sexual assault. The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016, introduced by Representatives Mimi Walters and Zoe Lofgren, will ensure survivors of sexual assault receive basic rights including the preservation of crucial forensic evidence.
Specifically, this legislation will ensure sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have a right to the following:
As a former state and federal prosecutor, I have seen firsthand both the physical and emotional trauma experienced by victims of sexual assault. This bill ensures victims receive the justice and protection they deserve. I thank Representatives Walters and Lofgren for their steadfast commitment to ensuring survivors of sexual assault have a fair chance at justice.Read More
Washington, DC – Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) issued the following statement on the anniversary of September 11:
“Fifteen years ago today, we experienced an inconceivable tragedy when terrorists attacked our nation simply because of who we are and what we stand for. In 2012, we experienced this evil once again when four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack while serving our country in Benghazi, Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their families today and every day. We will never forget.
Let us also remember the heroic law enforcement officers and medical units who responded to the attacks – those who rushed toward danger when the rest of us ran away from it. And thank you to our men and women in uniform who fiercely protected our freedom fifteen years ago, four years ago and have continued to do so every single day in between. Their love for and dedication to our nation serve as an inspiration to each and every one of us.
The single best thing we can do to fight and ultimately overcome those who desire to tear our nation apart is to rally behind our love for our country and unite our great nation as one.”
1404 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representing South Carolina’s 4th District, Trey Gowdy entered Congress with a resolute commitment to the conservative principles that have guided him throughout his years in public service. At the core of those principles lies a firm belief in a limited government that inspires trust and demands accountability.
Representative Gowdy serves on the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Ethics, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for the Judiciary Committee. In these capacities, Representative Gowdy has fought to highlight facts, uphold the Constitution, rein in the ever-expanding scope of the federal government, and restore America’s trust with a renewed spirit of honesty, fairness and reason.
Trey graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982, Baylor University in 1986 with a degree in history, and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989 where he was a member of the scholastic honor society “Order of the Wig and Robe.”
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row.
As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Trey led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees. During his tenure, he started a Violence Against Women Task Force and a Worthless Check Program, enhanced and expanded Drug Court, and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction.
He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and drunken driving enforcement and nationally for excellence in death penalty prosecutions.
Trey is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy, and they have two children: Watson and Abigail. Terri works for the Spartanburg School District as a teacher’s aide. Watson is a sophomore at Clemson University and Abigail is a rising 10th grader at Spartanburg High School. The Gowdy family also includes three dogs: “Judge”, “Jury”and “Bailiff.”
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Last week Senator Tim Scott and I joined WYFF News 4 to talk about our series of roundtable discussions with law enforcement and faith leaders
On the FBI's investigation into Secretary Clinton's mishandling of classified information → if this conduct does not warrant prosecution, what
Our hearts are broken at the passing of precious Jacob Hall. Please pray for his family.
This is not about politics. This is about whether or not we can respect an entity that is supposed to be above politics.
I want a justice system people respect. I want people to have confidence in an agency that is supposed to be represented by a blindfolded woman