Mr. Chairman, the Affordable Care Act is a collection of failed policies and many empty promises. The American people have spoken.
They do not want ObamaCare’s highcost, job-killing, conscious-violating healthcare system. Since the enactment of ObamaCare, almost 5 million Americans have lost their insurance plans and their own doctors.
This is a far cry from the fake promises that were made on this House floor in the dark of the night when we were told: ‘‘Pass the bill so that we can figure out what is in it.’’ The American people are the ones paying for these failed promises.
In fact, it is expected that in 2017, ObamaCare premiums will grow by an average of 22 percent across America. ObamaCare is hurting individual citizens, and it is also hurting small businesses. Out of 75 issues, small-business owners ranked the cost of health insurance as the number one problem they faced in 2016.
ObamaCare is neither affordable, and it is certainly not better care. We cannot afford ObamaCare.
Health care should be a decision made by individuals in America, not by bureaucrats here in Washington, D.C. The repeal bill is the first step in finally correcting this huge legislative blunder.
Replace ObamaCare with a free-market alternative that provides affordable health care to all Americans. Let Americans choose their health care. ObamaCare has the efficiency of the post office and the compassion of the IRS, and it is time to make America healthy. Repeal this government control of our health.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement after the passage of S. Con. Res. 3.
“Today, the House voted on Senate-passed legislation supported by President-Elect Trump, laying out a plan for a budget and more importantly, starting the process of repealing and ultimately replacing Obamacare. This budget reconciliation bill is the first step in the long process of making the President’s disastrous nationalized healthcare law a thing of the past. Due to procedural rules in the Senate, Congress had to use the budget reconciliation process to start the repeal process because it could pass with only 51 votes. This was the best procedural method with the highest chance of success. Now, Congress will be able to move forward with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare with a patient-centered healthcare system.
This budget reconciliation package is not a spending bill. It is just a budget plan, much like many Americans set up for their own families. This is the first step in a much longer process of undoing the damage that has been done and replacing it with a health care system that provides affordable health coverage to all who want it without an unconstitutional federal mandate.”Read More
Mr. Speaker, recently in Sacramento, California, Uber driver Keith Avila picked up three passengers. They were two women and what looked like to him to be a very young girl, about 12 years of age. The ride would be short. The total fare was only $8.
The young girl, sitting in the front seat with him, was dressed inappropriately in such a short skirt. Here is what he said about her:
You could see all of her legs, and it struck me as odd because she was so very young. What happened next was even more disturbing to him. One of the women passengers in the vehicle said to the young girl in a controlling, coaching voice:
First thing you do, you ask this question: Do you have any weapons? When you’re hugging him, just ask, ‘‘Do you have any weapons?’’ Pat him down. Pat him down while you’re hugging on him. Get the money first. Before you start touching him, go in there, get the money first.
Avila, a father himself, knew something was not right about that conversation. The two older women taking a girl inappropriately dressed to a hotel, talking about exchanging money, did not make sense to him. This had the hallmark of sex trafficking.
He later said to police: I was 100 percent sure I knew what was happening.
So Avila dropped off the three individuals at the Holiday Inn Express and immediately called the police, even though he didn’t have to. He alerted them that there was a child sex trafficking occurring right under their noses. The two alleged women traffickers were later identified as 25-year-old Destiny Pettway and 31-year-old Maria Westley.
They now have been charged with pimping and threatening a minor. The buyer, 20-year-old Disney Vang, was also arrested and charged by the police with soliciting a child prostitute. Mr. Speaker, this girl turned out to be 16 years of age, but her life was saved because of this individual, Mr. Avila.
Elk County Police Officer Chris Trim said it best: He could’ve said nothing, went on his way, collected his fare, and then that child victim would have been victimized again by who knows how many different people over the next days, weeks, or even months. Mr. Speaker, America cannot ignore sex trafficking in this country. Individuals, citizens, no matter who they are, need to be able to recognize what is taking place amongst sex trafficking.
What happened in Sacramento with this child is not an isolated incident. This incident just happened to end well because someone saw something and said something. Last Congress, we took the historic step of passing several pieces of comprehensive, bipartisan trafficking legislation, supported by most Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
One of those bills was my own and CAROLYN MALONEY’s, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This bill did a number of things, but most importantly, it went after the root problem: the demand, the customer that buys minors on the marketplace of sex trafficking. The bill did a lot of other things to help promote the enforcement of the sex trafficking laws in America. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act also went after the trafficker as well as rescuing the victim, and, of course, it prosecuted the buyers.
The bill also set up a fund to pay for grants to help the victims and victim shelters and to educate police. The fund is funded by money that goes into that fund by fees, ordered by Federal judges. In other words, let the criminals pay the rent on the courthouse and pay for the system that they have created and help fund shelters and police training to recognize the trafficking that takes place.
The enforcement of the bill is taking place throughout the country. Going after human sex trafficking is something that this country needs to recognize, and we need to be able to recognize it when we are individuals, law enforcement, and Members of the House of Representatives as well. Sex trafficking takes place not only on the individual basis, but at big events such as the Super Bowl and the Final Four. Just this week, the Department of Homeland Security had a briefing for Members of the Texas delegation on the Super Bowl, talking about the security that will be implemented in Houston.
It was quite impressive. But during that briefing for Members of Congress—and I see two of them here, Mr. AL GREEN and Mr. FARENTHOLD, who were at that briefing—they talked about how probably sex trafficking will be at that location, and how they are going to try to prevent it. It is quite impressive, the Blue Campaign that is taking place by the Department of Homeland Security.
We are going to be ready for those people who want to try to promote sex trafficking in Houston because of the Super Bowl, making sure that there is not going to be sex trafficking in our town, in our country, and that our children are not for sale. So it is important that we recognize it when we see it, and it is because of awareness of citizens like Mr. Avila that America is turning the tide and making sure that we enforce our sex trafficking laws.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Co-Founder of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R. 440, the SHAME Act. The bi-partisan bill will ensure that federal judges have the ability to publish the names and photographs of criminals convicted of buying sex from a minor or a sex-trafficking victim. The SHAME Act is designed to allow easy public access to the pictures and information of those in society who would purchase sex from these victims.
“As a former judge in Texas, I used public punishment to keep criminals from returning to my court room and to discourage others from committing crimes,” said Congressman Poe. “I believe this form of public shaming can be successful in combatting human trafficking. That is why we have introduced the bipartisan SHAME Act. This bill will guarantee federal judges have the ability to publish the names and photographs of both convicted human traffickers and buyers of trafficked victims. Buyers will no longer be able to hide in plain sight under the cloak of anonymity. Perhaps the thought of having their face on a billboard will make scoundrels think twice about participating in the modern day slave trade. It is time to SHAME these horrible humans out of the business altogether.”
“I am proud to have worked with Rep. Poe in enacting and advocating for critical anti-trafficking legislation including the JVTA, which has greatly improved services available to victims of human trafficking and revolutionized the way we punish criminals who buy and sell sex with trafficking victims and minors,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The perpetrators of these heinous crimes often operate in the shadows and are too often not brought to justice. This simple bill, the SHAME Act, is another important tool for law enforcement and prosecutors as they protect their communities by cracking down on the demand driving this illegal industry.”
Last Congress, Congressman Poe and Congresswoman Maloney were part of a bicameral, bipartisan team that passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA). This act helped police target all persons involved in the buying and selling of human beings while also funding victim services and restitution. The SHAME Act is an extension of the success of JVTA.
Mr. Speaker, human trafficking victims are slaves living in fear, totally losing their identity. On this National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, it is time to publicly expose the traffickers.
As a former judge in Texas, I used public punishment to keep criminals from returning to my courtroom and to discourage other criminals from committing more crimes. This form of public shaming can be successful in combating human trafficking.
That is why, today, I introduced the SHAME Act. This bill will give Federal judges the ability to publish the names and photographs of both convicted human traffickers and the buyers of trafficked victims.
Buyers will no longer be able to hide in plain sight under a cloak of anonymity. My hope is that the SHAME Act strikes fear in those who think about purchasing young women for sex.
Perhaps the thought of having their face on a billboard will make the scoundrels think twice about participating in the modern-day slave trade. It is time to shame these horrible humans out of business.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
Mr. Speaker, this week, North Korea declared that it can launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at any time that it wishes. Even our own Deputy Secretary of State recently warned that Little Kim’s weapon capabilities have shown qualitative improvement within the past year resulting in ‘‘unprecedented level of activity.’’
Why is that? Well, because this administration has done little to stop Little Kim.
Instead, the administration has naively pursued a strategy it calls ‘‘strategic patience.’’ Strategic patience is a fancy phrase for ignoring the obvious.
There was a time when we kept North Korea on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. They came off the list because they have made promises that they have clearly broken.
Mischievous Little Kim’s threats continue to grow bolder and bolder, with no repercussions. We cannot afford to risk the security of our citizens for the sake of diplomatic strategy that has proven to be a failure.
This week I will reintroduce legislation to put North Korea back on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List because Little Kim is a terror to world peace.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, introduced H.R. XXX, the FTO Passport Revocation Act. This legislation would authorize the revocation or denial of passports and passport cards to individuals affiliated with designated foreign terrorist organizations. A version of the same bill passed the House unanimously in the 114th Congress. The updated version of the bill allows the accused to request a hearing to ensure that their due process rights are protected, no matter where they are.
Chairman Poe: “Daily, deadly attacks around the world remind us that radical Islamic terrorists are spreading their murderous rampage far beyond the Middle East. The threat to our citizens from these groups has never been greater. But some of our own have unfortunately travelled to the terrorist hotbeds in Syria and beyond to fight for the other side. These Benedict Arnold traitors, who have turned against America and joined the ranks of foreign radical terrorist armies, should lose all rights afforded to our citizens.
This bill will help law enforcement locate these individuals by preventing them from travel
ling internationally so that they can be captured and brought to justice. Most importantly, this legislation will prevent turned Americans from entering the United States undetected. These people are not returning to America to open coffee shops; they are coming back to kill. We must stop them from coming back at all.”
Poe is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism.
Mr. Speaker, Qian Wu was held up at knifepoint and brutally assaulted. Her attacker, a Chinese citizen who was illegally in America, was captured and sent off to prison for the assault.
He should have been deported as soon as he finished his sentence, but China would not take back the outlaw.
So, under American law, the attacker could not be held indefinitely in our prison and was turned loose on American streets. As soon as he was released from prison, he tracked down Qian Wu and murdered her.
Mr. Speaker, the law requires that a person who illegally enters the United States and is ordered deported must be repatriated to their native country. The lack of cooperation from countries that refuse or delay repatriation allows criminals like Qian Wu’s killer to remain in America and commit more crimes.
My bill, the Timely Repatriation Act of 2017, restricts diplomatic visas to countries that deny the repatriation of criminal aliens deported from the United States. Countries like China must take back their lawfully deported criminal citizens or pay the price of losing diplomatic visas.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
The recent stunt at the United Nations targeting Israel is the latest effort by this administration to cement a legacy of foreign policy that has failed, especially with our trusted ally Israel. It has been U.S. policy to veto any U.N. resolution dictating parameters on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The reason is simple. True peace can only be achieved at the negotiating table between the Palestinians and the Israelis, not at the United Nations.
The one-sided, anti-Israeli resolution will only make peace harder. The U.N. adopted 20 anti-Israeli resolutions last year, while passing just 4 for the rest of the world.
The U.N. is not fair and unbiased. While pointing the finger solely at Israel, the recent resolution did nothing to point out the Palestinians’ lack of progress towards peace.
The Palestinian Authority has failed to stop violence against Jews. It continues to—get this, Mr. Speaker—make payments to jailed Palestinian terrorists who have harmed or killed Jews.
Over the years, Israel has traded land for promised peace. They have no peace.
And soon, if the United Nations gets its way, they will have no land. Despite the administration’s policy of abandoning our trusted ally Israel, the United States Congress must stand with our ally Israel.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
Mr. Speaker, I have traveled to the southern border dozens of times over the years, and the problem is always the same. The people who defend our border—really, defend our country—do the best they can with what they have got, but they are outmanned, outgunned, and outfinanced by the drug cartels and the people coming across from the other side.
The continued failure to protect our border threatens our national security and the sovereignty of America. The reality is that the majority of the southern border territory is controlled by someone other than the United States.
Why? Because there is no workable plan. Also, there is no moral will by this administration to protect our border.
My bill, the SMART Border Act, outlines a robust border protection strategy that includes achieving operational control of the border within 1 year, provides smart border technology, and mandates more boots on the ground, including 10,000 National Guard troops at the request of the four border State Governors.
Mr. Speaker, we must have the moral will to protect our borders. All types of people are crossing the border into the United States illegally—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and those days need to end. No one should come into America without America’s permission.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement after being sworn in for a seventh term as the United States Representative for the Second Congressional District of Texas.
"This week the 115th Congress officially begins. With conservative control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, I am confident that things will be different. As the President-elect has said, it is time to put America first. I can’t wait to get moving.
Being sworn in is always an honor and a privilege, but this year is even more special for me. I am happy to also announce today that I am in remission from Leukemia. My fight is not yet over, but the progress that has been made in the last six months has been nothing short of miraculous, thanks to the Good Lord, the experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the support and prayers of my family, friends, colleagues, staff and all of you. Since remission does not mean “cancer free”, I will continue to receive treatment both in Washington and Houston. After a challenging six months, I am grateful to be able to be here in Washington doing what I love to do: fight for Texas.”
Congressman Poe being sworn in for the 115th Congress accompanied by his son Kurt Poe, daughter-in-law Suzy Poe and grandson Jackson Poe.”Read More
Mr. Speaker, the anti-Semitic United Nations has struck a new low, demanding that Israel prohibit Jews from settling in the West Bank. Guess who was supportive of this absurd resolution in betrayal of our closest ally? The United States. Once again, this administration is on the wrong side. It has alienated what few international friends we have. Secretary of State John Kerry arrogantly declared: ‘‘Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both.’’ Mr. Speaker, let’s think about that statement. The United Nations’ mandate separating Jews from Palestinians in the West Bank is segregation. Segregation is not democratic. The United States and the U.N. have no legal business telling a sovereign nation where people should live or shouldn’t live in that country. Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
The United States. Once again, this administration is on the wrong side. It has alienated what few international friends we have. Secretary of State John Kerry arrogantly declared: ‘‘Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both.’’ Mr. Speaker, let’s think about that statement. The United Nations’ mandate separating Jews from Palestinians in the West Bank is segregation. Segregation is not democratic. The United States and the U.N. have no legal business telling a sovereign nation where people should live or shouldn’t live in that country. Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
It has alienated what few international friends we have. Secretary of State John Kerry arrogantly declared: ‘‘Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both.’’ Mr. Speaker, let’s think about that statement. The United Nations’ mandate separating Jews from Palestinians in the West Bank is segregation. Segregation is not democratic. The United States and the U.N. have no legal business telling a sovereign nation where people should live or shouldn’t live in that country. Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
Mr. Speaker, let’s think about that statement. The United Nations’ mandate separating Jews from Palestinians in the West Bank is segregation. Segregation is not democratic. The United States and the U.N. have no legal business telling a sovereign nation where people should live or shouldn’t live in that country. Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
Segregation is not democratic. The United States and the U.N. have no legal business telling a sovereign nation where people should live or shouldn’t live in that country. Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
Who in the world do we think we are? Would we approve of the U.N. telling us that one race or ethnic group could not live in one region of the United States? Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
Absolutely not. Thankfully, this State Department will soon be clearing their desks at Foggy Bottom—and good riddance. It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
It is time for a new State Department that supports America’s friends and not our enemies. And that is just the way it is.
And that is just the way it is.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced H.R. 22 the Support More Assets, Resources and Technology on the Border Act, also known as the SMART Border Act. This legislation which was previously introduced outlines a robust border protection strategy and includes several measures to bolster the Federal Government’s assistance in achieving operational control of the U.S. southern border.
“For years, Washington bureaucrats have repeatedly preached that the border is secure,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “The reality is that the majority of the southern border territory is controlled by someone other than the United States. Border patrol and local law enforcement do the best they can with the resources they currently have, but they need more help from the federal government. The federal government must finally act to secure our border. The continued failure to protect the border threatens both the security of our people and the sovereignty of our nation. The SMART Border Act incorporates several common sense reforms that will ramp up support from the federal government and charge Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, with determining if and when operational control is achieved.”
In short, the SMART Border Act:
Dear Neighbor, I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the holiday season with your family and friends.As we prepare to ring in 2017, with both a new Congress and a new President, I wanted to update you on some of my legislative highlights from the 114th Congress, and give you a preview of what is to come in the new year. It is no secret that passing laws in a divided government has been challenging. Partisan bickering has become the norm, but there are many good things happening in Washington that don’t always make the nightly news. I am particularly proud that this year I was named one of 34 lawmakers who had major bills signed into law in 2016. Indeed, this year I had 6 bills signed into law. I am even more proud that the Poe bills all passed with overwhelming bipartisan support:
H.R. 3766: Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act
S. 2577: Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 (JFA)
H.R. 5422: A bill to allow the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to continue funding the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
S. 178: The Justice for Victims’ of Trafficking Act
H.R. 3654: The Counter Terrorist Use of Social Media Act
A few moments from the 114th Congress
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!Click here to share your thoughts with me.
GOD and TEXAS, TED POEMember of CongressTEXAS
Houston, TX- Today, Congressman Ted Poe sent the following letter to Telegram.
With Russia to its north looking to reestablish its empire and terrorists to its south bent on creating an Islamic caliphate, Turkey should have every reason to look west. But under the reign of President Erdogan, Turkey has undergone massive shifts in its foreign policy that NATO has yet to respond appropriately to or even fully appreciate.
If you’re wondering what Erdogan’s current thinking is on Turkey’s relationship with NATO, look no further than his reaction to a failed coup attempt against him in mid-July. In the immediate days that followed the coup attempt, Erdogan spread rumors that the U.S., a fellow NATO member, was behind it and cut off power to the Incirlik Airfield, an airfield that has been critical to U.S. efforts to stage air campaigns against ISIS. Power was eventually restored, but the relationship between these two NATO countries has not recovered as quickly. In the months that followed, Erdogan, who has led the country either as president or prime minister since 2003, suspended or fired over 100,000 judges, police, teachers and soldiers. Erdogan also recalled 149 of Turkey’s military envoys to NATO, most of whom were arrested and imprisoned upon their arrival back in Turkey. Ostensibly, these envoys’ very association with NATO made them guilty of treason in Erdogan’s mind. Such is the lack of trust he has for the NATO alliance.
Over the last few years, one of the biggest threats to NATO members has been ISIS. As a NATO partner on the frontlines of Iraq and Syria, Turkey, perhaps more than any other member of the alliance, has the ability to effectively reduce the strength of ISIS, but Turkey’s actions against ISIS have been frustratingly slow. For years, Turkey was known as the key transit point for foreign fighters who wanted to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS. It was not just people that Erdogan let through, but weapons too. According to a prosecutor and court testimony, during late 2013 and early 2014, Turkey’s state intelligence agency helped deliver arms to ISIS. After four trucks full of rocket parts, ammunition and semi-finished mortar shells were seized by police in southern Turkey, intelligence officials accompanying the cargo threatened police and physically resisted the search, forcing the police to allow three of the trucks to continue into Syria. Erdogan later would comment that the trucks were carrying aid and had those who conducted the search detained. Launched this past August, “Operation Euphrates Shield” was supposed to be Turkey’s way of showing NATO that it was finally serious about fighting ISIS. But beyond clearing a town controlled by ISIS on the Turkish border, the military operation has been more focused on slowing the progress of Kurdish forces who have been beating back ISIS rather than truly targeting ISIS. Turkey, it turns out, still does not view ISIS as a significant threat, regardless of the effect ISIS is having on its fellow NATO members.
There is more troubling news. Just ten months after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that had encroached upon Turkey’s airspace, Erdogan and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow on August 9 and seemed to have buried the hatchet as they emphasized their desire to rebuild ties and called each other “dear friend” and a “valued ally”. If this summit meeting does indeed presage a real rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow, it would represent a dangerous new threat to NATO. After all, it is no secret that Putin wants to weaken Turkey’s attachment to NATO.
Turkey is its own sovereign nation. It has the freedom to pursue whatever alliances and foreign policy objectives it sees fit. However, NATO must be clear to Erdogan about the consequences of his decisions. From military cooperation to intelligence sharing to having a seat at the table about the future of the region, there are still many ties that bind NATO and Turkey together. But Erdogan has frayed these ties, and NATO must wake up to the fact that someday soon Erdogan could cut them altogether. Before that day comes, NATO must be ready. And that’s just the way it is.Read More
With its gruesome beheadings, control of broad swaths of territory, inspiration of attacks on the West, and ability to recruit thousands of foreign fighters, it is no wonder that ISIS has been the terrorist group getting all the attention in the media. But there is a cold, hard reality that we must recognize: al-Qaeda is back.
After 9/11, the target fell squarely on al-Qaeda’s back. The US and its allies brought the full force of their military power down on bin Laden and his henchman, immediately putting them on the run in the mountains of Afghanistan. Knowing he could no longer run al Qaeda like he had in the past, bin Laden flattened the organization out, giving more sovereignty to its affiliates in places like Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia. But in 2011, bin Laden’s luck ran out when US Special Forces eliminated him in his hideout in Pakistan. Without its founder and leader, many speculated the organization would no longer pose a threat to the United States. In fact, President Obama himself said as much in a May 2013 address to the nation, arguing that America was at a “crossroads” and the time for “continual warfare” had come to an end.
Soon thereafter, the world’s gaze shifted off of al Qaeda an on to ISIS, an old al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq that broke off because it did not believe al Qaeda was aggressive enough. ISIS was set on establishing the Islamic caliphate now, while al Qaeda thought that doing so was premature. When ISIS gained more and more land in Iraq and Syria and began bringing in millions of dollars of revenue from oil and extortion, recruits flocked to it, believing the caliphate was here to stay. For radical Islamic terrorists, ISIS was the new, cool kid on the block. Al Qaeda, it seemed, was destined to irrelevance if not strategic defeat.
This played right into al Qaeda’s hands. With the spotlight no longer on it, al Qaeda took advantage of being able to operate much more openly than before. In Afghanistan, al Qaeda worked with its longtime ally the Taliban to take advantage of the complete withdrawal of foreign combat troops. Today, it controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, known as AQAP, successfully seized and held territory for the first time in years. Al-Qaeda’s Somali affiliate, al-Shabaab decimated its ISIS rivals in the country and continued to wage war against the government. Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, is completely entrenched in the Syrian civil war, where it holds territory and is one of the most lethal fighting forces in the country, ensuring its presence and relevance for the foreseeable future. In Libya, the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia is quietly building durable alliances with various tribes and extremist groups while enjoying safe haven thanks to a lack of government control of the country.
Al Qaeda also used ISIS’ rise as an opportunity to rebrand itself as the ‘reasonable’ organization compared to the more ‘extremist’ ISIS. It has started focusing more on winning over local populations and even engaging governmental authorities about how they could work together to counter ISIS. Al Qaeda was successfully becoming more mainstream.
Today, the trend lines have shifted. ISIS is losing territory in Iraq and Syria. With less people under its rule to extort, its revenue stream is falling, as is the rate of foreign fighters coming into ISIS’ ranks. It turns out, ISIS may be the flash in the pan compared to the slow boil of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is playing the long game.
Whatever may be the future fate of ISIS or al Qaeda, what is clear is that al Qaeda is not decimated or even on the run, as the President has claimed. The events over the last five years have exposed the President’s tactic of “decapitation” of al Qaeda’s leaders to be a woefully insufficient strategy to defeat al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is back. We better get ready.Read More
The name Sam Rayburn of Texas is well known to this House. It can be found identifying portraits and busts just outside this chamber. It is the namesake of meeting rooms and offices throughout the Capitol complex. I, along with many of you, work in the Rayburn office building. I hold conferences in the Rayburn meeting room just across the hall. The name of Sam Rayburn is synonymous with statesmanship and devotion to public service at its finest. His importance to the tradition and legacy of this place can be summed up in the fact that at one time this chamber was referred to as “Sam’s House.”
Rayburn earned the admiration of even his rivals. Joe Martin, after losing the election for speaker to Sam Rayburn, said of his colleague “he is a man of great ability, of rare political acumen, and skillful in debate.” He gained that reputation during a tenure in Congress that lasted almost 49 years, and a record long Speakership of 17 years. His leadership was vital, and well timed. He served this country during the critical years between the beginning of World War II and the Kennedy administration. It was the strike of his gavel that entered America into the war, and it was he that administered the oath of office to Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
As a leader, he always preferred persuasion and good-humor to coercion. Following this philosophy, he used the influence of the speakership only sparingly and with subtlety and cunning. His authority, therefore, came from the general respect of his peers for the character of the man, not the power or prestige of his title. He was known for his unwavering integrity, his loyalty to friends and colleagues in both parties, his fairness, and his disdain for pretention. Rayburn once made the following remark, explaining his philosophy on leadership: "You cannot lead people by trying to drive them. Persuasion and reason are the only ways to lead them. In that way the Speaker has influence and power in the House.”
Sam Rayburn would become one of the most powerful individuals in the United States, but all this was preceded by humble beginnings. Rayburn grew up working on his father’s cotton farm in North Texas. Even as a boy, he dreamed of becoming the Speaker of the House. He left the farm to seek out that dream, working his way through East Texas Normal College, which would later become Texas A&M University. He then taught school, and was eventually elected to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. While there he pursued a degree in law. In 1912 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and remained there for almost half a century. He was a life-long bachelor, some say that this House was his love, his passion. Appropriately, then, perhaps, Sam Rayburn died in office. Despite knowing that his cancer was terminal, and several moments of unconsciousness at the Speaker’s chair, he insisted on seeing the Kennedy New Frontier program through.
Sam Rayburn served his country well, so well as to become a fixture of this institution, and remains so today.
And that’s just the way it is.Read More
2412 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Texas Congressman Ted Poe is a leading advocate in Washington for limited government, free markets, low taxes and individual liberty.
Prior to serving in Congress, Ted Poe served for 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston where he garnered national media attention for his innovative sentences – dubbed “Poetic Justice.” Prior to that, he served for 8 years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where he became the chief felony prosecutor and never lost a jury trial.
Congressman Ted Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. An outspoken advocate on border security, he travels regularly to the southern border to meet directly with local law enforcement and residents. He also often visits our troops in Afghanistan and around the world. Congressman Ted Poe established the bipartisan Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) to advocate on behalf of victims in our nation’s capital. A strong constitutionalist, Congressman Poe stands firmly in the belief of “we the people” not “we the subjects.”
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I posted 9 photos on Facebook in the album "Abilene Christian University Students" https://t.co/2dwCfeHoY1
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I enjoyed meeting with Sir Nigel Kim Darroch today and discussing what role Congress can play to strengthen the... https://t.co/0Y5O5qxrHV
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Great meeting today with new Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze! I look forward to working together. https://t.co/PTQU03SYcP
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My thoughts and prayers are with former President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush today. Get well soon.