U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. House of Representatives

Homeland Security

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As your Representative, keeping America safe remains my first priority. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I am committed to ensuring that the federal government provides our military with the necessary resources to accomplish the missions that they have to protect our nation from those who wish to do us harm.

Homeland Security in the House-passed Budget

The first job of the federal government is securing the safety and liberty of its citizens from threats at home and abroad. Whether defeating the terrorists who attacked this country on September 11, 2001, deterring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or battling insurgents who would harbor terrorist networks that threaten Americans’ lives and livelihoods, the men and women of the United States’ military have performed superbly. The House-passed budget resolution provides for the best equipment, training, and compensation for their continued success.

Under the President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015, the Department of Defense will lose $113 million—the cuts mostly stemming from personnel reductions. As a result, the Army will shrink to its smallest size since before World War II. Since President Obama entered office, his Administration has switched from a strategy-driven budget—a budget that identifies the missions of the military and bases its funding request on the costs associated with accomplishing these missions—to a budget-driven strategy—a budget that sets funding levels and then asks the military to do what it can with these limited means.

These repeated reductions in the requested defense budget are taking place in the context of an international environment that remains exceptionally challenging. In his testimony on the intelligence community’s annual worldwide threat assessment, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that he had ‘‘not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.’’ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has testified that ‘‘our current security challenges are more formidable and complex than those we faced in downturns following war in Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War. There is no foreseeable ‘peace dividend’ on our horizon. The security environment is increasingly competitive and dangerous.’’

Today in U.S. defense policy, there are two big mismatches: first, between the threats we face and the resources we’ve committed to meeting them, and second, between our stated policy and the budget that the President has requested. The House-passed budget seeks to resolve these contradictions by restoring defense budgets to the levels dictated by the national-security interests of the nation. This budget rejects the President’s additional cuts to national security and ensures that the men and women serving in harm’s way have the best training and equipment in the world.

Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations

Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, introduced H.R. 1960, the House version of the NDAA for FY2014, on May 14, 2013. On June 14, 2013, H.R. 1960 was passed in the House—with my support—by a bipartisan vote of 315 to 108. On that same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed their version of the NDAA, S. 1197, by a vote of 23 to 3. Through a series of negotiations, portions of each version were merged for consideration by both chambers of Congress.

This resolution authorizes and prioritizes funding for the Department of Defense and other select national security programs within the Department of Energy for FY 2014. It authorizes more than a $552 billion in spending for national defense.  Additionally, it authorizes more than $80 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.  Importantly, this bill complies with the House-passed budget, which funds national defense at pre-sequester levels while reducing overall spending by complying with the Budget Control Act cap.  On December 12, 2013, the NDAA for FY2014 came before the House for a vote and was passed—with my support—by a bipartisan vote of 350 to 69.  The Senate passed the NDAA for FY2014 on December 19, 2013, and President Obama signed this agreement into law on December 26, 2013.

Congress must never forget its promises to our troops, our veterans at home, and the families of all who serve. Our troops overseas must be provided with the tools they need to successfully complete their mission.  Further, we must also work to ensure our veterans and the families of all service members receive the care, and services they need in a timely, convenient, and efficient manner.  Keeping these concerns in mind, the NDAA for FY 2014 enables the President to use his authority to give the troops a 1 percent pay increase in 2014 and rejects proposals to increase fees or create new fees under TRICARE.  Additionally, this resolution includes bipartisan reforms to enhance prevention and prosecution of sexual assault.  It also expands religious freedom provisions for chaplains and servicemen to include beliefs and expression of beliefs.

The Bipartisan Budget Act and FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations

On October 15, 2013, Senator Patty Murray and I stood up in our respective chambers to offer a motion to create a bicameral conference committee to negotiate a federal budget by December 13, 2013.  Rather than continuing the trend of budgeting by brinkmanship with short-term spending bills, Senator Murray and I recognized the need for long-term bipartisan solutions to our nation’s most pressing fiscal problems.  On October 16, 2013, the motion to go to conference was adopted by unanimous consent in the House and Senate.

After nearly two months of deliberations among the members of the bicameral conference committee, Senator Patty Murray and I introduced the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 on December 10, 2013.  This is the first time since 1986 that a divided Congress has produced a bipartisan budget resolution.  The Bipartisan Budget Act will provide $63 billion in sequester relief—split evenly between defense programs and other domestic priorities—in exchange for over $80 billion in savings elsewhere in the budget, resulting in over $20 billion in deficit reduction, all without raising taxes.  Additionally, it preserves 92 percent of the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) sequester cuts, or approximately $770 billion of the original BCA sequester savings, but does so by cutting spending in a smarter way.  It eliminates waste by ending the distribution of government checks to criminals and the deceased, puts an end to favoritism by cutting corporate welfare, and it makes real reforms to some of the true problems of autopilot spending.  And, it will also prevent another government shutdown this  year.  

With the Bipartisan Budget Agreement signed into law, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees introduced the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill on January 14, 2014.  This legislation would combine the twelve individual spending bills that typically fund programs within the federal government at the level consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act.  It would also ensure that medically retired armed forces personnel and survivor benefit plan recipients receive their full pensions.  Additionally, it provides no new or additional funding for the Affordable Care Act—commonly referred to as Obamacare.  It was passed in the House on January 15, 2014—with my support—by a vote of 359 to 67.  On January 16, 2014, it was passed by the Senate, and on January 17, 2014, President Obama signed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill into law.

Israel

America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy – with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law – but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism. Our shared democratic values and national interests are supported by maintaining a close friendship with Israel. Americans also have a strong interest in Israel achieving a lasting peace with its neighbors—including both the Iranians and Palestinians. 

Reasonable people – including those who live in the Middle East – differ about how the conflict between Israel and Palestine can be resolved. However, I believe at least one thing is clear: we cannot advocate for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that jeopardizes Israel’s safety or legitimizes terrorism. Hamas, which is one of the two major Palestinian political factions, is an Islamist terrorist group whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence, and deems Osama Bin Laden to be a “martyr.” Real peace will require Palestinians to recognize that Israel has a right to exist, even as it will require two states for the two peoples.

Further, the importance of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear capability cannot be overstated. Should Iran become nuclear capable, not only would U.S. non-proliferation objectives be undermined, but other countries in the region could perceive their national security to be dependent on the attainment of nuclear weapons as well. Given the United States’ commitment to Israel’s defense, I have signed on as a cosponsor of H.R.850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which expands U.S. efforts to impose sanctions on Iran and H.R.938, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which dramatically strengthens the relationship between Israel and the United States. As events continue to unfold, rest assured that I will closely monitor developments in both Palestine and Iran while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the dense of Israel.

Iraq

On October 21, 2011, President Obama announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and trainers from Iraq to be completed in 2011.  Since January 1, 2012, the United States has maintained normalized relations with Iraq, and will continue to assist in the training of Iraqi forces, encouraging regional security, peace and respect for Iraqi sovereignty. I am encouraged by the progress that has been made in Iraq, and we must remain vigilant to ensure that the gains made in the hard-won war in Iraq do not slip away now that America’s combat participation has ended.

Afghanistan

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States made a commitment to defeat those responsible for the horrific attack. As part of the broader war on terror, the U.S. military has effectively engaged our enemies in Afghanistan and employed counter-insurgency tactics to combat current threats to our national security. This military strategy necessitates enough troops on the ground to clear and secure areas, move onto subsequent locations while maintaining a level of operable safety. After deploying the requisite number of troops to Afghanistan in 2009, the President has since announced a significant withdrawal of U.S. forces during 2014 without regard to the situation on the ground, leaving only a “residual force” combined of U.S. and NATO trainers and mentors, along with U.S. counterterrorism forces.

The withdrawal has the potential to pose security threats to soldiers continuing shorthanded counter-insurgency operations, as well as to compromise the larger mission in Afghanistan. Further, the Afghan citizens currently working with our troops to quell violence may view the withdrawal as a signal that our forces are no longer committed to the mission, which will serve to debilitate the long-term diplomatic, development and reconstruction efforts in the area.

On May 1, 2011, our military and intelligence community realized the goal of eliminating the leader of Al Qaeda and the ultimate mastermind of 9/11. Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs at a compound in Abbottabada, Pakistan, and his body was buried at sea. After years of dedicated efforts across two administrations, his death served a major blow to Al Qaeda and marked a turning point in the ongoing War on Terrorism. I congratulate the brave men and women who have played a role in successfully serving justice to the murderer who orchestrated the deaths of thousands of Americans on September 11.  

I believe that the continued engagement in Afghanistan is necessary, and demands careful considerations for the safety of both our Armed Forces and citizens.  Our own security at home depends on denying Al Qaeda and other terrorists a safe haven to operate from abroad such as Afghanistan.  I continue to support providing our soldiers with the best possible equipment so they are able to complete their mission safely, effectively and on time so they can return to their families as soon as possible.

Supporting Our Troops

We must not forget that we are a nation at war. The brave troops who serve our country worldwide have made and continue to make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of our nation. I am grateful for their service, and am dedicated to ensuring that they are provided with the necessary resources to achieve their missions safely and effectively and to return to their families as quickly as possible. Congress must also work to ensure that the families of these courageous individuals are thanked and cared for while their loved ones are away. As Congress continues to consider further legislation with regard to these issues, please rest assured that I will not lose sight of the effects that our national policy has on the lives of our troops and their families and the security of our nation.

Additional Information

Washington, DC Office
  • 1233 Longworth House Office Bldg
  • Washington, DC 20515
  • Phone: (202) 225-3031
  • Fax: (202) 225-3393
Janesville Office
20 South Main Street
Phone: (608) 752-4050
Suite 10
Fax: (608) 752-4711
Janesville, WI 53545
Toll Free: (888) 909-RYAN (7926)
Kenosha Office
5031 7th Avenue
Phone: (262) 654-1901
Kenosha, WI 53140
Fax: (262) 654-2156
Racine Office
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Phone: (262) 637-0510
Racine, WI 53403
Fax: (262) 637-5689
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