View from the Capitol – Week of February 22, 2016
Back from Israel
This has been an interesting week following a visit to Israel I took with some House colleagues. This was a fact-gathering trip that gave us an opportunity to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’Alon, and other government officials. We were able to travel to see the latest in missile defense including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling systems. Raytheon in the United States is partnering in the development and production of the David’s Sling system, designed to protect Israel from medium range missiles. We were also able to discuss the difficulties Israel faces on a daily basis from unfriendly neighbors in the region.
The delegation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: (left to right) Rep. Gregg Harper (Mississippi), Rep. Hartzler, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, and Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida)
Not all of this trip involved defense and policy issues. We were able to tour a number of Biblical sites as well. Among the sites we visited was Hebron, where David was first king and where Jesse, David’s father, and Abraham & Sarah, Issac & Rebecah, and Jacob & Leah are buried. We also went up on the Temple Mount where, sadly, Jews and Gentiles are only allowed a few hours every week. It was a strange feeling to be in the area, controlled by the Muslims now, the place of Herod's Temple, which was the Holiest site for Jews and where Jesus walked and taught as well.
On the Sea of Galilee
On the Mount of Olives we spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden of the Tomb. It was incredibly special to take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and pray on Mount Carmel as well as the Western Wall. It was a time to reflect on what God has done for Israel and what he wants us to do at this time in history for the nation of Israel. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to have come on this trip. You can read more about and see more photos from this trip on my website here.
An Incomplete and Misguided Plan
After a week in a country which lives with terrorism every day of its existence, it was somewhat disconcerting to return home to hear President Obama put forward his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility which is holding dozens of dangerous terrorists. Polls show most Americans do not want these individuals brought to our homeland. It is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is an American issue.
It would be foolish to close Guantanamo. The fact remains this facility is the best site for holding terrorists. It is a secure detainment facility away from our backyard and ensures those terrorists there do not return to the fight against us. As it has done consistently in bipartisan fashion in the past, I expect Congress to affirm the law and reject any attempt to close Guantanamo or transfer terrorist detainees to the United States. President Obama should stop catering to his extremist base and pay attention to what the mainstream people of this country are saying. Not only has Congress spoken through legislation on this issue, a number of polls show most Americans do not want these terrorists brought to our homeland.
Lastly, it was an honor to meet Pastor Saeed Abedini this week. He is a true hero of the faith who endured four years of imprisonment and torture in Iran for professing the name of Christ. I am so thankful he was released and is now back home with his family.
Vicky with Pastor Abedini
The House passed two bills centered on protecting America from terrorist attacks.
The Foreign Fighter Review Act directs the President to begin a review of known instances since 2011 in which a person has traveled or attempted to travel to a conflict zone in Iraq or Syria from the United States to join or provide material support to a terrorist organization.
The National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act requires the development of a national strategy to combat terrorist travel. These common sense bills will go a long way toward keeping our country safe.
Congress also passed a bill this week honoring Korean War veterans by authorizing a Wall of Remembrance as part of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill.
Finally, the House passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act revising a variety of existing programs to expand access to and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.
Have a great week,
Member of Congress