Vail Daily guest column: Congress passing bipartisan security legislation
The United States has stood strong for 241 years. Through our commitment to a strong national defense, we have been able to protect our interests at home and abroad. Unfortunately, as our intelligence and defense assets have advanced, so have those of our adversaries. Today, cyberattacks, efforts to meddle in our democratic process, intercontinental ballistic missile threats and governments that continue to support terrorist activity force us to respond to numerous threats across the world. In the last few weeks, Congress has taken necessary actions to address these risks.
The House and Senate both recently passed a bill (H.R. 3364) that preserves and strengthens sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
There is no question among the intelligence community that Russia engaged in efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and it is critical that we stand up to any country that attempts to undermine our democratic process. In addition to attempting to undermine our election process, Vladimir Putin continues to pose threats to global stability. I am glad there is bipartisan agreement in Congress that any significant changes to U.S. foreign policy concerning Russia must be approved by the legislative branch. H.R. 3364 requires the president to submit to Congress any proposed actions to terminate or waive sanctions with respect to Russia. After receiving the report, Congress would have 30 days to approve or deny the proposed actions. Russia must face consequences for its actions.
We have seen the Kim Jong Un regime in North Korea test 17 missiles since February, and we know that the country conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States. This is unacceptable, and Kim Jong Un must be stopped. H.R. 3364 cuts the flow of cash North Korea needs to support its ballistic missile program by prohibiting any entity that does business in the United States from also conducting business in North Korea.
Despite warnings from the United States, Iran continues to fund terrorist activities, strengthening our adversaries and undermining stability in the Middle East. The Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran has done little to bring more security to the world. Instead, Iran has received billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran is supporting Hezbollah, one of the most dangerous terrorist groups, and the Assad regime’s attacks on its own people in Syria. H.R. 3364 punishes anyone who contributes to Iran’s ballistic missile program and places new sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to deter further support of terrorist activities.
Recently, the House Homeland Security Committee released alarming statistics that show 39 cases where homegrown jihadists have supported the plotting or financing of terrorist attack attempts. One hundred and ninety-nine attacks have been planned against the West since 2013. These numbers show why a strong Department of Homeland Security is so important. I am proud the House, along with my support, has passed the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, National Defense Authorization Act, and the Make Americans Secure Appropriations Act, a funding bill that ensures all U.S. military and security operations have the resources they need to identify and respond to threats and keep Americans safe.
Although threats continue to grow and evolve, the United States has the strongest military in the world, and Congress is committed to providing our military with resources to keep it that way. We may have different views on many topics, but we all agree that the security of our nation and safety of all Americans is a top priority.
Congressman Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd District, which includes part of Eagle County. He serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Natural Resources. He is vice chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Tipton is the executive vice chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and co-chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus.