Mark Begich on Homeland Security
Democratic Jr Senator
Consult with Congress on major military actions
Q: Under what circumstances would you vote to authorize the president to take military action?
A: I respect the president’s role as commander-in-chief, but believe he should consult with
Congress on major military actions. A strong case must be made the US interests are at risk and our people threatened.
Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire
, Sep 9, 2008
Ratify Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; no new nukes
Q: Do you oppose the development of new nuclear weapons by the United States or any other nation?
Q: Do you support U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty?
Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire
, Sep 9, 2008
Repeal the Patriot Act
The Patriot Act granted the federal government far too many powers to pry into the private lives of Alaskans & other Americans. Fighting terrorists doesn’t require that we invade the lives of innocent Americans at the expense of essential civil liberties
Mark will work to repeal the Patriot Act and put in place national security resources built on human intelligence and Special Forces that will identify, focus on and respond to real terrorist threats--and not what books you read at the local library.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com
, Aug 19, 2008
Pledges full support for the 21st Century GI Bill
The 21st Century G.I. Bill provides veterans the financial support needed to go to college--that means covering not just the cost of tuition--but also room and board, books and tutoring. Right now, under the current GI Bill, veterans only get an average
of $1,100 a month. This falls far short of covering the costs of school. When our veterans come home from Iraq, Afghanistan, or other areas, we want them to have the same educational opportunities as those that served before them in World War II,
Korea, and Vietnam. To support anything less is wrong. The 1,600 plus veterans currently enrolled in the University of Alaska system should not have to be saddled with thousands of dollars of debt when they graduate. Senator Webb’s bill provides those
who have served our country since 9/11 the full cost of going to the highest cost public school in each state. It also creates incentives for private universities to partner with the federal government to cut the cost at private institutions.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Issues”
, May 21, 2008
Increased Anchorage’s support for military personnel
With one of the nation’s largest concentrations of both active duty military and veterans, Begich has increased the city’s support for military personnel. At his request, the U.S. Conference of Mayors established a new
Community/Military Relations Task Force. Anchorage First Lady Deborah Bonito has raised thousands of dollars for military personnel and their dependents.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Bio”
, Apr 4, 2008
Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.
Congressional Summary: A bill to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Smith, R-TX]: America is safe today not because terrorists and spies have given up their goal to destroy our freedoms and our way of life. We are safe today because the men and women of our Armed Forces, our intelligence community, and our law enforcement agencies work every single day to protect us. And Congress must ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to counteract continuing terrorist threats. On Feb. 28, three important provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. These provisions give investigators in national security cases the authority to conduct "roving"
wiretaps, to seek certain business records, and to gather intelligence on lone terrorists who are not affiliated with a known terrorist group. The Patriot Act works. It has proved effective in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting Americans. To let these provisions expire would leave every American less safe.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act;
; vote number 11-SV019
on Feb 17, 2011
[Rep. Conyers, D-MI]: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret FISA court to authorize our government to collect business records or anything else, requiring that a person or business produce virtually any type record. We didn't think that that was right then. We don't think it's right now. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. And so I urge a "no" vote on the extension of these expiring provisions.
Status: Passed 86-12
Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays.
Begich signed HR1283&S3065
Repeals current Department of Defense policy [popularly known as "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell"] concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces. Prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member. Authorizes the re-accession into the Armed Forces of otherwise qualified individuals previously separated for homosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexual conduct.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the furnishing of dependent benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of 'marriage' and 'spouse' and referred to as the 'Defense of Marriage Act').
Source: Military Readiness Enhancement Act 10-HR1283 on Mar 3, 2010
End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.
Begich co-sponsored USA FREEDOM Act
Congressional summary:: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act or the USA FREEDOM Act:
- Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to require that the records sought pertain to an individual in contact with a foreign power.
- Amends the USA PATRIOT Act to minimize the acquisition and retention of information and to prohibit its unauthorized dissemination.
- Imposes additional requirements on the authorized use of pen registers and trap and trace devices (devices for recording incoming and outgoing telephone numbers).
- Prohibits the searching of collections of communications of US persons.
Opponent's argument against (Electronic Frontier Foundation): The bill only addresses a small portion of the problems created by NSA spying. It does not touch problems like NSA programs to sabotage encryption standards; it does not effectively tackle
the issue of collecting information on people outside of the US; and it doesn't address the authority that the government is supposedly using to tap the data links between service provider data centers, such as those owned by Google and Yahoo. The bill also does not address excessive secrecy; it won't deal with the major over-classification issues or the state secrets privilege.
Opponent's argument against (J. Kirk Wiebe, former NSA Senior Intelligence Analyst interview with TheRealNews.com): It's window dressing. Stopping bulk collection is a good step, but the only thing that's going to fix this is direct access into NSA's databases by an independent group of hackers, techie types, people like Snowden who know how to get into a network and look at things and verify that the data they're collecting and what they're doing with it complies with the Constitution. The NSA has essentially operated illegally--unconstitutionally--for 60% of its existence.
Source: HR3361 & S1599 14-S1599 on Oct 29, 2013
Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.
Begich signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act
A bill to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to guarantee the equity of spouses of military personnel with regard to matters of residency, and for other purposes.
Source: S.475&HR.1182 2009-S475 on Feb 25, 2009
- Prohibits, for purposes of voting for a federal, state, or local office, deeming a person to have lost a residence or domicile in a state, acquired a residence or domicile in any other state, or become a resident in or of any other state solely because the person is absent from a state because the person is accompanying the person's spouse who is absent from the state in compliance with military or naval orders.
Prohibits a servicemember's spouse from either losing or acquiring a residence or domicile for purposes of taxation because of being absent or present in any U.S. tax jurisdiction solely to be with the servicemember in compliance with the servicemember's military orders if the residence or domicile is the same for the servicemember and the spouse. Prohibits a spouse's income from being considered income earned in a tax jurisdiction if the spouse is not a resident or domiciliary of such jurisdiction when the spouse is in that jurisdiction solely to be with a servicemember serving under military orders.
- Suspends land rights residency requirements for spouses accompanying servicemembers serving under military orders.
Expand health services for women veterans.
Begich signed Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act
A bill to expand and improve health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to:
- report on barriers to the receipt of comprehensive health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encountered by women veterans, especially those of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom;
- provide for an independent study on health consequences for women veterans serving on active duty in deployments in such Operations; and
- report on the employment of full-time managers for women veterans programs at VA medical centers.
Requires the Secretary to:Requires women veterans recently separated from service to be included on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.
- develop a plan to improve the provision of
VA health care services to women veterans;
- carry out a program of education, training, certification, and continuing medical education for mental health professionals providing care for veterans suffering from sexual trauma;
- carry out a pilot program of providing reintegration and readjustment services in group retreat settings to women veterans recently separated from service after a prolonged deployment; and
- carry out a pilot program on subsidies for child care for certain women veterans receiving health care from VA facilities.
Authorizes the Secretary to furnish care to a newborn child of a woman veteran receiving VA maternity care for up to seven days after the birth of the child.
Source: S.597 2009-S597 on Mar 16, 2009
Page last updated: Jun 26, 2018