John Kerry on Homeland Security
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
BUSH: We’ve tripled the homeland security budget from $10 to $30 billion. We’ll do everything we can to protect the homeland. We need good intelligence. Right after 1993 he voted to cut the intelligence budget by $7.5 billion.
KERRY: Pres. Bush just said to you that we’ve added money. The test is not if you’ve added money. The test is have you done everything possible to make America secure. He chose a tax cut for wealthy Americans over the things that I listed to you.
BUSH: I agree with Kerry that we shouldn’t be committing troops. We ought to be working with the African Union to do so-precisely what we did in Liberia. We helped stabilize the situation with some troops, and when the African Union came, we moved them out. My hope is that the African Union moves rapidly to help save lives. And fortunately the rainy season will be ending shortly, which will make it easier to get aid there and help the long-suffering people there.
BUSH: We’ve decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I’ve been the president. The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. And that’s why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer. Over 60 nations involved with disrupting the trans-shipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials.
A: Bush has 135,000 veterans waiting six months to get their first visit with the doctor at the VA. 400,000 veterans have had their cutbacks and their accessibility to the VA altogether. He has made our military weaker by overextending them. Our troops deserve a president who’s going to keep faith with those who wore the uniform.
Instead the Bush administration tried to slash federal funding for these Nunn-Lugar initiatives the moment it took office, an effort it continued well after 9/11 starkly illustrated the potential costs of letting terrorists get control of weapons of mass destruction. More recently the administration has offered more support for Nunn-Lugar initiatives, but we must match that with broader, multilateral framework for identifying & securing nuclear materials wherever they may be and in whatever quantity. As Nunn and Lugar have long argued, we must help those in possession of deadly materials who lack the financial and technical means to control them to become responsible stewards under international supervision.
Those on the lower end of the geopolitical, social, and economic ladders have always had reasons for wanting violent change. What many have lacked was the means to carry out any action to express their rage, and opportune targets. With the end of the superpower struggle, increased attention has fallen on radical Islam.
Today’s terrorist networks are far harder to target, owing to their autonomy, lack of clear strategy, and rapid rate of reproduction. What is necessary to stop them is for states to focus on monitoring banks, computer networks, and weapons trafficking as essential components of detecting terrorist networks as they emerge.
Chinese transfers of technology--in particular magnets--to assist Pakistan's nuclear program were a principal concern. The US is considering imposing sanctions on the specific companies involved in the exports of the technology or barring financing by the US Export-Import Bank of some $800 million worth of nuclear power deals in China.
BUSH: Kerry said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn’t going to determine how we defend ourselves. I decided the right action was in Iraq. He said I misled on Iraq. I don’t think he was misleading when he called Iraq a grave threat in the fall of 2002. I don’t think he was misleading when he said that it was right to disarm Iraq in the spring of 2003.What is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has.
These four imperatives are a response to an inescapable reality: War has changed; the enemy is different - and we must think and act anew.
Today, we are waging a global war against a terrorist movement committed to our destruction. Terrorists like al Qaeda are unlike any adversary our nation has faced. We do not know for certain how they are organized or how many operatives they have. But we know the destruction they can inflict.
KERRY: We don’t need a draft now and I wouldn’t be in favor of it under the current circumstances. All across this country there are families who are suffering greatly because the Guards and Reserves have been called up. They are overextended. Their deployments are too long. If we’re going to maintain this level of commitment on a global basis, and for the moment we have to because of what’s happened, we need an additional two divisions. One’s a combat division and one is a support division. That’s the responsible thing to do. That’s temporary, because I intend to go back to the UN, rejoin the community of nations, bring other boots on the ground to help us, and reduce the overall need for deployment of American forces in the globe.
A: Yes, there is a problem. It’s a very serious one. The Bush Administration misled the American people with respect to intelligence related to Iraq. That’s very serious and we need to get to the bottom of the White House intelligence gathering process during the lead-up to the Iraq war. We also need to change how we gather intelligence--to increase the focus on human intelligence gathering.
The proliferation of international criminal gangs and narco-terrorists in the 1990’s-a subject I wrote about I my 1997 book, The New War, was a warning that we were no longer safe at home from the dark underside of a global society. Any lingering doubt about that reality was dramatically dispelled on 9/11.
There are no full-fledged democracies among the 16 Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa. More than half of Arab women are still illiterate. These countries are among the most economically isolated in the world, with very little trade & investment and little income apart from the oil royalties. With a landscape marked by political oppression, economic stagnation, staggering unemployment, lack of education, poverty, and rapid population growth, is it any wonder these Islamic countries are recruiting grounds for terrorists?
We need more than a one-dimensional war on terror. We must engage in a smarter, more comprehensive, and more farsighted strategy for modernizing the greater Middle East. It’s no more ambitious-and no less necessary-a task than the rebuilding of Europe that we undertook at the end of World War II.
CNN FACT CHECK:This claim is accurate, although it primarily references his votes on several large spending bills, as opposed to votes on specific programs. It also references old positions that Kerry now disavows. However, throughout his Senate career, Kerry voted to approve 16 of 19 annual Pentagon spending bills, which authorized spending for many of the systems that the Bush-Cheney campaign says Kerry opposed. It is true that Kerry opposed many weapons systems when running for the Senate in 1984, although as a presidential candidate he has said that he should not have taken those positions in 1984. In the Senate, he has voted repeatedly to eliminate the B-2 Stealth bomber program, most recently in 1992.
Sen. CORNYN. The problem I have with this bill is that the US Treasury is not bottomless, and the funding that is being provided to create this new pension would literally be at the expense of US veterans. The $221 million that is addressed by Sen. Burr's amendment would actually go back in to supplement benefits for US veterans. And while we appreciate and honor all of our allies who fought alongside of us in WWII, certainly that doesn't mean we are going to grant pension benefits to all of our allies, [like] the British or the Australians. Vote for the Burr Amendment because certainly our American veterans should be our priority.
[The PAA allows] acquiring all the calls and e-mails between employees of a US company and a foreign company, with no requirement to get a warrant and no requirement that there be some link to terrorism. So any American who works at a company that does business overseas should think about that.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO: Sen. BOND: The purpose of this bill is, and always has been, to enable the intelligence community to act to target foreign terrorists and spies overseas.
The amendment, as it is drafted, will have a totally unexpected impact. It is difficult to explain, in an unclassified session, why this amendment is unworkable. There are only certain communications which the intelligence community is lawfully permitted to acquire, and which it has any desire to acquire, because to acquire all the communications from all foreigners is an absolutely impossible task.
I cannot describe in a public setting how they go about ascertaining which collections are important. But to say that if Osama bin Laden calls somebody in the US, we cannot listen in to that communication, unless we have an independent means of verifying it has some impact or a terrorist threat--That is the most important communication we need to intercept.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment Rejected, 38-57
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. HAGEL: The war in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the breaking point. When we deploy our military, we have an obligation to ensure that our troops are rested, ready, prepared, fully trained, and fully equipped. Today's Armed Forces are being deployed repeatedly for increasing periods of time. This is quickly wearing down the troops and their families, impacting the mental and physical health of our troops. Further, these deployments are affecting the recruiting and retention rates of the military. For example, the Army reached only a little over 80% of its recruiting goal for June. This is the second month in a row that the Army has failed to recruit the number of new soldiers needed to fill the ranks. And this is with $1 billion in large cash bonus incentives.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. KYL: Time in theater and dwell times should be a goal, rather than an absolute fixed requirement that becomes the policy of the US military determined by congressional action. By mandating a certain policy for deployment time or dwell time, the Congress is engaged in the most explicit micromanaging of what is obviously a function for the Commander in Chief and military commanders to perform. This is not something Members of Congress are knowledgeable about or would have the ability to dictate in any responsible fashion. It also would be unconstitutional. Clearly, the dwell times of troops or the amount of time in theater is an obligation of the Commander in Chief, not something for the Congress to determine.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
One of the authors of the 9/11 Commission report said, the President's announced strategy should be given a chance to succeed. That is what I think we should do, give this plan a chance to succeed. Our troops in theater, our commanders, and the Iraqi leaders all believe they can see early signs of success in this program, even though it has just begun, and they are cautiously optimistic that it can succeed. I think it would be unconscionable for the Congress, seeing the beginnings of success here, to then act in any way that would pull the rug out from under our troops and make it impossible for them to achieve their mission.
Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.
Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of habeas corpus is maintained.
GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.
SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.
This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.
If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.
We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.
A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) small business participation is vital to U.S. defense and should play an active role in assisting the military, Federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and State and local police to combat terrorism through the design and development of innovative products; and (2) Federal, State, and local governments should aggressively seek out and purchase innovative technologies and services from, and promote research opportunities for, American small businesses to help in homeland defense and the fight against terrorism. Passed/agreed to in Senate.
Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Veterans Suicide Study Act - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs conduct a study to determine the number of veterans who have committed suicide between January 1, 1997, and the date of the enactment of this Act. Congress makes the following findings:
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').
A bill to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Sen. SPECTER. "I introduce this legislation, denominated the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. Last year, in the Military Commissions Act, the constitutional right of habeas corpus was attempted to be abrogated. I say "attempted to be abrogated" because, in my legal judgment, that provision in the Act is unconstitutional.
"It is hard to see how there can be legislation to eliminate the constitutional right to habeas corpus when the Constitution is explicit that habeas corpus may not be suspended except in time of invasion or rebellion, and we do not have either of those circumstances present, as was conceded by the advocates of the legislation last year to take away the right of habeas corpus.
"We have had Supreme Court decisions which have made it plain that habeas corpus is available to non-citizens and that habeas corpus applies to territory controlled by the US, specifically, including Guantanamo. More recently, however, we had a decision in the US District Court applying the habeas corpus jurisdiction stripping provision of the Military Commissions Act, but I believe we will see the appellate courts strike down this legislative provision.
"The New York Times had an extensive article on this subject, starting on the front page, last Sunday, and continuing on a full page on the back page about what is happening at Guantanamo. It is hard to see how in America, or in a jurisdiction controlled by the United States, these proceedings could substitute for even rudimentary due process of law."
A bill to provide educational assistance to the dependents of Federal law enforcement officials who are killed or disabled in the performance of their duties.
|Other candidates on Homeland Security:
|John Kerry on other issues:
Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate Retirements 2014:
Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R) vs.Swaney(G) vs.LaFrance(L)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.
DE: Coons(D) vs.Wade(R)
GA: Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Swafford(L) vs.
HI: Schatz(D) vs.
IA: Braley(D) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Butzier(L) vs.
ID: Risch(R) vs.Mitchell(D)
IL: Durbin(D) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L) vs.
KS: Roberts(R) vs.Orman(I) vs.Batson(L) vs.
KY: McConnell(R) vs.
LA: Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
MA: Markey(D) vs.Herr(R) vs.Skarin(I) vs.
ME: Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MN: Franken(D) vs.McFadden(R) vs.Johnson(L) vs.
MS: Cochran(R) vs.Childers(D) vs.
NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R) vs.Haugh(L)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
OK-2: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D) vs.
OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.
RI: Reed(D) vs.Zaccaria(R)
SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.
SD: Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I) vs.Howie(I)
TN: Alexander(R) vs.Ball(D) vs.
TX: Cornyn(R) vs.Alameel(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Sanchez(G) vs.
VA: Warner(D) vs.Gillespie(R) vs.Sarvis(L)
WV: Capito(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.Buckley(L) vs.Lawhorn(I) vs.
WY: Enzi(R) vs.
Senate Votes (analysis)
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