Issue Spotlight: President Obama Oval Office Address on Security & Terrorism
On Sunday night, President Obama addressed the nation.
In the speech, he discussed the tragedy of San Bernardino, which he called “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.”
He discussed the military strategy against ISIS:
- Air strikes in Iraq and Syria and “hunt[ing] down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary.”
- Training and equipping Iraqi and Syrian forces
- Working with allies to disrupt plans and cut off financing
In addition, the President called on Congress to take four actions. Below are bills that are already pending in Congress related to these four areas identified by the President:
“To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun”
S. 551: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA]
H.R. 1076: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015
— BIPARTISAN —
Sponsor: Rep. Peter King [R, NY-2]
Amends the federal criminal code to authorize the Attorney General to deny the transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit (or revoke such license or permit) if the Attorney General: (1) determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be engaged in terrorism or has provided material support or resources for terrorism, and (2) has a reasonable belief that the transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism. Allows any individual whose firearms or explosives license application has been denied to bring legal action to challenge the denial.
Extends the prohibition against the sale or distribution of firearms or explosives to include individuals whom the Attorney General has determined to be engaged in terrorist activities. Imposes criminal penalties on individuals engaged in terrorist activities who smuggle or knowingly bring firearms into the United States.
“We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons, like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.”
H.R. 1745: Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act
Sponsor: Rep.Rosa DeLauro [D, CT-3]
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow an individual taxpayer to elect a tax credit of $2,000 for surrendering a specified assault weapon, as defined by this Act, as part of a public safety program to reduce the number of privately owned weapons.
To eliminate the requirement that a firearms dealer transfer a firearm if the national instant criminal background check system has been unable to complete a background check of the prospective transferee within 3 business days.
To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.
“Next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to war zones.”
***This week the House will vote on:***
H.R. 158: Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015
— BIPARTISAN —
Sponsor: Rep. Candice Miller [D, MI-10]
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include terrorism risk as a factor the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consider under the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) in determining the eligibility of an alien to travel to the United States. …
Authorizes the Secretary to suspend a country from the visa waiver program without prior notice if the country fails to comply with an agreement to share information regarding whether its citizens and nationals traveling to the United States pose a U.S. security threat.
“Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.”
Read more about the President’s request for Congressional authorization.
Sponsor: Rep. Adam Schiff [D, CA]
Authorizes the President to use the U.S. Armed Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the territory of the Republic of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic… does not authorize the deployment of ground forces in a combat role (excluding special operations forces or other forces that may be deployed in a training, advisory, search and rescue, or intelligence capacity; and such authority shall terminate three years after enactment of this resolution. Directs the President to report to Congress at least once every 60 day.
Sponsor: Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R, IL-16]
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine [D, VA]
Authorizes the President to use the U.S. Armed Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or associated persons or forces. Declares that this resolution is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization pursuant to section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
Sponsor: Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC]