Beto O`Rourke on Homeland Security
Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee
Renew alliances like Kurds; they make America stronger
Q: A report by the Senate Democrats says the next president could fight back by publicly revealing what the US knows about Putin's corruption, and work with allies to freeze his bank accounts. Would you take either of those actions?
O'Rourke: Yes, we
must be unafraid in ensuring that we hold Russia accountable for invading the world's greatest democracy, and being able to do it, thanks to Donald Trump, functionally, with impunity so far. So if there are not consequences, we will continue to see this
problem going forward.
Q: How do we stand up to Russia on the global stage?
O'Rourke: We do that by renewing our alliances and our friendships. That is what makes America stronger. There isn't enough money in this country to do everything that we
want to accomplish militarily. And the Kurds are case in point. In fact, because we turned our backs on them, those Kurds who fought for us in Syria, helped to defeat ISIS, not just for themselves, but for the United States of America.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate
, Oct 15, 2019
We addressed suicide epidemic in El Paso VA & nationally
When I learned that the El Paso V.A. had the worst wait times for mental health care in the country, and was related to the suicide epidemic, we made it our priority. We took that lesson nationally and
I worked with Republican and Democratic colleagues to expand medical health care to veterans, to show that, at the end of the day, we will put the American people first before party, before any other concern.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit)
, Jul 30, 2019
Boost the defense budget
Beto O`Rourke on Defense Spending: Boost the defense budget.
EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Joseph Biden, Jr.; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; John Hickenlooper; Amy Klobuchar; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan.
Other Democratic contenders align with the more moderate--or even hawkish--wing of the Democratic party and support larger defense budgets, especially in key areas they consider high priorities.
Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues"
, Jul 17, 2019
Supported 11th aircraft carrier; opposed 1% military cut
Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 27, 2019
- Beto O'Rourke voted for 20 out of 29 military spending bills (69%) since 2013.
- Had an 84% Peace Action voting record. Most of the votes Peace Action counted against him were votes opposing specific cuts in the military budget.
- He voted
for an 11th aircraft carrier in 2015, and against an overall 1% cut in the military budget in 2016.
- He voted against reducing the number of U.S. troops in Europe in 2013 and he twice voted against placing limits on a Navy slush fund.
Military should welcome transgender recruits
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls
, Mar 14, 2019
- Discrimination based on sexual preference should be illegal. The military should welcome transgender recruits.
- O'Rourke would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual preference,
and give same-sex married couples access to all the benefits of heterosexual couples.
- He opposes banning transgender people from the military.
Supports reducing defense spending.
O`Rourke supports the PVS survey question on defense spending
Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.
Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?'
Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q15 on Aug 30, 2012
Restrict domestic monitoring of phone calls.
O`Rourke signed restricting domestic monitoring of phone calls
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2014 or the USA FREEDOM Act: Congressional Summary: Requires the FBI, when seeking phone call records, to show both relevance and a reasonable suspicion that the specific selection term is associated with a foreign power engaged in international terrorism.Requires a judge approving the release, on a daily basis, of call detail records; and to limit production of records to a period of 180 days.Requires a declassification review of each decision issued by the FISA court; and make such decisions publicly available, subject to permissible redactions.
Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Surveillance Reform After the USA Freedom Act", June 3, 2015): The USA Freedom Act that passed by a 67-32 margin is not as strong as we wanted. It is markedly weaker than the original version of the USA Freedom Act that the ACLU first supported in 2013.
We supported a sunset of the provisions in an effort to advance more comprehensive reform, including rejecting surveillance through cybersecurity information-sharing legislation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very clear that the USA Freedom Act is a historic step forward.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute , "Cato scholars differ on USA Freedom Act", Oct., 2015): The privacy community remained divided over the USA Freedom Act. The final version of the bill reauthorized several expiring Patriot Act provisions, but limited bulk collection. Some legislators argued that to pass new legislation would only provide the government convenient new legal justification for its spying--which it would interpret broadly. On the opposite side of the argument stood some pro-privacy groups who held that modest reforms were better than no reforms at all.
Source: H.R.2048&S.2685 14-H2048 on Apr 28, 2015
End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.
O`Rourke 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-H3361 on Oct 29, 2013
Exempt Veterans Affairs from federal hiring freeze.
O`Rourke signed exempting Veterans Affairs from federal hiring freeze
Excerpts from Letter from 53 Senators to President Trump We are deeply troubled that your freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees will have a negative and disproportionate impact on our nation's veterans. As such, we urge you to take stock of this hiring freeze's effect on our nation's veterans and exempt the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from your Hiring Freeze.
We urge you to classify VA's delivery of health care as a national security and public safety responsibility, and exempt it from this hiring freeze. To do otherwise is to jeopardize the national security and public safety of our nation.
- Have you considered how this hiring freeze will affect VA's ability to provide veterans with access to health care?
- How it will affect VA's ability to decide on appeals for disability compensation?
- How it will impact those veterans who apply to federal jobs?
Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Eliminate Redundant
Government Hiring," May 9, 2017): It's not hard to find federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective. The president's executive order requires all agency heads to submit plans for reorganizing their operations. Their proposals are to "include recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies and programs." That all sounds great, but what does it actually mean?
Well, for starters, it means the previous federal hiring freeze is no more. But it doesn't mean programs and departments are free to hire willy-nilly. Instead, they've been instructed to follow a smart-hiring plan, consistent with the President's America First Budget Blueprint.
A few agencies, like the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs, will beef up staff. Most, however, will have to pare down employment. All federal employees can expect to see resources shift to higher-priority ones. Many may be asked to do something new or different with the goal of optimizing employees' skills and time.
Source: Letter on DVA 17LTR-DVA on Jan 26, 2017
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Other governors on Homeland Security:
Beto O`Rourke on other issues:
George P. Bush
Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez
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