Friday, January 30, 2015

A radical new proposal for fighting terrorists

Various publications reported yesterday that one of the five Taliban prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has attempted to re-engage in terrorist activities. The reports emerged as the Obama administration is undertaking an all-out push to empty GITMO and close it down, in line with President Obama’s longstanding campaign promises. Many of these prisoners are being transferred to third countries amid dubious assurances that they will be closely monitored by other governments. Yesterday’s reports about the Taliban prisoner are hardly surprising – indeed, when the President releases scores of the world’s most dangerous terrorists from prison to fulfill a campaign promise, it would be a genuine surprise if none of them returned to their old ways.   

From its inexplicable insistence that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization, to its refusal to even name the enemy we are fighting – radical Islam – the Obama administration is showing a stunning degree of strategic incoherence. I’d suggest a new course: name the enemy, attack the enemy, imprison the enemy, defeat the enemy. It’s a much different approach than the President’s, but it just might work.   

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Brooklyn water fight?

In a meeting with reporters this week, California Senator Barbara Boxer lashed out at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had blamed the senator for killing House-Senate negotiations on a California water bill. Pronouncing herself a Brooklyn street-fighter, the senator accused Leader McCarthy of not consulting closely enough with her and some of her allies.

In previous Congresses, the House approved numerous major water bills (see here, here, and here) that the Senate refused to pass. When the Senate finally approved a weak bill last year, we thought a path had opened to negotiate a compromise bill that would at least ease the water crisis to some degree. But apparently, a water solution is not about providing relief to water-starved families or struggling farmers or devastated communities – instead, it’s all about Barbara Boxer and her demand that everyone pay her the proper respect.   

Senator Boxer also argued that any water solution was pointless that favors only one part of the state. Of course, one part of the state – the Central Valley – is suffering much worse than other parts. For example, San Francisco, a bastion of the environmental movement, enjoys a pristine water supply piped in from Hetch Hetchy reservoir that is not subject to the environmental regulations that have devastated the Valley’s water resources. Nevertheless, a solution seemingly needs to benefit everyone equally – the Central Valley and San Francisco alike – or it will not win the senator’s support.

House Republicans will continue proposing solutions to the water crisis in the new Congress, and we hope Senator Boxer, who has opposed every one of our efforts, will realize that none of us in the House really wants a Brooklyn street fight in California.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Congress gears up

I am currently working to organize the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Two articles were recently published discussing my plans and goals as the committee’s chairman. You can read them here and here.  

Separately, two articles also appeared on my tax reform proposal. You can read those here and here.