Prioritizing National Security
America’s national security is the federal government’s highest priority. Our safety is founded on secure borders and a strong military. People have different opinions about the proper size and role of government, but almost everyone agrees that our government has a solemn duty to protect the American people.
Our immigration system faces many challenges, including border security, the exploitation of immigration laws, and a naturalization process that needs to be streamlined. New Americans have contributed to the greatness and vibrancy of our country, but chaos and disorder at our border undermines our ability to maintain an effective immigration system.
Beyond our borders, more than a decade of war has stretched the resources of our military, creating a problem compounded by a slow economic recovery and growing national debt. I take great pride in the heroic service of our military men and women and their families, especially over the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of our military, and the families who love and support them, have sacrificed so much for our safety. Some have sacrificed their all. Our policies must ensure our veterans are provided the benefits they deserve. I serve on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs with jurisdiction over the budget for construction activities within the Department of Defense and funding the Veterans Administration. Hopefully recently passed bipartisan legislation will fix the serious structural problems within the VA.
Proper diplomacy and sustainable development are also important tools for stability and international security. Maintaining good relationships with other nations strengthens our national security, promotes fundamental human rights, and increases international stability. In Congress, I co-founded the Nuclear Security Working Group which works on the issue of nuclear nonproliferation. I serve on the House Democracy Partnership, which provides technical assistance to countries that are developing strong governing institutions based on the principles of self-determination, universal freedom, and basic human rights. I also serve on the Open World Leadership Center Board, an institution founded by Congress to assist with leadership transitions in the former Soviet bloc. Given Russia’s new aggressive posture, this work remains a vital part of long-term national security strategy.
At the same time, global security is not America’s problem alone; the community of responsible nations must share the burden of engaging a world that is often torn apart by terrorism and warfare. Through defense, diplomacy, and development, we can maintain the proper relationship with the world and our own national security.