Foreign Affairs and Defense
The issues of Defense and National Security are important to our district and to my work in Congress.
Congress is constitutionally mandated to provide for the common defense of our great nation. It was one of the reasons our Founding Fathers established the Constitution and it is a responsibility I take very seriously.
The world is an increasingly dangerous place and America’s enemies remain resolved in their fight against freedom and freedom-seeking nations. We need a strong and ready military to meet our vast national security needs and to be prepared to confront ongoing and future threats.
To strengthen our nation's armed forces, I have worked to:
- Support responsible spending reductions to prevent defense sequestration. I voted for H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which provides for responsible spending reductions to avoid steep, automatic cuts to defense accounts known as sequestration and was passed by the House. Rep. Kelly also voted for the related bill, H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, which also passed the House. H.R. 6365 provides for the repeal of defense sequestration upon enactment of H.R. 5652 or another with equal or greater spending reductions over the next five years. Finally, Rep. Kelly voted for the H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, which was passed into law and requires the president to provide a detailed report on the effects of sequestration on our nation’s defense capabilities.
- Bolster robust funding for our military to “provide for the common defense.” I voted for H.R. 5856, the fiscal year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill, which passed the House and provides $519.2 billion in regular funding, an increase of $1.1 billion over the fiscal year 2012 level. H.R. 5856 also contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in support of the Global War on Terror. H.R. 5856 ensures that troops are fully equipped as they continue their noble mission of defending our country.
- Support the reauthorization of vital intelligence tools to protect our nation. I voted for H.R. 5949, the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012, which provides authority to collect counterterrorism information and foreign intelligence to protect the U.S. from attack, while protecting the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens and permanent residents.
- Support the GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011. I voted for H.R. 1383, the GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, which passed the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by the President. The bill allows student veterans who were accepted by a school on or prior to January 4, 2011, but were not necessarily attending the school at that time to be “grandfathered” in under the bill. The legislation will help student veterans in Pennsylvania and around the country.
In addition to strengthening our militiary, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee I am working to ensure that America’s foreign policy is guided by and rooted in the values and democratic principles that make America a truly exceptional place. This includes engaging other nations in free and fair trade, and giving U.S. businesses and manufactueres greater access to global markets. Roughly 95 percent of the world's marketplace is outside of the U.S. It is essential to our nation's economic growth that we increase the number of our trading partners and open new markets to American products.
To that end, I have worked to:
- Strengthen Trade with Russia. I signed a letter to President Obama urging him to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia. PNTR reduces Russian tariffs on U.S. exports and ensures that the U.S. can hold Russia accountable to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Pennsylvania exported $226 million in goods to Russia in 2011, directly supporting 690 jobs.
- Enhance free and fair trade with our trade partners in Asia, the Pacific and the Americas. In 2010 Pennsylvania exported $21B of its $35B in goods (61%) to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members. I voted for three key free trade agreements with South Korea (H.R. 3080), Panama (H.R. 3079), and Colombia (H.R. 3078), which create good paying U.S. jobs by expanding new export opportunities with these growing economies. The South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) alone is estimated to create 70,000 U.S. jobs, increase U.S. GDP by $10 to $12 billion, and increase exports by $10 billion. I also support Trans-Pacific Partnership talks to open world markets in Asia and the Pacific to U.S. exports.
- Defend U.S. businesses harmed by unfair foreign competition. I gave a floor speech in support of and voted for H.R. 4105, a bill to penalize non-market economies like China and Vietnam that subsidize their exports. H.R. 4105 was signed into law in March 2012. At a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, I discussed strategies to stop unfair trade practices, including state subsidized exports and intellectual property theft, by countries such as China. Pennsylvania is the tenth largest exporter in the United States. Our businesses exported $34.8 billion in goods in 2010, and in 2008, 285,000 jobs in Pennsylvania depended on exports.
- Support export-import financing for U.S. businesses. I spoke on the House floor in support of and voted for H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012, which was signed into law in May 2012. H.R. 2072 temporarily reauthorizes the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) with needed reforms. Ex-Im levels the playing field for U.S. businesses competing with foreign businesses that are supported by foreign export financing. Approximately 300,000 jobs depend on Ex-Im, which provides over 85% of its services to small and medium sized businesses, and which has generated over $4 billion in revenue for the U.S. Treasury in user fees over the past six years.
In addition, I have supported a Middle East policy that strenthens our relationship with Israel and works to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon or becoming nuclear capable. This policy includes efforts to:
- Urge the European Union to Designate Hezbollah as a Terrorist Organization. I am one of two lead Republican signers of a bipartisan letter from members of Congress to the Ministers of the Council of the European Union urging the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah has a long history of engaging in terrorist attacks against the U.S., Israel, and other allies.
- Support Tough Sanctions on Iran. I wrote an article published by The Hill urging U.S. leadership to compel the Iranian regime to abandon its drive for nuclear weapons, its human rights violations, its acts of aggression, and its vows to wipe Israel off the map. I supported strong Iran sanctions language in H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, as well as H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress. I also signed a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to designate the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) as supporters of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Such designation would authorize even stronger levels of sanctions against the oil-dependent Iranian regime.
- Defend the U.S.—Israel Alliance. I recognize that the alliance between the United States and the State of Israel is crucial to the national interests of the U.S. and must be upheld. I authored an op-ed published in The Hill emphasizing the importance of this relationship. I voted for H.R. 4133, the United States—Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which reaffirms and expands the U.S. commitment to protecting Israel. I also co-sponsored H.R. 4229, the Iron Dome Support Act, which authorizes the president to provide the Iron Dome missile defense system so that Israel can defend itself against rocket attack.
For more information concerning my work and views on the issues of Defense and National Security, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.