Veterans, violins, and the USA Liberty Act

Congressman Bob Goodlatte
2017-11-13 20:09:35
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This Weekend in the Sixth District: Honoring Our Veterans

Over the weekend, we paused to honor the service and sacrifice of every man and woman who has worn the uniform of our nation. Leading up to Veterans Day, the House of Representatives passed several bills to help ensure our country is providing the best care to those who have served. One of these is the Veterans Crisis Line Study Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to study the integration of the Veterans Crisis Line with the VA’s overall mental health care services. Click here to read more about some of these bills.

I had the opportunity to attend events in the Sixth District honoring veterans, including the re-dedication of a World War I Memorial in Lynchburg that sits near E.C. Glass High School. This year marks 100 years since the United States entered WWI. Even as the years pass, we must remember all who have served. 

I also enjoyed being at the 50th annual muster and reunion of the 116th Infantry Regiment in Staunton. Thank you for your service!

USA Liberty Act Strikes the Right Balance 

Each day the United States is faced with a number of threats. For the most part we don’t know about them. That’s because the intelligence community is working behind the scenes to thwart terrorist threats against our country and keep our communities safe. At the same time, it is essential that the constitutional rights of Americans are not impeded in this process. 

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is commonly understood to be our nation’s most critical national security surveillance tool. It reportedly contributes to a quarter of all National Security Agency surveillance – offering insight into terrorists’ communications, providing valuable foreign intelligence to our policy makers, and giving an operational advantage to our men and women on the battlefield. This tool is set to expire at the end of the year, and while it must be reauthorized, it is also in need of real reforms. Congress must act on this issue, and that’s why I introduced the bipartisan USA Liberty Act along with several of my colleagues in the House of Representatives.

The American people expect that any surveillance measure be structured in a way that both protects them from international threats and ensures that the privacy of their communications is secured from unfounded government intrusion. I agree, and the USA Liberty Act is a carefully drafted bill that reauthorizes this national security tool that keeps Americans safe, but also reforms it to protect Americans’ constitutional rights. It contains more accountability, transparency, and oversight so that the American people have confidence that our cherished liberties continue to be protected as the intelligence community keeps us safe from foreign enemies wishing to harm our nation and citizens. The bill also contains a number of measures to further enhance national security so that our country remains free and safe. After much robust debate, the House Judiciary Committee approved the USA Liberty Act by a strong, bipartisan vote of 27 to 8. 

Advancing national security and preserving civil liberties are not mutually exclusive. As FISA Section 702’s authority is set to expire at the end of the year the USA Liberty Act is the best legislative solution to preserve this important national security tool, while also providing for much-needed reforms to protect our valued civil liberties. I urge the House to vote on the USA Liberty Act soon so that the intelligence community is able to identify and thwart terrorist plots while Americans’ constitutional rights are better protected. 

Thank You for the Opportunity to Serve the Sixth District -- In case you missed the announcement on Thursday, I will not seek re-election in 2018.With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters. 

This Week in the House of Representatives

**Tuesday @ 10AM: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Oversight of the Department of Justice where Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify. You can watch it live at judiciary.house.gov

**The House is expected to consider tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as early as this week. Learn more about the bill and how it will help provide much-needed tax relief at fairandsimple.gop.

Saturday Evening in Middlebrook

On Saturday, I attended the Middlebrook Volunteer Fire Department's Annual Appreciation Dinner. Volunteer fire departments play an important role in keeping our communities safe - they're often the first on the scene and put their own lives in danger to serve their neighbors. Thanks to the men and women of the Middlebrook VFD for all they do! It was a great evening. Maryellen and I enjoyed musical performances by students from the Heifetz International Music Institute in Staunton. I was especially happy to see some old friends - Former Congressman and Secretary of the Army Jack Marsh along with his family (pictured below).

Thank you to Heifetz students for providing music!

 

 

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