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Tag: Congress

Should U.S. Build a Wall at Border of Canada? Congress Wants a Study of Threat

border patrol helicopterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican candidates for president have been mocked for wanting to build a wall between the U.S. and Canadian border.

Now Congress is worried and passed a bill to require Homeland Security to determine whether the northern border is a threat to the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

The Northern Border Patrol Council, which represents officers, supported the move.

We’ve always said that illegal immigration is like water — it’s going to take the path of least resistance,” said Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council. “The northern border is a vulnerability, and it always has been.”

About 2,000 Border Patrol agents protect the 5,500-mile border between the U.S. and Canada.

Congressional Bill Seeks to Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from FBI’s Headquarters

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying J. Edgar Hoover stomped on the civil rights of Americans, a congressman has introduced a bill to remove the former FBI director’s name from the bureau’s headquarters building, WREG Memphis reports. 

Congressman Steve Cohen said Hoover’s poor treatment of African Americans, gay people and others is reason enough to remove the name.

“The civil rights we enjoy today are in spite of J. Edgar Hoover, not because of him. Yet, his name adorns one of the most prominent buildings in our nation’s capital and one that houses one of the agencies of government responsible for justice,” Cohen said. “Given his well-documented abuses and prejudices towards African Americans, gays, and lesbians, I believe it is past time to remove his name from this place of honor.”

He added: “His efforts to silence Dr. King and out homosexuals working for the government were deplorable and a stain on our nation’s history and on the FBI,” he added.

Eight other members of Congress are sponsoring the bill.

Congress Considers Boosting Funding for ATF to Crack Down on Gun Trafficking

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some members of Congress want to increase ATF funding to crack down on gun trafficking.

Rep. Hakeen Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, has proposed a $60 million funding hike, in part dedicated to stopping the flow of illegal guns into New York, the Daily News reports. 

“The guns used to commit crimes in New York City aren’t manufactured in New York City and they’re not purchased in New York City. They’re coming from states in the deep South, up the I-95 corridor, and from the neighboring state of Pennsylvania,” Jeffries said Monday at a City Hall press conference.

The agency’s funding would be $1.24 billion.

“Why do we continue to underfund this agency in the midst of a gun violence epidemic in America?” Jeffries said. “For years Congress has failed to adequately fund the ATF. This has been part of a deliberate effort to prevent the ATF from doing its job. That is shameful. Over the next few weeks we have an opportunity to correct the situation.”

Other Stories of Interest

Less Than Half of U.S.-Mexico Border Is Under ‘Operational Control,

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Think the Mexico-U.S. border is safer. Think again.

So says Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, who told Congress Wednesday that only 40% of the border is under “operational control,” The Washington Times reports. 

Judd also said that 20% of illegal immigrants who were captured had criminals records.

“This is the challenge we are facing at the border today,” he said. “There are those who will point to lower apprehension rates and tell you the border is secure. Border Patrol agents, however, throughout this nation will tell you the border is not secure, and the southwest border certainly is not safe.”

The assertions contradict claims by President Obama’s administration that conditions at the border are improving.

Homeland Security Chair Warns about Dangers of Hosting Syrian Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Should the U.S. host refugees who are fleeing Syria?

U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul is cautioning against it, saying the refugees present a threat to national security, TownHall.com reports.

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States.”

“Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans,” McCaul added.

McCaul said he hasn’t heard how President Obama plans to address the issue.

Some European countries are offering to take refugees, but nations in the Middle East are not.

Chair of U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Gets Book Deal about Terrorism

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul is writing a book about his experience chairing the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Associated Press reports.

Entitled “Failures of Imagination: The Deadliest Threats to Our Homeland – and How to Thwart Them,” the book by the Texas Republican explores the dangers of terrorism and potential solutions.

Crown Publishing Group calls the book a “compelling and action-packed narrative.”

McCaul, 53, said the “greatest threat to America’s homeland is a failure to imagine the worst-case scenarios.”

Other Stories of Interest

Rep. Chaka Fattah, Associates Indicted on Racketeering Conspiracy Charges

Rep. Chaka Fattah

Rep. Chaka Fattah

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and four associates were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on racketeering conspiracy charges, accused of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and charity and campaign funds.

The 58-year-old Democrat from Philadelphia was charged in a 29-count indictment along with lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah’s Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; and Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey, the FBI announced Wednesday.

They are accused of bribery, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and numerous counts of bank fraud, money laundering, making false statements to a financial institution and falsification of records.

“As charged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said. “When elected officials betray the trust and confidence placed in them by the public, the department will do everything we can to ensure that they are held accountable. Public corruption takes a particularly heavy toll on our democracy because it undermines people’s basic belief that our elected leaders are committed to serving the public interest, not to lining their own pockets.”

“These crimes and the subsequent elaborate cover-up constitute an egregious breach of public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “It is the duty of the FBI, IRS and Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute those who violate this trust and put personal gain above public service.”

Some of the charges date back to Fattah’s failed 2007 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia. He and his associates are accused of borrowing $1 million from a wealthy supporter and concealing the funds with sham contracts.

Fattah also is accused of trying to pay down a $130,000 campaign debt by attempting to steer federal grants to the consult with whom he owed money by inventing a nonprofit.

House Passes Bill to Reform Beleaguered Secret Service with More Oversight, Agents

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House approved legislation Monday aimed at reforming the beleaguered Secret Service, which has been beset by lax security, poor management and scandals.

The House passed the Secret Service Improvement Act by a 375-16 vote and gained almost universal support from both parties, the Washington Examiner reports. 

The bill calls for more oversight, more training and reforms to the agency’s vulnerabilities.

The Secret Service also will be able to hire at least 80 new agents and 200 additional division officers.

One big change under the bill: The senate must approve the Secret Service director, who previously was appointed exclusively by the president.

“The person entrusted to not only protect the president, but to also head a $1.5 billion federal law enforcement agency, should be subject to the same process of advice and consent of the Senate as his counterparts at other comparable agencies,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who authored the bill.