Haqqani Network Terrorist Bill Passes Congress, Goes to President to Become Law
I am pleased to announce that last night, the Senate unanimously passed the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act, a bill I introduced that requires a report from the Secretary of State regarding the designation of the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. It also expresses a sense of Congress that the Haqqanis meet the necessary criteria to be designated a terrorist organization. This bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and now goes to the President’s desk to await his signature.
The most lethal component of the Taliban, the Haqqanis are a violent extremist group who have perpetrated deadly attacks on U.S. forces and innocent Afghan civilians. The Haqqanis are violent, ruthless, indiscriminate in their killing, and, worst of all, they are well organized and well trained.
This bill requires the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress within 30 days on whether the Haqqani Network meets the criteria for designation as a terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. If the Secretary of State determines that they should not be classified as a terrorist network, this bill requires a detailed justification as to what criteria has not been met.
The Haqqanis have been responsible for many high profile attacks recently including a September 10, 2011 truck bombing that injured 77 U.S. troops, a September 13, 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul in which nine people were killed, and, most recently, a June 22, 2012 attack on a civilian hotel in Afghanistan that left 20 people dead.
Bill to Provide for the Management of the Corolla Wild Horses Introduced in the Senate
I was proud to cosponsor a bill introduced on Thursday, S. 3448, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, that will provide for the responsible management of the wild-horse population around Corolla, North Carolina and the Outer Banks.
The Corolla wild horses are one of the many natural treasures of our state, and people travel from across our state and the country to see these wild horses in their natural habitat. These horses are indigenous to North Carolina and do not exist anywhere else in the world. This bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an agreement with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, Currituck County, and the State of North Carolina to provide for the management of these horses to ensure that they continue to thrive in their natural habitat. This bill is the companion legislation to H.R. 306, introduced by Congressman Walter Jones (NC-3), which passed the House of Representatives on February 6, 2012.
Democrat Tax Bill Hurts Small Businesses, Further Threatens Economic Recovery
Earlier this week, the Senate voted on a tax bill introduced by Majority Leader Reid that could have a devastating effect on our economy. Without action by Congress and the President, all taxpayers will face an automatic tax increase as current tax policies expire. While the President and the Majority Leader claim that the bill passed by the Senate will extend current tax rates for all but “the wealthiest Americans”, it would apply to nearly one million small businesses across the country who file taxes as individuals and have more than $200,000 in income. In fact, a recent study by Ernst and Young states that this tax hike bill could reduce the workforce by 700,000 jobs and reduce wages by 1.8%.
Rather than raising taxes on the engine that could potentially drive our economic recovery, we need to be focused on policies that will actually encourage growth and spur hiring. I supported an amendment to this bill that would have extended current tax rates through 2013 and required the Finance Committee to propose an overhaul of the tax code to make it more fair and just for all Americans and all American businesses. Unfortunately, this amendment failed, pushing us even closer to the very real Fiscal Cliff.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released GDP numbers for the second quarter of 2012 that confirm fears of a slowing economy. Our GDP for this quarter grew by a mere 1.5%, down 25% from the 2% growth we witnessed in the first quarter of this year. As long as businesses and families are faced with uncertainty and unpredictability when it comes to taxation, regulation, and government spending, this trend of slow growth will continue and our economic recovery will stall.
Letter to the President in Opposition to U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
This week, I joined 50 other Senators in sending a letter to President Obama letting him know that we will oppose the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty if it in any way restricts the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American gun owners. Ratification of a treaty like this requires the approval of 2/3 of the Senate, so 51 Senators in opposition is enough to defeat ratification.
To read the text of this letter, click here.