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Sen. Cruz Seeks to Strengthen National Security in NDAA

Highlights three amendments that would protect our country and our allies

June 7, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke on the Senate floor, bolstering three of his amendments that would secure our homeland and protect American interests abroad. Specifically, Sen. Cruz urged his colleagues to take up and pass amendments supporting Israel Missile Defense programs, halting the Obama administration’s plan to give away the Internet, and stripping citizenship from any American who takes up arms against the United States of America.

Excerpts and the video highlighting each of Sen. Cruz’s goals for NDAA are available below. Watch the senator’s full speech here, and read the transcript in its entirety here.

Supporting Israel Missile Defense Programs 

“The first amendment that I’ve introduced, that I would urge this body to take up, would increase funding for our cooperative missile defense program with Israel, to ensure that our ally, our close friend, can procure the necessary vital assets and conduct further mutually beneficial research and development efforts. 

“This has been an ongoing partnership between Israel and the United States of America, and yet, unfortunately, the Obama administration in its request submitted to Congress zeroed out procurement for David’s Sling and Arrow 2 & 3, vital elements of Israeli missile defense. This is at a time when the threats are growing; the administration decided zero was the appropriate level. Respectfully I disagree. This amendment would fully fund procurement for Israeli Missile Defense. 

“Now, much of this missile defense is done in partnership working closely with American corporations producing jobs here at home, but it is also vital to our national security as we see a proliferation of threats across the world, the technology of intersecting incoming threats, intersecting incoming missiles before they can take the lives of innocence is all the more important. 

“We’re at a time where the administration has funneled hundreds of millions and headed billions of dollars to Iran and their despotic regime. The Administration knows, they acknowledge that substantial portions of those funds will be used to fund radical Islamic terrorists, will be used to fund efforts to murder Israelis, to murder Americans, and yet nonetheless, it is U.S. taxpayer dollars and dollars under the control of our government, billions going to the Ayatollah Khamenei who chants and pledges ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel.’

“As a result of the fecklessness of our foreign policy, our closest ally remains in a deeply troubling and precarious position.  Israel must be prepared to defend against Hamas and Hezbollah rocket stockpiles that are being rebuilt and improved, while also being forced to counter an increasingly capable adversary in the nation of Iran intent on the destruction of Israel.  We must not fail in our obligation to stand with Israel, and it is my hope that if and when this body takes up this amendment, that we will stand in bipartisan unity, standing with Israel, against the radical Islamic terrorists who seek to destroy both them and us, and in doing so we will further both Israeli national security and the safety and security of the United States of America…”

Watch Sen. Cruz’s remarks regarding Israeli Missile Defense here.

Protecting Internet Freedom 

“In addition to working to provide for our Common Defense and protect our sovereignty, I’ve also introduced an amendment that would safeguard our country in a very different way.   

“Mr. President, I have introduced an amendment that will prohibit the Obama administration from giving away the Internet.  This issue doesn’t simply threaten our personal liberties, it also has national security ramifications. 

“The Obama Administration is months away from deciding whether or not the United States Government will continue to provide oversight over the core functions of the Internet and continue to protect it from authoritarian regimes, who view the Internet as a way to increase their influence and suppress the freedom of speech.  Just weeks ago The Washington Post, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, published an article entitled, ‘China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works.’ We should not take our online freedom for granted. 

“If Congress sits idly by and allows the administration to terminate U.S. oversight of the Internet, we can be certain that authoritarian regimes will work to undermine the new system of Internet governance and strengthen the position of their governments at the expense of those who stand for liberty and freedom of speech.

“This prospect is truly concerning given as the proposal submitted by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is global organization, and its latest proposal unquestionably decreases the position of the United States, while it increases the influence of over 160 foreign governments within ICANN in critical ways, foreign governments like China, foreign governments like Russia. Additionally, this proposal has the potential to expand ICANN’s historical core mission by creating a potential gateway to content regulation, and it would only further embolden ICANN’s leadership, which has a poor track record of acting in an unaccountable manner and a proven unwillingness to respond to specific questions posed by the United States Senate.

“Relinquishing our control over the Internet would be an irreversible decision. We must act affirmatively to protect the Internet as well as the operation and security of the .gov and .mil top-level domains, which are vital to our national security.  

“Mr. President, I would note for whatever reason, the Obama administration is pursuing the giveaway of the Internet in a dogged and ideological manner. It is the same naive foolishness that decades ago led Jimmy Carter to give away the Panama Canal. It is this utopian view that, even though we built it, we should give it to others whose interests are not our own. We should not have given away Panama Canal, and we should not be giving away the Internet. And if the Obama administration succeeds in giving away the Internet, that is number one, prohibited by the Constitution of the United States, which specifies that property of the United States Government cannot be transferred without the authority of Congress -- this administration is ignoring that constitutional limitation, is ignoring the law -- but if the Obama administration gives away the Internet, that will impact freedom. It will impact speech for you, for your children and your children's children.

“And I would note this body, one of the things this body is good at is inertia, is doing nothing. Right now that is what this body is doing to stop it. My amendment would say that control of the Internet cannot be transferred to anyone else without the affirmative approval of the United States Congress. 

“If it is a good idea to give away the Internet that we built, that we preserve, that we keep free, that we protect the First Amendment -- if it's a good idea, and I can't imagine anyone reasonably objecting believing it is, but if it is a good idea, we ought to debate it on this floor. A decision of that consequence should be decided by Congress and not by unaccountable bureaucrats in the Obama administration.  So it is my hope that colleagues in this body will come together at the very minimum to say not whether or not the Internet should be given away, but simply that Congress should decide that. There was a time this body was vigorous in protecting its constitutional prerogatives. It is my hope that this body will rediscover the imperative of doing so…” 

Watch Sen. Cruz’s remarks on the proposed Internet transition here.

Defending America from Radical Islamic Terrorists 

“The third amendment that I've introduced on the NDAA, that I want to address is the Expatriate Terrorist Act, a bill that I introduced over a year ago, and I have now filed as an amendment to the NDAA. 

“As we all know radical Islamists have been waging war against the United States since, and indeed well before, 9/11, and yet the President cannot bring himself to identify the enemy, preferring instead to use meaningless bureaucratic terms like violent extremists.  The President naively believes that refraining from calling the threat what it is—radical Islamic terrorism—will somehow assuage the terrorists and discourage them from making war against us and our allies.  But that hasn’t stopped ISIS from promising to strike America over and over and over again.  Nor did it dissuade the radical Islamic terrorists here in the United States who have committed attacks against Americans since this President first took office—the terrorist attack in Fort Hood, which the administration inexplicably tried to categorize as workplace violence; the Boston Marathon bombing; the terrorist attacks on military recruiters in Little Rock and Chattanooga; and most recently, the horrific attack in San Bernardino.

The question for us in Congress is whether we have given the government every possible tool—consistent with our Constitution—to defeat this threat.  I do not believe we have, which is why I have introduced the Expatriate Terrorist Act. 

“Over the years, numerous Americans like Jose Padilla, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Faisal Shazad, just to name a few, have abandoned their country and their fellow citizens to go abroad and join radical Islamic terrorist groups.  Intelligence officials estimate that more than 250 Americans have tried or succeeded in traveling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS or other terrorist groups in the region. This amendment updates the expatriate statute so that Americans who travel abroad to fight with radical Islamic terrorists can relinquish their citizenship.  

“This allows us to preempt any attempt to re-enter the country and launch attacks on Americans who otherwise hide behind the privileges of citizenship. In this more and more dangerous world, it would be the height of foolishness for the administration to allow known terrorists, radical Islamic terrorists, those affiliated with ISIS, with Al Qaeda, with other Islamist groups, to travel back to the United States of America using a passport to carry out jihad and murder innocent Americans. 

“This legislation should be bipartisan legislation. This legislation should be legislation that brings all of us together. We might disagree on questions of marginal tax rates as Democrats and Republicans. We might disagree on a host of policy issues, but when it comes to the simple question: should an Islamic terrorist intent on killing Americans be allowed to use a U.S. Passport to travel freely and come into America? That answer should be no, and that ought to be an issue of great agreement…”

Watch Sen. Cruz’s remarks on the Expatriate Terrorist Act here

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