By Congressman Robert Hurt
February 23, 2016
Last Monday, another important deadline in the fight to defeat the Islamic State came and went with little attention from the media. February 15 was the congressionally-mandated deadline for the President to submit his plan for defeating ISIS to Congress. This President, unsurprisingly, has once again chosen to ignore the imminent threats imposed by this radical organization instead of taking action.
The threat posed by the Islamic State is not some nebulous, undefined threat. It is all too real, clear, and present as we saw in Paris, Beirut, San Bernardino, Turkey, and many other places around the world. Just last month, the Pentagon officials concluded that more must be done to defeat the Islamic State. Two weeks ago, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency testified before Congress that the Islamic State "will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016." And yet, this President refuses to take any sort of substantive action. It is past time that he step up into his role of Commander in Chief and deliver a plan to defeat this radical terror organization. We must act before it is too late.
The President repeatedly continues to shirk his constitutional responsibility, claiming that Congress has taken no action, but on the contrary, we have maintained our focus on matters of national security. In the House, we have recently passed legislation to both enhance sanctions on Iran and North Korea as well as strengthen our visa waiver program – both efforts to enhance our national security. And of course, we instructed the President to develop a plan for eliminating the threat of ISIS once and for all, yet he disregarded this instruction and instead points fingers. The President's choice to ignore a congressionally-mandated deadline to develop a strategy not only further diminishes the prospects of Congress and the Administration working together, it essentially leaves or men and women overseas without a plan – putting them in harm's way with no true plan of action.
Months have passed since the President signed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the legislation that required him to submit a plan to defeat the Islamic State to Congress. In that time, the Islamic State has only continued its campaign of terror both at home and abroad in the months that have passed. As ISIS strengthens both in numbers and influence, our national defense is left without a compass.
Despite this ignored deadline, the House will continue to do everything within our power to protect our national security. Under Article One of the Constitution, Congress has no greater responsibility than to provide for the defense of our great country. In the House, national security remains a top priority, and I urge the President to join us in this essential effort.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
At the 58th Annual Piney River Volunteer Fire Department Chitterling Dinner, I visited with Danita Massie, and her husband Michael Massie, a Piney River firefighter.