Neil Abercrombie on Homeland Security
Democratic Governor; previously Representative (HI-1)
Voted YES on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US, but not abroad.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007 or RESTORE Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to provide that a court order is not required for electronic surveillance directed at the acquisition of communication between non-US citizens outside the US, whether or not the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US; and provides procedures when one party is located inside the US or is a US citizen.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. CONYERS: Earlier this year, in the Protect America Act, PAA, amendments were made to FISA, giving the Government enhanced flexibility to collect foreign intelligence information. But the broad scope of the authority without up-front court approval raised grave concerns about the need for more safeguards of innocent Americans' communications. The RESTORE Act improves upon the
PAA by providing a series of checks and balances while still allowing maximum flexibility. The RESTORE Act does not require individual warrants when persons are abroad, but it is firm that a FISA warrant is required to obtain communications of people in the US.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. KING of N.Y.: Electronic surveillance is one of the strongest weapons in our arsenal. The real enemy is al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism, not our own government working so hard to protect us. The PAA updated FISA and struck the appropriate balance between protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks and protecting our civil liberties. Today's bill, the RESTORE Act, marks an undeniable retreat in the war against Islamic terrorism. It limits the type of foreign intelligence information that may be acquired and actually gives foreign targets more protections than Americans get in criminal cases here at home.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed, 213-197.
Reference: RESTORE Act;
; vote number 08-HR3773
on Mar 14, 2008
Voted YES on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.
PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE:This bill would impede efforts to protect [against] terrorist attacks because it imposes several unnecessary and unacceptable burdens on our Intelligence Community. [I reject] subjecting two additional vital positions to a more protracted process of Senate confirmation [and I reject] a new office of Inspector General for the Intelligence Community as duplicative. [Most sigficantly,] it is vitally important that the CIA be allowed to maintain a separate and classified interrogation program, [and not] use only the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations. My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique such as waterboarding. Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA program that will shield from disclosure to terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon capture.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. REYES: This legislation goes
a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances. Well, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. HOEKSTRA: This bill fails to give the intelligence community the tools that it needs to protect the American people from radical jihadists. The debate on this authorization bill is not about a single issue, [waterboarding], as some would have you believe. It is about the need to ensure that we give the right tools to our intelligence professionals in this time of enhanced threat.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 225-188 (2/3rds required)
Bill Veto override on H.R. 2082
; vote number 08-HR2082
on Mar 11, 2008
Voted NO on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad.
Vote on passage of S.1927, the Protect America Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to state that the restrictions on "electronic surveillance" should not encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.
A modified version, S.2011, failed in the Senate; it called for amending FISA to provide that a court order is not required for the electronic surveillance of communication between foreign persons who are not located within the US for collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. LEVIN: Both bills cure the problem that exists: Our intelligence agencies must obtain a court order to monitor the communications of foreigners suspected of terrorist activities who are physically located in foreign countries. Now, what are the major differences?
Our bill (S2011) is limited to foreign targets limited overseas, unlike the Bond bill (S1927), which does not have that key limitation and which very clearly applies to US citizens overseas. Our bill does not. Now, if there is an incidental access to US citizens, we obviously will permit that. But the Bond bill goes beyond that, citing "any person." It does not say a "foreign person." We avoid getting to the communications of Americans. There you have to go for a warrant.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: I will vote for the Bond proposal (S1927) because we are at war, & there is increased terrorist activity. We have a crisis. This proposal will allow us to gather intelligence information on that enemy we otherwise would not gather. This is not the time for striving for legislative perfection. Let us not strive for perfection. Let us put national security first. We are going to have 6 months to reason together to find something better.
Reference: Protect America Act;
; vote number 2007-0836
on Aug 4, 2007
Voted YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts.
- Improving the Quality of Contracts--to restrict the contract period of noncompetitive contracts to the minimum period necessary to meet urgent requirements; and not more than one year unless the the government would be seriously injured.
- Increasing Contract Oversight--to make publicly available (on websites) justification documents for using noncompetitive contract procedures.
- Promoting Integrity in Contracting--to prohibit former federal officials from accepting compensation from contractors as lawyers or lobbyists.
Proponents support voting YES because:
In Iraq, we were told we needed Halliburton to get a contract without any competition because they were the only ones who know how to put out oil well fires. So they got a contract on a cost-plus basis even though they had a history of overcharging the taxpayers. And then later we found out that they didn't do anything about putting out oil well fires in the first Gulf war; it was Bechtel, not
Halliburton. Contractors were given special treatment by not having healthy competition.
In dealing with Hurricane Katrina, and we have seen the same mistakes again: No-competition contracts; cost-plus contracts. We have seen what the result has been: Wasted taxpayer dollars. This bill requires that if there is an emergency to give a contract, give it. But then have bidding within a year.
Opponents support voting NO because:
We support transparency and accountability in decision-making, but this bill asks for audit reports that are only advisory. To provide those to Congress not only gives you too much information, a lot of it can be misleading and can increase the number of contract disputes.
When you are fighting a war, you need to move quickly. You don't give a 6-month appeal to the folks that lose the competition. You don't give small business set-asides because there is one thing you don't have, you don't have time.
Reference: Accountability in Contracting Act;
Bill H R 1362
; vote number 2007-156
on Mar 15, 2007
Voted NO on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.
Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to allow the President & Attorney General to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order to acquire foreign intelligence information, after certifying that the surveillance is directed at the acquisition of communications of foreign agents.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Intelligence is the first line of defense in the war on terrorism. That means we have to have intelligence agencies and capabilities that are agile, that are responsive to changes in technology, and that also protect the civil liberties of Americans. Let me make an analogy. With modernization, we replaced Route 66 with Interstate 40. We no longer have the stoplights and the intersections. We created on ramps and off ramps and concrete barriers to protect the citizens where traffic was moving very quickly. That is like what we are trying to do here--FISA needs modernization.
Opponents support voting NO because:
We are legislating in the dark. We do not even know what the President is doing now because he will not tell us. The New York Times exposed that the administration had authorized secret surveillance of domestic conversations. When exposed, the President claimed he was operating under inherent powers, but court decisions have found that the President cannot simply declare administration actions constitutional and lawful, whether or not they are.
Yet rather than finding out what is going on, this legislation retroactively legalizes whatever has been going on. The President already has broad latitude to conduct domestic surveillance, including surveillance of American citizens, so long as it is overseen by the FISA court.
This bill does not enhance security, but it does allow surveillance without the traditional checks and balances that have served our Nation well.
Reference: Update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978;
; vote number 2006-502
on Sep 28, 2006
Voted NO on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.
A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Voting YES indicates support of the current methods for intelligence-gathering used by the CIA and other agencies. The resolution's opponents say:
- This bill could have and should have required a dedicated funding line for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The 9/11 Commission recommended this board to serve as a civil liberties watchdog on the potential erosion of the basic constitutional rights. Now, 15 months later, we find our concerns about basic civil rights to have been well founded, but the oversight board is barely up and running [and is not funded].
- Many of us believe that when the President authorized the NSA surveillance of Americans, he broke the law, plain and simple.
- We are talking about the most basic fundamental civil liberties that protect the American people, and the Republican leadership will
not even let us debate it. What are they afraid of?
- If you believe that this President should have the ability to spy on Americans without a warrant and without going to the FISA court, then they should write that bill and bring it to the floor, then have a debate and a vote.
The resolution's proponents say:
Reference: Intelligence Authorization Act;
Bill HR 5020 resolution H RES 774
; vote number 2006-108
on Apr 26, 2006
- We have had the good fortune in this country for the last 4 1/2 years to have not had another terrorist attack on our soil, and it is not because they haven't tried. The reason for that success boils down to two things: the courage of our soldiers and the quality of our intelligence. Exceptional intelligence is the first line of defense for America in the long war on terrorism.
- I think as a responsible body we have to start out by getting the facts. That means hard work that is done largely in secret. Oversight is under way, and, for the most part, the National Security Agency has been very forthcoming.
Voted NO on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists.
REAL ID Act of 2005: To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5];
; vote number 2005-031
on Feb 10, 2005
- Title I: Amendments to Federal Laws to Protect Against Terrorist Entry - defining more factors relevant to credibility determinations in asylum cases.
- Title II: Improved Security for Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards - setting minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features. Title III: Border Infrastructure and Technology Integration - studying ground surveillance technologies.
Voted NO on continuing military recruitment on college campuses.
Expresses the continued support of Congress for, and encourages the executive branch to continue challenging any judicial decision against, specified provisions of Federal law prohibiting making certain Federal contracts with or grants to institutions of higher education that prevent military recruiters from having access to their campuses and to certain information about their students.
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Rep Mike Rogers [R, AL-3];
; vote number 2005-016
on Feb 2, 2005
Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Denny Hastert [R, IL-14];
; vote number 2004-523
on Oct 8, 2004
- Title I: Reform of the Intelligence Community
- Subtitle A: Establishment of National Intelligence Director
- Subtitle B: National Counterterrorism Center and Civil Liberties Protections
- Subtitle C: Joint Intelligence Community Council
- Subtitle D: Improvement of Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
- Subtitle E: Improvement of Education for the Intelligence Community
- Title II: Terrorism Prevention and Prosecution
- Subtitle A: Individual Terrorists as Agents of Foreign Powers
- Subtitle B: Stop Terrorist and Military Hoaxes Act of 2004
- Subtitle C: Material Support to Terrorism Prohibition Enhancement Act of 2004
- Subtitle D: Weapons of Mass Destruction Prohibition Improvement Act of 2004
- Subtitle E: Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
- Subtitle F: Criminal History Background Checks
- Subtitle G: Protection of United States Aviation System From Terrorist Attacks
Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2003: Vote to pass the bill that would supply $77.9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations in fiscal 2003, including $62.5 billion for military operations in Iraq and the war on terrorism. The bill would also provide for $4.2 billion for homeland security, $8 billion in aid to allies and for Iraqi relief and rebuilding; $3.2 billion for U.S. airlines to cover additional security costs; and $1 billion in aid to Turkey.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL;
Bill HR 1559
; vote number 2003-108
on Apr 3, 2003
Voted NO on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns.
Armed Airline Pilots Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would create a program where commercial pilots would be deputized as federal law enforcement officers and would then be permitted to carry guns aboard airlines. To participate in the program, commercial pilots would have to undergo specialized training. At least 250 commercial pilots would undergo the training. Within two months of the bill's enactment, the Transportation Security Agency or TSA, would then be required to begin weapons training for pilots who had volunteered for the program. Airlines and pilots will not be held legally accountable when defending planes from terrorist acts except in cases of willful misconduct or gross negligence The TSA could temporarily put the program on hold if a pilot's gun unintentionally discharges and causes injury to a crew member or passanger. The bill also would entail flight attendants to undergo self-defense training. Also study training all federal law enforcement officers on aviation anti-terrorism.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL;
Bill HR 4635
; vote number 2002-292
on Jul 10, 2002
Voted YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill.
Vote to pass a bill appropriating $266 billion in defense spending for FY 2000. Among other provisions the bill would allot $1.2 billion for research and development for next-generation tactical aircraft, yet would not include $1.8 billion in procurement funds for the new F-22 Raptor combat aircraft. The bill would also fund a 4.8 percent pay increase for military personnel. The bill would also allot $93.7 billion for operations and maintenance to be used to maintain military properties and spare parts that have been reduced due to overseas military combat missions.
Reference: Bill introduced by Lewis, R-CA;
Bill HR 2561
; vote number 1999-334
on Jul 22, 1999
Voted YES on deploying SDI.
Vote to declare it to be the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense.
Reference: Bill introduced by Weldon, R-PA;
Bill HR 4
; vote number 1999-4
on Mar 18, 1999
End the use of anti-personnel mines.
Abercrombie co-sponsored the Landmine Elimination and Victim Assistance Act:
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR948 on Mar 8, 2001
- the Department of Defense should field currently available weapons and other technologies, and use tactics and operational concepts, that provide suitable alternatives to anti-personnel mines and mixed anti-tank mine systems; and
- the United States should end its use of such mines and join the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.
- Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 to make permanent (currently terminates on October 23, 2003) the prohibition on the transfer of anti-personnel landmines.
- Directs the President to establish an interagency working group to develop a comprehensive plan for expanded mine action programs, including victim rehabilitation, social support, and economic reintegration.
Rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record.
Abercrombie scores 100% by SANE on peace issues
Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...
As the Pentagonís budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers. At Peace Action our priorities are clear.
- That every person has the right to live without the threat of nuclear weapons.
- That war is not a suitable response to conflict.
- That America has the resources to both protect and provide for its citizens.
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: SANE website 03n-SANE on Dec 31, 2003
Establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence.
Abercrombie co-sponsored establishing a Department of Peace and Nonviolence
Establishes a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, which shall be headed by a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Sets forth the mission of the Department, including to:
- hold peace as an organizing principle;
- endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; and
- develop policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Rep. KUCINICH: HR808 gives the promise of transforming our country and the world. It is now supported by 52 Members of the House of Representatives, and it is supported by groups who yesterday came to Washington representing 45 States. Last night, nearly 1,000 people came to the George Washington University campus to hear about the Department of Peace and the hope that it brings for America.
If you were to look at the House Clerk's desk, just around the corner, you will see engraved right into the desk, the word "peace." Peace is a foundational principle of this Congress and of this country, and the bill gives it a chance to have an animating power in our civic life by addressing the issues of domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, violence in the schools, racial violence, all of those concerns we have both domestically and internationally.
Source: Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act (H.R.808) 07-HR808 on Feb 5, 2007
Appoint chiropractors as commissioned officers.
Abercrombie introduced appointing chiropractors as commissioned officers
A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should take immediate steps to appoint doctors of chiropractic as commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.
Source: S.CON.RES.75/H.CON.RES.294 08-SCR75 on Apr 10, 2008
- Whereas the urgent needs of military personnel in the field of operations include access to the widest possible range of health care options, especially in the area of care of the spine and related structures of the body;
- Whereas providing military personnel in the field of operations with access to chiropractic care will increase the cost effectiveness of military health care expenditures by taking advantage of the conservative, drugless, and non-surgical care option offered by chiropractic care;
- Whereas back injuries are the leading cause of lost service time and disability in the Armed Forces;
Whereas military personnel in the field of operations or on shipboard can access chiropractic care only through commissioned chiropractic officers;
- Whereas access to chiropractic care through commissioned chiropractic officers will enhance the combat readiness of military personnel by offering a non-pharmaceutical option for the health care needs of such personnel;
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved: That the Secretary of Defense should take immediate steps to establish a career path for doctors of chiropractic to be appointed as commissioned officers in all branches of the Armed Forces for purposes of providing chiropractic services to members of the Armed Forces.
Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays.
Abercrombie signed HR1283&S3065
Repeals current Department of Defense policy [popularly known as "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell"] concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces. Prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member. Authorizes the re-accession into the Armed Forces of otherwise qualified individuals previously separated for homosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexual conduct.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the furnishing of dependent benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of 'marriage' and 'spouse' and referred to as the 'Defense of Marriage Act').
Source: Military Readiness Enhancement Act 10-HR1283 on Mar 3, 2010
Address abuses of electronic monitoring in the workplace.
Abercrombie co-sponsored addressing abuses of electronic monitoring in the workplace
Source: Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act (H.R.1900) 1993-H1900 on Apr 28, 1993
- Establishes certain privacy protections for employees and customers with respect to electronic monitoring in the workplace by employers.
- Directs the Secretary of Labor to enforce such protections.
- Provides for coverage of employees of the House of Representatives and the Senate under this Act.
Restore habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror.
Abercrombie co-sponsored restoring habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror
A bill to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Sen. SPECTER. "I introduce this legislation, denominated the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. Last year, in the Military Commissions Act, the constitutional right of habeas corpus was attempted to be abrogated. I say "attempted to be abrogated" because, in my legal judgment, that provision in the Act is unconstitutional.
"It is hard to see how there can be legislation to eliminate the constitutional right to habeas corpus when the Constitution is explicit that habeas corpus may not be suspended except in time of invasion or rebellion, and we do not have either of those circumstances present, as was conceded by the advocates of the legislation last year to take away the right of habeas corpus.
"We have had
Supreme Court decisions which have made it plain that habeas corpus is available to non-citizens and that habeas corpus applies to territory controlled by the US, specifically, including Guantanamo. More recently, however, we had a decision in the US District Court applying the habeas corpus jurisdiction stripping provision of the Military Commissions Act, but I believe we will see the appellate courts strike down this legislative provision.
"The New York Times had an extensive article on this subject, starting on the front page, last Sunday, and continuing on a full page on the back page about what is happening at Guantanamo. It is hard to see how in America, or in a jurisdiction controlled by the United States, these proceedings could substitute for even rudimentary due process of law."
Source: Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S.185/H.R.2826) 2007-S185 on Jun 22, 2007
Page last updated: Jul 22, 2017