1) The Week Ahead: Never Forget
2) Protecting America Through the Patriot Act
3) Addressing our Nation's Long Term Debt
The Week Ahead: Never Forget
"We've reached the Memorial Day weekend, which for many, marks the start of the summer season.
"A few years back, one of the hosts of the official Memorial Concert on the Capitol grounds proclaimed that "A man doesn't die until he's forgotten.'
"While I am sure the speaker meant to apply that sentiment to women as well, I think that's true. And that's why Memorial Day is so important. Each and every year, ceremonies across the country keep alive the memories of those men and women of our armed forces who have given their lives in defense of America over the ages. Their stories remind us that freedom is not free and liberty is always the achievement of courage.
"You can find President Harry Truman's words inscribed on the World War II Memorial in Washington: "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.'
"So over the next few days, as you go through your holiday weekend routine, take a moment to remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are serving today around the world to ensure a bright future for all Americans.
"And let us recommit ourselves to never forget the sacrifices of these fallen, and of their families. And let us rededicate ourselves to the values and ideals that have made this nation what it is today: the greatest nation in the world."
Protecting America Through the Patriot Act
With very little time to spare, Congress extended three important national security provisions designed to protect Americans from potential terrorist attacks. The three important provisions of the USA Patriot Act were set to expire today, but Congress extended them through May 2015 with just a few hours to spare.
In the years since 9-11, al Qaeda has expanded and splintered into smaller groups and rogue terrorists around the world, making it harder for us to detect and deter plots against Americans both here at home and abroad.
Three important provisions that have helped safeguard our citizens are:
1) Roving Wiretaps: Roving wiretaps allow intelligence officials - after receiving approval from a federal court - to conduct surveillance on terrorist suspects regardless of how many communication devices they use. Roving wiretaps are nothing new. Domestic law enforcement agencies have had roving wiretaps for criminal investigations since 1986. If we can use roving wiretaps to track down a drug kingpin, why shouldn't we also use it to prevent a terrorist attack?
2) Business Records: This provision allows the FBI, after obtaining approval from a federal judge, to access tangible items, including business records, in foreign intelligence, international terrorism and espionage cases.
3) Lone Wolf: National security laws allow intelligence gathering on foreign governments, terrorist groups and their agents. But what about a foreign terrorist who either acts alone or cannot be immediately tied to a terrorist organization? The lone wolf definition simply allows our intelligence officials to answer threats from terrorists acting alone. It cannot be used against a U.S. citizen.
"There's no doubt that bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice is a significant victory in America's efforts to combat terrorism," Rodney said. "But even though Bin Laden is dead, the terrorist threat is still very much alive. We know that al Qaeda and other jihadists groups are plotting and planning their campaign against America at this moment."
The USA Patriot Act has helped keep America safe for nearly a decade.
Recommended Reading: Tuesday's editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "Patriot Act Miracles."
Addressing our Nation's Long Term Debt
President Obama and members of his Cabinet and staff have repeatedly called on Congress to quickly consider a "clean" debt limit increase without any spending cuts or reforms.
The President will get his way next week when a "clean" debt limit bill is considered in the House.
"Let me be clear: I will not vote for a "clean' debt ceiling increase and such an increase will not pass," Rodney said. "We have to stop spending money we don't have and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. After a two-year spending spree, if the President wants our help to pay his bills, he will have to cut up his credit cards and agree to major budget reforms."
Speaker John Boehner has indicated that this vote will demonstrate to President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner and House Democrats that they should abandon their strategy and begin serious discussions on controlling our national deficit.
"The greatest threat to our economy and our children's future is doing nothing in the way of reducing spending now and reforming the budget process," he said.
Standard & Poor's warned several weeks ago that it may downgrade its U.S. debt rating because Washington has no credible plan to tackle its massive debt.
Recommended Reading II: Wednesday's story in the Washington Times "Stimulus Recipients Found to be Tax Cheats."