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Public Statements

Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Speaker, the four treaties underlying this legislation are the cornerstones of an important effort to update international law for the post-September 11 era.

Two of the treaties, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, require party nations to better protect nuclear materials and to punish acts of nuclear terrorism.

The two other treaties, amendments to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms, address the use of ships and fixed platforms in terrorist attacks, as well as the transport of weapons, weapons delivery systems, and terrorist fugitives by sea.

The United States signed these treaties in 2005. The Senate passed resolutions of advice and consent on all four in 2008. In an era where we increasingly rely on our allies to combat terrorism, these new treaty obligations are also plain common sense. Members of this committee have been committed to their ratification from the very start.

We disagreed with the administration's original legislative proposal only where it asked for far more than was necessary to implement these treaties. Fortunately, after many months of discussion, we have arrived at language that implements these treaties without making unnecessary and needlessly controversial changes to the Federal Criminal Code.

H.R. 5889 represents true bipartisan consensus and has the full support of the Obama administration. I look forward to its passage here in the House, to its ultimate passage in the Senate, and to our diplomatic corps filing letters of ratification after all these years.

I want to thank Chairman Smith and Chairman Sensenbrenner both for holding a hearing in the Crime Subcommittee on this important legislation in October of last year, and for their collaboration with Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott to work out our concerns with the administration.

I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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