From Illinois Business Journal news services
WASHINGTON — Three members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation responded late Sunday to President Obama’s call for legislation aimed to combat violence and terrorism in the homeland.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, released the following statement on Obama’s address to the nation from the Oval Office:
“The world has witnessed acts of evil in the past several weeks, from Beirut and Paris to Colorado Springs and San Bernardino. As the President said tonight, in our darkest moments, when innocent civilians are gunned down in horrific massacres, it is how we respond, how we band together to fight terror itself that defines who we are as Americans. The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.
“The President outlined a plan to combat ISIL in the Middle East without getting American forces mired in a new, protracted ground war. He called on Congress to again vote on legislation to prohibit suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms in this country, and I will continue to push for that until we close this dangerous loophole. He challenged Congress to tighten vulnerabilities in the Visa Waiver Program. And finally, the President called on Congress to vote on a new authorization on the use of military force to combat ISIL. I support him in that.
“There may be a tendency to panic after these attacks—but oftentimes our first reactions are overreactions. Make no mistake: that is precisely what terrorists want. They commit these atrocities to disrupt our lives, make us look over our shoulders, and to turn neighbor against neighbor in fear. We cannot allow the United States to fall into that trap. America has a proud history of responding to tragedy with compassion for those impacted, and steady resolve to prevent future attacks. We must continue it in defiance of this evil.
Statement from Congressman Mike Bost
Congressman Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, released the following statement:
“As my thoughts and prayers remain focused on each and every person impacted by the recent terrorist attack in California, I have to shake my head at our Commander-In-Chief’s response to this growing global crisis.
“We face a real threat from radical Islamic terrorism that can only be defeated by uniting against their violent and extreme agenda. The terrorists seek to tear down the values we hold dear – freedoms that countless men and women have fought to defend. It would be a terrible mistake to react by limiting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. The ultimate and only solution is a comprehensive plan to eliminate the extremist threat.
“This week, Congress will vote on a bipartisan bill to update our visa waiver program to reduce the risk of an extremist entering the country from abroad. This legislation builds upon recent bipartisan legislation to strengthen the certification requirements for our refugee program.
“After listening to the President’s response tonight, I felt more needed to be said. The American people need to have confidence that our nation’s leader is doing all he can to defeat this evil; but once again, we didn’t hear that tonight. In times like this, we must come together to take on those who wish to tear down the very fabric of our country and the freedoms we enjoy, but that can only happen once we’re able to trust our leaders to pave the way.”
Statement from Congressman Rodney Davis
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, released the following statement:
“First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people impacted by the terrible tragedy in San Bernardino, Calif. This act of terror was yet another horrific reminder of the need to destroy ISIS. Tonight, I had hoped to hear of a stronger, more comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS because despite the president’s claim that ISIS has been contained, it is clear their reach and influence is growing. But unfortunately, what we heard tonight was much of the same. Not only do we need a plan to destroy them abroad but we also must take additional steps to protect Americans here at home. The House has passed legislation to prevent ISIS from infiltrating the refugee program and this week we will act on legislation to secure our visa-waiver program.”
“Last month, the House passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act to ensure comprehensive background checks are conducted on every Syrian and Iraqi refugee seeking admittance into the U.S. The SAFE Act requires the FBI director to certify the background investigation of each refugee and then the secretary of homeland security, the FBI director, and the director of national intelligence must all certify to Congress that each refugee is not a security threat before they can be admitted to the U.S.
“This week, the House will vote on the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, which requires dual nationals and individuals who have traveled since March 2011 to certain countries of concern and State Sponsors of Terrorism – including Iraq, Syria, and Iran – to obtain a visa before coming to the U.S.”