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  • A Better Agenda To Prevent Another 9/11

    Having returned from its summer recess, Congress will soon construct its legislative agenda for the rest of the year. Given that today marks the eighth anniversary of 9/11, Congress should honor the memory of that tragedy by solidifying its homeland security agenda. That means taking the right steps to keep the nation safe, free, and prosperous. Heritage analysts Jena Baker McNeill, James Carafano, and Matt Mayer outline some dos and donts for Congress’ Protect America Agenda.

    Congress Should:

    Amend the Stafford Act. The 1988 Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act did not contain strict enough limits on what can qualify for a federal “disaster” declaration. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has routinely ignored the Stafford Act’s pliable requirement and treated even comparatively small disasters as requiring a federal response. Although very few disasters that occur in America are truly beyond the capabilities of state and local governments, this reality does not aid those who see natural disasters as “very political events.” Congress should redefine what constitutes a disaster under the Stafford Act in a way that includes only those disasters that truly overwhelm state and local response–a step that would ensure that scarce tax dollars are used when needed the most.
    Scrap the 100 Percent Mandates. Congress’s 100 percent scanning mandate for maritime security and air cargo continue to plague DHS. The department cannot find a way to meet the mandate in a way that is practical and cost-effective and actually enhances security. Furthermore, most security and supply chain experts argue that the mandates are unnecessary and would add little security. Congress should rethink these unworkable mandates before more time, money, and resources are wasted.

    Reform the Homeland Security Grant Structure. The 9/11 Commission said homeland security grants were becoming pork barrel legislation. The commission was right. DHS continues to hand out grants based on highly suspect criteria. This is, for example, the case with UASI grant program for urban areas. DHS continues to expand the number of eligible cities, spreading even thinner the finite resources available. And it also allows states to keep some of the funding, depriving high-risk urban areas even further. Congress should reduce the number of UASI-eligible cities to the 35 highest-risk cities and require 100 percent pass-through of UASI funds, ensuring that the money goes in the locations where it is needed the most.

    Encourage State and Local Immigration Enforcement Efforts. The federal government has consistently failed to address the ever-growing illegal immigration crisis. As a result, states have begun enacting their own legislation and policies aimed at reducing illegal immigration from a grassroots level. But federal law still hangs over the states and localities as they take these steps. For instance, the Immigration Reform and Control Act carves out exceptions for state and local initiatives only if they deal with “licensing or similar laws” concerning the employment of illegal immigrants. States, however, still retain extensive police powers by which they can control illegal immigration in their jurisdiction and have the inherent power to enforce federal law. Given these powers, the federal government should encourage states and localities to devise innovative methods of enforcement that do not call for federal intervention. Congress, for its part, should look to eliminate statutory restrictions that limit the actions that states and localities can take to curtail illegal immigration.

    Congress Should Not:

    Do Not Encourage Illegal Immigration. This year Congress has pushed forward several proposals that would encourage illegal immigration. These “silent amnesties,” such as the DREAM Act (which would give education benefits to illegal immigrants) andthe Ag JOBs Act (which would give amnesty to illegal agricultural workers), would erode rule of law and be costly to the American public.

    Do Not Punish Tourists. Tourism dropped after 9/11, but taxing tourists to get them to come back makes no sense. The Tourism Promotion Act was reintroduced this year in both the Senate and House. This legislation would create another government entity–this time a corporation, funded on the backs of foreign tourists–to promote travel to the U.S. Instead of taxing tourists, the government should focus on making travel to the U.S. easier by expanding the Visa Waiver Program, improving visa services, and upgrading infrastructure at key ports of entry.

    Do Not Subsidize Hurricanes. The Homeowners Defense Act (HDA) would create a catastrophic insurance fund–like the bankrupt and highly inefficient National Flood Insurance Program–that would provide government insurance to homeowners and businesses to protect against the next catastrophic hurricane. Such legislation would, essentially, require all Americans to subsidize those who live in hurricane-prone areas and would allow the states to create unrealistic disaster insurance programs and once again turn to the federal government to cover losses.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to A Better Agenda To Prevent Another 9/11

    1. Bill, RC says:

      Yes, yes, punish those illegal immigrants that have gone through the cracks unnoticed and have accomplished bacherlor, master, or even PhD degrees. After all it is such a closed economy, where we definitely do not compete with other nations for human capital like India, or China or the European Union as a whole. Who needs the DuPonts', ebays' and googles, Intel's of the world – certainly not us. Let educated immigrants go back to their home countries, attempt to start their businesses their, and give other nations a chance for a change.

      And nevermind our demographic challenge of worker to retired ratio. We can deal with it when we get to it…in the next decade. I plan on having enough on my 401k to not need social security anyway.

    2. Jim says:

      To prevent a recurrence of a 9/11 attack should be a common objective: something on which we all could agree, Americans and democrats alike.]

      Unfortunately, that is manifestly not the case.

    3. Bill San Antonio says:

      The key word that apparently no longer has any meaning is "illegal".

      Good Grief, to have to keep pointing this out to people is maddening.

      No one is discouraging legal immigration. There are millions worldwide that have been waiting for years to enter this great country. Many of these people have college degrees and advanced education and training, yet they go thru the legal immigration process.

      How is what we are doing "fair" to them?

    4. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      In this area we are overrun with Illegals, they are taking construction jobs from my sons, they do this because they live four or more families in a house or they have turned a single family house into a rooming house which is another violation of the law. In some areas they have turned front yards into parking lots. They send a big part of their money back to their countries so it is an outright lie that they contribute to the economy, in fact they drain it, they use our ER's, food stamps, free school lunches, they get away with this as they do not file taxes, they break laws everyday,including driving without licenses.

    5. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      And not forget that the true invisible but real 9-11 organizers, lurking from heavenly mansions or somewhere here on Earth still using the Weapon of suggestion to our leaders whenever they can to push them more and more destroy this country while they are unaware of it.

      This is the reason why it is necessary to oppose every initiative that goes in that direction, vigorously. And Really understand that THESE LURKERS REALLY EXIST EVEN THOUGH MOST OF US DON'T SEE THEM. They are the true Enemies, Converters of our own citizens in Enemies of our Nation. Be and Stay Vigilent.

      Victory will be our only if we do so.

    6. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      We are all guilty of being fooled by the Obama Administration's slight of hand treatment of This Nation's

      budgets. Budgets nessecesary for the prevention of Terrorist Activities, the keeping out and removing of Illegal Aliens, of promoting Free Trade within our own States, of budgets to keep the promises made to our friends and allies! All broken.

      Let's concentrate on some things we do know; Mrs. Obama has 21 aides, each who earn 1.2 million dollars a year. Who pays for that?

      President Obama has over 30 czars, who pays for that, they are not accounted for in the Congresssional budget, perhaps it is through TARPS?

      This President has increased our deficit by more money than all the other Presidents deficits added togther, this in his first eight months!

      Congress suspended funds to ACORN. Does anyone out there realize that this is for only one year?

      Does anyone have any concept of just what one Trillion dollars is?

      If you earned $1.00 a second, 60 seconds an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round, it would take 32,000 YEARS to EARN ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!

      To date, Obama has increaced our National debt by 3.2 Trillion.

      If this Great Nation of Ours truly wishes to stop spending and to start earning, then we must utilize our own natural resources, and not rely on any foriegn supplies.

      We must refine those resources, and not remain comfortable with what we have in place but increce those refineries at least two fold! After all, they are less that half of what they were in the 1960's with half the population.

      We need to stop growing all this useless corn that doesn't work for fuel and bring back our food and live stock production to our own soil, instead of importing our food and meat and risking eboli, salmonella, and all the other food born diseases!

      We have to say "NO" to this idiotic concepts such as 'Cap and Trade' where we tax our own for power usage and farmers for animal flatuence!

      We need to remember that all monies spent on Weapons and Space Research are spent right here in the U.S. of A. and mean jobs, with family wages and pride in our Nation. It is called being an American!

      The other choices we can do while bringing this Nation back in shape is to push each and everyone of our States who are not already Sovereign, into becoming so!

      Whateve rmoney you find you lose from the Feds, you will find that you more than make up in those matching funds! And then you decide what is taught in your schools, and whatNational Holidays are going to be celebrated, and you can bring Christmas back into your twons and schools with actual Carols. You can kick out Illegals and put up wanted posters if you want! You no longer have any such thing as endangered species of animals, plants, rocks, et al. You actually have the Freedom of the Constituion that as States we all swore to follow anyway!

      Hozro

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