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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

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I believe the President chose the least of very bad alternatives in ordering the withdrawal of U.S. Forces in Kurdish-held regions of Syria. It is true that the withdrawal has caused a military vacuum which has drawn in Turkey, Russia and remnants of the Islamic State and has driven the Kurds to ally with the regime of Bashar al-Assad. None of this is desirable, but none justifies keeping American soldiers in harm’s way without a strategy or commitment to accomplish anything other than continuing stalemate. The Kurds and the Turks have been enemies for centuries, and there is no American interest that justifies maintaining U.S. troops in the cross-fire. I believe the President is attempting to restore fundamental principles that guided our country until the Korean War: that the United States does not attack another nation unless we are attacked and that when we are forced into war, Congress must formally declare it, put the full resources of our country behind our troops and annihilate the enemy as swiftly as possible. After the attack on September 11th, we did none of these things, resulting in nearly two decades of aimless and irresolute policy, the sacrifice of thousands of brave American youth and the squandering of trillions of dollars of our national treasure.
This bill requires the administration to determine who was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, impose sanctions based on these findings, and demand that Saudi Arabia take a range of actions on human rights before the sanctions can be lifted. Khashoggi, an early associate of Osama bin Laden, was not a U.S. citizen and was not murdered on U.S. soil. It is likely Khashoggi was assassinated by Saudi operatives in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, in retaliation for his criticism of the regime. As heinous as his murder was, Congress has no business imperiling our government’s relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when it is playing a critical role in containing Iranian expansion in the region.
This bill shamelessly uses disaster assistance as an excuse for billions of dollars of pork-barrel projects unrelated to the disasters. Only 30 percent of this bill is emergency disaster spending and only 14 percent was actually requested by the administration. It includes $2.4 billion for the scandal-plagued “Community Development Block Grant” program which has funded such past boondoggles as “doggy day care centers”...
The “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” program, or TANF, replaced the old food stamp program as part of the 1996 welfare reform act. It introduced strict work requirements for able-bodied recipients and was instrumental in getting people back to work and reducing the welfare rolls. Unfortunately, those work requirements have largely disappeared over the years...

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