America Needs ‘Serious Solutions’ From the President to Defeat ISIL
‘It’s evident that the president’s campaign to ‘contain’ ISIL has not been sufficient to defeat this group abroad or prevent more ISIL-inspired attacks here at home…Here in the Senate, we should continue our efforts to fight terror beyond our borders and prevent attacks within them.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today prior to votes regarding Republican-led efforts to fight terrorism:
“The terrorist attack that claimed 49 innocent victims in Orlando left families broken and our country shaken. It was a deliberately targeted attack inspired by the hateful ideology of ISIL, and it tragically reminded us of the continuing threat of ISIL-directed and inspired attacks here in our country.
“We know that the way to prevent more of these terrorist attacks is to actually defeat ISIL where it trains, operates, and prepares for attacks — like Iraq and Syria.
“The President at least appeared to recognize that this weekend when he said that ‘we are and we will keep doing everything in our power to stop these kinds of attacks, and to ultimately destroy ISIL.’ But, as the nation just learned from CIA Director John Brennan, ISIL remains ‘a formidable, resilient, and largely cohesive enemy.’ Our efforts thus far ‘have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,’ he said, and ISIL is ‘training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks’ in the West.
“It’s evident that the president’s campaign to ‘contain’ ISIL has not been sufficient to defeat this group abroad or prevent more ISIL-inspired attacks here at home. He needs to finally lead a campaign to accomplish this objective, or at least prepare the military and intelligence community to help the next president do so if he won’t.
“Here in the Senate, we should continue our efforts to fight terror beyond our borders and prevent attacks within them. These have been priorities of Republican Senators for a long time — they continue to be at the forefront of our efforts now. We’ve offered proposals to help connect the dots with respect to terrorist communications. We’ve offered proposals to help address the threat of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks like the one we saw in Orlando. And we’ve offered proposals to help ensure terrorists are not able to purchase weapons. We’ll consider two of them today, along with two Democrat alternatives.
“The first proposal from Senator Cornyn would immediately block the sale of a firearm or explosive to a suspected terrorist and, once probable cause is shown, not only permanently block that sale but also allow the suspected terrorist to be arrested and detained; this would apply to anyone currently investigated as a terrorism suspect as well as anyone who was investigated within the last five years.
“Unlike Senator Cornyn’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not prevent a terrorist from buying explosives as the alternative pertains only to firearms. Unlike Senator Cornyn’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not notify state and local law enforcement when a terrorist tries to buy a weapon, nor would the alternative even give authority for that terrorist to be arrested or detained. And, unlike Senator Cornyn’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not ensure due process, protect our constitutional rights, or require the government to periodically review its procedures to ensure it’s investigating the right people.
“The second proposal from Senator Grassley would improve the background check database by helping ensure all levels of government are actually submitting the necessary records, including mental health records; it would also allow for additional resources to update and improve the system further. Unlike Senator Grassley’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not study the causes of mass shootings. Unlike Senator Grassley’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not help prevent failed gun-walking operations like Fast and Furious. And, unlike Senator Grassley’s proposal, the Democrat alternative would not require the Department of Justice to explain why it has not been using the gun laws already on the books to prosecute gun cases — and we know that weapons-related convictions under the Obama Administration are down more than 30 percent compared to a decade ago.
“No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives.
“Instead of using this as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad, colleagues like Senator Cornyn and Senator Grassley are pursuing real solutions that can help keep Americans safer from the threat of terrorism. They’re approaching this serious topic in a serious, and constitutional, way. They also understand that ultimately the most important way to prevent more terrorist tragedies at home is by defeating terrorism overseas.
“Serious solutions. That’s what the American people need now, more than ever. That’s where we should keep our focus.”