Susan Collins on Homeland Security
Republican Jr Senator (ME)
Increase transparency of NSA but keep NSA programs
Bellows is campaigning on repeal of the U.S. Patriot Act and wants to severely curb the National Security Agency's bulk data collection program--two issues that resonate with the left wing of the Democratic Party as well as libertarian-minded voters who
propped up Ron Paul's strong showing in the 2012 presidential caucuses there.
"What I think we need is targeting based on individualized suspicion, reasonable suspicion that people are engaged in criminal or terrorist activity," she says in response
to a question about what she thinks the NSA should be able to monitor.
Collins, seeking her fourth term, supports reforms to improve transparency and accountability but would not curtail the program to the extent Bellows wants to. "As
we increase transparency and erect further barriers to intelligence collection, we must be careful that we do not put our country at greater risk of attack," she said in a statement last month.
Source: U.S.News & World Report on 2014 Maine Senate race
, Feb 27, 2014
Mass surveillance justified by national security
Susan Collins has supported warrantless mass surveillance. Over the last seven months, the curtain has been ripped down around the covert mass spying operation.
Thanks to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we now know that the
US government has taken unprecedented (and, according to 2 federal judges, unconstitutional) actions to invade our privacy & restrict our freedom.
We learned that the NSA collects a record of virtually every phone call, email, & instant message in the
US--who people contact, when, for how long and where they are.
According to Collins, she was never informed about the bulk collection of information on Americans, despite being the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee. Many politicians,
perhaps conscious of not seeming soft on national security, have attacked Snowden personally or have argued that the security ends have justified the mass surveillance means. Collins, now that she has been informed about the programs, has done both.
Source: Portland Press Herald on 2014 Maine Senate race
, Jan 4, 2014
Mass unwarranted surveillance is never justified
Thanks to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we now know that the US government has taken unprecedented (and, according to 2 federal judges, unconstitutional) actions to invade our privacy & restrict our freedom. We learned that
the NSA collects a record of virtually every phone call, email, & instant message in the US--who people contact, when, for how long and where they are.
According to Sen. Collins, she was never informed about the bulk collection of information on
Americans, despite being the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee. Collins now attacks Snowden personally & argues that the security ends have justified the mass surveillance means.
Shenna Bellows is running against Collins and has made
our freedom from unwarranted surveillance a centerpiece of her campaign. We need smart people in Congress who understand technology, who take the time to understand the intricacies of these issues and who stand up for our rights.
Source: Portland Press Herald on 2014 Maine Senate race
, Jan 4, 2014
No justification for spying on Germany's chancellor
Bellows calls out Congress for NSA complicity, amid reported US spying on world leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel. Among the critics of surveiling Merkel was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who's chaired the Homeland Security Committee and now serves
on the Intelligence Committee.
Q: Sen. Collins put out a statement saying that she's not aware of a justification for collecting intelligence on Chancellor Merkel, and that she would be telling the German ambassador that "it was wrong" for the
administration to do that.
BELLOWS: We absolutely need to stop listening in on phone calls of allies like Merkel. But we also need to stop spying on millions of Americans.
Q: What about the comparative attention that those two kinds of surveillance
BELLOWS: It's certainly concerning to international relations to learn that we were spying on the phone conversations of some of our closest allies. But it's equally important to address the issue of spying on millions of ordinary Americans.
Source: Salon.com on 2014 Maine Senate debate, "Snowden"
, Oct 30, 2013
Cuts in defense are very troubling to me personally
Q: A poll asked, "Would you vote to defeat and replace every member of Congress including your representative if you could?" 60% said, "Yes, I would."
COLLINS: There's a lot of justifiable anger at Congress and at the president for failing to
solve these [government shutdown and budget] problems. But I do want to say that despite what people may read, there are a lot of constructive discussions going on behind the scenes.
Q: Any kind of budget deal?
COLLINS: There could be a substitution of some of the mandatory spending cuts--such as the farm bill which would save $23 billion over ten years--
for some of the cuts in defense and biomedical research that are very troubling to me personally.
Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Maine Senate race
, Oct 13, 2013
Treating terrorists as criminals prevents obtaining info
I don't see any reason to continue giving Miranda rights to foreign terrorists, as we did to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be bomber of Flight 253. As Senators Collins and Lieberman wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder, the decision to treat
Abdulmutallab as an ordinary criminal "almost certainly prevented the military and the intelligence community from obtaining information that would have been critical to learning more about how our enemy operates and to preventing future attacks."
This is just common sense; intelligence is our first line of defense in war. That's why I voted in Congress to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act (FISA) so the president and the attorney general could authorize electronic surveillance of foreign agents without a court order. Extending full legal protections to foreign terrorists will simply mean more dead Americans.
Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.250
, Nov 15, 2010
Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.
Congressional Summary: A bill to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Smith, R-TX]: America is safe today not because terrorists and spies have given up their goal to destroy our freedoms and our way of life. We are safe today because the men and women of our Armed Forces, our intelligence community, and our law enforcement agencies work every single day to protect us. And Congress must ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to counteract continuing terrorist threats. On Feb. 28, three important provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. These provisions give investigators in national security cases the authority to conduct "roving"
wiretaps, to seek certain business records, and to gather intelligence on lone terrorists who are not affiliated with a known terrorist group. The Patriot Act works. It has proved effective in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting Americans. To let these provisions expire would leave every American less safe.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act;
; vote number 11-SV019
on Feb 17, 2011
[Rep. Conyers, D-MI]: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret FISA court to authorize our government to collect business records or anything else, requiring that a person or business produce virtually any type record. We didn't think that that was right then. We don't think it's right now. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. And so I urge a "no" vote on the extension of these expiring provisions.
Status: Passed 86-12
Voted YES on cutting $221M in benefits to Filipinos who served in WWII US Army.
Opponents argument for voting NAY:Sen. INOUYE. From the Spanish-American War in 1898, until the end of World War II, we exercised jurisdiction over the Philippines like a colonial power. In July 1941, we called upon the Filipinos to volunteer to serve the US under American command, and 470,000 Filipinos volunteered. An Executive Order in 1941 promised Filipinos if they fought for us, they could become citizens of the US and get all of the veterans' benefits. But in 1946, the Congress rescinded the 1941 act. Well, this veterans bill has a provision in it--a provision of honor--in which, finally, after six decades, we will restore our honor and tell the Filipinos: It is late, but please forgive us. Proponents argument for voting YEA:Sen. BURR. This bill is so much more than just a pension for Philippine veterans. It is $332 million in Philippine benefits, of which $221 million is devoted to a new special pension that does not exist [previously.
Only that $221M would be cut]. Regardless of the outcome of my amendment, I support final passage of this bill. But we do have a difference as it relates to the pensions. I believe that there was not a promise made. We did not imply it. Those who made the decision on the 1946 Rescissions Act, they looked at the history very well.
Sen. CORNYN. The problem I have with this bill is that the US Treasury is not bottomless, and the funding that is being provided to create this new pension would literally be at the expense of US veterans. The $221 million that is addressed by Sen. Burr's amendment would actually go back in to supplement benefits for US veterans. And while we appreciate and honor all of our allies who fought alongside of us in WWII, certainly that doesn't mean we are going to grant pension benefits to all of our allies, [like] the British or the Australians. Vote for the Burr Amendment because certainly our American veterans should be our priority.
Reference: Burr Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt. 4572 to S. 1315
; vote number 2008-111
on Apr 24, 2008
Voted NO on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. FEINGOLD: The Protect America Act (PAA) we passed last year was sold repeatedly as a way to allow the Government to collect foreign-to-foreign communications without needing the approval of the FISA Court. Now, this is something all of us support, every one of us. But the PAA actually went much further. It authorized new sweeping intrusions into the privacy of countless Americans. The bill the Senate is considering to replace the PAA does not do nearly enough to safeguard against Government abuse. So this amendment would provide those safeguards.
[The PAA allows] acquiring all the calls and e-mails between employees of a US company and a foreign company, with no requirement to get a warrant and no requirement that there be some link to terrorism. So any American who works at a company that does business overseas should think about that.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:
Sen. BOND: The purpose of this bill is, and always has been, to enable the intelligence community to act to target foreign terrorists and spies overseas.
The amendment, as it is drafted, will have a totally unexpected impact. It is difficult to explain, in an unclassified session, why this amendment is unworkable. There are only certain communications which the intelligence community is lawfully permitted to acquire, and which it has any desire to acquire, because to acquire all the communications from all foreigners is an absolutely impossible task.
I cannot describe in a public setting how they go about ascertaining which collections are important. But to say that if Osama bin Laden calls somebody in the US, we cannot listen in to that communication, unless we have an independent means of verifying it has some impact or a terrorist threat--That is the most important communication we need to intercept.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment Rejected, 38-57
Reference: Amendment to Protect America Act;
Bill S.Amdt.3913 to S.2248
; vote number 08-S012
on Feb 7, 2008
Voted YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad.
Vote on passage of S.1927, the Protect America Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to state that nothing under its definition of "electronic surveillance" should encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.
A modified version, S.2011, failed; it called for amending FISA to provide that a court order is not required for the electronic surveillance of communication between foreign persons who are not located within the US for collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. LEVIN: Both bills cure the problem that exists: Our intelligence agencies must obtain a court order to monitor the communications of foreigners suspected of terrorist activities who are physically located in foreign countries. Now, what are the major differences?
Our bill (S2011) is limited to foreign targets limited overseas, unlike the Bond bill (S1927), which does not have that key limitation and which very clearly applies to US citizens overseas. Our bill does not. Now, if there is an incidental access to US citizens, we obviously will permit that. But the Bond bill goes beyond that, citing "any person." It does not say a "foreign person." We avoid getting to the communications of Americans. There you have to go for a warrant.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: I will vote for the Bond proposal (S1927) because we are at war, & there is increased terrorist activity. We have a crisis. This proposal will allow us to gather intelligence information on that enemy we otherwise would not gather. This is not the time for striving for legislative perfection. Let us not strive for perfection. Let us put national security first. We are going to have 6 months to reason together to find something better.
Reference: Protect America Act;
; vote number 2007-309
on Aug 3, 2007
Voted NO on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months.
Vote on an amendment, SA2032, which amends HR1585, the Defense Authorization bill: To limit the deployment of a unit or individual of the Armed Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom to no more than 12 consecutive months; and to limit Marine Corps deployment to no more than 7 consecutive months; except in time of national emergency.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. HAGEL: The war in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the breaking point. When we deploy our military, we have an obligation to ensure that our troops are rested, ready, prepared, fully trained, and fully equipped. Today's Armed Forces are being deployed repeatedly for increasing periods of time. This is quickly wearing down the troops and their families, impacting the mental and physical health of our troops. Further, these deployments are affecting the recruiting and retention rates of the military. For example, the Army reached only a little over 80% of its recruiting goal for June.
This is the second month in a row that the Army has failed to recruit the number of new soldiers needed to fill the ranks. And this is with $1 billion in large cash bonus incentives.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. KYL: Time in theater and dwell times should be a goal, rather than an absolute fixed requirement that becomes the policy of the US military determined by congressional action. By mandating a certain policy for deployment time or dwell time, the Congress is engaged in the most explicit micromanaging of what is obviously a function for the Commander in Chief and military commanders to perform. This is not something Members of Congress are knowledgeable about or would have the ability to dictate in any responsible fashion. It also would be unconstitutional. Clearly, the dwell times of troops or the amount of time in theater is an obligation of the Commander in Chief, not something for the Congress to determine.
Reference: Hagel Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill;
Bill SA2032 to HR1585
; vote number 2007-243
on Jul 11, 2007
Voted YES on implementing the 9/11 Commission report.
Vote on passage of a bill to implement unfinished recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) to fight the war on terror more effectively:
- I: Improving Intelligence and Information Sharing within the Federal Government and with State, Local, and Tribal Governments
- II: Homeland Security Grants
- III: Communications Operability and Interoperability
- IV: Emergency Management Performance Grants Program
- V: Enhancing Security of International Travel
- VI: Privacy and Civil Liberties Matters
- VII: Enhanced Defenses Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
- VIII: Private Sector Preparedness
- IX: Transportation Security Planning and Information Sharing
- X: Incident Command System
- XI: Critical Infrastructure Protection
- XII: Congressional Oversight of Intelligence
- XIII: International Cooperation on Antiterrorism Technologies
- XIV: Transportation and Interoperable Communication
XV: Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention
- XVII: 911 Modernization
- XIX: Advancement of Democratic Values
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
One of the authors of the 9/11 Commission report said, the President's announced strategy should be given a chance to succeed. That is what I think we should do, give this plan a chance to succeed. Our troops in theater, our commanders, and the Iraqi leaders all believe they can see early signs of success in this program, even though it has just begun, and they are cautiously optimistic that it can succeed. I think it would be unconscionable for the Congress, seeing the beginnings of success here, to then act in any way that would pull the rug out from under our troops and make it impossible for them to achieve their mission.
Reference: Improving America's Security Act;
Bill S. 4
; vote number 2007-073
on Mar 13, 2007
Voted NO on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.
Sen. Specter's amendment would strike the provision regarding habeas review. The underlying bill authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. Excerpts from the Senate floor debate:
Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.
Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of
habeas corpus is maintained.
GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.
SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.
Reference: Specter Amendment;
Bill S.AMDT.5087 to S.3930
; vote number 2006-255
on Sep 28, 2006
Voted NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods.
Amendment to provide for congressional oversight of certain Central Intelligence Agency programs. The underlying bill S. 3930 authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. The amendment requires quarterly reports describing all CIA detention facilities; the name of each detainee; their suspected activities; & each interrogation technique authorized for use and guidelines on the use of each such technique.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.
This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.
If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.
We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.
Reference: Rockefeller Amendment;
Bill S.AMDT.5095 to S.3930
; vote number 2006-256
on Sep 28, 2006
Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.
This vote reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act with some modifications (amendments). Voting YEA extends the PATRIOT Act, and voting NAY would phase it out. The official summary of the bill is:
A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
Reference: USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments;
Bill S. 2271
; vote number 2006-025
on Mar 1, 2006
- Some may see the vote we are about to have as relatively trivial. They are mistaken. While the bill we are voting on makes only minor cosmetic changes to the PATRIOT Act, it will allow supporting the PATRIOT Act conference report that was blocked in December. Cosmetic changes simply don't cut it when we are talking about protecting the rights and freedoms of
Americans from unnecessarily intrusive Government powers.
- The White House has tried to make life uncomfortable for Senators. It has suggested they are soft on terrorism, that they don't understand the pressing threat facing this country, that they are stuck in a pre-9/11 mindset. Those attacks should be rejected.
- We can fight terrorism aggressively without compromising our most fundamental freedoms against Government intrusion. The Government grabbed powers it should not have when it passed the original PATRIOT Act and we should not be ratifying that power grab today. The PATRIOT Act reauthorization conference report is flawed. S. 2271 pretends to fix it but I don't think anyone is fooled, least of all our constituents.
- Because the Republican leadership obstructed efforts to improve the bill, the "police state" provisions regarding gag orders remain uncorrected. The Senate should get down to the serious business of legislating real fixes to the PATRIOT Act.
Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
Vote to invoke cloture on a conference report that extends the authority of the FBI to conduct "roving wiretaps" and access business records. Voting YES would recommend, in effect, that the PATRIOT Act be extended through December 31, 2009, and would makes the provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. Voting NO would extend debate further, which would have the effect of NOT extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
Reference: Motion for Cloture of PATRIOT Act;
Bill HR 3199
; vote number 2005-358
on Dec 16, 2005
Voted NO on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism.
Vote to adopt an amendment that makes US businesses and their subsidiaries liable to prosecution for dealing with foreign businesses which have links to terrorism or whose parent country supports terrorism. Voting YES would:
Reference: Stop Business with Terrorists Act of 2005;
Bill S AMDT 1351 to S 1042
; vote number 2005-203
on Jul 26, 2005
- Empower the President under the Trading with the Enemy Act to prohibit US businesses and their subsidiaries from transacting with foreign businesses identified as having links to terrorism.
- Forbid US businesses and their subsidiaries from engaging in transactions with any foreign business whose parent country has been identified as a supporter of international terrorism.
- Require the President to publish a list of foreign businesses identified as having links to terrorism, and bans US ownership or control of foreign businesses engaged in transactions with such businesses.
- Call for US businesses to disclose in their annual reports any ownership stake of at least 10% in a foreign business that is itself engaging in transactions with a proscribed foreign business.
Voted YES on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders.
Amendment intended to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by restoring $565 million in cuts to vital first-responder programs in the Department of Homeland Security, including the State Homeland Security Grant program, by providing $150 million for port security grants and by providing $140 million for 1,000 new border patrol agents.
Reference: State Homeland Security Grant Program Amendment;
Bill S AMDT 220 to S Con Res 18
; vote number 2005-64
on Mar 17, 2005
Voted NO on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would ban nuclear weapons testing six months after ratification by the 44 nations that have nuclear power plants or nucelar research reactors.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Rejected Y)48; N)51; P)1
Reference: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty;
Bill Treaty Document #105-28
; vote number 1999-325
on Oct 13, 1999
Voted NO on allowing another round of military base closures.
Vote on an amendment to allow one round of military base closures beginning in 2001 as determined by an independent panel.
; vote number 1999-147
on May 26, 1999
Voted YES on cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.
The Kerrey (D-NE) amdt would strike bill language requiring that U.S. strategic nuclear forces remain at START I levels through the end of fiscal 2000 unless Russia ratified START II.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)56; N)44
Reference: Motion to table Kerrey Amdt #395;
Bill S. 1059
; vote number 1999-149
on May 26, 1999
Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP.
Vote that the policy of the US is to deploy a National Missile Defense system capable of defending against limited ballistic missile attack as soon as it is technologically possible, and to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces.
Bill S 257
; vote number 1999-51
on Mar 17, 1999
Voted YES on military pay raise of 4.8%.
Vote to pass a bill to authorize a military pay raise of 4.8% in 2000 and annual pay increases through 2006 of 0.5% above the inflation rate. The bill would also provide additional incentives to certain enlisted personnel who remain on active duty.
; vote number 1999-26
on Feb 24, 1999
Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex basic training.
Byrd Amdt (D-WV) that would prohibit same-sex military barracks and basic training.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)39; N)53; NV)8
Reference: Byrd Amdt #3011;
Bill S. 2057
; vote number 1998-180
on Jun 25, 1998
Voted YES on favoring 36 vetoed military projects.
Overturning line-item vetoes of 36 military projects vetoed by President Clinton.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)30; NV)1
Reference: Line Item Veto Cancellation bill;
Bill S. 1292
; vote number 1997-287
on Oct 30, 1997
Voted YES on banning chemical weapons.
Approval of the chemical weapons ban.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Agreed to Y)74; N)26
Reference: Resolution of ratification of the Chemical (Comprehensive) Weapons (Convention) Ban;
Bill S. Res. 75
; vote number 1997-51
on Apr 24, 1997
Small business in developing homeland security technologies.
Collins co-sponsored a resolution on small businesses
Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) small business participation is vital to U.S. defense and should play an active role in assisting the military, Federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and State and local police to combat terrorism through the design and development of innovative products; and (2) Federal, State, and local governments should aggressively seek out and purchase innovative technologies and services from, and promote research opportunities for, American small businesses to help in homeland defense and the fight against terrorism. Passed/agreed to in Senate.
Source: Resolution sponsored by 26 Senators 02-SR264 on May 8, 2002
Rated 0% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.
Collins scores 0% by SANE on peace issues
Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...
As the Pentagonís budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers. At Peace Action our priorities are clear.
- That every person has the right to live without the threat of nuclear weapons.
- That war is not a suitable response to conflict.
- That America has the resources to both protect and provide for its citizens.
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: SANE website 03n-SANE on Dec 31, 2003
Maintain role of women in armed forces in Iraq.
Collins co-sponsored maintaining role of women in armed forces in Iraq
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
Expresses the sense of Congress that:EXCERPTS OF RESOLUTION: Congress makes the following findings:
- women play a critical role in accomplishing the mission of the Armed Forces; and
- there should be no change to existing statutes, regulations, or policy that would have the effect of decreasing the roles or positions available to women in the Armed Forces.
- Women have a prominent role in American military history, with involvement as far back as the American Revolution.
- Opportunities for servicewomen have increased dramatically since 1948, when the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 gave women a permanent place in the Armed Forces.
- The Department of Defense began to expand its programs on women in the Armed Forces in earnest in 1973.
From 1973 to 2005, the number of women as a percentage of the total force of the Armed Forces increased from only 2.5% to approximately 17%, with more than 200,000 women currently serving in the Armed Forces.
- The admission of women to the service academies began in Autumn 1976 and has increased steadily so that women currently comprise approximately 16% to 19% of the incoming class each year at the service academies.
- The current policy excludes women units whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.
It is the sense of Congress that--
- women play a critical role in the accomplishment of the mission of the Armed Forces; and
- there should be no change to existing statutes, regulations, or policy that would have the effect of decreasing the roles or positions available to women in the Armed Forces.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee
Source: Sense of Congress on Women in Combat (S.1134) 05-S1134 on May 26, 2005
Prohibit torture of terrorists in US custody.
Collins co-sponsored prohibiting torture of terrorists in US custody
OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This amendment would ban waterboarding at Guantanamo prison. McCain specifies several international treaties which include bans on waterboarding; and cites "regardless of physical location" to include Guantanamo. McCain cites too that this ban is nothing new; but the US has, in fact, been using waterboarding at Guantanamo.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the custody or control of the United States Government.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This amendment would prohibit cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of persons in the detention of the US Government. The amendment doesn't sound like anything new. That is because it isn't. The prohibition has been a longstanding principle in both law and policy in the United States. All of this seems to be common sense and in accordance with longstanding
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
- No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
- The President may waive the prohibition, on a case-by-case basis, if the President determines that the waiver is required for a military or national security necessity; and submits to Congress timely notice of the exercise of the waiver.
- This shall not be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
- The term "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" means punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, as defined in the UN Convention Against Torture, December 10, 1984.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Proposed amendment withdrawn 11/4/2005.
Source: Defense Authorization Bill (S.AMDT.1556 to S.1042) 05-SP1556 on Jul 25, 2005
Sponsored bill for Iraq budget to be part of defense budget.
Collins introduced requiring Iraq War budget be part of regular defense budget
OnTheIssues.org Explanation: Since the start of both the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, expenditures for those war have been voted for in "emergency supplemental spending bills," instead of in the normal defense spending bill. That implies that the expenditures are unexpectedly high, which may have been true in the early years of the war. This amendment requires regular budgeting for the Afghanistan & Iraq wars.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To require regular budgeting for ongoing military operations.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
- The President's budget for each fiscal year after 2007 shall include--
- a request for funds for such fiscal year for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq;
- an estimate of all funds expected to be required in that fiscal year for such operations; and
- a detailed justification of the funds requested.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote, 98-0, Vote Number: 170.
Source: Defense Authorization Bill (S.AMDT.4242 to S.2766) 06-SP4242 on Jun 14, 2006
Extend reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11.
Collins co-sponsored extending reserve retirement pay parity back to 9/11
Congress makes the following findings:
Source: Reservists Parity for Patriots Act (S.2836/H.R.4930) 07-S2836 on Dec 19, 2007
- Since September 11, 2001, members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces have been sent into harm's way and fought alongside members of the regular components of the Armed Forces.
- Between September 11, 2001, and December 7, 2007, more than 600,000 members of the reserve components have been mobilized in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other contingency operations.
- More than 142,000 members of the reserve components have been mobilized more than once during this same period.
- On December 7, 2007, the conference report for H. R. 1585 offered an earlier retirement benefit for members of the reserve components who are mobilized in support of contingency operations.
The House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to the conference report on December 14, 2007.
- However, the conference report only considers service performed after the date of the enactment, and this effective date fails to recognize the service and sacrifice made by members of the reserve components since September 11, 2001.
Improve mental health care benefits for returning veterans.
Collins co-sponsored improving mental health care benefits for returning veterans
Honoring Our Nation's Obligation to Returning Warriors Act (HONOR Warriors Act): House version is H.R.6268; Senate versions are S.2963 and S.3008. Legislative Summary:
Source: HONOR Warriors Act (H.R.6268) 08-H6268 on Jun 12, 2008
- To improve and enhance the mental health care benefits available to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to enhance counseling and other benefits available to survivors of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes.
- Scholarship program for education and training of behavioral health care specialists for vet centers.
- Eligibility of members of the armed forces who serve in operation Iraqi freedom or operation enduring freedom for counseling and services through vets centers.
Restoration of authority of vets centers to provide referral and other assistance upon request to former members of the armed forces not authorized counseling.
- Treatment of suicides of certain former members of the armed forces as deaths in line of duty for purposes of eligibility of survivors for certain benefits.
- Grants for non-profit organizations for the provision of emotional support services to survivors of members of the armed forces and veterans.
- Pilot programs on awareness enhancement for members of the army regarding post traumatic stress disorder.
Improve educational assistance for veterans.
Collins co-sponsored improving educational assistance for veterans
A bill to improve educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces and veterans in order to enhance recruitment and retention for the Armed Forces.
Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention, and Readjustment Through Education Act of 2008: to develop additional programs to enable members of the Armed Forces to attain a bachelor's degree while pursuing a military career.Congress makes the following findings:
- Increases rates of educational assistance: (1) under the Montgomery GI Bill; (2) for members of the Selected Reserve.
- Provides an annual stipend for individuals receiving basic educational assistance and pursuing a program of education at an approved institution of higher education.
- Allows a member who has completed six years of service to transfer to one or more dependents any unused portion of the member's educational assistance entitlement.
- Authorizes a member on active duty & entitled to basic educational assistance to use all or a portion thereof to repay any outstanding federal student loan.
Makes eligible for enrollment under the Montgomery GI Bill certain retired personnel originally enrolled in the veterans' educational assistance program.
Source: Enhancement of Recruitment ThrU Education Act (S2938/HR5944) 08-S2938 on Apr 29, 2008
- The World War II-era GI Bill assisted almost 8,000,000 members of the Armed Forces in readjusting to civilian life after completing their service to the nation.
- The establishment of the All Volunteer Force in 1973 has produced highly professional Armed Forces.
- The Sonny Montgomery GI Bill was enacted in 1984 to sustain the All Volunteer Force by providing educational benefits to aid in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified personnel.
- The All Volunteer Force depends for its effectiveness and vitality on successful recruiting of highly capable men and women.
- The achievement of educational goals, including obtaining the means to a college degree, has traditionally been a key reason for volunteering for service in the Armed Forces.
$515B for military plus $89B off sequester for wars.
Collins voted YEA National Defense Authorization Act
Congressional Summary: HR 1735: The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes FY2016 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), and military construction. This bill also authorizes appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which are exempt from discretionary spending limits. The bill authorizes appropriations for base realignment and closure (BRAC) activities and prohibits an additional BRAC round.
Wikipedia Summary: The NDAA specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for Fiscal Year 2016. The law authorizes the $515 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $89.2 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO).
Opposition statement by Rep. Gerry Connolly (May 15, 2015): Congressman Connolly said he opposed the bill because it fails to end sequestration, and pits domestic investments
versus defense investments. Said Connolly, "This NDAA uses a disingenuous budget mechanism to circumvent sequestration. It fails to end sequestration."
Support statement by BreakingDefense.com(Sept, 2015): Republicans bypassed the BCA spending caps (the so-called sequester) by shoving nearly $90 billion into the OCO account, designating routine spending as an emergency war expenses exempted from the caps. This gimmick got President Barack Obama the funding he requested but left the caps in place on domestic spending, a Democratic priority. "The White House's veto announcement is shameful," Sen. John McCain said. "The NDAA is a policy bill. It cannot raise the budget caps. It is absurd to veto the NDAA for something that the NDAA cannot do."
Legislative outcome: House rollcall #532 on passed 270-156-15 on Oct. 1, 2015; Senate rollcall #277 passed 70-27-3 on Oct. 7, 2015; vetoed by Pres. Obama on Oct. 22, 2015; passed and signed after amendments.
Source: Congressional vote 15-HR1735 on Apr 13, 2015
Expand health services for women veterans.
Collins signed Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act
A bill to expand and improve health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to:
- report on barriers to the receipt of comprehensive health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encountered by women veterans, especially those of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom;
- provide for an independent study on health consequences for women veterans serving on active duty in deployments in such Operations; and
- report on the employment of full-time managers for women veterans programs at VA medical centers.
Requires the Secretary to:Requires women veterans recently separated from service to be included on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.
- develop a plan to improve the provision of
VA health care services to women veterans;
- carry out a program of education, training, certification, and continuing medical education for mental health professionals providing care for veterans suffering from sexual trauma;
- carry out a pilot program of providing reintegration and readjustment services in group retreat settings to women veterans recently separated from service after a prolonged deployment; and
- carry out a pilot program on subsidies for child care for certain women veterans receiving health care from VA facilities.
Authorizes the Secretary to furnish care to a newborn child of a woman veteran receiving VA maternity care for up to seven days after the birth of the child.
Source: S.597 2009-S597 on Mar 16, 2009
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