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tv   House Republican Task Force on Counterterrorism News Conference  CSPAN  December 3, 2015 11:20pm-11:39pm EST

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that's why this legislation is so important. it will strengthen the visa waiver program, not abolish it, but strengthen it to keep terrorists from reaching our shores and entering into our homeland and as was mentioned, there are specific designated countries, particularly those with terrorist concerns that you will have to -- you'll be required to get a visa before you enter the united states. you will not receive a waiver. that is the importance -- i think that's the immediacy. that's the emergency concern that we have and that's why we're pushing this -- be on the floor next tuesday and i want to commend the leader for bringing this forward but also the bipartisan nature that candice miller cultivated on the committee to pass it unanimously but also for this thing to pass in a bipartisan manner on both sides of the aisle of the house, which is why we -- how we should conduct business on matters of
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national security. thank you. mr. mccarthy: chairman of foreign affairs, ed royce. mr. royce: thank you. our main objective here, obviously, is to keep the american people safe. and the challenge that we have -- and i recently had an opportunity to speak to a number of authorities in europe about this problem. the challenge we have is that over 5,000 foreign fighters with passports have traveled to syria but then traveled back into europe. and so the question for the european government, they're frankly in a conundrum here because they don't have the personnel to be able to monitor and follow all of those suspected of terrorism and many of those who've traveled to syria and traveled back. so the point of this legislation is to make certain we don't end up fast tracking the ability of people who have that european passport to come in the united
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states, to fly into new york or some other capital or some other major american city and carry out the same types of attacks here that they're planning right now in europe. and this will give us the capacity, also, through this system to discover those stolen passports and also those forged passports that are often being used as we put these new controls into effect. so i think it frankly strengthens the visa waiver system. that system is important for our economy, but right now in terms of security, the europeans have made it clear to us, the conundrum they face and it's incumbent, i think, upon us to make sure we don't have the same difficulty here. thank you. mr. mccarthy: and chairman of financial services, jeb hensarling. mr. hensarling: well, clearly as a congress we have no more important or sacred responsibility than to protect the american people from all
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enemies, foreign and domestic. under the leadership of speaker ryan and leader mccarthy, the house has moved quickly and deliberately to first deal with the challenge of the syrian refugee situation and now with the great leadership of chairman miller, we will soon deal obviously with the even greater challenge of the visa waiver program. as chairman of the house financial services committee, we have already held a half a dozen different hearings on the subject of terrorist financing, and at the appropriate time we look forward to working with our leadership in bringing legislation to help crimp the financial fuel line to terrorism. mr. mccarthy: i want to thank everybody part of the task force. i know we've been in a short time but this is the second piece of legislation coming forward, both of them bipartisan. this will be put on suspension with the support it has on both sides. want part i want to emphasize. 5,000 western passport holders have traveled to iraq or syria.
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this is why this is needed now to be able to combat this. i know conference went long. i can only take a few questions. >> is this will end up in the omnibus bill or will this be separate? mr. mccarthy: i want this to become law. any avenue for it to become law whatever it takes. >> do you expect the white house to support it? mr. mccarthy: yes. >> i wonder why there weren't democrats present with you. and if you have a comment on what happened in california? mr. mccarthy: first, i'll take california, of course. what we watched, unbelievable. our prayers, our thoughts, we would not want that to happen anyplace in america. i don't know, yet, of why it took place. i don't think it may be, from
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what it's trending to, the information we're getting, i want to make sure we get all the information out. maybe that's something that this task force has to look at as well, but as of right now, our hearts and prayers go to the families and the lost victims and also to those first responders, putting their lives on the line too in the videos we see coming out. we want to make sure we get all the information. as the speaker talked about earlier this week, we have been working with and we had a markup on tim murphy's bill dealing with mental health. there had been a theme through a lot of the other shootings. i don't know yet if that theme's coming out of this one. it could be motivated in a different manner to have the go pro, to have the flack jacket. that seems very well planned. we just worked with murphy before. there needs to be an overhaul of our mental health program. yes. >> one of the things the democrats talked a lot about in the wake of the paris attacks is folks on watch list are still able to buy firearms.
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is that something this task force is going to take up? mr. mccarthy: we will look at all items when it comes to -- and the uniqueness of why this task force was put together and you see so much expertise from so many committees and the work, we have to think differently knowing the way the terrorists think and the way they look at. looking at any gaps or any vulnerabilities that we have out there. you asked another part of your question. i apologize. we have worked with steny hoyer and his staff throughout. we had had this scheduled prior, just the task force, but in is bipartisan work. >> you talked about addressing mental health issues. democrats also want to lift the ban on medical research on gun violence. it's been in spending bills. is that something you'll consider? mr. mccarthy: you know, it hasn't been brought up to me yet. >> trying to put it in the omnibus? mr. mccarthy: hal is not here. he's working on the omni. we will have the committee do
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the majority of that work. last question. >> the economic impact of the visa waiver program, changes. i'm sure a lot of tourists come to california. are you concerned about this at all? mr. mccarthy: not with this bill. correct me if i'm wrong, u.s. travel supports this bill. we wanted to make sure we found common ground, protect the united states and have people come to america because we want them to. we want them to enjoy the freedoms, go to the attractions. we want to make sure that terrorists do not come to the united states and i think this bill is the first step in the right direction. thank you, all, very much. iraq, syria, iran and sudan.
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>> on the washington journal we discuss sending special operations into iraq and syria to help against the fight against isis. our guest is linda robinson. alicia green on the debate in congress over e-mail privacy. numberamerica by the segment a look at trends in crime and violence in schools. we will talk to thomas snyder on education statistics.
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on capitol hill, senate democrats reacted to the shootings in san bernardino, california. this is half an hour. it begins with senator chuck schumer of new york. senator schumer: before we begin today, i would like us all to pause for a brief moment to honor the victims of the tragedy in san bernandino. well, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and
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families, but as senator murphy pointed out yesterday, our thoughts and prayers are not even close to enough. it is also a time to act. this country is dangerously close to falling into a new normal where mass shootings of children, of health care workers, of moms and dads, brothers and sisters is commonplace. is this the kind of country we want to be? is that the kind of country we want our children to grow up in? mothers should not have to bury their daughters because congress doesn't have the courage to act. a husband shouldn't get a call that his wife was killed in the classroom because republicans in
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congress don't have the courage to challenge the n.r.a. enough is enough. and senate democrats are not waiting one more day. today's the day we act. later today, we will be filing several amendments to the pending reconciliation bill that would strip out this political charade of a bill and replace it with meaningful gun safety legislation that the president would actually sign. we will have votes later today on these amendments and the entire country will know where every member of the senate stands on tightening background checks on keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists and on strengthening and improving mental health in this country. the scourge of gun violence that has swept through this country in recent years has snuffed
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thousands upon thousands of lives. it is an epidemic that must be addressed head on and that means keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have guns. that's what almost everyone in america believes. but a few who happen to be senators vowing to the power of the gun lobby have stopped the will of the american people from being enacted. enough. enough. enough. i saw yesterday in california, the people were being led out of the room by a police officer who said, don't worry, they were afraid bullets were coming and the police officer said, don't worry, i'll take the bullet for you. we shouldn't have a scene like that anymore. we just shouldn't.
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so, that's what these votes later today are about. it's time for republican colleagues to summon the courage to stare down the n.r.a. and side with an overwhelming majority of americans and gun owners and pass gun safety legislation today. now we'll hear from the members who have bills or amendments that we will bring up. first is somebody who has been the leader on this issue for now over two decades, senator feinstein. fine fine -- senator: i want to say i spoke last night to the mayor of san bernandino and extend our deep sympathy and done dolens and i didn't extend anger, which i feel, because here we are again gathered to mourn the victims of yet another mass shooting.
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this time it's our home state, barbara, where at least 14 were killed and 21 now wounded. and again, we're talking about what congress can do or candidly what congress should have done years ago but refused to stand up to the gun lobby. so far in 2015, there had been 355 mass shootings. we are currently in the 336th day of the year. that means on average there has been more than one mass shooting per day. that statistic should stun us all and what is shocking to see that it has become normal and that's a very sad statement about this country. the common denominator of this is easy access to guns and
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that's no surprise given how many firearms there are in this country. in fact, more guns than people. the day after thanksgiving, black friday, the federal background check system ran more than 185,000 background checks. that's in one day of people seeking to buy a weapon. so that's at least 185,000 potential gun purchases. and the figures don't include purchases at gun shows or online. we sell many guns and so few checks. it's no surprise that guns fall into the wrong hands. the bill, i believe, that is going to be before the floor hopefully today is entitled denying firearms and explosives to dangerous terrorists. the bill is the definition of a no-brainer. if someone is too dangerous to board an aircraft, they are too
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dangerous to buy a gun. i introduced the bill in february the same day that republican peter king introduced the bill in the house and the bill itself was developed by george bush's justice department. simply put, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. today, under federal law, an individual is blocked from buying a gun if that person falls into one of nine categories on the national instant background check system. i had it here and i wanted to show you the nine categories. this is it. and these are the categories. i have some -- i have been convicted by a crime, fugitive from justice, unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance, has been adjudicated as a mental defecttive or committed to mental institutions. one thing that is left out of this, suspected of an act of terrorism or a terrorist. and that's what this bill would

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