Accountability is a necessity

Should a Chinese, state-controlled firm be allowed to purchase critical infrastructure and assets in the United States?

Chinese investment in the United States has multiplied tenfold over the past 6 years. In 2010, Chinese investment activity in the U.S. was $2 billion. This year, it’s an estimated $20 billion investment. Many of these investments come from Chinese government-owned or affiliated entities.

Yet the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is responsible for reviewing the potential national security implications of foreign investments, has not been substantially updated since the 1970s. With a rise of technology and information warfare, coupled with a rise in foreign state-owned enterprises, the national security and strategic landscape is much different now than 40 years ago.

In response to these emerging threats, this week I wrote the Government Accountability Office requesting a report on whether CFIUS statutory and administrative authorities have kept pace with the growing scope of foreign acquisitions in strategically important sectors in the United States. A bipartisan coalition of 15 Congressional leaders co-signed my request.

The evolving nature of possible national security threats requires that both the Executive Branch and Congress revisit the CFIUS process to determine whether it is fully empowered to address these concerns.

Accountability at the VA

What do you think would happen if you failed to do your job? There would likely be consequences, and you might get fired. Unfortunately, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, we’ve seen very little of that kind of accountability.

We are sadly familiar with recent issues at the VA, including long lines, poor care, and even vital exams being performed by unqualified personnel. We must restore accountability and transparency at the VA, so this week, I urged my colleagues to support the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act (H.R. 5620), which I co-sponsored.

— Authorizes the VA Secretary to fire or demote employees for poor performance or misconduct, and reduce pensions for VA executives convicted of job-related felonies.

— Reforms the VA appeals process by providing veterans the option of an expedited appeal.

— Streamlines the whistleblower process and provides new protections for whistleblowers.

We owe our brave veterans a debt we can never repay. As a small token of our gratitude, we have the privilege of providing veterans with appropriate care and benefits. Too often, the care provided at the VA expresses the opposite of gratitude, and does not demonstrate the privilege of serving others. As your Congressman, I’m working to restore accountability and transparency at the VA to fix these problems.

Accountability at GITMO

For nearly eight years, President Obama has attempted to fulfill a campaign promise at the expense of our national security by trying to close our terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. This week, a new report from the Director of National Intelligence showed two more detainees previously released from Guantanamo Bay have reengaged in terrorist activity. These two are just the latest in a string of multiple other detainees who have been released and rejoined terrorist organizations.

As chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, I remain committed to making sure terrorists remain behind bars. On Thursday, I helped pass legislation to prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay.

President Obama has never acknowledged the threat of radical Islamist terrorists. His policies regarding Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Syria illustrate either inept understanding of the intentions of America’s adversaries, or worse, a very misguided view of evil and how it should be addressed.

Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-9th District) is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, vice chairman of the Financial Services Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, and serves on the House Financial Services Committee, with a special focus on supporting small businesses, community banks, and credit unions.
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