We know the tragic story all too well: On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists launched attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., killing 2,977 people, including members of the military, firefighters and police officers. That crystal clear September morning changed our nation forever.
We must never forget the lives that were taken that day. Thousands of innocent people unwillingly became martyrs in the name of freedom, liberty and democracy. For the last 16 years, we have kept up the fight to eliminate terror and preserve our nation’s highest values. We also have had time to reflect and plan for future threats to the homeland.
In June, the House overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act to reauthorize our nation’s military programs and the funding necessary to support them. Despite all of the challenges facing our armed forces around the world, our Army and Navy are the smallest they have been since WWII and our Air Force continues to shrink.
In order to preserve peace and defend ourselves and our allies from threats like Iran, Russia, and North Korea, we have to ensure that our military is equipped with up-to-date technology and undergoes effective training. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to keep this in mind as they discuss NDAA funding this fall.
This week, the House considered and debated appropriations measures for FY18, including funding programs that are integral to our safety and security. Included in our discussion was funding for law enforcement agencies like the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration who require more tools and better infrastructure to deter crime and weed out terrorism on American soil.
To become an even more secure nation, we must do more to protect all of our borders. I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 3548, the Border Security for America Act, which will authorize over $10 billion for increased fencing along the southern border, additional Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection agents, and the authorization of coastal radar surveillance in the Great Lakes Region and other coastal areas.
All of these resources will help us surround our nation with prepared defenders.
September 11, 2011, is a day that we will always remember. But there are important steps that we can take as a nation to ensure that acts of terrorism are stopped.
This Congress, we have already taken steps to secure Americans at home and abroad and protect our homeland for years to come.