WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) penned an op-ed for The Advocate in remembrance of the thousands of Americans who lost their lives in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. As we remember and honor these Americans today, Scalise emphasized that Congress has worked diligently to bolster the country’s national security to prevent future attacks on America.
Read the full op-ed here or below.
Seventeen years ago, we experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our history. Thousands of Americans — mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters — lost their lives in that attack on American liberty and democracy. We will never forget those we lost in the attack or those who sacrificed their lives to save others. Sept. 11, 2001, and the days following, demonstrated the full strength and bravery of the American people and proved that our spirit will never be broken.
As we remember and honor these heroes today, I want to emphasize our continued vigilance in Congress, in our military, and throughout our communities to protect our country from suffering another attack like this again. We must remain committed to defeating those who seek to destroy American ideals at home and abroad. Working with President Donald Trump, this Congress has taken strong action to rebuild our military, secure our borders, and support law enforcement officers who keep our communities safe.
I have worked diligently with Trump and my House colleagues to re-affirm our commitment to those who are charged with protecting our nation. In fiscal year 2018, we funded our military at the highest level since the beginning of the war on terror. We dramatically strengthened military readiness and increased our investment in training so our men and women in uniform are better prepared to carry out their mission. This includes funds to provide the highest pay raise for our troops in eight years, improve missile defense capabilities, build new ships and aircraft, upgrade combat vehicles, and further develop new defense technologies. This renewed commitment has set our military on a path to recovery, and I will continue to fight to provide our troops the training and equipment they need to fight our enemies overseas.
Working with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, my House colleagues and I have advanced legislation DHS needs to more effectively do its job protecting our nation. Since last year, the House has passed 104 bipartisan bills aimed at securing America’s borders, defending against terrorism, and providing DHS the tools and resources it needs to better protect American families. These bills seek to secure our borders to stem the flow of illegal immigration, enhance cybersecurity to protect critical infrastructure, bolster security at our airports, and strengthen the resilience of our ports and waterways to facilitate commerce.
Sadly, in politics, memories are often too short, and there are some in Washington calling for the abolishment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency formed to protect the interior of our country from foreign terrorists and gangs. In fact, last year alone, ICE agents saved more than 900 children from human trafficking and sexual assault. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, the harsh reality is that not all people who come to America have our best interests at heart. A harsh reminder of 9/11 is that it is all too easy for our immigration system to be abused. It is critical that we know who is in our country and that our laws are enforced. I am proud to have cosponsored House Resolution 990 by U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins supporting the brave men and women of ICE who risk their lives every day carrying out this important mission. Their role in keeping us safe cannot be overstated.
Trump and our Republican Congress are committed to ensuring the safety of America’s homeland. Each year, this day serves as a solemn reminder of just what is at stake and why we must do all in our power to prevent another terrorist attack. We are blessed to live in this great country, but we must never let our guard down or take our freedoms for granted.