Schiff Responds to President’s State of the Union Address

By On January 21, 2015

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), released the following statement in reaction to the President’s State of the Union address this evening before Congress:

“Tonight, the President laid out his vision for an improved economy and help for the middle class.  While our economy is far better than it was in the midst of the Great Recession, we still have a long way to go – and by addressing wage stagnation, making education affordable to all and investing in our middle class, we can ensure that a strengthening economy brings prosperity to all families. By reforming our tax code and helping expand opportunity for the middle class, we can generate rising incomes and give everyone the chance to succeed.

“The President also addressed the complex national security challenges facing the country more than a decade after 9/11 and years after the death of Osama Bin Laden. The President appealed to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIS and this is vital – but make no mistake, this is a debate and vote that should have taken place five months ago when we first began strikes against ISIS in Syria and began deploying troops to Iraq. The Administration must resist the impulse to seek an authorization that is overly broad, without geographic limitation, a prohibition on the use of American troops in a combat mission, or a meaningful sunset date not subject to unilateral administrative extension. In light of the longevity and extraordinarily broad interpretation given the two existing AUMF’s, the Congress should not grant this or any future administration authority carte blanch.

“By addressing cybersecurity legislation in his highest profile speech of the year, the President acknowledged what many of us already know – that the vulnerability of our nation’s businesses and critical infrastructure must be addressed, and addressed soon.  For too long, our companies, families and government have been vulnerable to criminals, hackers, and a broad range of state and non-state actors  – and there is much more we need to do. I’m looking forward to working with the Administration to craft cyber-threat information sharing legislation that addresses these risks, while maintaining our privacy and civil liberties.

“The President must also continue to press for important reforms of the metadata program and FISA Court, both of which are essential to maintaining a proper balance between privacy and security, and which he alluded to in tonight’s speech. In addition to working with Congress, the President should take steps within his own authority to reform our surveillance programs, including ending the bulk collection of domestic phone records in favor of phone companies retaining their own data which could be queried on a case by case basis.

“These economic and national security challenges are real and we can meet them, provided we are willing to work together in a bipartisan way. I am determined to do my part, and hope that this Congress can become one of the most productive in years.”