National Security and Foreign Affairs
“An America that inspires hope in its ideals is the best complement to an America that inspires awe in its strength. Integrity, generosity, and vision have always been essential cornerstones of our policy and prosperity. We are a more secure America when we rally the world to our side.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
Keeping the American people safe is, perhaps, the most essential role of government and Rep. Adam Schiff has made national security a focus of his service in Congress. As Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a member of the House Foreign Affair Committee from 2001 to 2006, and thereafter as a member of the Appropriations Committee (2007-2014), Schiff has emerged as an articulate voice for a smart, progressive security policy that uses the full range of tools to fight extremism, advance American interests abroad, and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe, while adhering to our values here at home.
Building our Capacity for Diplomacy and Development
Rep. Adam Schiff has long championed expanding the size of the Foreign Service and USAID to expand the American diplomatic presence abroad. America’s diplomats are truly our first line of defense and perform heroic, unsung and often extremely dangerous work on behalf of the American people. Investing more in our foreign affairs and development professionals will greatly expand the ability of the State Department and USAID to perform their vital work on behalf of the nation, and advance our interests abroad.
Reforming Our Nation’s Surveillance Collection Methods
As Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Rep. Adam Schiff has fought to maintain a balance between the gathering of vital intelligence data, and the Constitutional protections that are at the heart of American democracy. Schiff believes that we can do both, and has led efforts in the Congress to end the bulk collection of meta-data and to enact stronger safeguards to protect the privacy of Americans. When it was revealed in 2007 that the Bush Administration had authorized a warrantless wiretapping program, Schiff led the fight to end the program and bring our surveillance efforts in to compliance with the law.
Schiff also introduced a package of reform bills to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) – also known as the FISA Court. One would require the Attorney General to declassify significant court opinions where the Court has interpreted the legal authorities created under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. His second bill would require that the judges on the Court be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. And finally, Schiff introduced legislation to introduce adversarial process to the FISA Court by creating a pool of attorneys and technologists to argue on behalf of privacy and civil liberties in certain cases the court hears.
While the USA Freedom Act proposed and voted on in the Senate contained many of these reforms that Schiff championed, it unfortunately was blocked and did not fully pass. Schiff will continue to use his position on the House Intelligence Committee to push for needed reforms.
America Is Strongest When We Work with Others
Rep. Adam Schiff has long rejected a unilateralist approach to foreign policy, and believes that American security is greatly enhanced by our membership in NATO – which been a cornerstone of American policy for more than 65 years – but which has seen its relevance validated anew in the confrontation with Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.
Schiff also works to enhance our leadership of multilateral institutions like the United Nations (U.N.), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.). Schiff recognizes these institutions, which were created in the aftermath of World War II, are not perfect and that the United Nations is especially in need of serious reform. Nevertheless, they have proven themselves as effective tools of American foreign policy and have been instrumental in helping the United States to work in concert with others on a wide variety of security, development, health, environmental and other issues. Schiff has strongly supported U.S. funding for U.N. peacekeepers, whose blue helmets are a beacon of hope to millions, and who cost the American taxpayer a tiny fraction of what it would cost to deploy our forces in a similar role.
Safeguarding the World’s Most Vulnerable People
In an era of constrained resources, Rep. Adam Schiff has looked to the incredible advancements in global health – new technologies, new vaccines, new interventions – as some of the most economically efficient investments that we can make in terms of reducing the staggering numbers of infant and child deaths in the developing world. Schiff has been especially focused on the “big three” killers of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, all of which take thousands of lives a day, but which are amenable to treatments and therapies. Schiff is especially proud of his support for UNICEF, which has been on the front lines of saving the world’s children for decades, and which was threatened with a complete cut during the FY 2014 appropriation process. Working with colleagues in both the House and Senate, Schiff got the cut reversed.
Disease is not the only threat to vulnerable populations, and the charnel house of Syria’s civil war has created hundreds of thousands of refugees – an almost unmanageable humanitarian catastrophe. Schiff has been pushing for assistance to the refugees, not only through the U.N. and other humanitarian agencies, but also by assisting those countries which have opened their doors to refugees, including Jordan, Lebanon and Armenia.
Reforming Our Nation’s War Authorities, While Confronting Terrorism Abroad
The challenge posed by al Qaeda has splintered – and while the al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and in North Africa have remained loyal to core al Qaeda, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) poses new challenges for region and the world. Rep. Adam Schiff believes that defeating ISIS will require a broad array of strategies, including the limited use of military force. He also believes that any use of force should be authorized by Congress, as required by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, and has introduced a use of force resolution that would give temporary, tailored authority for combat against ISIS in Iraq, and for strikes against ISIL targets in Syria. Second, the measure would harmonize the legal authorities under which the President is authorized to take offensive action by sunsetting the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) immediately and then sunsetting both the new authorities and the 2001 AUMF eighteen months after the enactment of the joint resolution. Third, the resolution does not authorize the use of ground combat forces in Iraq or Syria.
Schiff has also worked to sunset the 2001 AUMF, also known as the 9/11 war on terror authorization. Schiff, along with Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) introduced legislation to sunset the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) by the end of 2014, and calls on the Administration and Congress to work together to determine what new authority, if any, is necessary to protect the country after that time. Schiff has also authored similar amendments to the annual Defense appropriations and authorizing bills. Schiff believes that such authorizations should be phased out, as they have outgrown their original purpose and are stretching the legal realm of credibility.
Climate Change Is a National Security Threat
As scientists continue to predict the effects of climate change, one thing is becoming clearer, a changing climate will affect all of us profoundly and much sooner than we think. Changing weather patterns will intensify weather, change rainfall patterns and drive potentially massive migrations of people over the next decades, possibly leading to increased war, economic breakdown in parts of the globe and social unrest in highly affected areas. For too long, we have avoided making tough decisions that are necessary if we are to mitigate the effects of climate change, but this is a phenomenon that is real and is becoming more apparent with each passing day. As a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, Schiff is focused on addressing the problem of climate change before it’s too late.