facebook linkedin twitter

Blue Dogs Urge Congress to Respond to Russian Bounties Reports

July 28, 2020 by Dan McCue
Russia's President Vladimir Putin while giving the 15th annual end-of-year news conference at the World Trade Centre in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Metzel/TASS via ZUMA Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats is urging the chamber to take up two measures aimed at responding to reports of a Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

In a statement released Tuesday, the coalition notes that in the month since the initial reports of the plot were published, multiple congressional Democrats, including several Blue Dogs, have introduced legislation to respond to this activity.

During the same period it says, not a single congressional Republican has come forward with comparable legislation, nor has the Trump administration taken steps to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable.

“It’s inexcusable that, more than a month since credible reports emerged that the Russian government is deliberately targeting our troops through proxies, congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration have failed to act,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, the Blue Dog Coalition’s co-chair for Administration. 

“When the lives of American service members are threatened, our leaders must put country over party and respond appropriately to this aggression,” Murphy said.

The coalition is specifically urging Congress to take legislative action by bringing the DEFEND Act and the SMART Act to the House floor for a vote.

The DEFEND Act, introduced by Murphy, and Blue Dog Coalition member Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, would require the Director of National Intelligence to swiftly brief key members of Congress if the agency determines, with moderate or high confidence, that a foreign government is deliberately seeking to kill or severely injure U.S. service members.

This would enable Congress to take appropriate action to deter and respond to such conduct, the coalition said.

The SMART Act would require the U.S. Department of State to determine if the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. 

The legislation, which is a companion to bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey, requires the State Department to determine within 90 days and report to Congress whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a State Sponsor of terror under United States law.

The bill was introduced in the House by the co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security, Reps. Max Rose of New York, and Kendra Horn of Oklahoma.

“If our men and women in uniform are being targeted by foreign nations abroad, we must work together in a nonpartisan manner to hold those responsible to account,” Rep. Cunningham said. “The DEFEND Act will ensure Congress has access to the information necessary to protect American lives.”

Rep. Horn said for her, “even the mere possibility of Russian bounties is deeply troubling.”

“The Administration should be doing everything in their power to stand up for our troops and if their policy of close relations with Putin keeps them from doing so, it falls to Congress to hold bad actors accountable,” she said.

Rose agreed.

“If the Administration won’t take necessary action by themselves, Congress should. Our troops deserve better than to brush it under the rug and forget about it as just another news cycle,” he said.

Geopolitics

Fiona Hill, a Nobody to Trump and Putin, Saw Into Them Both

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vladimir Putin paid scant attention to Fiona Hill, a preeminent U.S. expert on Russia, when she was... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vladimir Putin paid scant attention to Fiona Hill, a preeminent U.S. expert on Russia, when she was seated next to him at dinners. Putin's people placed her there by design, choosing a "nondescript woman," as she put it, so the Russian president would... Read More

CIA creates Working Group on China as Threats Keep Rising

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA said Thursday it will create a top-level working group on China as part of a... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA said Thursday it will create a top-level working group on China as part of a broad U.S. government effort focused on countering Beijing's influence.  The group will become one of fewer than a dozen mission centers operated by the CIA, with... Read More

Tensions Flare as Chinese Flights Near Taiwan Intensify

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — With record numbers of military flights near Taiwan over the last week, China has been showing... Read More

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — With record numbers of military flights near Taiwan over the last week, China has been showing a new intensity and military sophistication as it steps up its harassment of the island it claims as its own and asserts its territorial ambitions in... Read More

September 30, 2021
by Kate Michael
Former CIA Official Knows Havana Syndrome is Real, Because He Has It

WASHINGTON — Just as the CIA was reportedly evacuating an intelligence officer in Serbia who had injuries consistent with Havana... Read More

WASHINGTON — Just as the CIA was reportedly evacuating an intelligence officer in Serbia who had injuries consistent with Havana Syndrome, guests of Harvard University’s Intelligence Project were asserting that brain injuries from “a new form of asymmetric deniable warfare” aren’t just tricks of the mind. ... Read More

U.S. Military Commanders Assure Senate They Are Ready for Terrorism

WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to military commanders who testified to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. They acknowledged that the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal was disappointing after 20 years of war.  A suicide... Read More

September 27, 2021
by Dan McCue
Decision to Keep Land Border with Canada Closed Roils Lawmakers

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration’s decision to extend travel restrictions at its land border with Canada is causing consternation among... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration’s decision to extend travel restrictions at its land border with Canada is causing consternation among some members of Congress. The White House announced the decision to continue to bar nonessential travel by land between the two countries last week, just as... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top