Capitol Hill reacts to Brussels terror attacks
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) —
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are reacting to the terror attacks that have killed dozens, and injured hundreds of others in Brussels.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D - Florida) spoke with Sinclair, echoing the president's comments expressing solidarity with the people of Belgium.
"We will not succumb to these terrorist acts," she said.
"Recently, the Congress did tighten up visa laws here so it makes it harder for folks to come into the country from Europe who have visited places like Syria and Iraq."
Frankel expressed her support of President Obama, saying "The war on terror is taking place in the world, and I believe our president is moving in the right direction."
"First of all, we have to try to stop the terrorism in Syria and Iraq, we're doing that with international partners."
She reminded people to work with authorities, "It's very important that everyone cooperate, and if you see something suspicious, you should report it to law enforcement."
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D - Wisconsin) tweeted her thoughts, saying "America stands with our European allies and our hearts are with the people of #Brussels."
Sen. Mark Kirk also used Twitter to express his opinions on the terror in Europe.
"The #US stands with #Belgium and the victims of the terror attacks in #Brussels this morning. #PrayForBelgium," he said.
"Need to look at vulnerabilities at home incl. the threat that we can't safely screen out #ISIS terrorists infiltrating refugee flows," he said.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D - Maryland) released a statement, also condemning the attacks.
"I express my sincere condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones. Brussels is the 'Capital of Europe,' which many Europeans consider home. We all stand in solidarity with our friends across the continent as they once again face the scourge of terrorism. The U.S. should provide all necessary assistance as Belgian authorities work to bring those responsible to justice."
Rep. Will Hurd (R- Texas), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, said it's time to keep the pressure on ISIS, as they claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels.
"Just yesterday [Monday] the House passed legislation on the screening and admittance law that makes sure that this administration has a coordinated approach to stopping terrorists, and that we double down on our supports - our European colleagues," he said in an interview with Sinclair.
"The problem is, this is because of Syria and Iraq. We've allowed ISIS to train, equip, and plan unencumbered in Syria."
Rep. Hurd said that while he hasn't heard of any potential threats to the U.S., "this is priority number for all of our agencies to make sure we keep the homeland safe."
"We are going to continue to act to make sure that the men and women that are charged with keeping us safe every single day have all the tools they need to do their job."
On the topic of protecting "soft targets" like airports and public transportation systems, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R- Montana) said securing the borders was critical in this goal.
"You can't turn a blind eye when incidences, or people know about it - in the case of Brussels - where an individual knew, they knew that this individual was there, I'm sure they did. And yet, people turn a blind eye," he told Sinclair.
"I think we need to be prudent, vigilant, and we need to all do our part as Americans to make sure it doesn't happen here."
Rep. Elizabeth Etsy (D- Connecticut) said she believes the way to protect innocent lives is to invest in intelligence.
"I think a lot of what we can really do is more on the intelligence side. It's not trying to stop it once it's going, but in fact to get good intelligence about how do we know what's happening, how do we stop the plots before they come to completion," she told Sinclair.
"That's got to be the goal...We have soft targets in the U.S. We can't live in a society where we create everything into a fortress. Instead, we have to figure out how to use our smarts, how to use our intelligence and our soft power as well as our hard power to make the world safer."
Sen. Tim Kaine (D- Virginia) released a statement which in part stated, "From today's attacks in Belgium to the recent attacks in Turkey and Ivory Coast, it's clear that ISIL and other terrorist organizations remain a serious threat to the daily lives of many around the world. These attacks underscore the need for increased intelligence and security coordination among all nations to root out extremist violence and to fight back against those who seek to inflict harm on civilians."
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R- N.C.), the Chairman of the Congressional Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare , said surveillance, and cutting off funds are key to preventing such attacks.
"Two things, we must intercept the communications, the data. We need to know who's contacting who and what that conversation's about. We must intercept their funding."
Pittenger said ISIS requires "enormous funding," that is mostly gathered through criminal acts like the drug trade, and selling oil over the black market.