Opening Statement for Chairman Ron Johnson for Business Meeting Feb. 10, 2016

As submitted for the record:

Good morning.  

With 14 pieces of legislation and one nomination on the agenda, our business meeting today is ambitious. The legislation we will consider is the product of collective work toward our committee’s mission: to enhance the economic and national security of all Americans.  

At the beginning of this Congress I outlined countering violent extremism, or CVE, as one of this committee’s top five priorities. So I am pleased that three bills that we are marking up today address a heightened homeland threat from violent extremism, as demonstrated by recent attacks and arrests related to ISIS-inspired homegrown terrorism. The Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2016 requires the president to present to Congress a comprehensive strategy to counter and prevent online radicalization that, in December 2011, he committed to develop but has not yet produced. The absence of this strategy has allowed ISIS to use social media to incite homegrown violent extremists. In an effort to amend this deficiency by leveraging the credible voices of millennial peers, the Countering Online Recruitment of Violent Extremists Act of 2015 encourages students at DHS-affiliated universities to develop technology-based solutions for countering online terrorist recruitment and radicalization. Finally, a bill authorizing a DHS Office of Partnerships Against Violent Extremism will streamline department efforts against the threat to the homeland from violent extremists.

The other half of our agenda today is focused on reducing the federal government’s wasteful spending. One particular bill that I am proud to cosponsor, the Administrative Leave Act of 2016, is an example of the kind of bipartisan, common-sense reforms we can make when we come together to solve a problem.  Senators Tester, Grassley, Carper and I have worked for months to structure a bill that will save taxpayers millions of dollars by no longer paying federal employees to stay home while investigations linger for years. Other reforms we will vote on today protect whistleblowers, reduce duplicative programs, and modernize the way our former presidents and their family are paid.

I am proud that our committee continues to find areas of agreement to move the country forward, and thank the members and their staff for their hard work.