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Intel Ranking Member Schiff Statement on Floor in Support of 2018 and 2019 Intelligence Authorization Act

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Washington, July 12, 2018 | comments

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on the House Floor in support of the bipartisan 2018 and 2019 Intelligence Authorization Act. During his speech, Schiff stated:

“This bill that advances our national security, reinforces the principle of congressional oversight, and honors our values as a nation.  I urge the support of the House and look forward to considering amendments that will make a good bill even better.”

The full speech can be found here, or read below:

As delivered:

I join the Chairman in urging support for the combined 2018 and 2019 Intelligence Authorization Act, which has been named in honor of Matthew Young Pollard, a Senate Intelligence Committee staffer who recently passed away, leaving behind a young son and bereaved colleagues both in the Senate and here in the House.

For well over a year now, considerable attention has been focused on the House Intelligence Committee and the profound disagreements that we have had about the Russia investigation.   Those differences remain and the American people should know that my Democratic colleagues on the Intelligence Committee and I continue the important work of investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

Despite our disagreements over Russia with the Majority, however, I have consistently and publicly maintained that the Committee must seek to cordon off our disagreements over the investigation and continue on with our other work on as bipartisan a basis as possible. 

We owe the tens of thousands of men and women in the intelligence community nothing less – not only because they put themselves at personal risk every day, but also because their work is so important to the country that it demands shared responsibility and oversight of the Congress.

The Intelligence Committee has a history of producing bipartisan bills, even under difficult political circumstances.   I am pleased that our staffs worked to reach a mutually acceptable final text and to weed out provisions that would have made it impossible to move forward jointly.

Much of the Committee’s oversight work as reflected in the bill is classified, but we can discuss some of the 2018-2019 IAA’s elements openly, including the fact that the bill:

  • Helps to better ensure that our elections are free from interference or manipulation.  This is essential to our democracy and the bill includes important provisions that continue the work that we have been doing in the Committee – during the course of our work on the Russia Investigation and as a part of our normal oversight - to maintain the integrity of our election system.
  • Provides funding to our Intelligence Community in order to meet all threats, from terrorism to nation-state actors.  The bill authorizes funding across a wide range of endeavors that will allow the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense to not only respond to threats, but to preempt them.
  • The bill takes steps to prevent a repeat of the Russian active measures campaign that targeted our 2016 election by including a Minority-authored provision requiring a briefing to key Congressional leaders, including some members of the Intelligence Committee, if the United States faces a significant foreign cyber intrusion or active measures campaign directed at a federal election.
  • Ensures that America’s technological advantage remains a priority for our intelligence services.  As such, the bill resources and directs efforts that will promote our advantages across a range of cutting-edge domains from space to artificial intelligence.
  • It enhances transparency and allows public access to certain work of the IC.  The bill reauthorizes for ten years the Public Interest Declassification Board, which advises the President and executive branch agencies on the review and declassification of IC records of historical importance.
  • The bill includes Minority provisions related to parental leave, student loan repayment, and diversity and inclusiveness that are intended to make an exceptional workforce even better. In the end, the men and women who serve in the Intelligence Community and Defense Department are the most important factor in the success of our national security. 

There are many other provisions in the bill that will build on the work of past years and move us further along technical and other pathways to meet new challenges and those still on the horizon. 

This bill that advances our national security, reinforces the principle of congressional oversight, and honors our values as a nation.  I urge the support of the House and look forward to considering amendments that will make a good bill even better.

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