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Friday, December 01, 2006

Pelosi's Choice: Reyes

Bypassing Harman whether for political or personal reasons, Pelosi hands the lead of the House Intelligence committee to Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. Conflicting articles about Reyes from and Reuters led me to look further into his voting record.


In an interview this month, Reyes said he will insist on more information about the Bush administration's most classified programs and how they are working. The Republicans, he said, have made a habit of rubber-stamping those programs.

He also wants to look at the role of intelligence three years after the war in Iraq and the state of traditional spycraft, now referred to as "human intelligence."

"We haven't required or haven't had the administration give us the details, evaluation or plan of how these classic programs are functioning," he said.

Reyes is considered less partisan than Hastings, and signaled that the day after the election when he praised the selection of former CIA Director Robert Gates to replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Reyes noted that Gates served in Republican and Democratic administrations, giving him a bipartisan background. "I do look forward to hearing from him and what his ideas are," he said, particularly on the administration's new direction in Iraq.

Reyes believes that the U.S. must increase its military strength to face the current threats in Iraq, that the Bush administration must forge better alliances, and that Iraqi militias must be disbanded. "We cannot and we should not tolerate these private armies with these warlords," he said.

Then Reuters headlines their article "Anti-Iraq war Rep. to head House intelligence panel".

Iraq war opponent Silvestre Reyes will become chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee when Democrats take control of Congress in January, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.

In choosing Reyes, a former border patrol agent and Vietnam War veteran, Pelosi skipped over two more senior Democrats to head the committee.

The top-ranking Democrat on the panel, California Rep. Jane Harman, has had strained relations with Pelosi, and the next in line, Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, is a former federal judge who was ousted from that post after allegations of corruption.

Pelosi said of Reyes: "When tough questions are required, whether they relate to intelligence shortcomings before the 9/11 attacks or the war in Iraq, or to the quality of intelligence on Iran or North Korea, he does not hesitate to ask them."

So, in looking further into his voting record, Reyes does tend to go his own way which leads me to believe he will be inherently fair and a very important thing here is he is not one of these former military men that came back and turned anti-military to say awful things about our troops. He actually shows respect for our troops, unlike a few others.

Congressman Reyes introduces legislation to honor those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military personnel serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns would receive the full honors they deserve under legislation introduced today.

Currently, the Administration is planning to award one medal - the “Global War on Terrorism” medal - to all those involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso), Congressman Vic Snyder (D-AR), and Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT) introduced legislation to authorize separate campaign medals for military personnel who have participated and are participating in the Afghanistan and Iraq operations. The President and the Pentagon would be charged with determining who would receive these medals.

“The embattled soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company fought in Iraq to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and search out his weapons of mass destruction,” said Reyes. Their ambush and imprisonment - and the experiences of all those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - should be adequately recognized. In past wars, millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have received combat medals that have held intense meaning for them. Soldiers who fought and are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a medal of equal significance,” said Reyes.

“As a Vietnam veteran and former Marine, I know the incredible pride and sense of accomplishment our military personnel feel about how well they have done in our most recent wars,” said Snyder. “Whatever one thinks about the Iraq war, our people in uniform did what their country asked of them and they did it very well. Congress should recognize their accomplishments, and I am very pleased that Mr. Simmons and Mr. Reyes have joined me in introducing this important legislation,” said Snyder.

Reyes, Snyder and Simmons are all Vietnam veterans and members of the House Armed Services Committee. Reyes and Simmons served in the Army, while Snyder was a Marine.

I SOOOOO applaud that.

His record on Homeland Security is also mixed:

Voted YES on deploying SDI. (Mar 1999)
Voted YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill. (Jul 1999)
Voted YES on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns. (Jul 2002)
Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. (Oct 2004)
Voted YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses. (Feb 2005)
Voted NO on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight. (Apr 2006)

On Principles and Values:

New Democrat: "Third Way" instead of left-right debate. (Nov 2000)

Not a bad vote there!!!!

His voting record on taxes is far less impressive:

Voted NO on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Dec 2005)
Voted YES on providing tax relief and simplification. (Sep 2004)
Voted NO on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. (May 2004)
Voted YES on permanently eliminating the marriage penalty. (Apr 2004)
Voted NO on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)
Voted NO on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts. (Oct 2001)
Voted NO on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years. (May 2001)
Voted NO on eliminating the Estate Tax ("death tax"). (Apr 2001)
Voted NO on eliminating the "marriage penalty". (Jul 2000)
Voted NO on $46 billion in tax cuts for small business. (Mar 2000)
Rated 21% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)

Then again, being a Democrat, you have to sort of expect the tax voting record.

His voting record on Abortion:

Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
Voted YES on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
Voted NO on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)
Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
Rated 30% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)

His voting record on Civil Rights:

Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998)
Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender. (Mar 2001)
Rated 64% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

Voted yes on the patriot Act being made permanent, one example of how he votes for what he believes instead of following along like a robot with "party lines".

All in all, Reyes seems to be a fair choice, and he has his own opinions and stands by them.

Anyone that has read this blog consistently knows I do not have much respect for Pelosi and her Murtha debacle, her preference for Hastings and her direct lies about implementing the 9/11 commissions recommendations, via Sister Toldjah.

Those that would not categorize them as lies, read this then try to fly that kite elsewhere.

Nancy Pelosi, 9/13/2006 in a press release talking about 9-11, and chastizing the Congress for not implementing the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations

“But as we vote for it, I call upon the Speaker of this House to bring to this floor before we adjourn for the elections, legislation to enact the 9/11 Commission recommendations. We have all the time in the world to do it. Nothing is more important than the safety of the American people. We have no greater responsibility as elected officials than to provide for the public safety and national security of our country. Nothing else matters if we do not protect the American people. Instead, we have ignored those needs. We are cutting the COPS program so that neighborhoods are not safer. We are making matters worse. We have the opportunity to make matters better.

“If we do pass the 9/11 Commission recommendations, only then will we truly be honoring the memory of those who died. Only then will we truly be keeping our promise to their families that we will make America as safe as we can be. I urge the Speaker, once again, to bring the 9/11 Commission recommendations to the floor, to make America safer, to bring some peace to the families of 9/11, and bring to justice those who are responsible for those heinous acts five years ago.”

Nancy Pelosi, 12/5/2005:

“The 9/11 Commission’s final report card is an indictment of the continued failure by the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress to meet the security needs of our nation and make Americans safer. […]

“Four years after the 9/11 attacks, the American people are not as safe as they should be. They have every reason to ask why and demand President Bush and Congressional leaders make safety of the American people their number one priority.

“Democrats continue to support addressing completely all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and will continue to fight for bipartisan solutions that will keep Americans safer.”

Nancy Pelosi, 12/7/2004, on the Congressional oversight recommendation - which is what the WaPo reports Dems are balking at:

“There is one recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that we are not considering today and that is congressional oversight. In addition to the changes in the executive branch, the Commission also recommended changes in the intelligence oversight process in the Congress. Without effective congressional oversight, the reforms put in place by this bill will be less successful in protecting the American people. I look forward to working with Speaker Hastert in a bipartisan way to institute more effective congressional oversight.

“Today, we must move forward. This bill, although not perfect, strengthens the process by which we manage the collection, processing, and dissemination of intelligence. In so doing, it reduces risk to the American people. It honors the work of the 9/11 Commission.

Nancy Pelosi, 10/15/2004:

“The Speaker’s announcement today that the 9/11 conference committee will finally meet does little to address concerns that the House Republican leadership has failed to act upon the urgent recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. When the commission released its report nearly three months ago, the commissioners emphasized that we must move rapidly to make our nation safer, or risk terrible consequences if we did not. […]

“If President Bush truly wants an effective 9/11 bill, he must insist that the 9/11 conference committee act immediately to honor the work of the 9/11 Commission, respect the wishes of the 9/11 families, and make the American people safer. House Democratic conferees look forward to working with other members of the 9/11 conference committee to produce a final bill that will reduce risk for the American people and provide comfort to those who lost so much that day.”

Now Via Wapo:

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

So back to Mr. Reyes, good luck and keep looking out for our soldiers.

[UUPDATE] Fox has an article with Quotes from Reyes.

Reports this week indicate Democrats are not ready to jump on the Sept. 11 Commission recommendation to give congressional intelligence overseers budgetary authority.

"I will be working on both the short term and the long term process of oversight, so that we can get to problems, the toughest issues. And the No. 1 issue for us is Iraq. ... We've got a lot of things to do in terms of oversight and that fall into the purview of the intelligence committee," he said.

Reyes opposed the use of force in Iraq and has joined other Democrats in criticizing the administration for intelligence failures during the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, according to a 2005 analysis by the National Journal of Reyes' legislative record. He also has opposed embedding reporters with military units.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Reyes also said the committee will be help define the balance between security and civil rights.

"I don't think any debates that we're in a very dangerous world. I think we need to be pragmatic in the way that we approach the things that will keep it safe, but making sure that we don't forfeit our rights, guarantees, under the Constitution. That's a fine line that we need to walk," Reyes said.

The guy sounds like he has his marbles, I guess time will tell.

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