Defense, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs
Providing for the common defense is one of the Congress’s most central duties. Earl has worked to ensure that the government takes a comprehensive and long-term approach to defense and homeland security. It is not enough to ensure that America’s military and security personnel are the best in the world. The government must effectively partner with those who serve, individual states, and the global community.
Earl believes that a safe, secure and resilient homeland means more than just preventing the next terrorist attack. It also means ensuring that the liberties and privacy of all Americans are respected, that we are prepared for natural disasters, pandemics, cyber attacks, and the ever-changing nature of international threats.
One of the most critical pieces of national security is the preparedness of local communities, ensuring that the federal government partners effectively with states and local responders like police and local fire departments. Earl has worked to ensure that the first responders in the Portland metropolitan area have access to the training and the equipment they need and has consistently fought to secure funding for the Fire Grant Program, Urban Area Security Grants, and the SAFER program. These competitive federal programs enable local jurisdictions to adequately staff, train, equip, and respond more effectively to threats to community safety.
Earl has fought to ensure that our government takes a comprehensive, realistic, and long-term approach to national defense – including guaranteeing support for America’s Reserve and National Guard forces to help them meet the challenges that have come when they have an expanded role in oversea conflicts.
He is proud to support the 142nd Fighter Wing and 125th Special Tactics Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard, both of whom call Portland home. He was instrumental in the successful community effort to preserve the strategic Portland location of the 142nd.
Earl also believes that overall Defense budget should be reduced, particularly nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are dangerous, costly, and don't help us with the strategic global challenges we face today.
For more information about Earl's views and legislation related to the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, please contact the office.
Earl served on the House International Relations Committee from the 107th through the 109th Congresses, and is currently Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. He believes that Americans, blessed to live in the richest and most powerful country on earth, have a responsibility to create a better, safer world for all of its inhabitants. Leading the way on challenges as diverse as global health, peace, and the environment is the right thing to do and promotes national security and economic well-being at home.
The fight to end global poverty is one the most important moral challenges of our times and Earl is a champion in this effort. He regularly leads the fight for aid, trade, and debt relief policies that support poor people struggling to lift their communities out of poverty. Helping people improve their standard of living also helps prevent conflict and creates new markets for American exports.
He is the leader in Congress for helping to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation for poor people, the lack of which is an ongoing threat to global security and the leading cause of preventable death in the world.
In 2005, Blumenauer authored the bipartisan “Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act,” which established clean water as a major foreign assistance priority. He leads an annual effort to fund these critical programs and increase investments that provides millions of people with first-time access to clean water and sanitation.
Even with this commitment, millions of people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services. In 2009, Congressman Blumenauer developed H.R. 2030, the “Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act” (PDF), to redouble U.S. efforts to help provide an additional 100 million of the world’s poorest with first-time access to safe and sustainable drinking water and sanitation by 2015. To achieve this, the Act:
- Establishes an Office of Water within USAID to implement country-specific water strategies,
- Creates a Special Coordinator for International Water within the State Department to coordinate the diplomatic policy of the US with respect to global freshwater issues,
- Establishes programs in countries of greatest need that invest in local capacity, education, and coordination with US efforts,
- Emphasizes cross-border and cross-discipline collaboration and the utilization of low-cost technologies, such as hand washing stations and latrines.
Earl believes that the United States must act decisively to address conflict and terrorism throughout the world. In addition to swift action, he knows we must also address the political and economic conditions that extremists exploit to gain sympathy and recruit new followers.
These destabilizing conditions persist when the United States fails to communicate with both friend and foe and does not establish a consistent and defensible position when dealing with other nations. That is why we must continue the difficult task of engaging directly and honestly with Iran and other countries through direct bilateral talks and through the United Nations. A lack of serious economic, diplomatic, and trade relationships actually strengthens those who seek isolation. For the US, this means fewer levers of influence and more blind spots than we can afford.
Earl also believes that the United States shouldn’t be funding stability at the expense of democracy. He has long been a champion in the House to reduce military aid to repressive regimes and invest more in civil society, thereby improving the lives of people around the world, not bolstering repressive regimes.
An ongoing threat to peace and American interests abroad is the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Today, threats derived from this conflict have rippled out to Arab states, Central Asia, and beyond. Blumenauer strongly supports a two-state solution of a secure Israel and an independent Palestinian state, living side by side. He also urges strong U.S. leadership, which is needed to bring these two sides together. Congressman Blumenauer has made it clear that progress must be mutual and opposes any unilateral actions taken by both sides which have hindered the peace process.
Blumenauer was also a staunch and early opponent of the Iraq War and did not support the military escalation in Afghanistan.
For more information regarding Earl's work and views regarding Foreign Affairs, please contact the office.