There is no more sacred trust than keeping America safe and preserving the freedoms enjoyed by all our citizens. Congressman Matheson supports a strong, well-trained, well-equipped military. The honor, courage and commitment to duty routinely shown by the men and women who wear this country’s uniform is unparalleled and in return, Matheson believes in keeping the promises made to them and protecting the benefits they have earned.
Now more than ever, we depend on our nation’s military to provide safety and security to all Americans. Congressman Matheson supports a strong national defense and will always vote to ensure our troops are provided with the very best equipment and training.
Our country faces challenging economic times and Congressman Matheson has heard from Utahns across the state that reining in federal government spending is a top priority. Without a doubt, Congress must consider all serious proposals to gain control over federal budgeting, including those within the Department of Defense. Even as every agency shares in the sacrifice to restore fiscal order, Congressman Matheson believes proposed defense cuts must be considered in such a way that does not jeopardize the safety of our troops or threaten their readiness. In this regard, he believes that experts like former Secretary Gates - who proposed cutting $100 billion from the nation’s defense budget, including funding requested through the National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations over the next five years - can provide the most appropriate benchmarks for Congress to consider. Given the current state of our deficit, Matheson appreciates Secretary Gates’ efforts to reduce spending, and looks forward to reviewing these proposed reductions as Congress appropriates money for the Department of Defense in the coming year.
Congressman Matheson believes we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our men and women in uniform—active duty, Reserve and National Guard, and veterans. As a nation, he believes we must keep our promises to those who have served and to their survivors.
In June 2008, a modernized GI Bill passed Congress and was signed by the President. It fully restores four-year college scholarships for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Also included in this legislation was Matheson’s bill correcting a technicality that prevented Guard and Reservists—returning from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan—from receiving educational benefits.
Additionally, Matheson has supported legislation to increase veteran disability compensation and clothing allowances for individuals with service-related disabilities as well as legislation to repeal the so-called “widow’s tax” that prevents our nation’s war survivors from fully collecting insurance benefits for policies purchased by their deceased spouses.
Families saying final goodbyes to their fallen soldier should be able to conduct the service in peace and with dignity and respect. Matheson has introduced a bipartisan bill—the Sanctity of Eternal Rest for Veterans or SERVE Act, as a way to protect military funerals from disruption by outside groups. The bill is a response to an 8 to 1 Supreme Court ruling that decided a grieving father’s pain over mocking protests at his Marine son’s funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. The SERVE Act would increase the quiet time before and after military funeral services and increase the buffer zone around the military service and along the route to the funeral service area. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.
Securing our country and preserving our freedoms are the critical goals of homeland defense. Beyond protecting against those who seek to harm us, defending America requires preparation for and response to natural disasters and accidents.
Congressman Matheson supports actions to strengthen our homeland defense and prepare the United States to combat attacks by foreign and domestic terrorists. He believes that terrorists should be held responsible for their actions and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law- including by military tribunals. Beyond domestic preparedness, Congressman Matheson also believes it is vital for Congress to continue working globally to address the underlying problems of international terrorism.
Congressman Matheson believes a well-managed border is critical to our national security. He has consistently voted to improve our nation’s border security by hiring additional border patrol personnel, improving transportation and cargo security, and developing a better entry/exit system to track foreign nationals.
Matheson has voted to increase penalties for smuggling drugs, humans, weapons of mass destruction, or other illegal items; stop terrorist aliens from naturalization; prevent aggravated felons from gaining lawful admission to the US; require employers to verify the legal status of all job applicants; increase the penalties levied against employers who hire illegal workers; authorize the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border and evaluate security needs on the Canadian border; create new criminal penalties for the construction of illegal tunnels under the border; and increase and reaffirm that state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to apprehend illegal immigrants and transfer them to federal custody.
Matheson also believes we need reform that makes common sense fixes to flaws in the current system, increase the tools available to enforcement agencies, create a system of accountability so that everyone plays by the same rules, and ensure that we know exactly who is and who is not in our country at any given time.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Salt Lake City, UT—Congressman Jim Matheson has scheduled two information ses...
Matheson statement calls the anniversary first, last and always a day of remembrance.
Congressman Matheson released the following statement on a scheduled vote by the House to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress: