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2011-06-02 digital edition

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2011-06-02 / General Stories

McCaul in Colombia and Mexico

Congressman Michael McCaul

Last week I traveled to Colombia and Mexico and met with presidents Santos and Calderon to discuss solutions to combat the Mexican drug cartels that continue to intensify their violent operations on both sides of the US-Mexico border. I visited the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) to assess cartel advancement. I also toured Juarez, Mexico - the most dangerous city in the western hemisphere - with a required security escort comparable to what I have experienced in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I have long believed that it will take a joint military and intelligence operation to defeat the cartels in Mexico. Since similar operations achieved success in Colombia, and the Colombian military’s special forces are among the world’s elite, I approached both presidents with the idea for Colombia to expand its current role in Mexico: to train the 100,000 new recruits Mexico wants to add to its forces and to assist in Mexico’s military operations.

President Calderon has made a valient effort to defeat the cartels but his military is outmatched by what have become professional armies with military grade weapons that control much of Northern Mexico as well as parts of the US-Mexico border. I had an opportunity to discuss this issue with Greta Van Susteren when she visited Texas this week.

Defense Authorization Act

This week the House passed and I supported National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012. This bipartisan bill authorizes appropriations for military activities and military construction. Additionally, this bill increases efforts to fight the illegal smuggling of drugs into the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

Patriot Act

The House passed and I supported an extension of the Patriot Act, which provides our law enforcement officials with the tools needed to win the war on terror. Our ability to prevent another catastrophic attack on American soil would be more difficult, if not impossible, without the PATRIOT Act. It has been the key weapon used across America in successful counter-terrorist operations to protect innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists.

Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act

I supported this bill which will increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, effective December 1, 2011. It would also extend the VA’s authority to provide adaptive housing grants to veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member.

Rescinding ObamaCare Funds

Finally this week, I supported legislation that would rescind another $220 million of ObamaCare funds over the next 10 years.Veterans

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