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McCollum Remarks at House Democratic Caucus Press Conference

September 21, 2016
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) delivered remarks on national security at this morning’s House Democratic Caucus press conference with Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). Below are the Congresswoman’s remarks:

“As a Minnesotan, I want to be perfectly clear: the attack in St. Cloud was a vicious attack, it was terrorism, likely done by a lone wolf. And we are thankful that none of the victims lost their lives, but it was an act that terrified the people in the mall and brought great, great pause and concern to people in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

“I, along with Mr. Crowley, would like to reflect for a moment on an off-duty police officer who rose up to the call and quickly took control of the situation so that it didn’t spin any further out of control. Back home, President Obama has been in touch with Governor Dayton and we know that the FBI will conduct a full and complete investigation. Minnesotans have many questions, and they deserve to be answered.

“I also want to state very clearly that I am so proud to represent Minnesota, a state where all races, faiths, and political affiliations stood united in rejecting all forms of violence, extremism, and hate. There was a vigil last night in St. Cloud where people from all over the state of Minnesota, and the St. Cloud region, came together and expressed solidarity to get answers and move forward.

“Most importantly, they stood in solidarity with our Muslim communities, not only in Minnesota but across the country. We know how important and what a critical asset in countering terrorism that these communities have been in wanting to get the answers themselves and stop the extremism and violence that has happened. But Donald Trump’s attacks on our Muslim American friends, neighbors, and co-workers undermine those efforts to keep Americans safe.

“As my colleagues are pointing out, we have work here to do in Congress. This work also reflects the work that Mr. Crowley and I need to have for the FBI to have all the tools in the toolbox to move forward on [the New York and Minnesota attack investigations].

“This Congress has failed to do its job and has failed to pass appropriations bills on the House floor on time. These Republican games -- and that’s what they are, folks, they are election games -- just need to stop. We need to pass a budget, we need to pass these bills, and we need to stop playing partisan politics with our national security.

“Americans need to know they are going to be kept safe by the people who wear a uniform, whether it is police, military, whether it is someone who is working on the lines of collecting intelligence. We need to make sure a budget is passed on time so that cities, counties, states, and, yes, our military and homeland security know that they have the dollars to plan and the resources to move forward.

“I can’t say this enough as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee: I know that we face serious national security challenges around the globe. We have ISIL, North Korea, Russia and the Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.

“Folks, we need to get serious about getting these budgets and appropriations bills passed on time so that our intelligence community, our defense community, and those who work in homeland security here at home have the tools and can make the plans to keep Americans safe.

“I know that my Democratic colleagues stand ready to make these investments in national security, homeland security, and the intelligence necessary to keep Americans safe.

“I call upon my Republican colleagues to walk across the aisle, not just reach, and work with us on this. Working together, we can get this done. Their Conference needs to resolve its own internal differences so that the American public knows that their Congress will work for them and keep them safe.”