Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

National Defense

I have the honor and privilege of serving on the House Intelligence Committee and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. From a national security standpoint - nothing scares me more than the thought of American-born United States citizens, growing up in this country, becoming radicalized and then carrying out acts of terror. As an Army veteran, I support meaningful policies that help curb future attacks and keep the American public safe and that also provide our warfighters and their families with the resources they need both at home and abroad. The changing face of warfare does not assume that military engagements in the future will be limited to current regions of instability, or that conflicts will be predicted well in advance. Appropriate responses to these threats require a variety of military and Intelligence Community resources that can address the entire spectrum of warfare today and in the future.​

Countering Islamic terrorism: As the Islamic State’s influence, forces, and atrocities intensify, we must have a strategy that stands a chance of destroying them in every domain they exploit. However, continued political and strategic limits on cooperation among ISIS’ adversaries contribute to the group's survival and ISIS continues to sustain its hold on strategically-important territory. The absence of U.S. leadership has created a void that’s been filled by actors with competing agendas, including Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf States. Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS operates in several dimensions at once – recruiting online where they can spread their hate instantaneously, recruit with the ease of a retweet, and crowd-source their attacks across borders. I have taken several actions to keep Americans safe from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.  In the House, Republicans have passed legislation to strengthen the visa waiver program, pause the flow of Syrian refugees into the U.S., boost defense spending to support our military, increase funding for the FBI’s counterterrorism missions, and improve efforts to counter ISIS propaganda and its efforts to radicalize U.S. citizens.

Repealing the sequester: Many of our defense programs have not adapted quickly enough or are not devoting resources to where they are needed most. I support increasing defense spending so our military has the resources to address national security challenges both now and in the future. China has continued to strengthen its military and Russia’s recent aggression has reached new heights. In this increasingly unstable world, it is clear that further reductions to national defense accounts are irresponsible. If left in place, sequestration will continue to cut our military to its smallest size since before WWII – all while we carry out missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the Gulf and deter emerging threats like North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

Supporting military families: As Co-Chair of the Military Mental Health Caucus and the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, I have long-advocated for increased attention to the unacceptable number of troops and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other invisible wounds. Shortly after coming to Congress in 2008, I worked to pass a requirement for troops returning from deployment to receive face-to-face, confidential screenings with mental health professionals. Since then, through my work this year on the Appropriations Committee, I secured an increase in troop pay, a $300 million increase over 2016 for veterans’ mental health treatments, including $164 million in suicide prevention activities and $284 million for traumatic brain injury treatment. I have also led the charge in Congress to protect access to care for military families with children with autism by preventing DOD from enacting proposed cuts to TRICARE reimbursements to providers of Applied Behavior Analysis. Military families undergo enough stress as it is, and I will continue fighting against DOD proposals that compromise treatments for military children with special needs.

Defending our allies: Regional instability leaves Israel susceptible to increased threats from terror organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic State. Coupled with the continued threat of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism, the challenges Israel faces from its neighbors will require our unyielding support. During my time in Congress, I have voted for measures that sustain robust U.S.-Israel security cooperation, support our shared strategic goals in the Middle East, and reinforce our mutual commitment to democratic values.