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U.S. House Letter to President Obama

UPDATE (14 Nov 2012): Congressman Gallegly (R-CA) rejects response to Congressional Letter to President Obama on IEDs and Veterans.  On behalf of the 92 bi-partisan members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Elton Gallegly rejected as "inadequate" the response received from Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group. In his November 14, 2012 letter back to the agencies, Congressman Gallegly cited numerous omissions in the letter received and requested a "complete response."  Gallegly Letter (pdf)

UPDATE (14 Oct 2012): Response to House Letter to President Obama received.  Responding on behalf of President Obama, Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group replied to the letter from 92 Members of Congress to President Obama that called for for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as well as steps to support veterans who were victims of IEDs. The undated letter on plain paper failed to address the majority of the issues covered in the Member's Letter including: designation of a Lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates and shares IED event data and other information with the Global Campaign against IEDs; introduction of a United Nations resolution condemning the use of IEDs and calling for international cooperation in prosecuting IED users under international rule of law; and a U.S. Government strategy partnered with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, and other public-private partners to identify the long term physical and psycho-social effects of IED related injuries.  Sheenhan-Blacksmith Letter (pdf)

On May 3, 2012 sixty-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to  President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The action coincided with the exposure of a new Al Qaeda plot to bomb an airliner with updated and difficult to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed in underwear.  On June 4, 2012, some 23 more members of the House of Representatives requested to be added, bringing the total number or signatories on the Letter to President Obama (pdf) to 92 representing 28 states, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands.

The Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices is currently working with members of the United States Senate on a Senate version of the letter to join their colleagues in the House of representatives in a call to action on the IED threat.  We are also reaching our to the world’s governments for similar declarations against IEDs.

For the U.S. effort, starting in December 2011, every Member of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate were contacted electronically to help develop and build consensus on who should contribute ideas for the Letter to President Obama.  The letter then evolved using input and comments from public-private sector partners in the U.S. and internationally, including non-government organizations, veteran’s organizations, the military, law enforcement, among others.

On February 23, 2012 hard copies of the final letter with a request for signature was hand carried to the office of every Member of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.  On March 23, 2012 Representative Elton Gallegly’s (R-CA) Office began circulating a Dear Colleagues letter (pdf) to all members of the House of Representatives requesting they sign the letter. This was re-issued weekly and continued to circulate until April 30, 2012.

The House of Representative letter calls for President Obama to work with Congress and global governments to address critical gaps in the humanitarian response to IEDs, strengthen application of the rule of law, and eliminate serious deficiencies in public-private information sharing. A key part of this unified approach calls on the President to designate a lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates with the Global Campaign against IEDs and their planned Global IED center.

The letter also shows significant bipartisan support. Signatories include representatives and leadership from key House committees including: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Appropriations, Ways and Means, Judiciary, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Joint Committee on Taxation, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bipartisan nature of the issue.

Col (Ret) Bob Morris from the Global Campaign against IEDs points to the actions of the House Foreign Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs Committees as particularly noteworthy: “We are honored both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee as well as the Chairwoman, Vice-Chair, and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee joined together as signatories to the letter. This is a show of bipartisan unity on this issue that sets an exemplary example.”

“Great credit is due all Members of Congress who came forward to take the lead on this important issue”, says Morris. “IEDs are not a partisan issue, they are a global issue.”

“We look forward to working with the White House, Members of Congress, and all agencies of the United States Government to implement the sound recommendations in the letter, while looking to the governments of the world to take similar actions to join the Global Campaign against IEDs in their own countries” Morris said.

Additional information is available in the Press Release announcing completion of the House letter.

IED Letter Signatories by State

All Members of the House and Senate were contacted and afforded the opportunity to sign the letter regarding the IED threat and related veteran’s issues. The following summarizes the response of elected officials by State [ listing of signatories (pdf) ].

Alabama

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Alaska

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

American Samoa

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Faleomavaega

Arizona

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories 
Representative Raul Grijalva

Arkansas

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Tim Griffin

California

16 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Elton Gallegy
Representative Bob Filner 
Representative Pete Stark 
Representative Barbara Lee 
Representative Laura Richardson 
Representative Howard Berman 
Representative Loretta Sanchez 
Representative Lois Capps
Representative Michael Honda
Representative Henry Waxman
Representative Brad Sherman 
Representative Judy Chu
Representative Janice Hahn
Representative George Miller
Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard
Representative Doris Matsui

Colorado

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Connecticut

5 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Jim Himes 
Representative Chris Murphy 
Representative Joe Courtney 
Representative Rosa DeLauro 
Representative John Larson
100% of the Members of the House representing the State of Connecticut signed the Letter

Delaware

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

District of Columbia

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Florida

7 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Allen West
Representative Rich Nugent 
Representative Tom Rooney 
Representative Jeff Miller 
Representative Alcee Hastings
Representative Illeana Ros-Lehtinen
Representative Corrine Brown

Georgia

2 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative John Lewis
Representative Lynn Westmoreland

Guam

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Hawaii

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Mazie Hirono

Idaho

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Illinois

7 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Aaron Schock 
Representative Danny K. Davis 
Representative Randy Hultgren
Representative Bobby Schilling 
Representative Jan Schakowsky
Representative Jessee Jackson, Jr.
Representative Timothy Johnson

Indiana

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Andre Carson

Iowa

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Tom Latham

Kansas

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Kentucky

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Louisiana

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Maine

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Mike Michaud

Maryland

4 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Elijah Cummings
Representative Roscoe Bartlett
Representative Chris Van Hollen
Representative Andy Harris

Massachusetts

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Michigan

7 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Dale Kildee 
Representative Dan Benishek 
Representative John Conyers 
Representative Hansen Clarke 
Representative John Dingell
Representative Keith Ellison
Representative Gary Peters

Mississippi

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Missouri

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Russ Carnahan

Montana

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Nebraska

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Nevada

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Mark Amodei

New Hampshire

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Frank Guinta

New Jersey

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative William Pascrell

New Mexico

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Martin Heinrich

New York

9 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Edolphus Towns 
Representative Bob Turner
Representative Charles B. Rangel

“Not only do IEDs cause great harm to our service members, but these destructive weapons are also killing women and children at an alarming rate. It is the responsibility of Congress to enact laws that protect innocent civilians, as well as our military service members. I applaud the efforts of advocacy organizations such as the Global Campaign Against IED for raising awareness to this important issue.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler 
Representative Yvette Clark 
Representative Eliot Engel
Representative Carolyn Maloney
Representative Ann Marie Buerkle
Representative Maurice Hinchey

North Carolina

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

North Dakota

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Northern Marianas Islands

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Ohio

5 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Dennis Kucinich 
Representative Steve Stivers 
Representative Austria
Representative Tim Ryan
Representative Jean Schmidt

Oklahoma

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Oregon

2 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Blumenauer 
Representative Peter Defazio

Pennsylvania

3 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Todd Russell Platts
Representative Glenn Thompson
Representative Charles W. Dent

Puerto Rico

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Rhode Island

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative David Cicilline

South Carolina

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

South Dakota

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Tennessee

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Steve Cohen

Texas

6 House of Representative Signatories, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Michael McCaul 
Representative Rubén Hinojosa 
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson 
Representative Gene Green
Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee 
Representative Francisco “Quico” Canseco

Utah

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Vermont

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Virginia

3 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Jim Moran
Representative Frank Wolf
Representative Bobby Scott

Virgin Islands

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Donna Christensen

Washington

1 House of Representative Signatory, 0 Senate Signatories
Representative Jim McDermott

West Virginia

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Wisconsin

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date

Wyoming

No House or Senate Representative agreed to join the letter against IEDs to date