WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Senate Democrats released legislation, S.2377, to help defeat ISIS abroad while enhancing homeland security programs to protect the United States.  The legislation is the culmination of proposals from the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.  While the federal government is taking extraordinary measures to protect Americans, Senate Democrats believe additional action should be taken to address the threats from terrorism, including:

Defeating ISIS Abroad

  • Creating a new ISIS “czar” who would be fully empowered and in charge of the United States’ efforts to defeat ISIS.
  • Cutting off ISIS’ access to money by imposing tough new sanctions on financial institutions if they knowingly facilitate financial transactions with ISIS.
  • Intensifying airstrikes on ISIS strongholds and oil supplies.
  • Increasing support for local forces fighting ISIS on the ground.
  • Creating a new stabilization fund for Jordan and Lebanon to help those fleeing the conflict in Syria stay in the region, closer to their own homes.
  • Confirming key national security positions necessary to fighting ISIS, such as Adam Szubin as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Treasury Department.
  • Improving intelligence sharing with our allies and partners.
  • Improving migrant screening in Europe
  • Developing a comprehensive strategy to counter ISIS propaganda and counter violent-extremism.

Keeping America Safe

  • Reforming the Visa Waiver Program by requiring the universal use of machine-readable, electronic passports in order to participate in the program.
  • Closing the terrorist gun loophole which would stop individuals who are known or suspected terrorists from purchasing a gun.
  • Strengthening aviation security by improving screening technology and Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) training, including tougher vetting and oversight of aviation workers and secure areas within airports.
  • Locking down “dirty bomb” materials by requiring the federal government to issue a strategy for locking down the highest risk radiological material in our hospitals and industrials sites.  
  • Authorizing and supporting a new office at Department of Homeland Security dedicated to stopping homegrown extremism.
  • Studying ways in which U.S. law can improve our ability to intercept terrorist communications.
  • Helping state and local law enforcement train and properly respond to an active shooter attack by authorizing new grants to fund these types of training exercises.

“These comprehensive proposals by Senate Democrats will take the fight to ISIS, while enhancing our protections of Americans at home,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “Our plan addresses the threat of an ISIS attack here at home by augmenting resources to communities so they are trained and prepared to respond in an active shooter incident, while imposing tough new sanctions to cut of ISIS’ access to money. Our plan enhances our homeland security by closing the terrorist gun loophole, strengthening the visa waiver program and improving our airport security. There is no reason Republicans cannot join us to implement these logical reforms.”

“We know terrorist groups like ISIS and lone wolves or copycats want to try to strike America and Congress needs to take action to help stop them,” said Senator Reed, Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee. “In addition to working with our allies abroad and improving intelligence sharing and counterterrorism capabilities that deny safe haven to terrorists, there are commonsense steps we can take to safeguard the homeland and disrupt future attacks.  This proposal offers some concrete solutions to better address global threats and help keep the American people safe.”

“The world has witnessed acts of evil in the past several weeks, from Beirut and Paris to Colorado Springs and San Bernardino,” said Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Durbin. “As the President said Sunday, the threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. America’s response should be to take the fight to ISIL abroad and strengthen our national security at home, not go after the children and families fleeing ISIL terrorism themselves. There’s no quick fix to the scourge of terrorism, but Congress can take important, common sense steps today to make our country safer and stronger.”

“ISIS’s despicable acts of terror around the globe in recent weeks are harrowing reminders that we must do everything we can to keep our country safe,” said Senator Schumer, Chairman, Democratic Policy and Communications Center. “This proposal would tighten safety at our airports, help prevent ISIS from radicalizing people living in the United States, and prevent suspected terrorists from buying assault weapons. These are common-sense proposals that I hope will earn bipartisan support.”

“It’s absolutely clear we need to defeat ISIL and any other terrorist group that attempts to inflict harm on America and America’s allies, and this proposal lays out some of the comprehensive and coordinated steps we need to take to keep our country safe,” said Senate Democratic Conference Secretary Senator Murray.  “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand with us and demonstrate our common goal to defeat those who wish to attack us and the American values we hold so dear.”

“The legislation we are proposing today would help combat the threat of ISIS, keep Americans safe, and uphold our values as a nation that welcomes refugees and immigrants from other countries,” said Senator Leahy, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee. “We need to respond to the threat of ISIS – wherever it exists – and we need to work with our international partners to combat this barbaric terrorist group.  It is time for Congress to weigh in with more than just talking points and heated rhetoric.  I hope all Senators will support these common sense reforms.”

"This bill is an important step in our fight against ISIL,” said Senator Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee. “In particular I support provisions to close the loophole that allows known or suspected terrorists to purchase firearms and explosives; strengthen the Visa Waiver Program, including a pilot project to require biometric information‎; and increase information sharing with our allies’ intelligence agencies. I also continue to believe that we must require individuals who have traveled to Iraq and Syria to acquire traditional visas, which is not part of this bill.”

“Recent attacks further illustrate the threat ISIS poses, not just to our allies overseas, but to our security here at home,” said Senator Nelson, Ranking Member on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “We must do everything we can to protect our country from future attacks, including adopting some of the common-sense measures in this bill.”

“The best way to combat the threat of ISIS across the globe is to continue to degrade and destroy their forces overseas and show the world that they are not as powerful as they claim to be,” said Senator Carper, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Our success will not only rob them of their safe haven, but also undercut their recruitment narrative that ‘ISIS is on the rise.’ While the international coalition in the fight against ISIS continues to make progress dismantling and degrading the terrorist group, we must also focus on defeating the threat ISIS and other terrorist groups pose here at home. As the tragedy in California underscores, one of the greatest threats we face is homegrown terrorism and self-radicalization. That’s why we must also work to destroy ISIS’s influence by countering their twisted message and inoculating against its efforts to radicalize our own people here in the United States. We must also strengthen our aviation security, enhance the capabilities of our first responders, and ensure radiological material here at home does not end up in the hands of a terrorist.  This bill will give the Administration the appropriate authorities and guidance to help destroy this threat and better secure our homeland.”

‎"We are proposing a whole-of-government strategy to counter ISIL abroad and defend against ISIL at home,” said Senator Cardin, Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “This will require leadership, resources, and a sustained committed to working with our international partners. We must simultaneously protect American values and reject discrimination based on religion."

“As a father and grandfather, I believe one of our most important priorities is to keep the American people safe,” said Senator Brown, Ranking Member on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “This bill would provide new tools to combat ISIS by eliminating its ability to abuse the international financial system, preventing new recruits, and ensuring better coordination among our partners and allies. We must also reassess our visa waiver program to prevent radicalized people from entering our country, and prevent those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing assault weapons.”