In a telephone town hall somewhat reminiscent of a FDR fireside chat, Georgia Seventh District Rep. Rob Woodall of addressed Saturday’s terrorist actions in Paris, the state of ISIS and possible American responses, and how the country should deal with Syrian and other refugees who want to enter the country, but could potentially be ISIS members.
The congressman stated that no one is more vested in humanitarian aid to assist refugees to assist refugees suffering from religious persecution than the United States, however the nation’s number one job is to protect Americans. He talked about the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, recently passed in the House. President Obama vetoed the previous version because off-budget funds were used to fund Defense. The current version adds a rider requiring the president to define a strategy to defeat ISIS.
Woodall asked listeners what they thought whether the United States should have a strategy to defeat ISIS, and 90% of those responding said it should. Yet, the congressman noted, President Obama has been reluctant to attack ISIS where it counts. He pointed out that the military hasn’t struck ISIS fuel supply lines because of the risk of killing civilians. In another poll of those listening, Woodall asked whether the US should put boots on the ground, and have a strong presence in the Mideast, whether the military’s approach should use air strikes and avoid ground troops, or whether the country could continue its hands-off approach. 60% of those responding favored air strikes, 35% wanted to send troops, and 5% said to stay the current course.
Winding up the town hall, Woodall asked those listening to pay attention to the issue of visa waivers as a possible avenue for ISIS radicals to enter the country. Many residents of European Union countries can fly into the US without having to obtain a visa as long as they have a passport. This is especially a worry for those Europeans who have become radicalized by ISIS. Woodall said this issue has been on Congress’s radar for a while, but with no perfect answer.