As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bill works to review and shape U.S. foreign policy on a wide variety of issues, including the conflicts in the Middle East, international economic policy, and relations with European Union member states. On the Committee, he serves as the Ranking Member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee. His work there, as well as being a lead investigator into the Boston Marathon Bombings, has led to his emergence as an expert in Congress on terrorist organizations, such as ISIL and al Qaeda, and evolving national security threats. In fact, Bill traveled to the Middle East in the first Congressional trip to Pakistan following the death of Osama bin Laden.
ISIL has escalated the risk of violent attacks – whether coordinated or single-cell - with sophisticated social networking and recruitment tactics. Their recent attacks have occurred on multiple continents and reveal another game-changing, imminent threat. Prior to these attacks, al Qaeda groups represented our primary external terrorist threat in the homeland. Now, however, the emerging threat from ISIL is further being escalated by the threat of foreign terrorist fighters who have left their country and returned home after obtaining military training and battlefield experience.
In 2015, Bill helped lead a Congressional group to the Middle East and Paris in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January, 2015. The purpose of this trip was to gather information about foreign fighters and the increasing role they are playing in this global war of terror. Bill learned firsthand that because of the porous security in many European countries, foreign fighters are able to travel abroad and return home to their Western country with relative ease.
Bill has been working with our European allies to move quickly to identify airline travelers with a passenger record. This is something we do routinely in America; it ensures travelers are crosschecked against a terrorist watch list. He has also submitted multiple amendments to major defense legislation to increase our knowledge and watch of foreign fighters, holding both our security agencies and those of our allies in Europe accountable for tracking those who have been radicalized and travel abroad.
In addition to working with our European allies to strengthen our security, Bill has also been working to strengthen our economic ties. He is one of the lead advocates for a transatlantic alliance and on providing a unified front against aggression in Eastern Europe. He has established the Congressional Transatlantic Trade and Investment (TTIP) Caucus, as well as various channels of communication between European lawmakers and the US, to promote economic development. While Bill opposed trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea, he believes that a trade agreement with Europe presents an opportunity for the U.S. to raise product safety and worker standards and increase environmental protections.
Further, Bill has been proud to strengthen protections of Israel, including successfully authoring a bipartisan amendment in the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act to require designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, and calling for the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Bill has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work to highlight foreign issues and strengthen US foreign policy. He was a leader in Congress in supporting the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people and received the Ukrainian National Information Service Award for highlighting the importance of this issue in the US Congress. On behalf of the German-American Business Council, which represents constituent companies in MA-09, Bill was awarded their 2014 Leadership Award for his work to promote greater ties and communication between industry in the US and Germany.
There remains urgency in the world for international humanitarian assistance to peoples in need, and the US is in a position to be a global leader by helping those who are less fortunate help themselves. Following the guiding policies of President John F. Kennedy, who pledged to assist those “across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery,” Bill believes that foreign aid has a role to play in opening up global markets to US businesses and boosting our national security by demonstrating global leadership. He is also a staunch advocate of human rights and freedom of expression and press.