Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement on reports that President Obama sent a secret letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urging him to join the fight against ISIS:
“It is outrageous that, while the cries of moderate Syrian forces for greater U.S. assistance fall on deaf ears in the White House, President Obama is apparently urging Ayatollah Khamenei to join the fight against ISIS. This is the same Iranian regime that has been complicit in the rise of ISIS by pushing a violent sectarian agenda throughout the Middle East — backing radical Shia militias and politicians in Iraq, doing everything in its power to aid the killing machine of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, arming Hamas terrorists with advanced rockets in Gaza, and orchestrating Hezbollah’s dispatch of thousands of fighters from Lebanon into Syria.
“The Administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us. Until we recognize that reality, and formulate a regional strategy to counter the Iranian regime’s malign influence, we will continue to harm U.S. national security interests, as well as our relationships with our closest regional allies and partners, in pursuit of the illusory goal of rapprochement with the current Iranian leadership. The consequences of this ill-conceived bargain would destroy the Syrians’ last best chance to live in freedom from the brutal Assad regime.”
For the past 10 years, Congress has tried to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill to bring sense to U.S. immigration laws. And for 10 years, Congress has failed.
During those years, one of the biggest obstacles to passing a law has been the insistence that the U.S.-Mexico border must be secure before any bill can be considered.
While this demand has remained constant, the border has become more and more secure over the years, ultimately undermining the argument. In fact, new data released by the Department of Homeland Security confirm the southern border is more secure than it has been in decades.
Much of the outcry against legislative and administrative action to bring about immigration reform is based on false fears that the border is insecure, but the facts indicate otherwise.
After the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill failed to advance in the Senate during the Bush administration, supporters acknowledged that fears about border security were largely to blame. Congress and the president took a step back and focused on securing the border in an attempt to build consensus.
When President Barack Obama moved into the White House, he took up this call and has been especially active. He partnered with Congress to significantly increase border security and increase workplace enforcement through the voluntary employment verification program known as E-Verify.
Data compiled by the Department of Homeland Security demonstrate the effectiveness of the president’s efforts. He has nearly doubled the number of border patrol agents along the Mexican border. Ten years ago, there were 10,000 border patrol agents. Today that number has surged to 18,164.
The amount of border fences and other barriers has also grown rapidly, more than doubling. In 2008, there were only 267 miles of border fencing. Today that number stands at 652 miles.
The number of ground surveillance systems, or ground sensors, has also more than doubled, from 6,712 in 2008 to 12,722 today. And the number of unmanned aircraft on patrol is up from four in 2008 to nine today.
Over the past decade, the number of employers participating in E-Verify has increased dramatically, from 3,478 in 2004 to 482,692 as of 2013. And the number of E-Verify inquiries made by employers to ascertain work eligibility has ballooned from 700,000 in 2004 to more than 23 million in 2013.
The federal government has also significantly boosted support to local law enforcement agencies in southern border communities through grant programs like Operation Stonegarden.
In large part due to such improved border security, the population of undocumented immigrants in the United States has leveled off since 2007. After increasing from 5.7 million in 1995 to 12.2 million in 2007, the undocumented immigrant population has dipped to 11.3 million today.
And while these investments have helped strengthen the border, the Senate-passed Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Modernization Act goes even further to dispel concerns and gain bipartisan support.
The bill includes an aggressive border security package that provides an unprecedented $46 billion over 10 years for border security. It requires the deployment of 38,405 trained, full-time Border Patrol agents and mandates the completion of additional fencing along our southern border. It also requires that all employers use E-Verify.
Given the results in border security achieved since 2008, it’s difficult to argue that the Senate bill, which would add an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and allocate billions of dollars toward border security, does not do enough.
Yet we find ourselves mired in this false fear of lax border security. The House of Representatives refuses to even debate the bipartisan Senate bill, using recent humanitarian tragedies as the excuse.
In fact, one could argue the recent border emergency involving unaccompanied immigrant children actually demonstrates the effectiveness of our security.
Immigration officers apprehended and processed thousands of unaccompanied children and families, despite the failure of Congress to provide emergency funding for additional resources.
The bottom line is that the southern border is more secure than ever, and the border security package included in the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill would further lock it down.
There is no excuse to delay action on a reform bill pending additional action on border security. Let’s do what’s right for the country and get this done.
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement after President Obama ordered humanitarian air drops and air strikes, as necessary, against terrorists in Iraq: “I support President Obama’s decision to send humanitarian air drops to the thousands of stranded Iraqi civilians who have been forced to flee their homes and are at risk of dying. I also support the President’s decision to launch air strikes as long as no combat forces are on the ground. These air strikes are the correct action for our national security, they will protect American interests and save lives in Iraq. “I look forward to the Administration’s continued close consultations with Congress.”
Biosimilars also known as follow-on biologics are biologic medical products whose active drug substance is made by a living organism or derived from a living organism by means of recombinant DNA or controlled gene expression methods.
Biosimilars (or follow-on biologics) are terms used to describe officially approved subsequent versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products made by a different sponsor following patent and exclusivity expiry on the innovator product. Biosimilars are also referred to as subsequent entry biologics (SEBs) in Canada.Reference to the innovator product is an integral component of the approval.
Unlike the more common small-molecule drugs, biologics generally exhibit high molecular complexity, and may be quite sensitive to changes in manufacturing processes. Follow-on manufacturers do not have access to the originator’s molecular clone and original cell bank, nor to the exact fermentation and purification process, nor to the active drug substance. They do have access to the commercialized innovator product. Differences in impurities and/or breakdown products can have serious health implications. (From Wikipedia.)
Say patients, health care professionals, and congress must see FDA’s draft policy on naming, other key issues before first biosimilar is approved
U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have led colleagues in calling on the Obama administration to release guidance documents on biosimilar drug approvals. The senators were joined by three Republican members on the Senate health committee, Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Pat Roberts (R- Kan.).
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the senators write: “We write today with concerns about the implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), bipartisan legislation enacted in 2010 to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a framework to review and approve biosimilars. The FDA has not yet issued guidance on some of the key scientific policy questions related to biosimilars, such as naming, labeling, indication extrapolation, and interchangeability.”
Last week, FDA accepted the first biosimilar application for review, but outside of meetings with individual companies seeking to file applications, has not released any guidance. “These meetings should not be the only or primary means by which BPCIA implementation policies are developed,” the senators write. “Does the FDA intend to approve the first biosimilar before policies on these key scientific questions are publicly released?”
“The public needs to have time to comment and FDA time to revise the policies set forth in this draft guidance if necessary. …It is our understanding that FDA has forwarded the naming guidance to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and this guidance is awaiting HHS’ clearance so it can be released for stakeholder comment. In order to ensure the success of the biosimilar pathway, it is imperative that the scientific experts at FDA maintain the autonomy to implement the pathway as intended in a manner that puts the safety of patients first.”
The senators urged the immediate release of guidance for review by patients, healthcare professionals, policy makers, and others, saying, “Their participation is necessary before settling on final policies.”
Inhofe: President is Disrespecting Military by Failing to Visit Texas Border
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), has called on President Obama to include in his fundraising trip to Texas a visit to the border in order to witness first-hand the immigration crisis and surge of unaccompanied alien children (UAC):
“President Obama’s failed policies and campaign tactics have driven the unprecedented flow of unaccompanied minors across the southern border. In response, he has turned to our military bases, like Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, for help with housing these children. The President’s failure to visit the border during his trip to Texas disrespects our military and their limited resources he is calling up to manage a crisis he created. Likewise, it is a snub to the thousands of border agents, local officials and vulnerable children caught in the crosshairs. President Obama should put his political fundraising on hold, accept the appropriate leadership role of a president and personally witness this crisis that is leaving young children in the hands of human traffickers and threatening the security of our nation.”