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Rogers: Remembering 9/11 as we evaluate today’s emerging threats

Nineteen years ago, America awoke on a tranquil Tuesday morning only to have that peace destroyed by terrorists. We pause today to remember the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. We rise to honor the brave first responders who ran into harm’s way. We mourn with the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones that dreadful day.

We stand with our troops who have taken the battle to our enemies. We remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in this fight. Every day is a reminder of the debt we owe to our service members and their families.

On 9/11, America promised to fight back against the incarnation of evil. Our military, intelligence community and law enforcement have done just that. We could not be prouder of their efforts and results, which have led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, the dismantling of ISIS, and the thwarting of numerous plots against the homeland. President Trump and his administration have continued that work and made national security a focal point of his presidency. I’m proud to work with the president and his team to secure our borders, take out terrorists, and reclaim America’s dominance on the global stage.

But the battle is not over. Threats to our way of life come from every corner of the globe. Domestically and internationally, we’ve seen more threats to our nation in recent years than existed 19 years ago. Foreign countries, like Russia, are trying to interfere in our elections. Terrorist groups are exploiting social media to radicalize folks here at home. China is trying to steal our intellectual property — including research to curb a global pandemic. Iran and North Korea continue to pursue nuclear weapons. Malign cyber actors incessantly attack our businesses, critical infrastructure and economy. Confrontations in space are no longer science fiction but a reality we must face.

Congress must be ready to address these threats. As a senior member on the Armed Services Committee and the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, I sit in a unique seat to see all the threats to our nation and the strategies we are employing against them. I have dedicated my career in Congress to ensuring that we never see another 9/11.

It is vital that the men and women fighting day after day to keep us safe have the resources to win the battles of today and tomorrow. For too many years, the Appropriations bills have missed deadlines. The House won’t consider the Homeland Security Appropriations bill this year, again, because of tough political issues for the majority. Congress must do better. We are failing those that protect us.

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) serves in the United States House of Representatives, where he is the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee