U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate

1) UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE UNITED STATES SEND GROUND TROOPS INTO IRAQ AND SYRIA AS COMBATANTS IN THE CURRENT CONFLICT WITH ISIL (ISIS, OR THE ISLAMIC STATE)?

CAM CAVASSO (Republican)
When an enemy declares war on us, we should not pretend for public approval that we are not at war. ISIS is a serious threat, to the region, and to American security. If airstrikes prove ineffective (and they have), we must have the courage to engage at all levels to protect our interests, our allies, our people and our ideals. Anything less is either cowardice or political double-mindedness that will cost us more dearly in the future.

BRIAN SCHATZ (Democrat)
I strongly oppose putting U.S. combat troops on the ground, but ISIS cannot be ignored.  We must coordinate with NATO allies and partners in the region to craft a deliberate, multilateral strategy.  We need to continue to evaluate and refine our strategy to ensure that American airstrikes can help stop ISIS’ advance, disrupt its training and help deter new recruits from joining its ranks.

2) DO YOU AGREE WITH THE DECISION TO RELEASE THE FIVE GUANTANAMO PRISONERS IN EXCHANGE FOR THE RELEASE AND RETURN OF SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL? WHY OR WHY NOT?

CAM CAVASSO (Republican)
Absolutely not. We released terrorists who will return to action and cost brave American lives in exchange for a deserter. Bergdahl deserted his comrades and turned his back on his country. We owe the soldiers he abandoned our support. We should have requested he be returned to the U.S. to be tried for treason.

BRIAN SCHATZ (Democrat)
Yes. It is a shame that the circumstances under which Sgt. Bergdahl was released have become so politicized given that recovering him was a bipartisan priority.  Ultimately, Sgt. Bergdahl should answer for his actions in a military court, not the court of public opinion.  As for the five Taliban prisoners that were sent to Qatar, the President has made clear that if they rejoin the fight against the United States and our allies, we can and will hunt them down.

3) WHAT SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO WITH THE TERROR SUSPECTS BEING HELD AT THE GUANTANAMO PRISON?

CAM CAVASSO (Republican)
They should be released and Gitmo (Guantanamo Prison) closed — just as soon as their comrades and leaders lay down their arms and agree to terms of surrender. Until then, they are legitimate prisoners of an ongoing war and their release threatens American combat troops and American civilians. Our security and safety demand they stay imprisoned.

BRIAN SCHATZ (Democrat)
I support the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, but I recognize the legal issues that must be addressed in order to move forward.  For more than a decade, the detention center has discredited our country’s commitments to human rights, harmed our international standing and served as a recruitment tool for terrorists.  Congress must pass legislation that lifts restrictions on detainee transfers to make it possible to close the detention center.

4) IN YOUR EYES, IS EDWARD SNOWDEN, WHO LEAKED INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION WHILE A TECHNOLOGY CONTRACTOR FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, AN AMERICAN PATRIOT, OR A TRAITOR TO HIS COUNTRY?

CAM CAVASSO (Republican)
I believe the families of the people endangered by his actions should get to answer this question. As an employee, he violated the terms of his contract. As an American, he betrayed the trust of his country. Is he a hero? Consider who has protected and embraced him. No country is perfect. I believe we are better than any other, and try harder to stay that way. Where we fail, we work together to improve. We do not hand our secrets to our enemies. Snowden deserves to be tried as a traitor.

BRIAN SCHATZ (Democrat)
The main issue is not what we think of Edward Snowden, but how we need to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  One of my first votes in the U.S. Senate was against reauthorization of FISA, because I did not think it protected our privacy within the confines of the Fourth Amendment.

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