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Congressman John Culberson represents the 7th district of Texas. He is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, member of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and member of the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio, this is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. In the battlespace of that war, there are few areas that are probably more contested in the moment than the U.S. Congress and it’s always a delight to have a leader in the Congress on matters involving our national security and other vital interests and we have one with us today. He is Congressman John Culberson of Texas, he represents the people of its 7th district with great distinction. That is the greater Houston area, hard hit recently by Hurricane Harvey and we are going to talk about that in a moment. The Congressman is senior member of the Committee on Appropriations. In fact, he chairs its highly influential Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, he also serves on its Homeland Security and Military Construction subcommittees. He has been a leader on so many issues and it’s really a delight to have him with us. I particularly wanted to say right out of the box Congressman, thank you for the work you’ve been doing to try to help the people of your constituency but also elsewhere in the affected areas that have been hard hit by hurricane Harvey. It’s made a real difference I know and I just want to say thank you for that.

REP. JOHN CULBERSON:

Thank you, Frank. It’s a catastrophic storm which was the largest housing disaster in the history of the country. 150,000 homes in the eastern area flooded. And every one of us, all of us, have family and friends that were affected. Our home almost got water in it, came right up to the door. My brother and his family lost everything, my wife’s family lost everything. So, it’s a real catastrophe and I’ve been working overtime to get folks as much help as we can as quickly as possible.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

I know you have. How is it, going just very quickly, in terms of getting people back on their feet and the work Congress is doing to support that?

REP. JOHN CULBERSON:

Well, first and foremost, the people of Texas being self-reliant, everyone in Texas, one of the things I love most about the city of Houston is how we look after each other, our family, our faith, our community, are so important to us that before the storm even hit, neighborhoods that already organized, Frank, using social media, using a program called Nextdoor which I recommend to your listeners. People had organized in advance so that when the storm hit I knew that you, for example Frank, if you had a boat or a truck or a trailer, and we all organized ourselves in the neighborhood so that when the storm hit people were able to go to Nextdoor or using Zello and coordinate so that when the water came up. For example, when my brother, who had six to seven feet of water in his house for ten days, within 10 minutes of the water coming into his house, a guy was out front of his house with a boat, picked my brother and his wife up, along with some precious possessions, took them to end of the subdivision, dropped them off and there was a line of trucks there like the cabs at the airport my brother said. So, within an hour of the water hitting his house, my brother was in a hotel room with a hot meal and clean sheets and a hot shower. And so the first and foremost it is a great tribute to the people of Houston who looked after each other who made sure that we took care of each other. And now my role, the federal government’s role, was then to step in once the water had receded, we had been making sure that people get access to loans at very low interest rates to rebuild, they got all the help they need from the disaster assistance fund. Now for the longer-term Frank, I’m focused on rebuilding the flood control infrastructure in Houston to protect us from at a minimum a one-hundred-year flood event. So, it’s been very heartening. For example, Lakewood Church, very quickly Frank, this is a great story and it is not well known. Lakewood Church opened their doors to the people of Beth Yoshoren and the Jewish community who were about to celebrate the High Holidays, one of the largest conservative synagogues in the country. Beth Yoshoren had water in the sanctuaries and people were desperate looking for where to go for high holidays and I thought Lakewood Church. Lakewood welcomed the people of Houston and the Jewish community so they could celebrate the High Holidays at Lakewood church.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Congressman John Culberson, one of the other things that is prominently located in your constituency of course is a lot of the NASA operations. You have the responsibility of overseeing its budget. I know you have been very committed to trying to make sure our space program is all it can be and that we need it to be. You have also expressed concern which I fully share, about the communist Chinese and about what the Russians are doing in space and I think you’ve called it, ‘an unfriendly navy in space,’ that the Chinese are amassing. Tell us a little bit about your vision for what is hopefully under Jim Bridensteins’s leadership, your colleague in the congress now, but the designated to be NASA director. What do you expect is going to come of our space program Sir in the days and months and years ahead?

REP. JOHN CULBERSON:

Frank, you’re exactly right. The interspace is the high ground of the high ground of 21st century and beyond and the U.S. space program and has been and must continue to be the best on earth. And that begins with sufficient investment to make sure the scientists, engineers and astronauts at NASA can focus on their mission and that they have everything they need to keep America’s space program the best on earth. And I have as chairman of the subcommittee, I’m responsible for funding at NASA. I chair the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations   Subcommittee. So, in essence I’m the CFO of the Department of Justice which is why I was able to persuade the last attorney general and working with the new attorney general to cut off funding to sanctuary cities but also as a guy responsible for funding NASA. I make sure, Frank, that the three years I have been Chairman and every year I continue to be Chairman of that Subcommittee, I will make sure NASA has the highest level of funding they ever had in the history of the agency. And that they have the direction to make sure that America, for example, is the first nation on earth to discover life in another world which will galvanize public opinion and encourage the public to take NASA to that next big level of funding that will enable us to build large structures on space, to make sure humans have a permanent presence in deep space around the moon and beyond. And the bill that I passed Frank has language in it as well that directs NASA to identity the nearest earthlike planet and then launch humanities first interstellar mission to that nearest earthlike planet no later than the 100th anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. And Jim Bridenstein will do a superb job as administrator and I will work closely with him making sure our program is the best on earth and a critical part of that as you mentioned is making sure we keep the Chinese out of our space program, because they are not our friends and China is building a navy in outer space. The Chinese space program is militarized owned by the People’s Liberation Army, you got that right.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

And aimed at our assets there I’m afraid. I’m hoping you are working hard on among other thing just getting us back into space on a reliable launcher system of our own which is obviously a precursor to everything else you’re talking about.

REP. JOHN CULBERSON:

We have indeed Frank. I want to be sure the listeners know that in August of next year, American astronauts will launch into lower orbit again on an America rocket built by Space-X, a commercial space provider, something I strongly believe in. The yellow pages test, if you can find a government service in the yellow pages, privatize it and the commercial sector is off and running.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Far faster and far less costly an approach too. Congressman, before we run out of time, I just wanted to just thank you again for your leadership on the sanctuary cities issue and give you and opportunity to talk a little bit about where that stands at the moment under the new leadership of Jeff Sessions.

REP. JOHN CULBERSON:

Well using the power of the purse, which James Madison and the Founders understood is the most powerful check and balance that the Congress could have, I was able to persuade Loretta Lynch to change Department of Justice policy to cut off funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. And we are only talking about criminals convicted of a violent offense in the us who are here illegally and before they are released from a state or local jail. The law requires local authorities to communicate with, and hand these guys over to federal authorities, to be deported. That wasn’t happening. So, I got Loretta Lynch to change the policy so when President Trump walked into office on January 20th it was ready for him to implement. So, the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been aggressively working to implement the policy I had forced the DOJ to put in place. They have a couple court orders which have popped up of course to block it, but I expect in the weeks ahead that America will see mayor of Chicago and Mayor De Blasio and I hope Governor Brown of California holding press conferences, waving their arms and hollering, that their federal funding has been cut off and how awful it is that they can’t get federal dollars. And this real simple Frank, the new requirement is if you want federal money, follow feral law. Hand over criminal aliens in your jails to be deported or don’t even ask for federal money

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Let’s hope that they are at the press conferences going to throw in the towel and acknowledge they have to conform to the law. But again, I really think this is one of the most impressive examples of Congressional leadership in recent memory and I want to just salute you for doing it. Congressman John Culberson, I know we got to let you get back to your day job, but thank you so much for spending some time with us I hope you’ll do so again in the very near future. In the meantime, keep up the very good work. We will speak with Congressman Russell next, after this.

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