- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

House Republicans unveiled a security agenda Thursday that calls for prevailing over Islamic State terrorists, stopping cyberattacks and building more fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border — though they did not embrace Donald Trump’s border wall, much less his vow to make Mexico pay for it.

Also missing from the new agenda was Mr. Trump’s goal of imposing a temporary ban on Muslim immigration until the federal government gets a better handle on the terror threat.

Instead, Republicans said their agenda was aimed at reversing eight years of policies by President Obama, who House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said failed to enforce his “red line” in Syria and “shrugged off” the Islamic State in Iraq, while striking a deal with Iran to pause that nation’s nuclear arms program in exchange for the end of international sanctions.

“It’s not too much to say that our enemies no longer fear us, and too many of our allies no longer trust us,” Mr. Ryan said as he announced the security agenda, the second plank in House Republicans’ election-year policy blueprint.

An anti-poverty proposal was released Tuesday, and still to come are plans on government regulations, the Constitution, tax reform and health care.

Dubbed “A Better Way,” the House GOP’s election-year agenda is designed to unify the party, so it left out areas of disagreements within the GOP, such as immigration and trade reforms — two areas where Mr. Ryan clashes with Mr. Trump.

Yet rather than adopting Mr. Trump’s plan for a border wall, Thursday’s proposal calls for a mix of “high fencing,” border agents and technological surveillance to stem the flow of illegal immigration, plus better systems to track and detain those who do make it in.

“We need more than just fencing. We need a strong, multilayered approach to prevent illegal entrants from defeating any one part of our security,” the plan says.

Much of Thursday’s plan amounts to a call to do things the opposite of Mr. Obama. For example, Republicans said the president has failed to defeat international terrorist groups in part because he refuses to acknowledge their roots. “So let’s state it plainly: We are at war with Islamist terrorists,” the new agenda says.

Mr. Ryan said defeating the Islamic State will require “a wartime approach and keeping all options on the table.”

Republicans also urged other nations, particularly those that permit visa-free travel to the U.S., to drop their “pre-9/11 mentality” and beef up screening at points of departure.

Just as important as the broad goals in the agenda, however, were the Trump policies left out of it.

The party leader has embraced waterboarding for terrorism suspects (indeed, he once pledged “far worse” stuff) and suggested that he is open to Japan and South Korea obtaining nuclear weapons. He also said NATO is “obsolete” and called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

Democrats have gleefully played up the differences between congressional Republicans and Mr. Trump.

Donald Trump’s embrace of Vladimir Putin, and his interest in a personal meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un — after speaking admiringly of his murder of his own uncle — are no doubt a part of this strategy of confronting rogue and adversarial regimes,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat and a member of the House intelligence committee.

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