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Houlahan shares Statement on her trip to the Horn of Africa

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) issued the following statement on her Congressional Delegation trip to Horn of Africa from February 16 to 23, 2024:


I recently had the opportunity to travel with a small delegation of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia.


While there, in my additional capacity as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I was able to visit with some of our troops. Many of these Soldiers hailed from our own Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Some even hailed from my backyard, the Sixth Congressional District. I am grateful to them for their hard work and service under difficult conditions. Their enduring presence helps ensure our collective security and freedoms at home. 


Together, we spoke about the grueling operational tempo of our National Guard and Reserves and discussed ideas to improve the lives of our service members and their families. From these conversations, I have more than a few action items to follow up on now that I’m home. I look forward to working on this as part of our upcoming 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) work, using my valuable experience as the House Armed Services Committee’s military Quality of Life Panel.


While in East Africa, I got deep insight into the threats that confront us and our allies and partners each day — threats not only abroad but also against the Homeland.


From my on-the-ground look, it was increasingly apparent that we must place more urgency on Congress to renew and reauthorize FISA Section 702 provisions. These provisions enable our intelligence agencies to collect on non-U.S. persons to prevent terrorist activities. The House Intelligence Committee as well as the House Judiciary Committee have both moved versions of this bill through committee, and it is now on Speaker Johnson to allow a full floor vote on this important legislation that protects us every. single. day.


Even in the days before we landed, AFRICOM, in coordination with its Somali partners conducted an airstrike against an Al-Shabaab target in Jilib, Somalia. The threats we face are real. And FISA Section 702 is vital to understanding and addressing them. 

Finally, during my travels throughout the region, it was hard not to notice the impact and influence of China and Russia. From the new bridges, roads, and pervasive and invasive telecom provided by China in Kenya — to the threat of potential Russian-Russian influence in Somalia — the possibility of the U.S. lagging in the important relationships we have in Africa is real. The value that we as a nation provide is immeasurable, but only if we are there — and only if we are willing and able to be steadfast and trustworthy partners.

Our less than exemplary spotty commitment to partners and allies such as Ukraine and Israel is noticed by both our current African partners and by those who’d like to align with us more closely. It is also noticed by our foes as well. While traveling in Africa it was also a regular part of all conversations that America needs to lead and lead now with continued support to our allies in Europe and the Middle East. The delay in funding our national security priorities abroad and at home is something squarely at the feet of Speaker Johnson. We need a floor vote now on the overwhelmingly bipartisan bills the Senate has provided us to address these threats.


It is evident that the world is an enormously complex and interconnected place, and I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and serve my constituents where they are, to provide Congressional oversight, and to craft legislative responses to what I see in this way. It is a privilege and an honor to serve our community, Commonwealth, and country.


Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.