GOP: Next Homeland Secretary Must Do Better

Friday, 12 Jul 2013 01:49 PM

By John Gizzi and Bill Hoffmann

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Reaction to Friday's resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was swift — and mixed — as Republicans expressed hopes that her successor would do a better job.

With terrorism and border security on the political front burner, GOP lawmakers in the House felt the former Arizona governor did not fare well in dealing with them on these issues. They also blamed the Obama administration.

"For a DHS secretary who seemed more interested in targeting states that sought to enforce immigration laws than enforcing border security, one might expect I'd be overjoyed by the departure of Secretary Napolitano," Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas told Newsmax.

"However, this administration’s flagrant disregard for the rule of law begins and ends with President Obama. Whether it is the DHS and border insecurity, the HHS and ignoring Obamacare mandates, the IRS and targeting of conservatives, or the DOJ’s failure to enforce numerous laws, it is President Obama’s duty to faithfully execute the laws of this nation."

"Napolitano set to resign from Homeland Security. Time to get serious about border security," tweeted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is about to announce his candidacy for governor.

"While Secretary Napolitano and I have disagreed on issues like the security of the border, I respect and thank her for her service," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, told the Houston Chronicle.

"Her departure is a substantial addition to the growing list of unfilled key leadership positions within the department, and the administration should move swiftly to fill the gaping holes in its management."

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican who has dealt closely with Napolitano as a member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, told Newsmax he "commended" Napolitano for her years of public service.

"Having said that, the optimist in me says the next secretary will hopefully work closer with Congress," he said. "At a time when homeland security is such a critical issue — this is a job in which we just can't afford miscues and failures … The department missed deadlines for sequestration and that was a real problem.

"In light of the Boston bombing and the immigration debate, we're going to have to make sure the new secretary is fully committed to border security and fighting terrorism."

Napolitano is resigning from the Cabinet to become president of the University of California, a fact that didn’t escape Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a California Republican.

"It's disappointing to see an individual with such a poor record on civil liberties and government transparency selected to run the University of California," LaMalfa said.

"University of California students can look forward to the same authoritarian management style Secretary Napolitano brought to the Department of Homeland Security, hardly a bastion of free speech and open government," LaMalfa added. "While I am pleased to see her leave Homeland Security, Napolitano's views are entirely incompatible with the UC system's history of civil liberties and the decision to appoint her is perplexing."

Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Napolitano “served our nation with honor over the last four years as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in Washington.

"We have had our share of disagreements during her time as secretary, but I have never doubted her integrity, work ethic, or commitment to our nation's security. The people of Arizona can be very proud of our former governor's service, and I wish her all the best as she assumes leadership of the nation's largest public university system."

Democrats, on the otehr hand, praised Napolitano for her years of service.

"I congratulate Secretary Napolitano on this appointment and wish her great success as she meets the many challenges and embraces the opportunities as the next president of this world-class university system,” Sen. Diane Feinstein of California said.

"I know Secretary Napolitano to be both smart and competent — qualities she has demonstrated as secretary of Homeland Security, an enormous organization with 22 departments and more than 240,000 employees. Her recent support for immigration reform — particularly the bipartisan Senate bill — aided its strong 68-vote passage in the Senate.

“As the well-respected former governor of Arizona, Secretary Napolitano will also bring to UC a distinguished record of executive experience. Janet Napolitano will make a fine president of the University of California. I welcome her to California and look forward to a new constituent."

State Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco said: "Secretary Napolitano's extensive experience at all levels of government will likely serve her well in the days ahead.

"Secretary Napolitano has the strength of character and an outsider's mind that will well serve the students and faculty. It will be exciting to work with her." California Gov. Jerry Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso tweeted: "Congrats to @DHSgov Sec Napolitano. Thank you for your service & for your willingness to work w/ us to develop policies that improve #border."

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