U.S. Congressman LOUIE GOHMERT: Proudly Serving the First District of Texas


Press Releases

Gohmert on House Passage of Bill to Track Those with Disabilities

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Washington, December 8, 2016 | comments

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement on his decision to vote against H.R. 4919, Kevin and Avonte's Law, which establishes a federal program to chip individuals with autism and developmental disabilities:

“While this initiative may have noble intentions, ‘small and temporary’ programs in the name of safety and security often evolve into permanent and enlarged bureaucracies that infringe on the American people’s freedoms. That is exactly what we have here. A safety problem exists for people with Alzheimer’s, autism and other mental health issues, so the fix, we are told, is to have the Department of JUSTICE, start a tracking program so we can use some device or method to track these individuals 24/7.”

“I know the feeling of having someone I love dearly having degenerative mental abilities that create concerns for her getting lost. It is immensely heart-breaking. But, the answer is not more federal money and a federal system in place for monitoring people’s location all day every day. It is yet another well-intentioned program that catapults America down the road toward a Big Brother –more invasive than Orwell could have imagined.”

“Sponsors of the bill tell us not to worry, because they got language in there that says the tracking device cannot be invasive, it is totally voluntary AND it is only a couple of million dollars to get it started –so it is not all that much money. That is exactly how the most insidious, invasive, overreaching, governmental control bills start.  I just would never have dreamed that my own party would lead the way in rushing a bill to the floor that was not brought up in a subcommittee nor committee hearing with witnesses and experts including Constitutional experts to debate this, nor did we have a subcommittee or committee vote on this bill, nor did we have any chance to amend it.”

“It is absolutely staggering that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be so blind to government overreach that they would allow a federal tracking program, not for criminals in the U.S., not for terrorists, not for illegal immigrants or even immigrants who commit crimes, but for people with ‘developmental disabilities’ a term that is subject to wide misinterpretation. The Senate Republican leaders even brought it to the floor with almost no one there and asked that the new Big Brother program be passed without even having a vote at all - someone just asks for ‘unanimous consent.’ Since no one is advised about the bill being brought up, no one who would object knows to be there, so it passes without anyone ever actually voting for it.”

“It is not unreasonable for a doctor or prosecutor to suggest that a chip just under the skin is non-invasive, because there is no entrance into the brain or body cavity. Japan is just a hair ahead of us, but they have found that putting a barcode on a person’s fingerprint is certainly non-invasive. As for voluntary, a parent or guardian is SUPPOSED to consent, but once the program is in place, it is also reasonable to anticipate prosecutors demanding it for someone they have a ‘reasonable belief’ or ‘probable cause’ to believe might be a problem and that a judge should order someone involuntarily into the program, though they would not get the federal funding in this specific bill.”

“Benjamin Franklin’s attributed quote is, ‘Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither.’ The government is not supposed to be our ‘big brother.’ We must examine other ways to help those who cannot help themselves. There is nothing in the law anywhere that I am aware of that would prevent a parent or guardian from having some reasonable tracking measure right now before this new law is even signed.”

“Once again, Republicans can feel good that 167 Republicans out of 246 in the House joined with the Democrats to create a way for the Attorney General of the United States to track their children when the government gets ready to include them in the program.”

Congressman Gohmert is the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, he was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas and was appointed by then Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals. He knows well the capabilities of the government. 


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