Congratulations, Speaker Boehner, to you and the members of your new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. The gracious humility of your acceptance remarks was a vivid contrast to your predecessor's ill-mannered comments as she handed over the speaker's gavel. She clearly does not intend to be held accountable for the disastrous performance of her party in last November's elections.
Though former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's long-winded rudeness is an indication of the challenges you and other responsible members of the 112th Congress will face in the days ahead, your arrival on Capitol Hill is already having a positive effect in Washington. Shortly before you became speaker of the House, the Obama administration announced it is withdrawing its new regulation requiring "end-of-life counseling" for Medicare recipients. In short, there will be no "death panels." Then, just hours after you gaveled the new House to order, President Barack Obama's confrontational spokesman, Robert Gibbs, announced his resignation as White House press secretary. Now the hard work begins.
You already have received much advice in the month since we last spoke. Most Americans are aware you and your new 242-193 majority intend to vote next week on repealing "Obamacare." We also know Republican priorities include holding the line on tax increases, cutting federal spending, decreasing the deficit, and regulatory reform to stimulate the U.S. economy. All of those are important -- but none more so than protecting our nation's people and territory.
Though the president is the commander in chief of our armed forces and the day-to-day conduct of our foreign policy is the purview of the executive branch, there is much that must be done by Congress to protect our homeland and our people better. Here are five national security issues in urgent need of congressional attention:
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.