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Dear Friend,

My North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act is on its Way to the President

This week, Congress passed my North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is now headed to the President's desk.

This legislation, if enacted and signed into law, would impose mandatory sanctions on individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, malicious cyberattacks, censorship of its citizens, and the regime’s continued human rights abuses.

I’m pleased Congress acted to replace the Obama Administration’s failed policy of ‘strategic patience’ toward North Korea with mandatory sanctions designed to stop the Forgotten Maniac in Pyongyang. North Korea’s behavior is increasingly belligerent, and recent headlines and military experts confirm its nuclear, ballistic missile, and cyber capabilities are growing. At the same time, the ruthless regime continues to imprison and torture more than 200,000 of its own men, women, and children. The North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act vigorously pursues sanctions against individuals who contribute to the regime’s proliferation activities, cyberattacks, censorship, and human rights abuses. I’m proud that Congress came together to address the Forgotten Maniac, and I look forward to the President signing this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation into law.

Watch my short video here.  


Mismanagement at the VA

I sent a letter to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald demanding swift action following an Inspector General (IG) report that revealed employees at the Colorado Springs VA clinic hid long wait times for hundreds of veterans. According to the IG report, 228 veterans were forced to wait over 30 days to see a doctor. In 59 of those cases, VA staff entered false information into a database to cover up the long wait times; 28 veterans waited an average of 76 days before getting an appointment, even though their records indicated they were provided with a same-day appointment. Read my letter here

Meeting with High School Students from Lakewood, Colorado

I enjoyed meeting with high school students from Lakewood, CO who were visiting Washington as part of the Close Up Foundation.



In the News


EDITORIAL: North Korea’s rocket launch shows that Mr. Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ has failed

February 9, 2016.

ASSESSING THE behavior of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un is necessarily a matter of guesswork. In light of North Korea’s launch Sunday of another long-range rocket, however, our favorite theory is a simple one: Mr. Kim is responding rationally, even shrewdly, to the outside world. The 30-something dictator no doubt noticed that after the regime’s latest nuclear test, on Jan. 6, there was no response other than rhetoric from the U.N. Security Council, China and the United States. Moreover, he surely observed that his provocation served to widen a rift between Washington and Beijing over how to handle him. So why not double down?

The three-stage rocket launched Sunday, which supposedly put a satellite into Earth’s orbit, could also serve as an intercontinental missile. If North Korea has succeeded, as it claims it has, in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead, Mr. Kim could target Hawaii and Alaska, or perhaps even the western U.S. mainland. The threat is not imminent — and yet it is likely to become so if the United States does not devise a more effective strategy for containing and deterring the Kim regime.

President Obama’s policy since 2009, “strategic patience,” has failed. The policy has mostly consisted of ignoring North Korea while mildly cajoling China to pressure the regime. As the supplier of most of the isolated country’s energy and food, Beijing has enormous leverage. But Chinese President Xi Jinping appears even more committed than his predecessors to the doctrine that it is preferable to tolerate the Kim regime — and its nuclear proliferation — than do anything that might destabilize it.

Read the full editorial here.


Senate to sanction North Korea in rebuke of Obama policy 

February 10, 2016

The Senate is set to sanction North Korea on Wednesday, using legislation supporters say counteracts Obama's failure to hit back at the unpredictable regime.

The legislation comes amid a new round of belligerent behavior from Pyongyang that has returned the spotlight to the once tech-averse state. In recent weeks, the reclusive East Asian nation has fired a long-range rocket, restarted a nuclear reactor and claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

In conjunction with the contested H-bomb test, South Korean officials reported that its northern neighbor was also running a cyber campaign to plant malware on government networks.

“Months and months ago, I started to raise alarms about the forgotten maniac, Kim Jong Un, and the fact that we view their cyber capabilities as a new asymmetric threat,” bill sponsor Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told The Hill, referencing the North Korean leader.

Read the full story here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update. If I can be of any assistance to you, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-5941.




Cory Gardner

United States Senator