Duncan Hunter

 

 

The information presented below reflects the 2008 election season and is not representative of changes in titles, roles, or policy views expressed since then.

Duncan Hunter Throughout his nearly thirty years in Congress, Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has been a prominent voice on national defense and military issues. A Vietnam veteran, Hunter previously chaired the House Armed Services Committee and has long supported increased defense spending. He is the co-chair of the House National Security Caucus and supports the Bush administration’s efforts in Iraq.

Hunter has pressed for the construction of a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border, which borders his district. Under his leadership, nearly sixty miles of fencing along the border in San Diego County have been constructed. A member of the Congressional Jobs and Fair Trade Caucus, Hunter made fair trade one of the central issues of his platform and has often pointedly criticized the U.S.-China trade relationship as unfair.

After his military service, Hunter earned a law degree from Western State University Law School in California and worked as a trial lawyer in Los Angeles’ Hispanic community for a few years before his 1980 election to Congress.

Polling in the single digits nationwide, Hunter was a lower-tier candidate for the GOP nomination until he withdrew in January 2008. Hunter has since endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.


Campaign Issues

U.S. Policy toward Africa

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has seldom commented on U.S. policy toward Africa. In June 2006, Hunter sent a letter urging President Bush to improve the Abeche airfield in Chad, near the Darfur border, which he said is a “critical lifeline of the region that, once improved, can stage a significant and immediate increase in humanitarian activities, including potential NATO and UN operations.”

Hunter voted for the voted for the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006. He also voted in favor of the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007.

U.S. Policy toward India

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has often expressed concern that too many U.S. jobs are being outsourced to countries like India and China.

Hunter voted for the U.S.and India Nuclear Cooperation Act of 2006.

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has spoken out against any attempts to close Guantanamo. His primary grievance is that transferring detainees to facilities in the United States would allow detainees to “acquire minimal rights under the Constitution, in particular, the right to habeas corpus.” He warned that this would stall the military commission process “for the foreseeable future, and none of the detainees at Guantanamo would be brought to justice” (UPI).

Hunter has also denied the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. In a 2005 interview, he read reporters a menu for Guantánamo prisoners’ meals that included “honey-glazed chicken” and “lemon-baked fish.” The detainees, he said, have “never been more comfortable in their lives.”

Hunter voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Domestic Intelligence

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) voted in favor of the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act of 2006, which would have granted legal status to Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Afghanistan

Like Huckabee, Rep. Hunter (R-CA) appears to have no qualms with the war on terror as a policy.

He fully supports the Bush agenda in Iraq and stresses the importance of border security in the fight against terrorists.

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has said that the promotion of democracy is a primary reason for military action in Iraq. He strongly supports Bush’s efforts to stimulate democracy in the Middle East. In 2006, he said, “I think we are going to be as successful as we were in … [disassembling] the Soviet empire, as successful as we were in bringing democracy (The Hill) to nations in Central America.”

Hunter voted in favor of the 2006 Iran Freedom Support Act.

Energy Policy

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) voted against the Clean Energy Act of 2007. He also voted for the Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005, which allowed for the construction of new oil refineries. Hunter voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Hunter voted against the Clinton did not attend the vote on the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy EfficiencyAct of 2007, which passed.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) says Israel should not give up “one inch” of territory.  He supports Israel’s security wall and also says Israel should improve its missile defense system, with assistance from the United States, to “prevent the sort of attacks that country suffered during its war with Hezbollah.” Like Giuliani, Hunter says a peace process will be impossible until Palestinians “renounce terrorism and stop their attacks on the Israeli people.”

North Korea Policy

After the North Korean nuclear test, Rep. Hunter (R-CA) wrote a letter to President Bush advocating for a missile defense system “capable of addressing the full range of North Korean missile-based threats to the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies.”

Cuba Policy

Hunter (R-CA) is a hard-liner with regards to Cuba. He voted in 1992 for the Cuban Democracy Act, which stipulated that subsidiaries of U.S. companies could not do business with Cuba. It also restricted travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.

Hunter voted against a 2001 bill that would have stopped the enforcement of travel restrictions on Cuba only after Castro had released all political prisoners and extradited those sought by the United States for various criminal activities.

U.S. Policy toward China

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has long been one of the most vocal China critics in Congress. He voted against the U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000, which normalized trade relations with China. In 2001, Hunter sponsored a resolution to end those normalized trade relations, though that bill did not pass. Hunter has said that China is “cheating on trade and they’re buying ships, planes, and missiles with our money, as well as taking millions of jobs.”

Hunter cosponsored the Political Freedom in China Act of 1997. He cosponsored the 2001 Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which increased military ties between the United States and Taiwan. That bill passed.

He also cosponsored a 2005 House Resolution opposing the potential takeover of Unocal Corporation by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Defense Policy

Rep. Hunter (R-CA), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and was its chairman from 2003 to 2007, prepared a Special Report in 2002 for President Bush that outlined a plan for modernization of the military. That plan argued that a drastic increase in military funding was needed for more personnel, “readiness funds,” and additional ammunition and precision guided missiles, among other things. In 2003, Hunter said, “The growing demands that stretched our forces so thin during the 1990s have simply exploded. Yet, our currently deployed force structure has not kept pace…the demands for American force projection in a dangerous world compel us to look seriously at boosting the current force structure, now down to ten army divisions, thirteen tactical air wings and 306 ships.”

Hunter voted in favor of the 1999 House resolution to send U.S. troops to join the NATO peacekeeping force (PDF) in Kosovo.

Iraq

Rep. Hunter (R-CA), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee and one of the few presidential candidates who read the October 2002 NIE report, is a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq. He supported (San Diego Union-Tribune) the troop surge and is one of the only congressmen whose child has served in Iraq (San Diego Union-Tribune).

Hunter voted in favor of the 2002 resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

Trade

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has been characterized as a free trade skeptic, especially with regard to agreements with China. He opposed the creation of FTAs with Chile and Singapore, but voted in favor of the agreement with Oman in 2006. In November 2007, Hunter missed the House vote authorizing an FTA with Peru.

Hunter voted against both NAFTA and CAFTA, and has said (Manufacturing & Technology News) that both trade agreements were “bad deals” that he would “junk” if elected president. Hunter has opposed legislative efforts to extend normal trade relations to China—he voted in favor of House resolutions expressing disapproval of granting such status to China on several occasions.

Homeland Security

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has focused primarily on the aspects of homeland security that pertain to stopping illegal immigration. He is a proponent of enhanced border security and immigration crackdowns to bolster national security. Hunter served on the Select Committee on Homeland Security. Like the majority of his counterparts in the House, Hunter supported the FY 2006 Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act which granted $34.2 billion in DHS funding and authorizes the hiring of 2,000 new border patrol agents, among other measures.

Hunter cosponsored the controversial Real ID Act of 2005. Among other things, it called for the construction of 3.5 additional miles of the Mexican border fence near San Diego. Hunter voted for the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and voted in favor of the Patriot Act in 2001. He also voted to reauthorize it in 2006.

Iran

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has taken an aggressive stance toward Iran. In a May 2007 Republican debate, Hunter said Iran's alleged support for Iraqi insurgents grants the United States "absolute license" to take action against Iran. In a September 2007 interview with Baptist Press, Hunter pledged to "undertake" preemptive action against Iran if sanctions do not stop the country from obtaining nuclear capabilities. In March 2007, Hunter said he supports strong economic sanctions on Iran and cosponsored the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which strengthens the sanctions implemented by the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act.

Climate Change

Hunter’s stance on this issue is unknown.

Immigration

Rep. Hunter (R-CA), who represents a district in southern California, has been a prominent conservative voice against illegal immigration. Hunter, who generally advocates an “enforcement-only” approach to dealing with illegal immigrants, co-sponsored the Secure Fence Act of 2006. In 1994, Hunter voted for the Prohibiting Benefits to Undocumented Immigrants Amendment, which denied illegal immigrants’ any emergency food and shelter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

United Nations

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) has called the United Nations "an organization of limited value and I would say whose military capability is always exaggerated—whose ability to project security forces in a hostile environment is always over-estimated.” Hunter says the United Nations is useful for "inoculating babies and for operating refugee camps and refugee centers," but, he told Wikinews in January 2008, "they should not be relied upon by the United States for our security." Hunter voted in favor of the United Nations Reform Act of 2005.

The Director of Internet Outreach for Hunter's presidential campaign is Nathan Tabor, author of The Beast on the East River: The U.N. Threat to America's Sovereignty and Security.

U.S. Policy toward Russia

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) views Russia as a potential hindrance to U.S. foreign policy goals, such as tightening sanctions on Iran to deter its nuclear program. In an October 2007 Republican debate, Hunter said the United States should work with Russia on sea-based missile defenses. The United States should “discuss the prospects of putting our Aegis missile defense cruisers in the Black Sea,” he said.

Hunter sponsored the National Defense Authorization Act for 2004, which included provisions to encourage Russia to “open up its secret biological research facilities,” he wrote in the Washington Times. The act also required that Russia give Washington “land-use permits necessary to construct and operate disarmament facilities so nonproliferation dollars are not unnecessarily wasted on facilities that cannot be used because of Russian red tape,” he wrote. That bill passed.

Hunter, who once chaired the House Armed Services Committee, calls himself a “strong supporter” of Bush’s missile defense shield plan.

U.S. Policy toward Pakistan

Rep. Hunter (D-CA) appears to view the relationship between the United States and Pakistan as effective in assisting U.S. goals in the war on terror. In 2007, Hunter criticized Obama’s pledge to attack al Qaeda targets in Pakistan. “When you have an ally that is supporting you, and we are working together in cooperation with the Pakistani military in that critical border area, you don’t announce that you’re going to invade the country,” he told the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

In November 2007, Hunter commented on Musharraf’s temporary implementation of a state of emergency in Pakistan. He said the United States should “ not rush to abandon Musharraf, but work with him to get Pakistan back on the path toward democracy, including the release of political dissidents and the reinstatement of the Supreme Court.” He also said the United States might consider “lending our own security capabilities to ensure the strongest possible protection of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile.”

Nuclear Nonproliferation

Rep. Hunter (R-CA) says he is “for nuclear nonproliferation to terrorist groups, and for technology control.” The United States should not eliminate its nuclear arsenal, but the United States should do “everything possible to prevent a regime with nuclear technology from falling into the hands of those who would use it irresponsibly,” Hunter told Wikinews in January 2008. Hunter has said he would not take the option of using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran “off the table.”


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