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Senator: Manchester attack 'a wake-up call' for U.S.

Sen. Rob Portman speaks to WSYX from Capitol Hill on May 24, 2017. (SBG)

Members of Congress said Wednesday that the bombing in Manchester, England earlier this week should serve as a warning about the threat terrorism poses to the soft targets and the difficulty of preventing it.

“There is always a great deal of sadness… It reminds us that we must be on guard to protect our citizens,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Cal.

He added that the apparent radicalization of the British citizen believed to be responsible for the bombing demonstrates the need to prevent outside forces from influencing Americans.

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, also noted the challenge of combating an ideology that spreads through social media.

“You’re fighting an idea, but that’s what wars are all about,” Davidson said.

He echoed President Trump’s “impressive” speech on Islam delivered in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, in which the president urged moderate Muslims in the Middle East to speak out more against violence and combat extremism. Davidson also cautioned against sending more U.S. forces to stamp out ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

“The American people need to focus our resources on rebuilding our country, not rebuilding someone else’s,” he said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said more steps need to be taken both inside and outside the U.S. to protect the public, including working more closely with American Muslims. He cited one recent case where the Muslim community in Columbus helped identify a terror suspect.

He also called for overhauling the visa system to keep people want to do harm out of the country and projecting force in Iraq and Syria.

“Manchester is a wake-up call,” Portman said. “It reminds us once again that we live in a very dangerous world.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said she has great confidence in the homeland security officials and local law enforcement agencies that are taking steps to prevent similar attacks on U.S. soil, particularly with a holiday weekend ahead.

“We always need to be careful these days and have a watchful eye, but I do think that we have all hands on deck,” she said.

As the public shifts its attention to other issues, Davidson said the victims and their families cannot move on so easily.

“I think we have gotten to the point where you just go on to what’s next and you forget how painful this is going to be forever for the families that lost loved ones or were injured,” he said.

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