Democrats Blocked Action on Security Aid to Israel in Favor of Political Show Vote
‘The Democratic Leader said the Senate shouldn’t do any business during this partial government shutdown. But apparently he didn’t actually mean it. Because now the Democratic Leader would like to dictate the terms of a debate on Russia. We Republicans are hardly strangers to the need for strong policies concerning Russia. We have long seen Vladimir Putin for the KGB thug he is. We have long advocated for tough measures against him and the kleptocrats who surround him… I look forward to continui
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Senate Democrats’ misguided priorities and the need to continue tough efforts against Russia:
“I believe the Senate’s voice should indeed be heard on national security policy. This is why I have moved to have the Senate’s first legislative business this Congress be a bipartisan package of foreign policy bills. I made it our first priority to move legislation that would have helped defend Israel and Jordan and provide justice for Syrians who have been tortured and murdered by the Assad regime. But Democrats have repeatedly blocked that important legislation.
“The Democratic Leader said the Senate shouldn’t do any business during this partial government shutdown. But apparently he didn’t actually mean it. Because now the Democratic Leader would like to dictate the terms of a debate on Russia. We Republicans are hardly strangers to the need for strong policies concerning Russia. We have long seen Vladimir Putin for the KGB thug he is. We have long advocated for tough measures against him and the kleptocrats who surround him. Just ask the Junior Senator from Utah, who only six years ago was mocked by the other side for advocating tough policies against the Kremlin.
“This Republican administration has taken far tougher measures against Russia than the previous administration did. It’s designated 272 Russian-related individuals and entities for sanctions. Expelled scores of Russian intelligence officers. Shuttered Russian diplomatic outposts. And equipped Ukraine and Georgia to defend themselves against Russian aggression. Clearly, there is more work to be done, and I look forward to this Congress taking additional steps to defend our interests against Russian threats, and to additional impose costs on Putin. Specifically I look forward to seeing whether Democrats will join us in providing additional funding to rebuild our military in key areas to deter and defend against Russian investments in key weapons systems.
“I look forward to seeing whether Democrats will support efforts to modernize our aging nuclear triad, as Russia has done. I look forward to the Congress reviewing its existing sanctions policies, to see how we can impose additional costs on Putin and his cronies who enable his malign activities. I look forward to the Congress ensuring that our sanctions efforts remain multilateral, and maximize support from our European allies, whose participation is essential to imposing meaningful costs on the Kremlin.
“But in this narrow case, career civil servants at the Treasury Department simply applied and implemented the law Congress itself wrote -- and which the Democratic Leader supported. Treasury’s agreement maintains sanctions on corrupt Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. It would continue limiting his influence over companies subject to the agreement. In addition to subjecting the companies and their officers to unprecedented transparency and monitoring requirements, the agreement preserves Treasury’s ability to snap-back sanctions on the companies and their officers. If there is any evidence of further malfeasance, I expect Treasury to use that authority to the fullest.
“In the meantime, the Democratic Leader’s political stunt should be rejected. So I will move to table this effort to overturn the hard and painstaking work of the career officials at Treasury. But I look forward to continuing our efforts to hold Putin and his cronies accountable in a thoughtful, far less politicized manner.”