Senate Democrats Continue Foreign Policy Debate Obstruction
‘Whatever the reason, my colleagues tried to avoid taking a position and tried to block my amendment from getting a vote. But make no mistake: Today, the Senate will vote on this amendment. Members will go on the record for our allies and partners in the Middle East… I’m disappointed my friends on the other side of the aisle have chosen to make that impossible.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act that he introduced with Senators Rubio, Risch and Gardner, and obstruction from Senate Democrats:
“Earlier this week, Senate Democrats stopped filibustering the important legislation before us. They finally joined Republicans and voted to advance these measures to renew our commitment to Israel, deepen our cooperation with Jordan, and deliver justice for the victims of Assad’s brutality in Syria.
“But it appears some of my Democratic colleagues are not finished with their obstruction just yet. On Tuesday, I offered a straightforward amendment to allow for a straightforward debate about the Senate’s continued commitment to ongoing missions in Syria and Afghanistan. It is not a partisan amendment. It’s not complicated. There is no poison pill. Just an opportunity for Senators to go on the record about what the United States should be doing in Syria and Afghanistan.
“I’ve been clear about my own views on these subjects. I believe the threats remain. ISIS and al Qaeda have yet to be defeated. And American national security interests require continued commitment to our missions there. But I guess some Senate Democrats didn’t want to vote on these important subjects. Perhaps it could have put some of my colleagues with aims beyond the Senate at odds with parts of the far left.
“Whatever the reason, my colleagues tried to avoid taking a position and tried to block my amendment from getting a vote. But make no mistake: Today, the Senate will vote on this amendment. Members will go on the record for our allies and partners in the Middle East. When Senator Rubio introduced S.1, which is just a collection of bipartisan bills, I hoped for an open amendment process so the Senate could debate important matters of national security. I’m disappointed my friends on the other side of the aisle have chosen to make that impossible.
“Another issue I’d hoped we could address is America’s ironclad commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance. NATO has a proud history of delivering greater security to America and our allies and greater peace to the world. We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO allies throughout the Cold War. They stood with us following September 11th, and NATO’s mission in Afghanistan today is an essential element of bringing peace and stability to that troubled country. NATO will continue to be critical to trans-Atlantic security, but it must adapt to face new challenges.
“The United States has made significant new investments in our security posture in Europe, most notably through troop deployments all along the Eastern Flank, and through the European Deterrence Initiative, which has bipartisan support in Congress. Former Secretary Mattis was also instrumental in pushing NATO to reform, especially in the areas of capabilities modernization, readiness, and military mobility. These reforms are essential to ensuring NATO readiness.
“President Trump has also reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to NATO. As recently as just a few days ago, he said the United States will -- quote -- ‘be with NATO 100 percent.’ And the president is right to call upon our allies to contribute their fair share toward defense. As NATO’s Secretary General recently explained, President Trump has, quote, ‘clearly stated that NATO allies need to invest more...we agreed to do more, and now we see the results… by the end of next year, NATO allies will add 100 billion extra U.S. dollars for defense.’
“Here’s how the Secretary General summed it up: ‘So we see some real money, and some real results, and we see that the clear message from President Trump is having an impact.’ We need to build on this momentum and continue strengthening NATO, dispelling all doubt about America’s commitment to this alliance which has reshaped history for the better. NATO deserves the Senate’s support. I believe it has the Senate’s support. And at some point I hope this institution is able to debate the matter.”
Related Issues: ISIL, Israel, America's Military, War on Terror, National Security, Syria