Senators in Both Parties Should Work to Fight ISIL
‘We all agree that the Obama Administration must prevent the sale of guns to terrorists. Disagreeing on how best to do that doesn’t require amateur claims that we all know to be false. It’s time to get serious. ISIL is not the JV Team, it’s not “contained,” and we need to defeat it overseas if we want to prevent more terrorist tragedies at home.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for the President to lay out a credible plan to defeat ISIL:
“Yesterday the Justice Department released a transcript of the Orlando terrorist’s 9/11 call, in which he claimed responsibility for the attack and declared his loyalty to ISIL. ‘What’s your name?’ the operator asked. ‘My name,’ he said, ‘is I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.’ It was 2:35 a.m., a half-hour into his terrorist attack. The terrorist would soon meet his end at the hands of law enforcement, and first responders would make their way through the aftermath of his ISIL-inspired hatred — the deafening hum of unanswered cell phones crescendoing around them.
“CIA Director Brennan called this terrorist attack ‘an assault on the values of openness and tolerance that define us as a nation.’ He’s right. And the report he delivered to Congress last week was sobering.
“Here’s what seems clear to me. It seems clear that this vile, hateful terrorist organization is going to keep bringing tragedies to our doorsteps until we defeat ISIL where it actually trains, operates, and prepares for attacks — places like Iraq and Syria.
“It also seems clear that the President’s current ‘containment’ strategy has not been sufficient to defeat ISIL abroad or to prevent more ISIL-inspired attacks here at home. The President needs to finally lead a campaign to accomplish this objective.
“Senators in both parties should work to fight terror beyond our borders and prevent attacks within them. This is an area where Republicans have long been focused. Now is the time for Democrats to join us too.
“Work with us to connect the dots on terrorist communications. Work with us to address the threat of ‘lone-wolf’ attacks. Work with us to prevent more Americans from being inspired by ISIL, like the terrorist in Orlando.
“Yesterday Democrats had the chance to support serious, constitutional proposals from Senators Cornyn and Grassley that would have helped keep guns and explosives out of the hands of terrorists and improved the national background check system. And while a majority of the Senate voted to support these proposals, most Democrats voted against both.
“Let me say that again, Senator Cornyn put forward a serious proposal designed to prevent known or suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns, and Democrats voted against it. Now does that mean Democrats have decided to sell weapons to ISIL? Of course not.
“Democrats surely don’t believe their leadership’s claim that ANY Senator voted to sell guns to terrorists last night, just as Democrats surely don’t believe that every Democrat who voted against the Cornyn proposal to block such sales and take terrorists off the streets is guilty of voting to sell guns to terrorists.
“We all agree that the Obama Administration must prevent the sale of guns to terrorists. Disagreeing on how best to do that doesn’t require amateur claims that we all know to be false. It’s time to get serious. ISIL is not the JV Team, it’s not ‘contained,’ and we need to defeat it overseas if we want to prevent more terrorist tragedies at home.
“By working together in the Senate, we can give this President and the next one more tools to achieve that objective — and we can advance common-sense, counter-terror solutions to keep Americans safer at home too.
“This week we’ll have the opportunity to strengthen our ability to combat lone wolf terrorists and connect the dots so we are better able to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States. It’s an example of serious, thoughtful policy where we can work together to make progress for the American people.”