WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the S. 1 foreign policy legislation that he introduced with Senators Rubio, Risch and Gardner, and obstruction from Senate Democrats:
“Yesterday afternoon, Senate Democrats finally dropped their filibuster of S.1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act. It took 24 days and four cloture votes, but enough of my Democratic colleagues have now voted to advance this important legislation concerning America’s role in the world.
“As I’ve mentioned before, the bill would reaffirm our nation’s commitment to Israel’s security through military assistance, cooperative missile defense, and loan guarantees. It would deepen our ties of strategic cooperation with Jordan, as the security and humanitarian ramifications of the Syrian civil war continue to take their toll. And the legislation also includes the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which would hold accountable those who have enabled and carried out the butchery of the Assad regime.
“But I’d like to take a few moments this morning to discuss an amendment that I plan to propose, as well. It would expand on the legislation and take a further step to emphasize the need for American leadership in our troubled world – particularly with respect to our ongoing fight against al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan. My amendment would acknowledge the plain fact that al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation. It would recognize the danger of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict, and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.
“We have seen the costs of a precipitous withdrawal before in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, we have seen the downsides of telling the enemy they can just wait us out. So my amendment would also urge continued commitment from the U.S. military and our partners until we have set the conditions for the enduring defeat of these vile terrorists. This measure would reflect the conclusions of our nation’s military and national security professionals. It would speak directly to our allies, and reassure our local partners who are doing the bulk of the fighting against a shared enemy. Simply put, while it is tempting to retreat to the comfort and security of our own shores, there is still a great deal of work to be done. And we know that left untended, these conflicts will reverberate in our own cities.
“We are not the world’s policeman. But we are the leader of the free world. And it is incumbent upon the United States to lead, to continue to maintain a global coalition against terror, and to stand by our local partners who are engaged in a daily fight against the terrorists. My amendment would further condemn Iran for its hampering of diplomatic efforts and its destabilizing work throughout the region.
“It would call for greater consultation with the United States’ allies and partners in the region, especially Israel, with regard to future stability we seek in a critical region. And it would reiterate the importance of the administration consulting and coordinating with the Congress on its long-term strategies for success in these struggles — including a thorough accounting of the risks of withdrawing too hastily.
“I’m glad that, after needless political delays, our Democratic colleagues finally allowed a first procedural vote on this legislation. I’m proud to support its provisions that concern Israel, Jordan, and Syria. And I will be proud to offer this amendment so the Senate can speak equally clearly on the fight against al Qaeda, ISIS, and other bad actors that needs to continue in both Syria and Afghanistan.”