Defense

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Defense

Under the Constitution, the major responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. As long as I am in Congress, I will work to ensure that our men and women in uniform continue to have the best equipment and best training in the world. It is clear when you look around the world, from Russia to the Middle East, to North Korea and China, there are very real threats to our country. Enemies like ISIS and Syria intentionally target civilians, and in light of these continued threats, it is imperative we maintain a strong national defense. To provide for our national security, we must always have a strong military to promote peace and discourage those who would attack us.

Our service members who are fighting on the front lines to protect this nation deserve our utmost respect and thanks. I wholeheartedly support our troops, and I appreciate the work they’re doing around the world.

On July 26, 2018, I voted for the conference report to H.R. 5515, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2019, which authorizes and prioritizes $708.1 billion for the Department of Defense. This important bill provides $69 billion for Global War on Terror and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) to ensure we continue to lead in the fight against radical Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS, makes important investments to address our readiness crisis, and ensures our troops and their families have the best support possible. I’m especially proud that this bill also provides the largest increase in military pay in nine years at 2.6%.

Our men and women in uniform—and their families—make tremendous sacrifices so that we can live safe and free. They deserve our full support, and I will work tirelessly to ensure that our country meets its obligation to them.

Iran Nuclear Deal

I’ve opposed the Iran nuclear agreement since day one; and, I have repeatedly said that we should not provide sanctions relief to Tehran until there is an absolute cessation of both Iran's nuclear program and its support for terrorism around the world. This deal simply does not do enough to protect America and the rest of the world – particularly our ally Israel – from a nuclear Iran. Not only is Iran the chief perpetrator of state-sponsored terrorism, it has also been blatantly testing ballistic missiles that could later be modified to carry nuclear material. Iran still continues to be a destabilizing influence across the Middle East, and the United States must re-impose sanctions to deplete Iran of the resources they need to finance terrorism abroad. I applaud President Trump for sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that they will be held accountable for their actions, and I look forward to working together to apply additional pressure on Tehran to stop its human rights abuses, support for terrorism and testing of ballistic missiles.

On July 25, 2017, I was proud to vote for H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act when it passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 419 to 3. This legislation, which President Trump signed into law, establishes new sanctions, and enhances existing sanctions, against Iran, Russia and North Korea.

This misguided and dangerous agreement must be stopped, and I will oppose it at every turn. I do not believe we can risk the security of the United States and our most important regional ally, Israel, by prematurely reducing sanctions when the Iranian leadership appears to have no genuine interest in abiding by the terms of a final deal. Iranians still march through the streets chanting "death to America." We should take them at their word.

North Korea

During the Vietnam War, I served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps attached to the 2nd Infantry Division and was stationed 12 miles south of the DMZ. I’ve seen firsthand the plight of the North Korean people, which is why I believe the Singapore Summit was a significant moment in history. I’m proud President Trump made strides toward peace with North Korea in his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, including the return of the remains of U.S. servicemembers killed during the Korean War. Pursuing a strategy to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula while taking concrete steps towards de-escalation should be a significant step towards peace and global security. However, we must remain vigilant as we continue this process, and never forget the atrocities being committed now, as well as those committed by Kim’s father and grandfather. I believe all sanctions should remain in place until we can be certain North Korea intends to follow through on any agreement made with President Trump.

Russia

There is no doubt Russia is a threat to our national security. Under the previous administration, Russia became substantially more aggressive in asserting itself, particularly in eastern Europe, and has led a coordinated propaganda campaign. We must continue to send a strong message that America’s national security is of paramount importance, and that we will hold Russia accountable for its actions.

As more and more facts come out about the events leading up to the 2016 election, it seems clear that Russian operatives were engaged in activity that should concern every American. I strongly oppose any attempts by the Russian government to interfere in our democracy. This should not and cannot be a partisan issue, which is why I am disappointed that some are trying to mislead Americans by using these allegations to cast doubt on the integrity of the 2016 presidential election.

It’s equally clear that there were too many officials in law enforcement who gave off the appearance that they acted on nothing more than their partisan views. I am pleased that Special Counsel Mueller is going after the Russian operatives who attempted to intervene in American politics.

We must hold Russia accountable for attacking the very foundations of our democracy and I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to protect our democratic institutions.

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