FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I’m proud to work with colleagues and partners to strengthen our nation’s leadership abroad and ensure that our foreign policy furthers our national security interests and leads to a more secure and prosperous United States. I am committed to enhancing relationships with international partners and providing foreign assistance that directly benefits the American people though investments that boosts trade, combats terrorism, strengthens our allies, eradicates poverty and disease, and fosters economic growth and democracy to address the drivers of conflict and instability around the world. I am committed to the oversight of the U.S. government’s foreign policy departments and agencies and am committed to making sure our diplomats have the tools, resources, and security they need to carry out their work, often in challenging environments, in support of the American people and promotion of our nation’s core values.
Through my role on the committee, I have worked to ensure Congress fulfils its constitutional duty on matters of foreign policy and to improve how Congress and the President consult on matters of war and the initiation of U.S. military action. I have introduced bipartisan legislation to revise the War Powers Resolution of 1973 as well as to authorize the current U.S. military mission against ISIL. I also advocated for Congress to have a formal role in approving the Iran Nuclear Agreement and was proud to coauthor the terms under which the Iran deal was considered by the House and Senate in 2015.
I remain deeply concerned about the open-ended nature of the Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m proud to support legislation that would repeal the Iraq AUMF approved by Congress in 2003 and hope Congress will move us closer to amending the open-ended 2001 AUMF passed more than 14 years ago in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Since the beginning of U.S. airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq & Syria in August 2014, I have been demanding a debate and vote on a new authorization for the mission – one I believe goes well beyond the intent of the 2001AUMF. Instead, Congress has willingly abdicated its most solemn duty - to debate and declare war. Aside from our constitutional responsibilities, I believe that a debate in Congress by the people's elected representatives and a vote to authorize the mission is how we tell our servicemembers that what they're doing, what they're risking their lives for, has purpose, has meaning, and has the support of the American people. It’s also how we show our allies - as well as enemies - that we are committed to this fight.
I am committed to serving as a strong advocate for our nation’s values, including in the Middle East, a region currently rife with conflict. With respect to the devastating humanitarian crisis in Syria, I have called for the establishment of safe zones to protect civilian lives and supply lines for food, water and medical supplies. In 2014, I led an effort in the Senate to pass the Syrian Humanitarian Resolution to call for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2139 and ask the Obama administration to act with urgency and submit to Congress a comprehensive and robust strategy to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis. It is critical that humanitarian aid be allowed across Syria’s borders, and I will continue advocating for full, unrestricted access throughout Syria.
As Ranking Member of the State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development subcommittee, I’m focused on ensuring our development policy and foreign assistance programs are consistent with our diplomatic goals and national security objectives. In light of the tragic 2012 attack on our diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, I have been committed to ensuring the safety of Americans in the Foreign Service and oppose attempts to delay construction of the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) at Fort Pickett. After numerous analyses reaffirming the practicality of constructing such a center in Virginia, groundbreaking for the new facility has finally begun in Blackstone, and the brave men and women who serve in our embassies around the world will finally have a dedicated facility to receive the best possible security training before they embark on assignments in high threat countries across the globe.
As a member of the subcommittees on: Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism; Europe and Regional Security Cooperation; and the Western Hemisphere, I am focused on building security partnerships and economic opportunities that will create more growth and job creation both abroad and at home with my first priority always the safety and security of the American people.