Iran Nuclear Deal
Since the P5+1 began negotiations with Iran, it has pursued the singular objective of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action because after decades of dangerous provocation, I believe it is clear that a nuclear Iran would pose a threat to the United States and its allies, destabilize the Middle East, and stoke armed conflict. This agreement shuts down all pathways to a bomb and is a responsible way to ensure Iran never becomes a nuclear power.
This agreement is based on verification, not trust. By establishing a robust framework for IAEA inspections, we will have a close view of every stage of Iran's nuclear program and supply chain, from mining to enrichment to its nuclear reactors. Continuous monitoring will ensure compliance with all aspects of the deal, including limiting uranium enrichment and reducing stockpiles, removing two-thirds of installed centrifuges, and modifying major reactors so they can no longer produce weapons-grade material. While the agreement lifts sanctions for compliance, it ensures that sanctions are quickly reinstated if Iran violates its side of the deal. It also keeps in place sanctions for the sponsorship of terrorism and development of ballistic missiles, which continue to destabilize the region.
The United States is not standing alone in the implementation of this agreement. Together with five other world powers, the United Nations and the IAEA we will be working to ensure Iran's compliance. While Iran may try to cheat, it is highly unlikely that their activities could go fully undetected by all of these international players.
Since this agreement was presented to Congress, I have heard from many Americans who believe Iran will never comply with this agreement. I share these concerns. However, it is important for us to remember that it took years to get Iran to the negotiating table. Without this deal, Iran sits within 2-3 months of securing a nuclear weapon, without any inspections or constraints. It is unrealistic to think that we can back away, increase pressure on Iran to achieve greater Iranian concessions, and successfully restart talks before Iran reaches its goal. Despite this, I firmly believe that all options, including resumption of sanctions and the use of military force, must remain on the table in the event that Iran fails to comply.
This agreement is not perfect, but the fact is that we cannot know with 100% certainty that Iran will comply with any deal. However, I believe it is likely that this is our one real shot at restraining Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Russia and Ukraine
In 2014, the Ukrainian people successfully removed their corrupt leader from power. Unfortunately, Russia took advantage of ensuing unrest by invading and annexing Crimea and supporting militant rebels against the Ukrainian government. This violation of Ukraine's sovereignty is unacceptable. I strongly believe that it is in the interest of the United States to support a stable, democratic Ukraine, which is why I have supported efforts to provide aid to Ukraine so it can better support its citizens and oppose pressure from Russia, both of which help to avoid escalations of violence.
I also believe that Russia's involvement in Ukraine, combined with increased militarism and belligerence on the international stage, raises significant concerns about its intentions around the world. While direct military engagement should be avoided at all costs, it is important that we do what we can to reassure our NATO allies, including by stationing military assets in Eastern Europe. I also support the use of economic sanctions to dissuade Russian leaders from continued interference in Ukraine.
Supporting Peace and Democracy
In 2011, people across the Middle East and North Africa rose up against their oppressive governments to call for them to be more open, accountable and democratic. It was a turning point in the region as long-time dictators like Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi were overthrown by popular uprising. I strongly support the rights of all people to peacefully stand up for their basic human rights.
Sadly, as some have achieved democracy many others continue to struggle to secure basic rights and freedoms. I believe that any government or ruler that orders attacks on its own people, just for speaking out against oppression, should be held accountable on the international stage. I support the use of sanctions and the International Criminal Court to bring ruthless dictators to justice.
Encouraging International Diplomacy and Human Rights
The United States' ability to successfully negotiate with our global neighbors has prevented military conflicts, expanded economic opportunities and helped to bring human rights to millions of oppressed people around the world. Our humanitarian efforts have provided lifesaving assistance to people living without access to nutritious food, clean water, shelter or education.
Over the years, I have had an opportunity to vote on many critical bills that guide our diplomatic policy and fund the State Department, USAID and other agencies that promote peaceful diplomacy and humanitarian assistance around the world. I will continue to do what I can to ensure that our diplomats have the tools they need to represent our interests abroad and bring the assistance of the United States to people in need.
Promoting Fair International Trade
On a level playing field, American companies can outperform and out produce those in any other country. Unfortunately, China continues to allow unfair practices, such as stealing intellectual property and making our goods more expensive by manipulating their currency. These actions have cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs and forced companies to shut their doors. In this fragile economy, protecting jobs is my top priority. I have and will continue to support legislation that condemns China's damaging trade policies and better protects American workers.
Opposing Unfair Trade Agreements
From cars to planes to computers, America has always been a manufacturing leader. However, after a decade of jobs moving overseas, our manufacturing sector is nearing collapse. One reason so many jobs have left our country is our approval of so called free trade agreements. These agreements are intended to streamline trade between us and our allies. However, they more often encourage American businesses to ship jobs out of the country in order to take advantage of cheaper labor costs and lax regulation.
I was proud to stand up for working Americans by opposing the Korea, Panama and Columbia Free Trade Agreements. I believed that these agreements will only hurt more American workers by making us less competitive and sending their jobs overseas.