Prohibiting Russian Participation in G7
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Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Espaillat, and I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith). I also thank Representative Kinzinger for his support and his collaboration in working collectively to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.
The reason for this bill is actually very simple. Congress must be clear that Russia cannot be part of the G7 while it does all it can to undermine democracies, including our own.
What they are doing is inflaming some of the biggest challenges that face the global community today. Congress has an oversight responsibility here, and this bill simply makes that clear.
Through its actions, today's Russia continues to prove that it does not intend to be a part of the global solution. Moscow interferes in democratic processes across the globe, suppresses and poisons opposition, and wreaks havoc in emerging nations in Europe--Ukraine and Georgia being the most recent targets where they still remain, holding sovereign land.
The list is long. Yet, I am concerned that the President of the United States has repeatedly expressed his inclination to bring Russia back to the G7. He has called it commonsense to include Russia. It is not as long as they continue to behave the way they are.
It is crucial that the American taxpayer should not pay for this bizarre and harmful courtship of Putin's Russia, the same Russia that puts bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Of course, we should have lines of strategic communications open with Moscow. I am one also open for dialogue. But with Russia's malfeasance, we cannot welcome them to the table as our partners and allies at a time when they do not share our democratic values or interests.
There is nothing short of the strength of America's stance as a global leader at stake. We have to be leaders in bringing folks together and standing for democracy and for what is good for democracy. That is who we are as Americans. That is what this United States Congress stands for.
We must do our oversight in this regard. We must give a message to Russia that should it want to enter into the G7, it has to play by the rules and not do undemocratic things or threaten democracy, whether it is in the United States or any of our European allies.
Mr. Speaker, I, again, thank my colleagues for joining this bill in a bipartisan effort, and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
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