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Floor Speech

Date: July 13, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

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Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman from California said, nobody in uniform wants civilian casualties. We work very diligently to make sure that there are not civilian casualties, but this almost assumes that we don't, that we actually don't care about civilian casualties when it couldn't be further from the truth.

Mr. Speaker, what this does is add more bureaucracy and takes the focus off of what servicemembers need to do in very difficult circumstances, when oftentimes the difference between life and death, between the servicemember's own life and those of his or her troops who are following him into combat, it is a moment to make a decision.

Mr. Speaker, at that moment, when lives are on the line, when American lives are on the line, in the face of our enemies, in the face of terrorists, what the gentleman from California would have those servicemembers do is take that moment to figure out if the decision they are making is optimal or not. Or in the case where I watched servicemembers who pulled the trigger, come back, and the first thing they had to do was go to the JAG and explain why they returned fire.

Mr. Speaker, those moments cost American lives. That is what this amendment is going to do, and that is why I adamantly oppose it. I ask my colleagues to oppose it.

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Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

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Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member for the opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, I think what is most important about this is it has already been said that we are not signatories to this treaty. With all due respect to the gentleman regarding the House didn't follow the Senate, we should do our own thing, I agree with that. But the Senate is the one that ratifies treaties, not the House.

But the bigger issue is that requiring rogue nations who are criminal actors who don't honor their commitments--like North Korea, like Russia, and like China--to not do something on a piece of paper is not going to stop them. They don't honor anything that they sign anyhow, and we would be fools to think that they would. All this does, Mr. Speaker, among other things, all it does is tie America's hands behind its back.

Yes, we do certify currently. But we don't know what the future holds, and we don't know what technology is going to be, and we should not tie America's national defense and national security behind her back for the sake of people and countries that refuse to honor the commitments that they sign. And we certainly shouldn't encumber hardworking, tax-paying citizens and their money to some international organization who does not have the best interests of the United States--the sovereignty of the United States--in mind, some global organization that somehow is going to tell us that because North Korea signed a treaty, because Russia signed a treaty, and because China signed a treaty that they are not going to violate it.

Mr. Speaker, when they violate it, it might be too late. We don't have time or the luxury of hoping that they will do the right thing.

We absolutely must reject this amendment, and I urge our colleagues to vote ``no.''

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