Ukrainian Accountability and Funding

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 14, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I, too, thank my friend from Texas for his inspirational recitations of these outstanding young people who seek an appointment to the military academy. There is no more optimistic and positive aspect of being a Member of Congress than making those appointments. I thank him for his service.

I also want to echo our thanks from both sides of the aisle to the Chaplain, the Clerk of the House, the Sergeant at Arms, the minority and majority cloakrooms, and our brave stenographers who sit here for hours taking down every inspirational word. We thank them for their service in this Congress.

Madam Speaker, in October, as the first frost touched Ukraine, Vladimir Putin turned 70 years old. That week, Russian chess champion and activist Garry Kasparov spoke at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the scene of Churchill's famous ``Iron Curtain'' speech. Garry Kasparov declared: Thirty years of making concessions that were intended to keep the peace have only postponed the war.

Appeasement, Madam Speaker, never works. Kasparov went on to say: The price of stopping a dictator always goes up. It may seem expensive today, but it is only going to be more tomorrow.

It is critically important that we build a consensus to support the Ukrainian people and their government in their valiant efforts to reject Putin's rapacious invading Army.

This illegal invasion and Putin's wanton war crimes have been rejected by the world. This is evidenced by votes in the General Assembly of the United Nations and the ejection of Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. It is evidenced by Sweden and Finland petitioning to join NATO. It has been evidenced by a global coalition of nations supporting the Ukrainian people with humanitarian assistance and military aid.

But in order to maintain and enhance that global coalition of citizens and their elected representatives, it is critical that we provide a great deal more information and oversight to that humanitarian and military assistance. Only together can we help Ukraine eject the bully and free its people.

I support the idea of a special inspector general to oversee U.S. military and humanitarian assistance, coordinating with the very active and existing inspector general programs at the Department of Defense and Department of State. This is common sense. American taxpayers need to ensure full transparency and accountability for our financial support.

Likewise, in my view, the Biden administration has done a poor job explaining to Congress the over 100 billion euros in support of Ukraine from all the countries of the world, including the United States. That is, they should provide Congress detailed assessments of what funding has been provided to Ukraine, both military and humanitarian, from the European Commission, individual member states of the European Union, and other nations from around the world, such as our great friend and ally, Japan.

It is important for us, in assessing our own contributions to freedom in Ukraine, to assess and encourage our friends, allies, and partners to do as much as they can, maybe more, and as effectively as possible. We are all in the boat pulling mightily in the same direction, but we need that detail and transparency.

Madam Speaker, in that regard, I was reflecting on my prior government service as a Treasury Department official during the administration of George H. W. Bush.

On August 1, 1990, Iraq was invaded by Kuwait and within 12 hours was in full control of that country.

President Bush denounced the invasion and stated clear and effective principles: First, to seek the immediate, unconditional, and complete withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait; next, to restore Kuwait's legitimate government; and, finally, to remain committed to the security and stability of the Persian Gulf region.

Backed by a Security Council resolution at the U.N., the Bush administration set about to carry out those objectives.

It is important to note the extraordinary leadership of then Secretary of State Jim Baker, Secretary of Treasury Nick Brady, Deputy Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger, and the Undersecretary of Treasury David Mulford. They all worked as a team and built an extraordinary coalition to raise the financing for this global effort to stop Saddam Hussein and his illegal invasion.

U.S. forces ultimately deployed over 600,000 military personnel alongside more than 200,000 troops from our allies. Secretaries Baker and Brady and their teams visited selected countries and developed the financial resources to effectively fund Kuwait's liberation. More than 90 percent, Madam Speaker, of the United States' incremental costs were reimbursed by our allies. This work was inspirational then and now.

I call on Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Yellen to craft an active and effective campaign to globally bring forward even more diverse, comprehensive financial resources to support Ukraine and their valiant fight to inject the invader.

This campaign will be essential to see the financial burden shared widely among all peace-loving countries of the world. The Federal Reserve and Price Stability


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, as inflation continues to wreak havoc on the wallets of our hardworking families, I rise today to urge the Federal Reserve to stay the course and win the fight against this insidious inflation.

Our economy is in this troubling situation of coping with a four- decade high in prices due to three core reasons:

First, the Biden administration's wasteful spending, pouring an avalanche of loose money into an economy struggling with getting folks back to work and supply chain woes.

Madam Speaker, our fiscal 2023 spending is running 25 percent greater than just before the pandemic; 25 percent more on an annual basis. If you include all President Biden's new spending spree, it is running $1.3 trillion higher per year.

I wish Chairman Powell back in 2021 had agreed with former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and opposed this massive, unfunded fiscal stimulus.

Next, the Biden administration's war on energy and employment has made it harder to get people back to work and harder to find and produce the badly needed oil and gas, get it out of the ground and on its way to heat our homes, fuel our communities, and support our allies in Europe.

Finally, the Federal Reserve itself kept interest rates too low for too long while also purchasing trillions of dollars in government securities. Now the Fed is left playing catch-up in the hopes of beating inflation in the short run without damaging our economy in the long run.

Madam Speaker, I have a better approach. Earlier this year, alongside the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Donalds), my friend and colleague, I introduced H.R. 7209, the Price Stability Act. This legislation would ensure that our central bank focuses exclusively on its principal mandate of price stability.

This bill repeals the 1970s so-called dual mandate whereby the Fed is conflicted, supposedly focused on price stability but also maintaining a growing economy. Madam Speaker, the legislative branch and the executive branch should have that responsibility for policies that promote economic growth and a well-trained workforce with more job opportunities. The Fed should focus exclusively on price stability.

Now, I welcome the Federal Reserve's current efforts to mitigate inflation, and I urge Chairman Powell and his colleagues to avoid distraction and ensure their efforts are successful. Inflation is a thief, and it hurts our hardworking families, our seniors, and those on fixed incomes. It is vital that the Federal Reserve focus on containing inflation and steer clear of economic policy fads. recognizing arkansas governor asa hutchinson


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson and recognize his accomplishments as the 46th Governor of my home State of Arkansas.

Governor Hutchinson began his career in service when President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the position of U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. Afterwards, he went on to serve three successful terms in this Chamber, representing the fine citizens of Arkansas' Third Congressional District.

During his third term in Congress, President George W. Bush appointed him as Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and later as an Under Secretary in the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

Governor Hutchinson has been instrumental in aiding our families by cutting taxes by over $250 million and signing into law legislation that exempts the retirement pay of veterans from State income tax.

Governor Hutchinson has been a great advocate toward enhancing computer science education in our State. His leadership led Arkansas to be the first State in the Nation to pass legislation requiring every public school to teach computer science courses. This has further encouraged our students to pursue pathways and become innovators.

He has also served as an advocate for our Little Rock Venture Center, entrepreneurship, and enhancing venture and startup ecosystems across our State.

During his time as Governor, he has enhanced Arkansas' reputation as a business-friendly State, which has attracted companies to make the Natural State their latest location and existing companies to expand their business, creating more career opportunities for our citizens.

Over the past 8 years, the Governor and I have partnered on many projects that have benefited the constituents of the Second District of Arkansas.

Governor, I am grateful for your steady hand during the COVID-19 pandemic and for your dedication to our State. Governor Hutchinson is a true public servant who worked every day to make our State a better place. Asa, your leadership will be missed, and your hard work not forgotten. Martha and I send our very best wishes to you and Susan for that next chapter. congress must work to limit aggression by countries


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, as we enter the final weeks of the 117th Congress, it is important that we acknowledge the work that we have done as a body to limit the financial capabilities of Russia's illegal war in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, I introduced H.R. 6899, the Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act, which passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Biden in October.

This bill closes a loophole around Western sanctions by freezing Russia and Belarus out of future International Monetary Fund financing by preventing them from using special drawing rights, known as SDRs, to fund their nefarious activities: The war in Ukraine.

We must stay vigilant of the aggressive tendencies of other nations, such as Russia and Belarus, and make sure they are not able to pledge or transfer, that is, cash in those SDRs to fund their terror.

It is important that we continue to work together in the new Congress to make sure that aggression is not rewarded and that we are working to limit the financial capabilities of countries who demonstrate their aggression toward another sovereign nation. halting the spread of captagon


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise to applaud the inclusion of the CAPTAGON Act in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. The production and sale of the dangerous narcotic Captagon is being used as a major revenue source, fueling the regime and the war machine of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

It is this illicit activity that has allowed them to ignore U.S. sanctions and continue to oppress the people of Syria and export terror.

By using an interagency task force, including the Department of Defense and the Drug Enforcement Administration, our CAPTAGON Act will design a strategy to be able to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking networks that are fueling terror in Syria and across the region.

While both the State Department and the White House have failed to include Syria in their list of major illicit drug-producing countries for FY 2023, I applaud this Congress for taking this key step in making sure more illegal drugs are not able to make it through Europe, through the Middle East, or even into the United States by working toward halting the spread of Captagon around the world. Retirement Wishes for Walter Hussman, Jr.


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I stand today to recognize the outstanding career of Walter Hussman, Jr., the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette.

Recently, Walter announced that he will retire from the publication at the end of 2022.

Walter's career began with him placing comics in the Camden News for 25 cents an hour all the way to restructuring the Arkansas Democrat, buying the Arkansas Gazette and crafting the State's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Over his career as a publisher, he oversaw many changes, including bringing the Democrat-Gazette into the digital age, for which he was recognized with national attention.

During his announcement of retirement, Walter shared that it is time now for the next generation.

Walter is an example of the American Dream, how hard work and dedication to your craft can lead to a long, prosperous career.

Congratulations, Mr. Hussman, on your outstanding career, your evidence as a mentor and a role model, and I wish you a well-deserved retirement. Nigeria Country of Particular Concern


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to urge the President and our Secretary of State to rectify their mistake of not designating Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern as it relates to religious liberty.

Having the ability to practice religion without fear is one of our most basic principles needed to create a strong and stable nation.

Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the President is required to review the status of religious freedom in every country of the world. Any country that is seen to have consistently and violently violating their citizens' religious freedom must be labeled a Country of Particular Concern.

Over the last 2 years, Nigeria is a nation which hits every troubled benchmark listed in this act. And yet, Madam Speaker, it has been left off the list.

Over the past 2 years, violence targeted against Christians has steadily increased. So labeling Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern is a vital step in working toward stability in Nigeria, better partnerships with the United States, and a step toward international religious liberty for all. Congratulating Leslee Tell--Fulbright Fellowship Award


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Leslee Tell, of Conway High School, who has recently been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for the spring of 2023.

Mrs. Tell has taught in Conway schools since 2006 where she originally taught students home economics, eventually moving on to her current subject, a broader one, family consumer sciences.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research Program offers educators the opportunity to teach abroad for a semester. In just a few months, Mrs. Tell will be on her way to Vietnam where she will be teaching home economics at a local public high school.

I visited with Leslee and her colleagues, and she is so excited about this opportunity, not only the impact on her but her impact on those students. I look forward to learning about her journey, the positive impact that she will make and what she learns from those kids in her class.

Congratulations, Leslee. We look forward to following your time in Vietnam and sharing your success. Crisis at the Border


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, as we end this calendar year, I rise once again to bring attention to the crisis at our southwest border.

In 2022, over 2 million migrants were encountered at our southwest border; the highest number in American history.

Just 2 months ago, there were over 230,000 migrant encounters at our border. On top of this number, it is estimated that roughly 64,000 illegal immigrants evaded apprehension in October, and 70,000 evaded in November.

For over a year and a half now, there have been over 150,000 illegal border crossings each month. Those numbers are higher than ever.

Madam Speaker, 98 individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database were apprehended at the southern border; more than the last 5 years combined.

Over the last 2 years, the Biden administration has repeatedly repealed effective Trump-era policies that kept our border and our Nation more secure. Despite claims from Secretary Mayorkas saying otherwise, the Biden administration does not have operational control over our border.

During a recent visit to Arizona, President Biden claimed that there were ``more important'' things to do than visit the southern border.

Madam Speaker, the President is in Arizona. What is more important than a morale-boosting visit to our men and women at Customs and Border Patrol?

What is more important than keeping our border secure?

Well, apparently, the President's 49 trips to Delaware, or maybe the President's 8 trips to go get ice cream were more important.

Madam Speaker, I urge this President to take a trip to our southwest border, see for himself, meet with our agents working on the border, and see the reality of the crisis that his administration has created. Opioid Crisis Impacting America


Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the opioid crisis impacting all Americans. Opioids, such as illicit fentanyl, are flooding across our open borders and sweeping across our Nation and into every town and city.

In fiscal year 2022, 14,700 pounds of illicit fentanyl were confiscated at our southern border. How much came across that wasn't confiscated?

Over 75,000 Americans lost their lives last year to opioid overdoses, many of them accidental. To help combat this, I introduced the Preventing Overdoses and Saving Lives Act this year, alongside my friend and colleague, Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan.

This legislation was inspired by my home State of Arkansas, which currently encourages prescribers of opioids to also co-prescribe an opioid overdose reversal medication, such as naloxone.

This summer, that legislation passed the House in a bipartisan mental health package.

Madam Speaker, I am hopeful my colleagues in the Senate will work to move this valuable piece of legislation forward because the data is clear--co-prescribing helps save lives.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.