Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 16, 2014
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MORAN. I thank my very good friend, the ranking member of our committee.

I want to join with Chairman Rogers and Chairman Frelinghuysen in the shout-out to Tom McLemore. I trust, as Chairman Rogers said, that he is going on to greener pastures. He deserves to.

Mr. Speaker, the Congress is an imperfect body. Our constituents remind us of that on an almost daily basis. We certainly know that this is an imperfect process within which we have to operate, and the bill before us is an imperfect bill from our perspective and, I suspect, from the majority's perspective, but that is the world we live in. We have to choose the best option oftentimes among a host of difficult options, so this is the best option--to vote ``yes'' on this continuing resolution. It is the most responsible thing to do. To vote ``no'' would say that we are willing to let the government be shut down, unfunded. So we don't have a responsible option but to vote ``yes'' on this continuing resolution.

I appreciate the work that Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Lowey, and the chairs of the committees and of the subcommittees have put in to making it as good as we could under the circumstances.

We also have an imperfect option with regard to the Ex-Im Bank. It ought to be extended for an additional 5 more years. It generates a lot of money for the United States, and we offer fewer subsidies than our allies do to multinational corporations, but to not extend it at least until June 30 is irresponsible. Again, it is the best option we have before us.

Similarly, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the McKeon amendment, which would provide $500 million to train and equip Syrian soldiers to fight ISIS, I don't think we have a better option. I find it difficult to disagree with my colleagues, particularly with colleagues who I am so fond of, such as the gentleman from Indiana, but if we are going to vote ``no,'' we ought to have an alternative.

What would we do under the circumstances? I don't know what better alternative there is.

Are we going to ignore what ISIS is doing in Iraq? Are we going to ignore the fact that the death toll over the last year has been almost 10,000 people--9,826--excluding deaths from the Syrian civil war? 17,000 have been executed in Tikrit, and 650 were executed in Mosul just because they were non-Arabs or non-Sunni Muslims. It was ethnic cleansing on an historic scale. Now 20 journalists are missing in Syria. Many of them are held by the Islamic State. The U.N. estimates that more than a million people have been displaced by violence in Iraq in this year alone.

It is serious given what they have done and particularly given the fact that ISIS is growing exponentially. I remember we got a figure of about 12,000, and then, last week, it was about 20,000. This week, it is estimated that there are over 30,000. They are recruited from all over the world--15,000 foreign fighters, 2,000 of whom are westerners who hold passports where there is a visa waiver and they might be able to get into the United States. Some of them are Americans. They are making millions of dollars a day in revenue from oil and kidnapping and so on. Their assets are estimated at about $2 billion. This is the wealthiest, most lethal, extremist terrorist group that has yet to present itself on the planet.

Can we turn around and do nothing?

The reality is, since the United States has the largest, most capable military--larger and more capable than all of the other militaries in the world combined--the responsibility falls on our shoulders to lead. What we are doing is leading by training, by seeing to it that, while there will be boots on the ground, there won't be primarily Americans in those boots. It will be people who know the territory, who know the language, who know the culture, and who have been vetted. We will provide intelligence and air support. This is the best of a long list of bad options.

Mr. Speaker, I think we need to vote ``aye'' and allow the President to proceed on this policy.

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Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Washington State, and I want to associate myself with his remarks, as well as the remarks of the chairman of our Armed Services Committee and the chairman of our Appropriations Committee.

All three leaders have played a consequential role over the last many years in establishing the United States military as the largest, most capable, and best-funded military in the world, in fact, larger than all the other militaries combined; so it is no wonder that the rest of the world turns to us for leadership.

That is not the major reason they turn to us for leadership, Mr. Speaker. They turn to us because they understand our profound belief and respect for human rights, democratic governance, and inclusive society.

Now, ISIS violates everything we believe in. They are opposed to respect for human rights. They are opposed to democratic governance and, certainly, to an inclusive society. That is not the reason why we support this amendment--because there are other people like that--but, in the judgment of our military, ISIS is expanding at a rate that cannot be ignored, and that has to be stopped.

ISIS is expanding in numbers exponentially. They are worth $2 billion. They are, now, the best-funded, most lethal terrorist organization that we have ever seen in modern history; so we cannot turn our backs on this. We know that we have substantial assets and, particularly, personnel in Baghdad. They will be targeting Baghdad as soon as they are capable of it.

We have to protect the capital of Iraq. We need to contribute to stability in that region because it is not going to stay static. It is only going to get worse, or it is going to get better.

The proposal before us is not to put American boots on the ground, but to use American intelligence, to use American trainers, to use American equipment, and to prepare Syrians, particularly, to do the job that needs to be done in their region of the world.

They know the geography, they know the language, and they understand the cultures. We are going to prepare them to be the best equipped and best trained to carry out a mission that they must share with us.

ISIS, if it is not confronted, will grow. It will become a greater threat. That is what we hear from our military. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that our military has earned respect for their judgment. They know how to provide the kind of security that so many Americans are able to take for granted.

If they say this is the right thing to do at this point in time, it seems to me the Congress needs to show support for them; so I stand in support of the McKeon amendment.

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