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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 17, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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assad. number three, we don't really know who they are. presently they're fighting shoulder to shoulder with al qaeda and other islamic extremists, and therefore can't be trusted. the weapons and training that we give them may end up actually being used against us nd our allies. voting to support this proposal is voting to overthrow assad because overthrowing asaud is the primary objective of the so-called free syrian army. if we combine the missions of destroig isil and overthrowing assad, this is not a smart or effective strategy far number of reasons. we must focus on one mission. to destroy isil and other islamic extremists who declared war on us. our mission should not be to top they will assad regime, which would make the situation in the region even worse and more unstable than it is today.
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madam speaker, we've heard this story before. we know how it ends. look at iraq, look at libya. clearly our leaders have not learned their lesson. we must focus on taking out our enemies and investing in our own country here at home. thank you, madam speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from texas is ecognized. >> i yield two minutes to the gentleman from -- the gentleman, mr. womack. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. womack: thank you, madam speaker. i thank my friend from texas for giving me the time. i rise in support of chairman mckeon's amendment, though i have grave concerns about the president's current plan to train and equip syrian opposition forces in the fight against isil. in my opinion, madam chair, the plan does not fit the threat. isil has made the middle east
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into a war zone and an advanced training ground for terrorists who, by their own admission, seek to do americans great harm. its stated objectives of redrawing the boundaries of and imposing its will on sovereign nations makes the importance of confronting this organization in the most profound way possible critical. but instead of responding proportionately, president obama has propose wed outsource the problem to other people. as a military officer, i'm concerned that he actually believe this is limited use of military power can achieve the objective, the ultimate objective of destroying isil. a force that is 30,000 strong and growing by the day. madam speaker, i fear, in fact, i firmly believe, that the problem will not be solved by the actions taken by this congress today.
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however, we cannot afford to stand idly by for another day because a step in the right direction is better than no step at all. so i join my colleagues in support of the amendment, but i believe in short order we will be asked to do more. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas yields back. the gentleman from minnesota is ecognized. mr. ellison: two minutes to the gentleman from connecticut, mr. kourtney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. courtney: in 2011, former secretary robert gates, as he was departing, gave a speech at west point that said any future secretary who advises the president to send a big american land army into asia or africa should have his head examined, as general mcarthur so delicately put it. i think secretary gates spoke
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for the entire country in terms of that sentiment which, after a long, bitter experience in iraq and afghanistan, the wariness that many feel today in terms of those conflicts, but certainly the motion that's before us this afternoon still rings in people's ears. i think it's important, therefore to sort of measure what we're voting on with what secretary gates so accurately stated. the motion before us is to provide for title 10 authorization to allow the u.s. military to train and equip forces in saudi arabia to take up arms against isil. i checked with the congressional research service yesterday to determine how many title 10 operations over the last three years have been conducted by the u.s. military. 28 countries all across the world is where the u.s. military has been involved in train and equip operations, from the philippines to yemen, to poland
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system of for those who argue that what we are about to engage in is a slippery slope or that this authorization broadly confers on the administration the ability to conduct a land invasion or a large military force, the fact of the matter is , is that the long and broad experience of title 10 that we have tells us exactly the opposite. in fact, what title 10 seeks to do is stand up indigenous forces in those nations of allies to avoid what secretary gates warned about in 2011, which is to again not get this country involved in a large land invasion. mr. speaker, one healthy thing has occurred over the last few days which is that folks on both sides of this measure have come to a realization -- could i have an extra minute. mr. ellison: one more minute, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. courtney: folks on both sides of this motion realize that we as a congress need to be
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engaged in terms of these types of decisions and to their credit, mr. mckeon and mr. smith fashioned a resolution that has us revisit this motion, have regular reporting from the department of defense, and requires us, i think, at some point, to take up a broader question of authorization of military force, reaching back to 2001 and 2002 in terms of limiting the scope which has been supported by this administration and we've discussed on the house armed services committee and also to focus on what exactly is the end game for our efforts in syria and iraq. again the measure that's before us today is simply about title 10 authorization between today and december 11. i think people should not overthink and overstate the consequences of this vote. what it provides is for america to stand up with regional allies, european allies, to begin the process of degrading and ultimately destoying a barbaric force which threatens
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stability both in the middle east and ultimately america's national interest. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. he gentleman from texas. >> i yield two minutes to the gentleman, mr. dent. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. dent: i rise to express my thoughts and concerns about the president's proposal we'll vote on today to train and arm free syrian forces to fight isil. we're sort of in a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. certainly isis represents the antithesis of american ideals and have beheaded two american journalists in recent weeks. what we are considering today is a partial plan and one on which i remain uncertain as to whether it will have the desired outcome. in fact, since 2011, the
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administration has consistently resisted any major efforts to arm and train the moderate opposition forces in syria. even when i believed a window existed to effectively do that some time ago. at a hearing in february of 2012, i questioned then-secretary of state hillary clinton about why we were not doing more to help the moderate syrian opposition. she flatly rejected providing support then. now, however, i fear we may have missed a time in which arming the f.s.a. will impact the barbarism of isil in the region. unfortunately, since 2011, early 2012, the situation in syria has become dramatically more complex and identifying true allies in the fight against isis will be difficult. questions remain about the president's strategy. how will we vet the opposition forces? how will we ensure that arms delivered won't be used against already persecuted people in the region such as syrian crips? i do have trepidation regarding
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this initial step and equiping the f.s.a. at this juncture. those voting yes, i suspect, will do so with great reluctance. those voting no will do so with discomfort. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. plellson: i agree with the -- mr. ellison: i agree with the last speaker, mr. dent. this is a very difficult vote and i think everybody should approach wit a tremendous amount of trepidation, concern, and i'm sure all of us are doing the best we can to come to the best decision we can on behalf of our constituents. but today, i plan on voting for the measure. the reason why is that the civil war in syria has claimed thousands of lives, thousands more living under the deadly rule of isil.
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200,000 syrians have been killed so far as the world for four years has not done much to protect them. now, the fight in syria and iraq can ultimately only be solved politically, and i believe that the growing humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts in the region warrants an urgent response from the united states. any military action against isil must be led by iraqis and syrians. i believe u.s. troops would be a magnet for a group like isil and therefore this fight must be carried forth by the people most affected, syrians and iraqis thems. i believe that a vetted and better armed moderate rebel group in syria can fight isil in northeast syria when iraqi army perhaps can push them out of their country into syria.
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there cannot be a safe haven in syria for isil. i also want to note, much has been said about the fractured nature or the weakness of the free syrian army but i would remind people who are participating in this debate that for four years, the free syrian army has withstood the onslaught of the say asaud government, hezbollah, iran, russian weapons, and for four years these people who were dismissed as nothing but bankers and beggars and not real soldier have stood their ground and stood for their country. for these reasons, i urge a yes vote. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. >> i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentlelady from washington state, mrs. mcmorris rodgers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized.
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ms. mechanic mo -- mrs. mcmorris rodgers: i rise to support this amendment. last week the president's address to the country began to make the case that isil is an immediate threat to our allies in the middle east, europe and ultimately, our homeland. this is a radical and brutal force, opposed to all who do not adhere to their narrow view of islam and the world. isil has declared war on our way of life and the values on which this country has -- was founded and flourished for over 225 years. isil made clear they will not be deterred until they see their flag flying over the white house. when it comes to protecting the safety and security of americans at home and abroad, america must lead. as we know a speech is not a plan. an f-16 is not a strategy. as the command for the chief, we
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need the president to give us an honest -- give us an honest assessment, an in depth strategy to defend our country and our interests around the world this amendment responds to the president's request to use title 10 authority to train and equip vetted syrian opposition forces. general dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, called it a necessary but not sufficient step. beyond the amendment and the president's limited request, the american people need to see a plan clearly articulated with a strategy to dismantle and destroy isil. when we look around the world today, we see instability in numerous threats. we spread of radical islam throughout the globe is pervasive. i ran -- iran continues to move toward a nuclear weapon. russia continues to take aggressive action toward the baltic states. i support this amendment because america must lead. as we've seen, when america sits on the sidelines, there's a
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leadership void which is filled by bad actors. i urge my colleagues to join us in taking this action and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. schiff: this afternoon, i will cast my vote to approve the president's funding to train and equip moderate syrian forces. i do so after long consideration and mindful of the difficulties of vetting such a force during the middle of a brutal civil war. any decision to supply arms to combatants must be weighed carefully. indeed, for the last several years, i have opposed arming the syrian rebels out of concern for our ability to properly vet such troops and the fear that weapons we provide may end up in the wrong hands. those concerns persist but have been overcome by the growing me nass of isil and the willingness of our regional allies to play a greater and open role in the
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support of these forces. isil now controls about a third of iraq and a like portion of sir yasm it's been unsurpassed in its brutality, committing mass executions, trafficing in women and beheading its hostages including americans james foally -- foley and steven sotlof. f isil is able to expand their grounds, it will continue to plan attacks on the united states. the fighters who have left the west to join its ranks will return to attack our homeland. our response must be proportionate to the threat. it doesn't justify american occupation of iraq or syria or the introduction of american ground forces, all of which are likely to be counterproductive. it does cruff the use of american air power, financial, diplomatic and other support. since air power alone won't be sufficient on the battlefield, it will necessitate the assistance of local ground
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forces. in the case of iraq, those forces will be provided by the iraqi military and the kurds. in syria, rebel opposition may provide raw material for credible a credible military force. there's no guarantee that the syrian opposition can form a cohesive fighting force, something that is less -- that has thus far eluded them. but the open support of the gulf nations in housing this opposition holds the promise of consolidating regional support ehind them. i yield back. mr. mckeon: i yield to the gentleman from nevada, dr. heck. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nevada is recognized for two minutes. mr. heck: thank you. i thank the chair for the time. i think one day most will agree on is that isil poses a clear and grave danger to our nation, our interests abroad and our allies. and i agree with the president when he stated we must degrade and destroy isil no matter
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where they exist and i support many of the provisions he outlined in the speech he gave last week. bowlesering the iraqi security forces, expanding air strikes and disrupting the flow of finances and foreign fighters to isil. but the one thing i cannot support, will not support, is arming the so-called moderate opposition force, the free syrian army. so rag tag collection of 150 groups that just a little more than a month ago the president stated that the notion that arming the rebels comprised of pharmacists, doctors, and farmers would make a difference as, quote, always been a fantasy, end quote. the free syrian army has no leadership, no organization, no command and control. and without u.s. you advisors to send back into syria, we have have no visibility on their effectiveness, defections, whether or not our arms are falling into the hands
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of our enemies. this is a plan that's destined to fail for the sake of saying we did so and that i cannot support. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from new york, mrs. maloney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized for two minutes. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, while i support air strikes, i rise in opposition to this amendment. while there is no doubt that isis is a brutal terrorist group that is reeking havoc in the region, at this time none of the evidence i have seen, including u.s. tredges reports, and none of the arguments i have heard convinces me that getting involved in a religious civil war in the middle east will be successful or effective in keeping our homeland safer. i cannot support what could turn into a war on three fronts, fighting isis in iraq, fighting isis in syria and
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potentially assad in syria. nor can i support an unprecedented scenario in which the u.s. tries to reinvent a substantially degraded rebel army to act as our boots on the ground against a former ally of theirs, isis. all while ignoring their stated objective of overthrowing assad. and this entire plan depends on our ability to identify so-called moderates in syria who would be prepared to die for our agenda. it's not at all clear how we're going to do that. trillions of dollars spent, all-out war and more than a decade of occupation in iraq and afghanistan did not produce the peace we sought or the stability we were promised. we spent $25 billion to train the iraqi army to defend their own country and they were
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decimated by isis in a matter of days and left their weapons to isis. what would make anyone believe that spending a great deal less money to train a rebel army to defend our interest would turn out any better? mr. speaker, this is a well-intentioned effort, but it is not a viable strategy. i urge a no vote. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> i yield two minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. massie. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky is recognized for two minutes. mr. massie: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in opposition to intervene in syria. it is immoral to use the prospect of a government shutdown to pressure members to vote for involvement in a war, much less a civil war on the other side of the globe. because the syrian resolution is contained in the continuing resolution, representatives and senators must approve the president's aggressive intervention in order to vote
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to fund all government programs. it is disingenuous for the federal government to tell the american people that we are arming syrian rebels to fight isis when the administration's stated objective is to topple the secular government of syria, a government, i might add, that has not committed aggression against the united states. if the goal of arming and training so-called moderate syrian rebels is to eliminate isis, this plan will not work. military experts know this as does the president. he acknowledged as much five weeks ago when he stated that the idea of arming rebels would not have -- have always been a fantasy, unquote. what is our end game? what is our long-term strategy? what will this ultimately cost? what are the unintended consequences that make come about? will we follow this with boots on the ground? who has these answers? the american people deserve
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these answers. i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. i also urge the same members to stand strong and vote no on the underlying bill. if this it amendment should pass, there is no way to avoid culpability for a military action that is destined to cost innocent lives and will ultimately fail. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield one minute to the distinguished minority leader, ms. pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for one minute. ms. pelosi: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding, and i thank him for his leadership to help us all uphold the oath that we take when we become members of congress, to protect and defend the american people. i believe that the mckeon amendment that is on the floor today helps us to do just that as well. last week the president
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presented to the american people a forceful strategy to degrade and destroy isis, a strategy built on a firm foundation of nonmilitary action. the president is to be commended for his strong leadership in the humanitarian, political and diplomatic components that must be part of ny successful mission. acting to help those impacted by isis and avert the genocide of religious minorities, who could ever forget those people isolated on the mountain until the united states and others came to the rescue? politically insisting and pushing for an inclusive government in iraq. and i commend the vice president as well for his leadership without the change to an inclusive government that respects not only shiia, sunni and kurds but the religious
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minorities in the country as well, our actions militarily would not be so productive. the actions taken by some militarily. again, in the nonmilitary vain, the president bringing together nato allies and coalition as well as regional partners to assist in degrading and destroying isis. this comprehensive strategy includes increasing our intelligence, disrupting isis' the cing and intervening flow of others. wantth president has the authority to do what he is doing. however -- and i add -- this house has voted overwhelmingly that should the president's actions go further comprehensively, then congress should vote on that authority. today, we are called upon to authorize a discreet but
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critical component of the overall plan. the president's request to train and equip moderate, vetted syrians outside of syria to fight isis. this is not an authorization of use of military force, as we had in 2001 and 2002. i do not support nor will i support combat troops on the ground. that's not what this is about. i believe that mr. mckeon and those who worked so hard to put this amendment together, took many precautions, set a high standard in terms of criteria, standards that the -- that the says what will be occurred, who will be trained, extensive -- that is the most -- frequently asked question -- how do we know?
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well, we can do the best we can to vet, to ensure that we are doing what we set out to do. the brutality of isis, isil, whatever they call themselves on any given day, is outside the circle of civilized human behavior. e wish that this action that we're called upon to do today was not necessary, but it's really hard to hold our oath of office all the time to protect and defend. it's not always easy. and most of the time it is hard for anything that takes us down a military path. but the fact is that with the diplomatic, political and humanitarian foundation that the president has laid with the narrowness with the request at he is making to us, it is not pleasant, it's not easy.
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it's hard. but it really is necessary for the house to approve this. we all wish, again, that it is not necessary. we approve it to help the syrian people take responsibility for building peace and stability in their country. stem the threat of -- that isis can pose to the u.s. interests abroad and to our national security. now, i am frequently quoted, and i don't even know if i have it here. hannah, she said, nations are driven to an endless flywheel of violence because they believe that one last, one final gesture of violence will bring peace. but each time they sow the seed by doing that, they sew the seed for more violence. i hope what we're doing today takes us in a different direction.
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one that is predicated on a nation of inclusion in iraq, one that defeats isis by the moderates in country to defeat isis because isis is now cross-border in iraq and in syria and who knows where they may try to go next. this is important. it is urgent and i hope it will have the support of our colleagues. as with all votes, i never asked a member to vote with any vote of use of force or in this case training of moderates, but i just wanted you to know why i am proud to support the president, salute him for his efforts, thank mr. mckeon for his leadership in shaping this resolution and mr. smith, thank you for bringing this resolution to the floor. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california,
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the minority leader, yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. r. thornberry: i yield to -- i yield two minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. duncan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized for two minutes. mr. duncan: i apologize the gentleman from mississippi. i thought i was next. i rise in opposition to this amendment, a plan that i elieve will not be successful. it is clear where we stand on the issues. no offense, but i believe the plan before us is one of pale pass tells when the nation needs bold action by the leader of the free world. who will we be supporting by arming unmanned rebels in syria? the fight is with isil and i believe there must be a fight against these genocidal extremists. let's take it to them in iraq by assisting the kurds who have been doing the heavy lifted after the iraqis cut an ran. i could support boots on the
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ground once again in iraq, reclaiming the ground for which so much american blood and treasure has been expended. remember benghazi? we armed and assisted rebels and al qaeda controls libya, from benghazi to tripoli, even swimming in the u.s. embassy swimming pool in tripoli. we should not send $500 million or $1 to rebels in syria, especially at a time when the department of defense and the national guard bummingts are being cut here at home. i believe even the -- budgets are being cut here at home. i believe that we are trying to support a plan by president obama that is lethal and definitive. this plan is not it and with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield two minutes to the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. kind. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is ecognized for two minutes. mr. kind: i rise in snovert mckeon amendment that would
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grant the president the authorization he seeks to identify, train up, and equip moderate syrian forces to stand up to isil in their backyard. i do so because i believe this is the best of the bad options that we face. it could halt the advance of isil in that region and begin degrading their capability and guard against the rising threat that they pose to us and to those in the region. i do so for three reasons. i believe that the president needs a strong, bipartisan hand coming out of this congress this week that would help him continue to build the coalition of opposition to isil in the region. it's going to be one of the keys to the outcome, the successful outcome of degrade ige sill's capability. we can't do this alone. it will be determined by those in the region to stand up against this evil force. secondly, i believe this is the best plan to help us avoid putting our own boots on the ground, our own men and wyoming in -- and women in uniform in what is in essence on an -- an
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ongoing sectarian world that's gripped that region for centuries, between the sunni and shia. there's a lot of concern especially with guard and reserve units in my congressional district in wisconsin who have been activated, called up, and deployed multiple times to iraq and afghanistan. when i talk to them today, i can see in their eyes and hear that in their voy house tired they are and they are concerned about another military intervention in this region. finally, i believe this resolution will enhance congressional oversight of the mission taking place there, bringing greater accountability and bringing a greater say of the american people in this. we're going to move away from the intel agencies running the show and into the pentagon, which brins us into oversight capabilities that i efeel have been lacking for some time in this endeavor. his is not an easy decision.
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i believe steps we take now can avoid military involvement in the future. i think it's the best of a lot of bad options. we all hope and pray for the success of our military and their safe return. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to not traffic the well while other members are speaking. are under recognition. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from mississippi, mr. harper. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. harper: i rise today in support of the mckeon amendment before us that authorizes the administration to arm and train vetted modded rat syrian rebels in their fight against the islamic state of iraq against isil this amendment also contains strong reporting requirements that the administration must follow to fulfill congress' oversight authority. isil has made territorial gains
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militarily in iraq and syria and announced the establishment of a caliphate. they have terrorized and killed members of minority groups, including christians in northern iraq and invaded kurdish controlled regions. minority groups aren't the only victims being targeted. isil is also targeting muslims. and last but certainly not least, isil has beheaded two american journalists and a british aid worker. this type of radical, evil behavior must be wiped off the face of the earth. this amendment ensures that isil is not only confrontedky netcally in iraq but also in syria, providing the means for rebel groups to aggressively attack isil in syria denies them sanctuary just across the border as is the case with the taliban. and aarped and -- an armed and trained syrian rebel force with assistance from the u.s. and partner nations will open up a
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northern front to attack isil. iraqi security forces and the kurdish troops will be the cause in the south to squeeze this radical group. american air power will no doubt be a force multiplier for these indigenous ground forces. there's only one couldn't any -- country in the world willing and able to build a coalition of nations that includes ashe countries that to the defeat this threat and that nation is the united states of america. the united states has an obligation to lead and respond whenever the innocent are being massacred. our enemies should never underestimate our resolve. yes, we may argue and disagree on many issues, but when it comes to protecting american, our allies and our interests, we are united. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on the amendment and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from texas,
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ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for three minutes. s. jackson lee: as a mother, i can see those who are now mourning because they have lost their babies, their family members. i can see the -- those in the mountains in iraq, fearful, and i can hear the cries of mothers whose sons were viciously beheaded. by a terrorist group that most cannot understand the level of its viciousness. i rise today, mr. speaker, to say that doing nothing is not an option. and i want to say to my friends and to my colleagues, isil has been here. -- 2005, iman al sa haur re zahari of al qaeda had a killer
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idea, to organize an islamist state. now we have voices raise aid cross the world knowing that isil exists and that's what they want us to do, be terrorized. i refuse to be terrorized. and i also refuse to do nothing. i do not stand here today to vote for an authorization to use military forces. i will not vote to send our precious treasure again to that region. but i do believe that the president has a strategy. unlike some of my colleagues' systematic campaign of air strikes, regional political effort, and humanitarian aid, changing the face of the islam religion that people believe is the islam religion and looking to those who support the core values of islam. that is a strategy. but yet we have to address isil. 20,000 to 31,000 fighters. making its way across the land.
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so i believe that an existing provision under section 10, provision 10, simply to train and to provide instruction to those individuals who can be in the fight in the region. trape them with the expertise of the united states and not put our precious treasure on the ground. isis has no restraint. we remember the names of jay foley, steven sotlof, british aid worker david haynes, 40-something members of the turkish diplomatic corps held by isis, and many others. i believe it's important to note what we're doing here today. the mckeon amendment provides an opportunity for congress to be advised 15 days before action. we should hold the administration to that. we should also say that any authorization for military forces must be a debate on the floor of the house. i will not vote for that today. i will not vote for that. but i do believe again we cannot
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stand and do nothing. i think it is extremely important that we do something and i hope others will look at the resolution i have and h.r. 548 which i have introduced. but i would like to add something else to the mckeon amendment. it indicates that appropriate committees will be advised. this should reflect that the homeland security committee is an appropriate committee and should be one of those that is appropriately advised. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time is expired. mr. smith: i yield the gentlelady 30 seconds. ms. jackson lee: today we had a hearing with the secretary of homeland security, there's no doubt that what we are doing today is to protect the homeland. americans say they want the homeland protected. they want no more of their journalists beheaded by this heinous groupism close by saying we organize this nation to form a more perfect union. the constitution says congress must declare war even as the president indicates he has the authority under article 2.
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i believe if sconk to do its job we must have another debate on the authorization for military force which is we do not approve but this is responding to the viciousness of isil. building up those regional forces and making a difference. i ask my colleagues, can we do nothing? i think not. we must rise in support of this resolution today. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expire. the gentleman from washington reserves this gentleman from texas is recognized mr. chairman thornberry: i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from oklahoma, mr. lankford. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. larningford: a week ago the president asked this house to include very narrow language in this continuing resolution to ain and equip the syrian rebels to defend themselves. i understand why any soldier would want training from the united states military. many members of the body have asked for greater training for the free syrian army. if we had not previously trained
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and equiped the iraqis and kurds, isis would have overrun iraq and moved against our allies in the region. i rise to voice a concern of the people oklahoma. we believe this administration has a habit of twisting every bill into what they want it to say rather than what it actually says system of i want to clarify this amendment. this is not an authorization for the use of military force in syria. the president has nod asked for that authority and congress has not extended it. in 2001, this body gave specific authorization to president bush to use, and i quote, to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons who pe he dered, get this, he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11, 2001. he fighters currently on the battlefield with isis were about 8 years old on 9/11. the leaders of isis were teenagers. unless this administration is abling to show evidence that a group that did not exist on 9/11 thoor 8-year-olds in syria
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planned, authorized, committed, or aided on the terror attacks in 9/11, the aumf is not in effect from 2001 this body is willing to deliberate and to engage the american people in the sobering question of the use of military force. but we are not willing to abdicate our constitutional responsibility. also, no one in this administration understands this vote is a request to negotiate with iraq for their cooperation to offering to turn a blind guy or turn our head while they advance their nuclear weapons program for their help and cooperation. the world should not have to choose between isis or a nuclear iran. both are unacceptable. this vote is not -- is also not an acknowledgment of the president's plan to defend our nation from isis. we have not seen a plan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. thornberry: yield the jelled 30 seconds. mr. lankford: thank you. this vote is not an acknowledgment of the president's plan was because we
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haven't seen a plan. bombing some facilities and training fight sers not a plan. if isis is a direct threat to the united states we should treat them that way. don't make the american people second guess the threat by saying the american people will be protected by the free syrian army. while i stand in support of this amendment -- amendment, the conversation must not end here. i look forward to the conversation on how the administration plans to seek congressional authority for further efforts. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i yield to ms. speer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. speier: i thank the leadership on this issue and the exhaustive discussions and briefings we have. i also commend all my colleagues for their thoughtful statements. this is indeed a tough decision,
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but we are elected to make tough decisions. i rise today in opposition to this amendment to equip and train the syrian rebel forces. after countless briefings and the president's speech i'm left with more questions than answersful at a briefing today, former u.s. generals have opined that training 3,000 to 5,000 members of the free syrian army will be lame. in fact, totally inadequate. why train an inadequate number of f.s.a.'s to contain isil? how do we identify and vet a sufficient number of syrians who can fight along protracted conflict to effectively degrade isil? how do we compel the free syrian army to focus on isil instead of assad, the brutal dictator they took up arms in the first place to destroy? what prevents assad from continuing to attack the f.s.a. and what will we do in response? how do we avoid arming
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individuals that would rather do harm to the united states than isil? how do we create a true coalition when some only agree tacitly behind closed doors. jordan has isil on both borders but can't commit public throw providing boots on the ground. how does a plan that relies on air strikes degrade isil's capabilities. what i have heard in response that these questions simply don't add up. we should have our eyes open wide enough to know that we are being asked to support today something much more than just training 3,000 to 5,000 members of the free syrian army. there are consequences of what we have supported in the past and there will be consequences today. what happened when we spent billions of dollars to train and equip the carefully vetted iraqi military over almost a decade? they folded in the face of isil, many of them taking arms up with
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isil and others stripping their niforms from their backs. the plan before us is unrealistic and insufficient. nobody believes this strategy will topple isil. general dempsey conceded yesterday if this plan is insufficient, which i bheeb it is, he may recommend ground forces. he also said there is no military solution to isil. we should be frank with ourselves and the american people. we are not facing a limited engagement but a new war that will only escalate. we are setting out on a path to send our own troops to the ground. this is an amendment and a debate to start yet another war in the middle east with very uncertain futures. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. messer.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for two minutes. mr. messer: i rise in support of the amendment offered by chairman mckeon. we're way past any good solutions in syria, but doing nothing would be the worst solution of all. i understand and in fact share many of the reservations expressed by my colleagues today. this is not an easy choice. yet, we cannot ignore the threat of isil. they are determined to bring war to america's shores. we must respond. the president's request to train and equip certain syrian opposition forces is a necessary step toward defeating isil. so i will support it. i will also urge the president to do more, to explain the true nature of this crisis to the american people. this will not be an easy fight. air strikes alone are unlikely to destroy isil, and diminish
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its ability to threaten america. americans are understandably war weary, but we did not pick this fight and our nation always answers the bell to defend our way of life and protect our freedom. this time will be no different. may god bless our military personnel who will be involved in this effort and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. o'rourke: i thank the the gentleman for his leadership and the chairman on this very difficult issue. i want to make one point clear to my colleagues. we are essentially declaring war through an amendment to a budget resolution. let's make no mistake. we are not simply training
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rebels in another country, saudi arabia, which, by the way, has been the most successful exporter of extremism and extremists in the world. we will reinsert those trained and equipped rebels back into their nd we will then be air force. we will be a co-belligerent part in a war. we need to do this with our eyes wide open, as my colleague just said, only with the power vested in congress through the u.s. constitution. the logical conclusion of our participation in this war is successful is to depose the assad regime and replace it with one of our own making in concert with these rebels. that will be the third country in 13 years whose regime we have deposed and whose government we have replaced with one of our own choosing. it's the fourth that we've been involved in if you include libya in whose government we successfully deposed and in not
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one of these instances can i say this has been a success. we also have no muslim majority countries contributing ground troops to this operation. i think we owe wide deference to the president in matters of foreign affairs, but when it comes to declaring war, our founding fathers reserved that power for the people through their representatives in congress. this amendment to a budget resolution, which would enter us into this war in a formal matter, makes a mockery of that and does not do justice to the service members who will be asked to put their lives on the line for this u.s. policy. and for these reasons i urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania, two minutes, mr. rothfus. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for two minutes.
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mr. rothfus: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the terrorist islamic state, or isis, is a grave threat to our friends and allies in the middle east and to our homeland. there is broad bipartisan agreement that this threat must be confronted and destroyed. it is important for the president to work with congress to address this terrorist threat. the president should continue air strikes and support kurdish and iraqi forces in their fight. the amendment under consideration will expand the president's authority to conduct military operations in the middle east through the training and arming of allegedly moderate syrian rebels. i have serious reservations about this amendment. there is simply not enough information about these rebels, indeed, not even two weeks ago the president admitted he did not even have a strategy to confront isis. i am looking to the administration to provide additional information about the rebels that it is proposing to train and arm. several administration officials have stated that the rebels might be fighting both the assad regime and isis. but against whom will the
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rebels first turn their weapons we give them, isis or the assad regime? i also have very serious reservations about including this expanded military authorization in the continuing resolution, a short-term funding bill. this authorization raises very serious issues. make no mistake, it will ultimately involve the united states service members, men and women from our cities, towns and countryside who will leave their families behind at home. such a measure deserves consideration in a completely separate resolution. the president should never have asked for such a serious matter to be added to a short-term spending bill. i urge my colleagues to reject the amendment under consideration. i thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from the district of columbia, ms. eleanor holmes
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norton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized for two minutes. ms. norton: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate what has gone into the amendment before us. i perhaps should be more involved than most reasons because my district, the nation's capital, is a perpetual high-level target of terrorist, like isil. today i'm compelled to come to the floor to convey the indignation of the residents of the district of columbia, that the congress would even approach another period of war where participation of residents of the district of columbia is virtually they have no le vote on this preeminent matter of war and peace, district residents pay $12,000 per
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capita, more in federal taxes than residents of any other state to support our government in war and peace. regardless of what is decided on this amendment, mr. speaker, district residents will be there for america as they have been during every war our country has fought. the nation, however, should not ask d.c. residents to fight another war without consent of the governed who participate with taxes and live in the district of columbia, the nation's capital. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for two minutes. mr. desantis: we are debating a amendment that will not guard our nation from terrorist infiltration or to eliminate
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isis bases. it authorizes president obama to train and equip with u.s. weaponry members of the syrian mujaheddin, the so-called moderate rebels. the training and equipment can be given to vetted rebels. who are they? they cannot be part of al qaeda, which is good, but it would allow president obama to arm other islamist rebels who are not terrorists, including the muslim brotherhood, the syrian revolutionary front and the army of the mujaheddin. now, mujaheddin fighters in syria are not moderates, nor are they pro-american. they will take our arms and use them as they see fit, most likely to fight assad in pursuit of installing a sunni shahrya state in syria. they cannot be counted on to vindicate our interests, which is why it is a mistake to subcontract out american national security to islamist fighters. half measures like this will not suffice.
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there are no shortcuts when it comes to our national defense. i constantly hear people say that americans are war weary. i disagree with that. i think americans are willing to do what it takes to defend our people and our nation. i think they are weary of missions launched without a coherent strategy and are sick of seeing engagements that produce inconclusive results rather than clear-cut victory. i think they're weary of a president that consistently proves himself unwilling to do what is necessary to win. i've heard some colleagues say that arming the syrian mujaheddin strengthens resolve. i think it's a lack of resolve. the president is thinking on wishful thinking. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield three minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for three minutes. mr. nadler: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the amendment. mr. speaker, i know the scourge of violence islamic terrorism
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all too well. i represent the world trade center area in new york that was attacked on september 11, 2001. so i agree with the president that we must work together to combat isil. today, however, isil cannot project military power beyond the middle east. isil is a direct military threat to our allies and to our interests in the middle east. perhaps we should help bolster the defenses of our allies such as jorned, gentlelady, saudi saudi and -- jordan, arabia and the emirates. this threat cannot be fought by military means in iraq and syria, but by counterintelligence, appropriate surveillance and border control here and abroad. when it comes to isil operations in the middle east, those very same operations that threaten our allies, we must ask why we do not see these threatened countries offering troops on the ground. why are we more interested in their defense than they are? these are some of the questions we in congress should debate before we vote to go to war and
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make no mistake, the offensive campaign of air attacks against isil that president obama recently announced clearly institutes a war the meaning of the constitution. the constitution very deliberately places the decision to war to the american people acting through congress, not the president. the decision to go to war against isis requires congressional authorization. the authorization for the use of military force of 2001 cannot be relied upon for congressional authority for acts of war and circumstances completely unforeseen then against an enemy that did not exist then. identification of isil with al qaeda with the planning of the attacks on september 11, 2001, is specious. the authorization for use of military force against the iraq resolution, 2002, was simile not about isil. congress must assert its constitutional power to authorize or reject the use of force in iraq and syria. we are not -- even if is implied by our vote today and
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thrin lies the danger. this vote without a vote on a wider use of military force, will be taken by the public, the media and perhaps even the courts as a de facto authorization of military force in syria. this would undermine our ability to seriously debate the real questions before us. how deadly is the threat we're facing? and what will happen when american fliers are shot down over syria and perhaps beheaded on television by isil? will the demand for revenge be overwhelming? just how steep is the slippery slope we are embarking upon? how long will the conflict last? is there an exit strategy? what does victory look like? how much will it cost? how many lives -- u.s. lives will be lost? whom will we be arming in syria? do they share our long-term interests? what are the odds those arms will be turned against us or our allies? it is precisely these types of questions should be asked when congress debates the authorization about the use of military force. until we have that debate in congress and answer these questions and make a decision on an aumf, we should not step foot on the slippery slope to
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another long war. and approving this amendment would be a big step onto that slippery slope. i must vote no. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the distinguished majority whip, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana, the majority whip, is recognized for three minutes. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the gentleman from texas for yielding and for working so hard with the armed services committee through chairman mckeon to bring forth this amendment that ultimately lets the president start a process that he laid out in his peech last week. the threat of isis is real and growing. it's in the just limited to the middle east, though. american nose this is ultimately something we'll have to confront if we don't address it now with swift action. if you look at the legislation that's been brought forward,
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there were some important protections put many place over the course of the last few days in negotiations with the white house that i think are very significant and lay out clear benchmarks for president obama over the next three months that this authorization would last. the first thing the president has got to do under this authorization is to go and build that coalition. this is not a go it alone strategy. it's not going to be the kind of strategy that's going to work. the president has got to go and put those countries together to carry this out. he's got to get firm commitments, not only on amounts of resources that will be put in place but also the number of troops that those countries would put in place. in addition to that, mr. speaker, any transfers of funds that would be needed to carry this out would have to first come back to congress before they can move forward. any plan for vetting syrians that we would train, which is going to be an incredibly important process, has to come back to congress and those plans
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have to be laid out. i think that's so important that those protections are in place because ultimately, mr. speaker, the president's' the command for the chief. he's asked for this authorization. but there's got to be a give and take and ultimately a role that congress plays where the president is letting us know each step of the way that he's carrying out the mission as he laid it out. he's building that coalition he said he would put together. and over these next three months, mr. speaker, it's going to be important that he does those tasks. ultimately, as we come back here to deal with this again, it's going to be important that the president lay out the broader strategy because so many of our members know, this is not the final step. that's going to eliminate the threat of islamic terrorism. this is the very beginning. i think not only members here in this body, republican and democrat alike, i think people all across the country, want to ultimately see that broader strategy by the president for how he's going to take on this challenge and eliminate these
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terrorists from the face of the earth. i rise in support, urge my colleagues to vote yes and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington is recognized mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. -- thornberry i'm pleased mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to my friend and colleague from texas, mr. poe. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. poe: the amendment is to train and equip syrian rebels. let's see how that's worked in the past when america has trained and equipped individuals. the united states has spent billions in iraq to train and equip iraqi soldiers. the first time they come in contact with isis member they cut and ran. this is isis propaganda that was on the internet. this is an american tank in the possession of iraqis when the iraqis cut and ran. -- in the possession of isis when iraqis cut and ran.
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these are four humvees that apparently have never been used that are now in the hands of isis because iraqis cut and ran. now we want to arm syrian rebels. let's see how that's worked in the past. september, 2013, "the wall street journal" reported that isis raided a syrian weapons dee depot, taking arms provided by the c.i.a. december, 2013, free syrian army weapons seized by the islamic front. they, like the iraqis, cannot keep up with american arms. second, some say in this amendment will give the free syrian army the -- will support them because they're going to be examined and make sure that they are vetted very well. but let's understand and see how that's working out. what the free -- what's a free syrian army rebel today is an isis member tomorrow. it looks like in 2013, saddam al
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jamaal, the northeast commander of the syrian army announced his defection to isis and condemned hose who work with the west. and in january, one said there's no more free syrian army in eastern syria because they all joined, yes, isis. it's not a good strategic plan to army syrian rebels. if isis is a national security threat, relying on rebels in a syrian civil war won't protect american interests. the united states should have a strategy to defeat the barbarians of isis but we should have that debate on this house floor but not rely on mercenaries to fight american national security issues somewhere overseas. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognize. mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the
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gentleman from illinois, mr. kinzinger. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kinzinger: i joined many of my colleagues on both sides of he aisle to support giving the president authority to train syrian rebels. critics artened by the of this. i've been as critical of the president's strategy but that doesn't excuse us what from what is the right thing to do, to give the command for the chief -- the commander in chief the tools to fight this. don't recall my colleagues stepping forward other this year to call for more action in syria. i did and was called a warmonger. some say this doesn't go far enough. i've heard from a lot of people who say it doesn't go far
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enough. some say it goes too far. it's too much. it doesn't include an authorization of military force. it doesn't include an overarching strategy in isis or sir yasm i reject those calls for a perfect strategy from a perfect president for a perfect outcome in sir ark that's not possible given the circumstances we now face due to our previous inaction. mr. speaker, to those who believe that the assad regime is a partner in the fight against isis, i would remind them that this regime has slaughtered nearly 200,000 of its own people. in fact, in iraq, when we were ighting al qaeda iraq, the sang ingime gave a.q.i. syria to fight the u.s. the assad regime created the isis problem. gave them safe passage through regime-controlled territory.
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ultimately attacked only free syrian army targets until the west looked over and now they look like the savior of the west by attacking only isis. let's not get sucked into that argument. i support this amendment not because it's part of a larger strategy in syria that we'd like to see from this administration -- mr. thornberry: i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. kinsinger: i thank the gentleman. i support this not because it's a larger strategy but because it's a first step in addressing isis in syria. i ask my colleagues to support this first step that many have been calling for to train the syrians before it's too late. what would our allies think if we rejected the president's authority to do that? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. speaker.
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thank you, ranking member smith, i appreciate your leadership and your courtesy. in iraq and syria, we're facing an excruciating set of circumstances where there's no ood, clear path forward. to do nothing is an option but it's likely the worst choice. if isis were only a potential threat i would feel differently, however, it's a well-funded, heavily armed militia whose ranks have swollen to over 30,000 and counting by some estimates. they control an ever-expanding area across iraq and syria's border. to stand by and allow them to strengthen their hold will encourage accelerated deterioration of the security in the region that will become more difficult to address and will ultimately become a threat to the united states. we must also confront those in the region who say they oppose isis but have yet to take action. those regional players have an strength in this.
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i think a better option is the mckeon antidepressant. i didn't support wars in iraq and i wouldn't support legislation that would expose us to another open-ended, broad commitment this limits ground force use in the region and prevent an open-ended engagement because the authority provided in this legislation sunsets december 11. any air strikes or aid would come at no additional cost to our country which has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on war in the region and requires the department of defense to reprogram existing funds or find regional allies to pay for our efforts. this proposal to empower the president for three months is the most reasonable course of action at this point. it's not going to set they will long-simmering conflicts in the region, authorizing the president to train and equip highly vetted syrian fighters,
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however, may degrade isis in a meaningful way. these three months will give the administration an opportunity to show progress and enlist support of other countries. congress will then reassess the efforts in december. in the meantime, we are not undercutting the diplomatic and military efforts of the administration. helping the administration respond, allowing the situation to clarify, making some progress, and galvanizing support are the most we can hope for over the course of the next three months. i remain open to alternatives but after listening carefully to the debate, briefing from experts, reviewing the material, i see no better course at this point than the limited short-term initiative this amendment provides. i plan on supporting the amendment, i appreciate the gentleman's courtesy, and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is ecognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr.
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speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from kansas, mr. pompeo. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. pompeo: thank you, mr. speaker, for this opportunity. the president spoke last week and he presented nothing that could be remotely considered a strategy. and yet the american people understand the destruction of radical islamic terrorism is mandatory. it's not mandatory for creation of democracy around the world, it is mandatory for keeping people safe in places like omaha and denver and wichita, kansas, the place i represent. today, the world is watching what we'll do here, what congress will do there are folks watching this in bunkers, there are people from hamas watching how we'll vote today. they're looking at this congress -- at how congress will respond to path who has not laid out a strategy who has asked taos provide one arrow in the quiver, one small piece, that doesn't amount to hardly anything remotely close to a strategy. they're looking to watch and see how we'll respond.
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today we should respond by telling the president of the united states we will support his efforts to train and equip. but we are going to watch and demand that we he develop a strategy for the destruction of isil and for containment in the region as well. it's not just isil that's the threat. to the threat ex-tebbeds from damascus to tehran, it threps lebanon and jordan, all the middle east and indeed if that territory is allowed to remain inflamed will threaten us here in the united states. today we take a very small action, one that is necessary but hardly sufficientism urge my colleagues to support the mckeon amendment and urge the president of the united states to take nax a way that will defeat isil and defeat radical islamism and keep us all safe here in the united states of america. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kansas yield back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i'd
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inform the distinguished ranking member that at this point we have no additional speakers if the gentleman is prepared to close. mr. smith: yes, i would like to actually yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. sherman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. sherman: i thank the gentleman for yielding. this is not a perfect plan. what america wants is a plan that guarantees success, and that success should be the total destruction of isis immediately and without u.s. casualties. but the plan is a reasonable approach. it is the only approach on this floor. the alternative is to do nothing. in one has brought a better plan -- no one has brought a better plan to this floor. for those who say, well, let's do nothing, reflect what we have accomplished through the
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president's action. the yazidis have been saved from genocide. the turkeman are no longer besiege and would have been slauthrd in the thousand. the mosul dam no longer under the control of isis. none of that would be true if the -- if the president had already not begun to take action. i see that the author of the amendment has come to the floor and i wonder if he is available far colloquy. i yield to the gentleman from california. mr. chairman, all the authority provided in this amendment will expire no later than december 11, 2014. is that correct?
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mr. mckeon: or the passage of the ndaa, which ever comes first. mr. sherman: so it could even be sooner than december 11. and second, mr. chairman, the administration has stated that it will use this authority to train syrian fighters outside syria. i have a fact sheet which i'd like to enter into thed a -- into the record, provided by the administration, stating that the training will take place outside syria and that the saudis have gurode to host facilities -- have agreed to host facilities. i'd like to make that a part of the record, without objection. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. sherman: mr. chairman, can you confirm that it is the administration's plan to do the training outside syria? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an additional minute. mr. mckeon: what was the question again? mr. sherman: the question is, is it your understanding that the training bases will be outside syria? mr. mckeon: my understanding. mr. sherman: i thank the
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gentleman for his answers and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. i understood the speaker was on his way. he may not be here. i'll reserve at this point. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. shigget mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker -- mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield to mr. honda. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. honda: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the ranking member also. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this amendment. the threat of isil is beyond anything we've seen in the past 13 years, since the horrors of 9/11. while we see that there are no limits to isil's gross brutality, they are a terrorist threat to the region, to the united states and to our aliles. this rushed amendment to arm, train vetted -- the vetted syrian rebels is not the answer . this chamber needs to have an
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informed, robust discussion and debate about the u.s. role in combating, dealing with isil and other extremists in syria and iraq. it's a debate that should take place on its own. this issue, and this amendment, should not be attached to the continuing resolution or any other matter before the house. this amendment authorizes the training and equipping of vetted syrian opposition forces, but we are still unclear on who these forces are, how will these rebel gripes be chosen and vetted -- groups be chosen and vetted? how do we ensure that our weapons training and knowledge won't be used by isil or other terrorist organizations in the future? additionally this amendment only highlights a piece of the president's plan for addressing isil. a plan that includes significant long-term bombing campaigns and military escalations in -- installations in iraq and syria. if the house leaves for the next eight weeks without addressing the already expanding scope of u.s. military operations in iraq and
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syria, i fear that we will return in november to find the u.s. sliding down a slippery slope toward full military engagement in those countries. we have been there before. we've seen before how mission creep can expand a limited mission into a full-blown u.s. armed response. i will not let this happen, let this country be dragged into another conflict once again, without an informed discussion. congress needs to debate a new authorization for the use of military force before any expansion of military operations. i support the president's call to dismantle isil through robust regional and international partnerships, support for local capacities on the ground and expanding humanitarian assistance. arming and training syrians and iraqis and perhaps eventually supporting them with air strikes may push back isil's gains, but it will not defeat extremism. there's no lasting military solution to extremism.
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the only lasting solution is a political solution. one in which the rights and concerns of all religious and culture groups are respected. the u.s. must focus on building partnerships in the region and around the world to encourage moderate sunni groups in iraq and syria to move away from isil and towards an alternative and inclusive future. we also need to have a plan for the development of this region beyond our confrontation with isil. i have a deep reservation and important lingering questions that need to be debated on this floor. i am concerned about exposing our soldiers once again to a conflict with unclear objectives and no clear exit strategy. i cannot support this rushed amendment. mr. smith: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. honda: thank you, i appreciate that. i cannot support this rushed amendment and allow the u.s. to wade back into another conflict without a serious, informed discussion of the united states' military role in combating isil. we need to fully debate and
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discuss actions we as a nation take against this vicious foe. and i thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. lance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for two minutes. mr. lance: thank you, mr. speaker. isis poses a savage threat to the world. to muslims and christians in iraq and syria, to our allies and to the united states. it has executed heinous acts of terror and violence and tragically will continue to do so. allowing it to thrive unchallenged is not in the national interest of the united states of america. today's vote is not a blanket authority but a thoughtful, detailed and limited effort to confront isis. we cannot and should not do this alone. we need tangible support from a
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global coalition and will evaluate the commitment level in three months. the administration must continue to work to ensure that saudi arabia, turkey and other islamic nations are involved in this multinational effort. despite reservations and questions, in my judgment we must take action. the threat is real and isis must be confronted now. i support the mckeon amendment because it is thoughtful and it provides the experts here in washington the authority they need to put together a clearly defined, realistic strategy. this amendment does not authorize the use of military force. indeed, the amendment includes language that makes it explicitly clear that this is a train and equip authority and not an authorization for force. mr. speaker, i support this amendment and in the weeks and months to come the house of representatives must use its
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oversight powers under the constitution to monitor this strategy and to demand changes as necessary. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey yields back his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: may i inquire, do you have any additional speakers? mr. thornberry: yes. mr. smith: then i'll reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. kinston. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. kingston: i thank the gentleman from texas for the time and i rise in support of the mckeon amendment and in support of the continuing resolution. and i want to say this. i've heard a lot of people say, this process isn't good and that we haven't had enough hours of debate. but i would say to members of congress, have we not in fact had days and weeks of debate? how is it that you're a member of congress if you haven't thought about isis? and the situation? in fact, have we not had 13
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years to debate this very subject internally, externally, on the floor, in committee and off the floor? we certainly have had a lot of time for deliberation on this. secondly, i want to say this. i'm not certain that the president needs further approval from congress, as i've gone back and read the resolutions of 2001 and 2002. and i would also say, though, we should have a formal resolution. it would be good for the country, it's good for congress, it's good for the education process and it sends a very strong signal to our enemies. and perhaps when the president sent it to us, and i hope he will -- sends it to us, and i hope he will in november or december, we will have an opportunity to have the debate again and we can review how effective will these air strikes have been at that time, how effective is the training program, how well is it going,
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and what allies have actually stepped up and what have they contributed? because right now we do not have the answer to those questions. i'll say another thing, mr. speaker. if we are going to fight this war because it's worth fighting, then it's well worth winning and speaking for myself, i want the commander in chief and our armed services to have all the tools that are available to them and if that means having ground troops on the table, then i want to be sure that we send that signal. because the last thing we need to do right now to our enemies abroad is say, well, we're not going to do this or we're not going to do that. we can't have a half pregnant war. we have got to fight to win and wipe out this terrorist surge. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair will receive a message. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. mr. speaker, i
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am directed by the president of the united states to deliver to the house of representatives a essage in writing. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i yield myself four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for four minutes. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. speaker. as we approach the end of six hours of debate on this amendment, i think it has been a good and healthy discussion. according to our count, we've had more than 90 members of the house come to the floor and express their opinion about this situation with isil and syria and iraq. i think part of that is -- it has given all members the opportunity to express their concerns and their hopes about what we can do as a country
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going forward. but it seems to me through the course of these number of hours that most members agree on at least three things. one of the things that most everybody grease on is isil is a -- agrees on is isil is a significant threat it. seems to me they're clearly the best equipped, best trained, best financed terrorist organization week of ever faced and in addition to that, as the ranking member noted at the beginning of the debate, there are thousands of people who have western passports who are fighting with isis, who can easily come to the united states and europe to launch their attacks. the second thing i think most people agree upon is this is a very complex situation. we have the syrian civil war under way, you have the change of government in iraq, you have the situation with the curds -- kurds, many players, iran, that make this a very complex situation. so all of those members who go down and say there is no good
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alternative, i think i agree with that. there is no good, no at least perfect alternative to deal with this. the third thing about which there is a lot of agreement, mr. speaker, is that there's a lot of doubts about the president's plan. a lot of doubts about whether it's going to be enough to defeat isil, a lot of doubts about the commitment of the administration to follow through on the plan, and to persevere over time, and -- but in addition to that, even if it's well done and implemented perfectly over time, we don't know -- no one knows for sure how this is going to come out. so with those broadly agreed upon facts, members have reached different judgments and different conclusions. but it just seems to me, mr. speaker, that approving this amendment to give the president -- the military, the department of defense the authority to train people in syria as part of that fight makes sense.
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and so just to briefly review what is in the amendment, because during the six hours of debate there's been a lot of discussion, some of it about things that are not in the amendment, but what is in the amendment is that the amendment authorizes the department of defense to train folks in syria as part of the fight against isil. and it is absolutely true that the department of defense has done this very thing in at least 40 countries. now, for all those people who say this is a slip arey slope to war, i just -- slippery slope to war, i just note, we're not at war in 40 countries. we train people around the world every day and the military does a very competent job of it. that's what this authority does. that's it. to train folks to defend themselves. this amendment has an expiration date, as you just heard. either december 11, 2014, or the passage of the ndaa, which ever happens first. there is a broad array of
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oversight, beginning 15 days before anything is done and then every 90 days thereafter, specific requirements of information that has to come to this congress. there are limits on the funding. if u.s. taxpayer dollars are used, then the congress has to be notified and basically through the transfer authorities congress has to approve. finally, it is absolutely clear, because it says so, this is not an authorization to use military force. mr. speaker, i yield myself one additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for an additional one minute. mr. thornberry: those people who say it's not an authorization for force, that's not what this is about. this would provide the syrians the ability to get into this fight against isil. so the bottom line, mr. speaker, is that i think another thing most everybody agrees upon is you can't defeat this group from the air. you have to have folks on the
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ground. we have folks on the ground with the kurds. we have folks on the ground who will be more competent with the iraqis. we need some folks in syria to be on the ground. that's what this amendment does. it is narrow, it has oversight, it has limits, it has a time limit. and as general dempsey told all members, it is necessary but in and of itself it's not enough. but it's necessary. and i believe that the house ought to take this step today to begin this training and then it's up to the president to make his strategy work. i reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i yield myself the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: one thing that make this is difficult, the many issues swirling around here. the desire, the need to confront and contain isis. their savagery is unimaginable. they're clearly a threat to us
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and to the region. and we need a plan for confronting them, for stopping them and hopefully ultimately defeating them. part of that plan is what we're doing in iraq. part of that plan is how to deal with them in sir yasm aside from all of that, this amendment is far more basic and simple. i think mr. thornberry explained it. it is a train and equip mission. this is something the department of defense does all over the world in a variety of different places. we have had a great deal of success training armies in ethiopia, uganda, to help deal with the situation in somalia. we've had considerable success training forces in yemen to help confront aqap. the goal of this is to reduce the requirement far robust u.s. military presence to advance our interests. i have heard number of folks, particularly on my side of the aisle, express that concern that we don't want to go down the slippery slope of committing forces to a large-scale war. i agree with them. but this amendment does not
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authorize military force. in fact, quite the opposite. it authorizes us to train local forces so that they can do the fighting. i've also heard a number of people express the frustration, which i share, we shouldn't be over there fighting these battles. we need the local population there is to stand up and fight for themselves. but that is precisely what mr. mckeon's amendment enables us to do. it enables taos train local forces to fight isil on our behalf. this is important, not just because it keeps us out of the fight but because it gives us a far greater chance of being successful. if this is perceived as the u.s. coming in against the muslim group, then that gives isis a powerful propaganda message to say that they're simply defending themselves against western aggression. if, on the other hand they continue to do what they've been doing, killing muslims and fighting muslims, then we can recruit and get greater support from the local sunni population to stand up against them. this was what was successful
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about the anbar iawakening in the iraq war, when sunni tribesmen roads up against al qaeda with our support and were able to turn the tide in iraq at that time. that's why this is so important. now the big issue of concern is what's going to happen within syria? are there truly moderates? there are unquestionably moderates in syria. they've been under a lot of pressure for the last couple of years, from the assad regime but also from al qaeda affiliated groups like al nuss remarks and also isil. we know they're there. in some instances they're fighting against isil. they're not properly trained or equipped and they're not doing well for the last couple of years. if we can train and equip them, they have a chance to survive. people can legitimate lay say, is this really going -- legitimately say, is this really going to turn the tide of the war? this alone, absolutely not. but it gives us a chance.
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--isil is allowed free reign free rein in syria, we have no chance of defeating them. we do our best in iraq but if they can just go across the border into syria, as we've experienced trying to fight the taliban in afghanistan, who go across the border to pakistan, if they have a safe haven, it's going to be very, very difficult to ever defeat them. the only way to take away the safe haven is to find a local force that will fight our fight. and we can't get there if we don't train them. this is about enabling the moderates in syria enough space to survive. they survive, we slowly build from there to get us the force we need to defeat them in syria and ultimately beat back isil in both syria and iraq. this is not a perfect plan. it's not going to solve all problems. it wouldn't take long to find difficulties and challenges in
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any plan that's put out there. it gives us the best chance of advancing u.s. curt interests in a reasonable way. i urge this body to support this amendment. i thank mr. mckeon for bringing us. i want to join mr. thornberry. it's great to have so many members come down and explain their positions. i urge support for their amendment. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california is ecognized. mr. mckeon: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i want to thank adam smith, my rarninging member and partner, r the last few years in this effort. i think he was very eloquent, did a good job in working this debate. i think we've heard from both sides of the aisle, both positions, and it's been a strong debate.
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i want to thank mr. thornberry. he's been my vice chairman and sidekick for the last couple of years, carried a heavy load. he's vice chairman of the committee and also chairman of the subcommittee and also serves on the intelligence committee. and strong, strong member, as you can see, did a great job of explaining the bill, laying it all out in summary form after this long debate. there's just one other point i want to mention and that is that there is no new money in this bill. the president did not need additional money and the -- any money that is needed will be reprogrammed from money that already exists and they have to come back to the congress and go through the process to make that change. but there will be nothing added to the top line. i want to thank our staff who worked so hard on this. this came late in the process, the president sent us language last week, it wasn't something
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we could support. i want to thank leadership for giving us the time to work this issue that, instead of voting on it last thursdays, we had time to work, staff worked all weekend, both sides of the aisle , thank you. thank you for your strong work. you know, we hear sometimes about government workers and they're kind of just at the government trough. i want to tell you, these people work hard, long hours. and they're devoted to their jobs. most of them could leave here and make more money, but they're committed to what they're doing and i want to thank them for it. finally, i would just like to say, as a final wrap up this etter that i put in earlier, where ambassador crocker, ambassador ford, who have spent years in this area, really understand the people, understand what is going on in
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that area. and then general keen, general petraeus, who both have spent a lot of time in this issue. the four of them have signed a letter that they sent over to us this morning, that they support with,mendment and i agree i think probably everybody that spoke, that this will not do everything. but it is an important step at this time and i urge our colleagues to support this amendment to give our command for the chief the authority he needs to protect us in this area. with that, i yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. pursuant to the rule, the previous question is ordered on the joint resolution as amended and on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california, mr. mckeon. the question is on the amendment by the gentleman from california, mr. mckeon. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it.
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the amendment is agreed to. >> mr. speaker. mr. mckeon: i demand the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: those feavering a vote by the yeas -- favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. pursuant to clause 8 and 9 of rule 20, this 15-minute vote will be followed by five-minute votes on a motion to recommit if ordered, passage of house joint resolution 124, if ordered, and agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal, if ordered. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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