As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I supported policies that preserve the United States’ positive influence and leadership in relations with our allies, in addressing challenges with our adversaries, and in helping set international policies in global forums. Our goal in foreign policy must always be to keep America safe today, as well as work to craft a sustainable, forward-looking policy that can ensure our security and prosperity for years to come.
As the international system continues to evolve from the bipolar world of the last half-century to one of multiple influential powers, the US must also continue to combine a strategic defense policy with diplomacy and development. At the same time, we must focus on sustaining and enhancing our economic strength, as stability at home will translate into continued influence and investment overseas.
Specific Foreign Policy Issues:
- No Nuclear Weapons for Iran
- Peace and Security for Israel
- Defeating ISIS
- Greece and Cyprus
- Ukraine, Russia and Crimea
No Nuclear Weapons for Iran, Now or in the Future
I believe the greatest threat to our national security and one of our biggest foreign policy challenges is preventing a nuclear capable Iran. For almost two decades I have advocated that it is imperative that the United States and the international community permanently block any and all paths for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability through a dismantling of the country’s enrichment infrastructure, an end to Iran’s militarization programs, and the cessation of reprocessing capabilities for plutonium, such as the Arak heavy water facility.
It is also important to acknowledge that a nuclear Iran presents, long-term, the most dangerous threat to the entire region. That is why in Congress, I helped introduce and pass tougher Iran sanctions legislation. Now we must vigorously police and enforce the JCPOA to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, not just for the next 15 years, but forever.
Peace and Security for Israel
I came to Congress as a life-long friend of Israel. I first visited Israel in 1983 and have returned more than 15 times, most recently last year. I know that there is no more important strategic partner for the United States in the Middle East than Israel.
My position on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs provided me the status to advocate for a strong US-Israel partnership in Washington, fulfilling my commitment to be a leading voice towards ensuring that this critical relationship remains strong, steadfast, and secure. I was proud to be a part of Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s Israel Working Group, along with Eliot Engel, Ted Deutch and Henry Waxman.
I used my perspective and experience in my first term in Congress to take key leadership roles on major initiatives designed to strengthen the US-Israel relationship, and to promote peace by preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In 2013, the House unanimously passed my bill, the Israel Qualitative Enhancement Act, which helps ensure Israel is equipped to defend herself against growing, diverse threats. And just this past December, the President signed into law the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act, legislation I introduced in 2014 with my colleague Mark Meadows.
We must also work with Israel, our most reliable, most important ally in the region, as well as with the Palestinians to create the context for a lasting, negotiated resolution to their conflict, based on two states for two people.
I will diligently continue my strong advocacy for the US – Israel relationship to ensure that Congress remains actively and constructively engaged in preserving this critical strategic relationship.
The terrorist organization ISIS represents a clear and present danger to American national security, both directly to American interests and as a destabilizing force in an important region. To fully address the risks, I believe we must (1) defeat ISIS at its roots in Syria and Iraq; (2) identify, disrupt and dismantle ISIS satellite and allied groups in places like Libya, Sinai, Indonesia and anywhere else they appear; (3) track and prevent the flow of radicalized fighters and terrorists from Syria to other nations, including the U.S.; and (4) counter ISIS efforts to radicalize “home-grown” terrorists through social media and other means.
In Congress, I voted to give our military the funding and authority it needs to help contain ISIS and ultimately eliminate the threat they pose. I believe that the U.S. must work with our international partners, and in particular our allies in the region, to stop the spread of this dangerous threat. This can only be done through our ongoing partnership to strengthen the Iraqi military and supporting a secure and democratic region. I also remain resolute in my belief that the U.S. engagement in Iraq and Syria must not involve combat troops on the ground. The ultimate defeat of ISIS, and the distorted ideology, will only come when the people living under the thumb of their oppression are able to rise up and take back their homes and their communities.
We all rightly look to our government to secure our borders, protect our cities and keep us safe. Security has to be, and has long been, our government’s top priority. It is imperative that we continue to diligently watch for potential threats by all appropriate means. We have to make sure we control who enters our country. And we have to sustain and increase our efforts to fight the terrorists at their source, both on the ground and in the battle for hearts and minds.
But we cannot afford to let fear overwhelm the very values that define our liberties and put us on the right side of this struggle. Our country is stronger today because we welcomed and integrated past generations into our communities. We cannot turn our backs on these principles now.
I understand and appreciate the desire of people to ensure that our current screening processes guarantee that no terrorist is able to enter our country. I also know from experience that no system is perfect, and even the best systems need to be continually improved. That’s why I support calls for investing in enhancing our screening programs, not just now but into the future.
While we must always be diligent in keeping all individuals seeking to do us harm from entering our borders, we should never ban any specific religious or ethnic group as a whole, and I would vigorously oppose any effort to do so.
Greece & Cyprus
For many residents of the 10th Congressional District, concern for Greece is not just about foreign policy, it’s about friends, family, and heritage.
As a member of Congress, I will again be a leading voice promoting a strong partnership between the United States, Greece and our other European allies. I am also proud to be a founding member of the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance.
Pursuing a Just and Lasting Political Settlement on Cyprus
For over 40 years, Cyprus has been divided, with nearly one third of its territory occupied by Turkish forces. I support the United Nations’ calls to Turkey to remove forces from Cyprus and allow for a settlement to take shape. We cannot allow for a continuation of the violation of human rights in Cyprus to continue.
Ukraine, Russia and Crimea
Russia’s move to occupy and then annex Crimea is wrong and cannot be allowed to stand. I recognize that Crimea is a most complex situation, with a long history and deep connections to both Russia and Ukraine. But I also recognize that international laws and norms matter and that Russia’s actions violate both.
I supported the Ukraine Support Act that, in addition to imposing sanctions against the Russian occupation, provided resources to the people of Ukraine. We must also continue to provide economic aid to Ukraine and support for Ukrainian development of democratic institutions.