Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today in support of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my friend for yielding. I have known Mr. Berman for almost half a century. He has been an extraordinary leader, as a young person, as Chairman of this committee, as Ranking Member on this committee. And I want to thank him for his leadership on this issue. He has been instrumental. I want to thank my dear friend in whose district I used to live so many years ago, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, thank her for her leadership and her commitment. She's been a stalwart.
“Mr. Speaker, at a time when there's great disagreement on a number of important issues, we are reminded today that Democrats and Republicans stand together when it comes to supporting our friend and ally Israel. I am proud to be a lead co-sponsor of the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, along with my friend, the Republican Leader, Mr. Cantor, who just spoke.
“This bill enshrines in law the deeper military and security cooperation that the Obama Administration has forged with Israel and made a very high priority. President Obama's predecessor, President Bush, was also responsible for forging and continuing that relationship, as were his predecessors. Today with greater uncertainty in the Middle East and the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran, close security cooperation between the United States and Israel has never been more important.
“I've visited Israel twelve times, and I have seen firsthand how Israelis have achieved so much with so little. Investments in Israel's security and Israel's success yield real benefits to the United States through shared intelligence, technological exchange, and trade. Investments in Israel also strengthen our security because our countries share not just values but strategic interests, including preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons.
“Iran, as we know, has been a destabilizing force in a volatile part of the world closely linked to energy supplies and where our troops are stationed. In response, this administration has coordinated with our European allies to impose the strongest sanctions Iran has ever faced. This bill will enable even closer military and security ties with Israel so we can further deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability and work together to combat terrorism that threatens both of our countries.
“I want to recognize in particular the hard work of my friend and colleague, as I said earlier, Howard Berman, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. He and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have been a real team, real partners in this effort, as I and Mr. Cantor have been. Mr. Berman has been instrumental in securing funding for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system that was jointly developed and will be deployed on Israel's borders to help against short-range missiles Iran provides to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah – thousands of those missiles.
“As Israel continues its pursuit of a secure peace, we in Congress will continue to stand together in support of Israel and in recognition of the values and ideals our countries share. This resolution, in part, is so that there will be clarity, that there will be no confusion. There needs to be a clear understanding by all those who would threaten Israel that the United States stands with her, because it is in our – the United States’s – security interest to do so, and because it is morally and ethically the right thing to do as well.
“We all hope for two states living side by side peacefully, with families secure that they can raise their children in a future that will bring peace and prosperity and tranquility in a troubled neighborhood of the world.
“I urge my colleagues to enthusiastically support this resolution and yield back the balance of my time.”