Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this morning on H.R. 4278, which supports the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
"I thank my friend, the Ranking Member, Mr. Engel from New York, and I thank Mr. Royce, the Chairman of the Committee, for bringing this bill to the Floor and working in a bipartisan fashion to affect an objective that I strongly support. I thank both of them for their work.
"The ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine is unacceptable and a gross violation of international law. I agree with President Obama that Russia is acting from a position of weakness, however. Strong nations do not invade and annex territory from their smaller neighbors by force. And strong nations do not suppress the free expression of ideas and the voices of dissent within their own society. Those are the hallmarks not of a great nation but of an insecure bully. Great nations are those that stand together to reaffirm the principles of liberty and international order. Great nations are those that commit to peaceful diplomacy while protecting free and open debate among our citizens.
"The American people continue to stand with the people of Ukraine, Mr. Speaker, because we believe they have a right to join the nations of the world that are free and able to shape their own future. That is why, through this bill, we pledge our support as the new government in Kiev works to stabilize its economy, provide security to its citizens, and ensure that all Ukrainians are afforded the opportunities that come with vibrant, democratic institutions and basic freedoms. That is what this bill offers the people of Ukraine.
"What it offers President Putin and his associates is an opportunity to end their misguided, unjustified, and illegal incursion into Ukraine's internal affairs. Because it affords them a choice, Mr. Speaker: adhere to international law and end their aggression or face increasingly punitive sanction that will further isolate Russia from the global community.
"The one item missing from this otherwise strong bill, unfortunately, is ratification of IMF quota reform. I hope the House will take action on that piece soon. However, this is a good bill. We ought to support this bill.
"We ought to pass this bill and send Mr. Putin a clear message that the United States Congress and the nation we represent will not stand for Russia's actions and that we are ready to help Ukraine reach for the future it so richly deserves."