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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today in support of H. Res. 397, a bipartisan House resolution affirming our nation’s commitment to NATO's Article 5. Whip Hoyer is an original co-sponsor of the resolution, which passed the House today by a vote of 423-4. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I want to thank Mr. Royce and Mr. Engel for their leadership. I also want to thank Mr. McCarthy, Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi for their strong support of this resolution.
“I went to Brussels over the Memorial Day break. We met in Brussels with the NATO leaders. The Deputy Secretary General was there, and we spoke about the confidence that our European allies had – and needed – for the continuing viability of NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – and our commitment to the mutual defense of the members of NATO. That has been, for 70 years, the critical – over 70 years, really – the critical stability that we have seen in the European plain, and it needs to continue to be.
“Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to co-sponsor this resolution which reaffirms our nation’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty’s Article 5 and the common defense among our NATO allies. For 70 years, as I’ve said, NATO has kept the peace in Europe, and around the world. Now that does not mean that we have had peace everywhere in the world. But it does mean that we have not had world’s conflagration as we saw in the last century. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to the fall of the Iron Curtain, NATO’s unity in the face of common threats has helped prevent a direct Soviet attack against America and against our allies.
“Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has been adapting to meet threats new and old. Together, NATO members have served on the ground in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and enlargement has made the allegiance even stronger. Now with Russia once again putting forward an aggressive posture to its neighbors and the world, in addition to visiting [Brussels], we went to Lithuania and to Estonia and I visited Denmark as well. There is no doubt that those neighbors of Russia’s feel a pressure that has, over the last 15 years, not been as present. NATO's common defense commitments is as vital to global security and America’s security as it has ever been.
“We know that Russia interfered with our elections and has used cyberattacks against our NATO allies to subvert their democratic institutions as well. Estonia in particular has developed and is developing defenses to cyberattacks.
“We, the United States, the leader of the free world, must make it clear, unequivocally so, both to Vladimir Putin and to our NATO allies, that the United States stands firmly by its commitments to the Alliance and its collective defense.
"It has only been once that Article 5 has been implicated, and that was after 9/11 when all of our European allies in NATO said that an attack on the United States was perceived as an attack on them, and they pledged their unity and alliance and action. An attack on one is an attack on all. An attack on democracy, on freedom, on the values that this country and our NATO allies stand for.
“It is in that context, Mr. Speaker, that I urge my colleagues to join us in giving this resolution -- it says here on this text, a strong vote of passage. More than that, I hope this is a unanimous vote of passage. This is a question of the leader of the free world, that we will not only lead, but we will act. And I thank Mr. Royce and I thank Mr. Engel and I yield back the balance of my time.”