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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today in support of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2017. Below is a video and transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“I thank my friend, the gentleman from New York, the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I thank Mr. Kinzinger for his leadership, as well as his statement.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bipartisan legislation which will impose tough sanctions on entities aiding the Assad regime in Syria.
“Bashar al-Assad is a brutal murderer, a brutal murderer and, very frankly, there are too many countries facilitating and complicit in the murders that he perpetrates. He's gassed his own people and waged a civil war that has displaced millions from their homes and their country.
“Recently, I had the honor of meeting some of the ‘White Helmet’ Civil Defense Workers, who are daily risking their lives to rescue civilians caught in the cross fire and targeted by government forces. Facilitated, I might say, by Mr. Putin's troops in Syria. The Assad regime is being propped up by Iran and Russia in a dangerous and destabilizing geopolitical game.
“Now, there are reports that the Assad government is now cremating victims of mass murder in attempt to hide the evidence of its numerous crimes. While this is taking place, Americans watched in disbelief, frankly, as President Trump met in the Oval Office with those who are protecting and aiding and abetting Bashar al-Assad and those committing atrocities by his command and in his name.
“Not only does that show how little this President understands about the conflict in Syria and its broader complexities, it also reminds us that he has articulated no clear strategy on how to end that conflict and to defeat ISIS.
“Now, having said that, let me congratulate the President for taking the actions against the airfield after the chemical attack, but frankly that was but a small – significant – but small step. The continuation of the war that the Assad government is waging against its own people only makes it harder to defeat the terrorists who threaten America, the region, and the world.
“Today's legislation will help address this problem. I see on the Floor my friend, Chairman Royce, who is a great leader on issues relating to our foreign policy and to human rights. I congratulate him for his leadership. Working with his partner, Mr. Engel, we have taken significant steps to raise both the moral and the foreign policy issues that need to be raised. The efforts are bipartisan and reflects hard work on the part of the Ranking Member and the Chairman, as well as members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I thank them for their efforts, and I urge my colleagues to join in strong and hopefully unanimous support of this important resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.”