My heart is with the incredibly brave people of Ukraine who have had their lives uprooted overnight and continue to see their cities ravaged by Putin’s brutal regime. We must continue to lead by example and support democracies across the globe. Putin’s attack on Ukraine was an attack on democracy everywhere. The United States Congress has led the world in supporting Ukraine from both a defense and humanitarian perspective and will continue to do so. The House has passed multiple, bipartisan humanitarian and defense packages that have delivered desperately needed aid to Ukrainian fighters and those who have been displaced. I remain absolutely sickened over the images and reports coming daily from Ukraine. We must stand ready to welcome and support fleeing Ukrainians as we did last summer with Afghanis and help them as they learn a new language and become valued members of our communities.
Russia and Paul Whelan
My constituent from Novi, Paul Whelan has been wrongfully imprisoned in a Russian labor camp on false charges of espionage after a sham trial and legal process. Paul was detained just days before I was sworn into Congress for my first term. His detention and imprisonment was truly the canary in the coal mine – foreshadowing Putin’s violent descent into lawlessness. I have twice led a Resolution calling for Russia’s release of Paul which has passed with the support of the entire Congress. Since I came to Congress, I have been laser-focused on working to secure Paul’s release and see him come safely home to Michigan and be reunited with his family. Americans must not be used at political pawns or bargaining chips for Putin – full stop.
U.S. Israel Partnership
Chief among my priorities are safety and security, both here in the U.S. and abroad, and I believe that our strong and enduring partnership with the State of Israel is a cornerstone of maintaining these goals. The United States and Israel have maintained a steadfast partnership for over seven decades, bound by our shared commitment to common values. The U.S.-Israel partnership is one that must continue to thrive – and importantly, cannot become a partisan issue. I stand firm in my commitment to the U.S.-Israel alliance and will continue working in Congress to support policies that strengthen our strategic alliance.
I had the opportunity to visit Israel for the first time in 2019, where I experienced its deep history, cultures, and natural beauty. I was also able to learn more about the innovative technologies Israel has created that Americans depend upon for agriculture, energy, healthcare, commerce, transportation, and national security, among many others. I look forward to finding new ways to develop strategic plans to build on these technological successes.
I stand alongside Israel against the BDS movement, which seeks to undermine Israel’s economy and legitimacy. Its main goal is to delegitimize Israel’s existence and inflame tensions in communities and on college campuses, which undermines the prospects for peace. At a time when anti-Israel boycotts are prevalent around the country and globe, and the Anti-Defamation League is reporting a dramatic uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes, it is now more important than ever to stand beside Israel and oppose state-sponsored BDS.
I believe in Israel’s fundamental right to self-defense. As the only democracy in the Middle East and our strongest ally in the region, Israel’s safety is paramount to our interests at home and abroad. Congress must continue to unconditionally support critical programs that help Israel upgrade its fleets in air, land, and sea, enhance the mobility of its ground forces, and continue to strengthen its missile defense capabilities. The landmark Memorandum of Understanding reached under the Obama Administration provided Israel with robust funding to accomplish these goals, and I will continue to support funding from this historic agreement, as I have each year. We must prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and further destabilizing the region. Diplomacy must be the first option and is the best solution but all options must remain on the table.
I believe in the worth and value of every Palestinian and every Israeli and will work to support a negotiated solution resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state—living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. This peace process should be settled by the parties directly.
Our countries share a commitment to justice and equality for all. From standing up for women’s rights to affirming our support for the worldwide LGBT community, our common values are what unite us. That deep sense of justice – born out of a shared commitment to repairing the world – is why we can always count on each other.