WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski released the following statement after voting in favor an amendment to H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2015 that gives Congressional authorization to assist and train carefully vetted members of the Syrian opposition. The amendment passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 273-156.
“While questions still remain about the president’s strategy to ‘train and equip’ moderate Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), I can say with certainty after attending classified briefings this week, the imminent threat this radical group poses to the U.S. and our allies is real. I hope today is one step towards crafting a broader, comprehensive strategy that allows us to stop reacting to crises as they occur and ensure the House of Representatives maintains oversight and jurisdiction of U.S. actions in the Middle East. I believe the next logical step is to pass legislation to repeal U.S. citizens’ passports that are affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, who could potentially return home and inflict harm on U.S. soil.”
- Authorize the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.
- Strengthen Congressional oversight by requiring detailed reports, including progress reports on the plan, vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment. It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.
- This amendment does not authorize additional funds, but does allow the Department of Defense to submit reprogramming requests to Congress, should the President request DOD funds to execute this authority. This Amendment permits the Secretary of State to accept foreign contributions.
- Lastly, the amendment would state that nothing in this section should be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or in to situations where hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.