Washington D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) delivered the following remarks at today’s full committee markup of ten measures. He also spoke about continuing to improve our election security going forward. Key highlights below: 

Opening Statement by Lead Republican McCaul

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“… Today our Committee will mark up ten measures.  I’d like to first focus on a few of the good, bipartisan bills and resolutions that Committee Republicans and Democrats have worked on together.

“I fully support the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act introduced by Mr. Mast, which would impose sanctions on those, like Iran, who provide support to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“Hamas is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that has killed more than 400 Israelis and 25 American citizens since 1993. Earlier this year, Hamas launched more than 600 rockets into Israel in a single weekend, resulting in four civilian casualties, including an American citizen.

“I would like to thank my colleagues, Mr. Deutch and Mr. Wilson for introducing the United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act.  This is a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that updates our civil and security cooperation with Israel.

“We will also be considering a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Schneider and Zeldin opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and condemning the boycott, divestment, and sanctions, or BDS movement. The BDS movement unfairly targets Israel with economic, cultural, and academic boycotts. 

“I am proud to support this measure, although I would have preferred that the Committee consider my comprehensive bill, H.R. 336, which includes actual policy provisions to help the United States combat BDS, in addition to sanctions on Assad and assistance for Israel and Jordan.

“While over 171 Democrats support the resolution we are considering today, none have signed the discharge petition to bring my bill to the floor for a vote. I would encourage my Democrat colleagues to go one step further in support of Israel and sign the petition today.

“Mr. Chairman, I am also disappointed that while we are considering many bipartisan measures here today, we are also considering House Resolution 326, a one-sided take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It goes out of its way to rebuke the current Administration’s nascent peace efforts and blames Israel for undermining the peace process.

“It does not mention the Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying individuals who commit acts of terrorism. It adds nothing positive to the conversation. What it does do is antagonize one of our closest partners while undermining this Administration’s ongoing efforts. Therefore, I must oppose that resolution…”

Lead Republican McCaul speaks on combating foreign election interference in reference to debate of H.R. 3501:

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-Remarks as Delivered- 

“… I just want to give some context to this whole debate. I’ve been in the middle of it since being a young prosecutor in the Justice Department. I was also in the October of 2016 “Gang of Eight” briefing with the DNI and the Secretary of Homeland Security who told me at that time, in a classified setting, that the Russians were, indeed, interfering in our elections.

“At that time, I asked the administration, at that time the Obama administration, to condemn this action and call it out for what it was and prosecute. And I fully supported the Mueller probe and the prosecutions, as well.

“When I was a young prosecutor in the late 1990’s I prosecuted the campaign finance violations which ultimately led us to the Director of Chinese Intelligence working with China aerospace to put money into a Hong Kong bank account to influence the Clinton campaign.

“The idea of foreign influence in our elections, as Mr. Perry said, is really nothing new. We should object to it at any point in our history. I did as a young prosecutor and got justice, and I did when I was briefed in a classified setting on this issue.

“I would submit this to you this, Mr. Chairman. I would prefer to take out any date and let this Committee look at all foreign national, foreign government interference in our elections. Whether it be Russia, whether it be China, whether it be Iran.

“I would submit that to you, Mr. Chairman. I would be willing to work with you on this bill, to make this bill better, and quite frankly, more expansive and not just looking at one election, one party, and one president. But whether anytime a foreign government has interfered in our election.

“I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that you would take me up on this offer and with that, I yield back.”