Washington D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) and members of the Committee took to the House Floor to oppose three resolutions that seek to block prior, legal U.S. arms sales to strategic partners facing increased threats from Iran and its terrorist proxies. The arms sales disapproval resolutions (S.J.Res. 36, S.J.Res. 37. S.J.Res. 38) irresponsibly threaten our Middle East partners by denying them the arms needed to defend themselves against terrorism and endanger the security of our allies, like Israel. Key highlights below: 

Lead Republican McCaul Speaks in Opposition to Arms Sales JRDs: 

For a video of remarks as delivered, click here or the photo above. 

“Thank you Mr. Speaker.

“I rise in strong opposition to this dangerous resolution.

“Right now, as I speak,  Iran is stretching its tentacles of terror across the Middle East.

“By aiding the Houthis in Yemen, arming Hezbollah in Lebanon, and supporting the Shi’ite militias in Iraq and Syria. Iran is creating a “Shia Crescent” that can dominate the region.

“Their goal is to build a strategic land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.

If we allow them to succeed, terrorism will flourish, instability will reign, and the security of our allies, like Israel, will be threatened.

“One of the ways we can push back against Iran’s murderous aggression, is by empowering our partners in the region.

“Unfortunately, this irresponsible resolution handcuffs our ability to do so.

“Specifically, this legislation would prohibit an export license, and stop the United States from providing our partners with the arms they need to defend themselves.

“This particular license first came before Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in January of 2018. 

“When I became the Lead Republican in January 2019, I reviewed this case and maintained the informal approval granted by my predecessor, Chairman Royce. 

“The Administration has been criticized for bypassing Congress to push these sales through. But, the Democrats, in fairness,  placed informal holds on this sale for more than 13 months – a total of 407 days which I believe abuses the process we have in place in Congress. 

“During that time, the State Department continued to pursue this case with Congress. They also sent forward additional cases to help with the Saudis, the UAE, and Jordan. 

“And by the time the State Department submits such cases to Congress, they have already undergone a thorough interagency review process.

“This important process ensures compliance with the President’s Conventional Arms Transfer policy, intended to support our partners and strengthen our national security.

“Other critics are worried that these weapons will increase civilian casualties in Yemen.

“However, the precision guided munitions that we are trying to send to the Saudis will actually lower the risk of civilian casualties in Yemen as it counters attacks from Iranian-backed Houthis.

Now is not the time to deny our partners what they need for their defense.  Nor is it the time to withhold precision guided munitions that could minimize the risk to civilians.

“Recently, after Iran attacked civilian ships and shot down one of our drones, a U.S. military asset, the President brought together a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, including the Chairman and myself, to discuss an appropriate response. 

“He listened to our advice and made a prudent decision to exercise restraint.  The President has made it explicitly clear- the United States is not looking for war.

“The decision to move forward with these arms sales is part of a larger effort to deter Iran. 

“A key part of that effort is to empower greater burden-sharing by enhancing the defense capabilities of our allies.

“These sales provide more options for deterring Iran that do not all depend on U.S. intervention.

“I support these sales, even though I do not think that all 22 required emergency certification, and this is a point that the Chairman and I actually agree on, especially those that will not be ready for delivery until later this year.

“I support revising the law with Chairman Engel to ensure and enhance the role of Congress in future emergency sales.  I would like to thank the Chairman for his bipartisan work with me on that amendment to the NDAA that was passed by a wide margin. 

“But I do oppose re-litigating prior, lawful sales to partners who face growing threats to their security, which is what today’s resolutions attempt to do.

“Mr. Speaker, we face many dynamic challenges. Iran threatens the Middle East, it continues to pursue the “eradication” of Israel, and it remains the number one state sponsor of terrorism around the world.  The threat is growing, not waning

“For that reason, I think that Members should oppose today’s resolutions.

“And with that, I reserve the balance of my time.”

Lead Republican McCaul Closing Remarks in Opposition to S.J.Res. 36

For a video of remarks as delivered, click here or the photo above. 

“Thank you Mr. Speaker, I just want to say when we debated the Yemen resolution, which was once again, pro-Iran and pro-Houthi rebel and anti-Israel, it is interesting that after that passed in this chamber that the Houthi rebels celebrated a victory in the Congress thinking that the American people through the Congress actually supported them. We have to be responsible in our rhetoric on this floor and what we stand for. 

“Many in this body favor asking our partners around the world to step up and do more to help protect our shared interests.

“The President has called on other nations to take on the burden of defeating terrorism in the Middle East and has commended our partners for their contributions to regional security.

Sharing this burden of collective security interests is really vital to ensuring the United States is not the only one bearing the costs in blood or treasure. For we have borne way too much in the Middle East

“But these arms sales are where the rubber hits the road for burden sharing. We cannot ask our partners to take on additional burdens while withholding from them the tools to do so.

We should, and do, work with our partners to train them to use U.S.-origin equipment effectively and responsibly. This is an ongoing process. 

“My fear is that if we are unwilling to provide our partners with the means to ensure their own security and to invest their resources to turn them into responsible users, then the United States will again find itself as the main guarantor of Middle East security that we have bore the burden for the last several decades. 

We also need to be wary of our partners turning to China or Russia for their defense needs.

“Mr. Speaker, it was unfortunate how the current law was utilized for these 22 sales.  That is where Chairman Engel and I agree and that is why we have worked on a bipartisan basis to refine this process for invoking an emergency moving forward.

“We have the informal congressional review process to resolve concerns regarding individual sales.

“But when Members place indefinite holds on sales and place a stop to our ability to share burdens with our partners, for eighteen months in some cases, it undermines our entire regional security strategy and the important bilateral partnerships we have worked to establish and grow.

“For this reason, I oppose the resolution and I yield back the balance of my time.”