WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in support of three measures he offered as amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act:

“Thank you. I thank the gentleman and I rise in strong support of three measures I offered that are part of this and a later en bloc amendment.

“Firstly, an amendment I co-authored with the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce. For more than four years, the Assad regime has rained down terror on its own citizens in the form of barrel bombs in Syria. Thousands upon thousands of Syrians have abandoned their homes and spilled across the border into Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. They are begging the world for help.

“While it wouldn’t nearly solve this problem, a no-fly zone or a safe-zone would provide a glimmer of hope for these people. Our amendment would require the Pentagon’s leaders to take a hard look at the feasibility of establishing a no-fly zone.

“My second amendment would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on the way reductions in U.S. military readiness in Europe would affect NATO’s core mission of collective defense. This report would be required before any reduction in Europe takes place.

“I view Vladimir Putin’s aggression as the greatest threat to European security since World War II. Today, NATO’s Article 5 must remain a credible deterrent. My amendment takes a step in that direction.

“And finally, I offered legislation to make sure U.S. training programs for Afghan National Security Forces include training on the protection of human rights. Since the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, not enough has been done to make human rights protections a priority for law enforcement agencies in Afghanistan. This issue should be a major part of our training efforts.

“I urge my colleagues to support these provisions, and I yield back the balance of my time.”


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Watch Rep. Engel's floor remarks here