When dealing with some of the greatest challenges of our time – unprecedented conditions at our southern border, war raging abroad, egregious executive overreach – legislative limbo is the last place we want to find ourselves. Unfortunately, mutual exclusivity, collective amnesia, and political posturing seem to plague Washington, hindering our ability to break free from the cycle of inaction and move forward in addressing the pressing challenges facing our nation.
WHY NOT BOTH?
Last week, the Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package. Following months of negotiations on a legislative solution that would have provided aid to our allies abroad, while also fortifying our border, all border security provisions were abandoned in favor of a standalone foreign aid bill. This is where we run into the fallacy of mutual exclusivity. Why can’t we secure our border and provide aid to our allies abroad? Why can’t these objectives be pursued simultaneously?
I believe foreign aid is an investment in America’s security and standing on the world stage, and I also believe that the crisis at our southern border has reached a fever pitch, and we must take back control. In today’s world, these things are often viewed as conflicting priorities, but that’s just not true. In fact, these two objectives each serve distinct but complementary purposes in advancing national interests and global stability. Simply put, they can – and should – go hand in hand.
What is happening at our southern border is dangerous, inhumane, and untenable and deserves to be immediately addressed. Securing our border is crucial for safeguarding national sovereignty and protecting citizens. That means implementing a top-down approach, including border patrols, surveillance technologies, and physical barriers to deter illegal immigration, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other national security threats. Simultaneously, providing aid to our allies strengthens their defense capabilities and capacity to deter mutual adversaries.
Unfortunately, we cannot responsibly guarantee security abroad if we continue to fail to guarantee security at home. The foundation of this issue lies within our own borders, and it must be addressed. Securing the border and supporting our allies are complementary components of a comprehensive national security strategy. Falling short in either area ultimately leaves our nation less secure, both domestically and internationally.
HOW EASILY SOME FORGET
The Israeli people are still reeling from the horrors of October 7th of last year when Hamas terrorists brutally tortured and murdered more than 1,400 people in Israel and took more than 240 people hostage. Since that horrible day, it seems a collective amnesia has taken hold and a double standard is hard at work: Hamas terrorists spent years planning the attacks of October 7th, and Hamas terrorists continue to hold captives, including Americans, while indiscriminately shelling Israel with rocket fire. Yet, Israel is being shamed to exercise self-restraint.
This interpretation of the ongoing conflict is completely backwards. Members of Hamas call its October 7th crime against humanity “just the first time,” and claim there will be a second, third, and fourth. By their own admission, Hamas will not stop until Israel is annihilated. A ceasefire now would equal Israel ceasing to exist.
We cannot leave one of our greatest allies hanging in the wind, which is why I have repeatedly voted in favor of military assistance for Israel. Last week, the House voted on the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriation Act (H.R. 7217), which I proudly cosponsored. This legislation appropriates $17.6 billion to bolster Israel’s defense capabilities and ensure U.S. military readiness in the Middle East. This package provides:
- $4 billion for Iron Dome and David Sling defense systems.
- $1.2 billion for the Iron Beam defense system to counter short-range rockets and mortar threats.
- $3.5 billion for the procurement of advanced weapons systems, defense articles, and defense services.
- $1 billion to enhance production and development of artillery and critical munitions.
- $4.4 billion to replenish defense articles and defense services provided to Israel.
- $3.3 billion for current U.S. military operations in the region in response to the October 7th attack.
Earlier this month, I was proud to vote in favor of H.R. 7217. Unfortunately, a majority of my Democrat colleagues rejected this legislation, and the House was unable to pass aid for our troops and allies in Israel. Last November, when the House passed a separate security supplemental that included financial offsets, Democrats asserted they wanted a clean bill. Well, that’s exactly what H.R. 7217 is. Although I’m disappointed, this setback only strengthens my resolve. My support for Israel and its right to defend itself remains steadfast, and I am hopeful the House will consider this critical legislation again soon.
POSTURING FOR PUTIN
We are lucky to live in a nation with abundant natural resources that can meet not just our energy needs but increase the energy security of our allies around the world. Unfortunately, President Biden has taken every opportunity to undermine domestic energy producers and appease foreign adversaries. Make no mistake, the Biden Administration’s energy policies put politics over people.
President Biden’s recent decision to kowtow to his radical base and implement a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export ban comes at the expense of American energy and national security. This will only succeed to stifle domestic energy production, embolden bad actors like Russia, China, and Iran and jeopardize U.S. national security. In effect, he chose to please climate activists at the expense of national security and the energy industry.
Around the globe, American LNG supports the energy security of our friends and allies. If they’re importing American energy, they don’t have to worry about some rogue dictator – we’re looking at you, Putin – cutting off the gas with a moment’s notice. In December 2023, 87% of American LNG exports went to the European Union, United Kingdom, or Asian markets. Our allies are desperately seeking to eliminate their dependence on Russian natural gas, and President Biden just handed Vladimir Putin a victory on a silver platter. In addition to countering the weaponization of energy across the globe, increasing American LNG exports could add as much as $73 billion to the U.S economy and upwards of 453,000 American jobs in the next two decades. This decision by President Biden isn’t a climate victory, it isn’t an economic victory, and it certainly isn’t a victory for our security.
Last week, I was proud to vote in favor of the Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act of 2024 (H.R. 7176), which would immediately reverse President Biden’s ill-informed ban on American LNG exports. If the Biden Administration is serious about its climate-first agenda and not just climate wokeism, it would embrace the production and export of clean, affordable, and reliable American LNG, which has helped the U.S. reduce emissions more than any other nation. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to immediately act on this legislation so we can put people over politics and ensure American energy leadership and security.
It’s a hectic time here on Capitol Hill. Despite the typical overly politicized issues taking up most of the air in the room, my office has continued to multi-task and is always working to advance priorities for Nevada. I look forward to providing a full rundown of all that work in my next newsletter.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As always, thank you for subscribing to the Amodei Report. I look forward to continuing to keep you up to date on the issues you care about most. For additional information, please visit my website at Amodei.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-6155, Reno office: (775) 686-5760, or Elko phone: (775) 777-7705. To receive updates on what I am doing in Washington and in Nevada’s 2nd District follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Mark E. Amodei
Member of Congress