As a member of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, I believe we must ensure that we uphold and protect religious freedom and liberty in America and around the world. As a Catholic, my faith plays a significant role in every aspect of my life, and fosters a respect for the religious rights and freedoms of others. Fundamental American values, among which are commitments to religious freedom and human rights, have been critical components of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and I will continue to support religious freedom and liberty throughout the world. I am concerned about the persecution of Christians around the world and the targeted attacks against Christians in countries like Egypt and Iraq. That is why I introduced H.Res.637, which expresses concern for attacks on Christians in Egypt, and calls on the government of Egypt to punish those who persecute Christians because of their religion.
Arkansas’s #1 and #2 trading partners are Mexico and Canada, and I support continued free trade with these countries. I believe that the U.S. government should refocus its effort on our own backyard. A major part of that involves focusing on the security on our nation’s southern border and ensuring that we have the authority to keep gang members from Central and South American countries out of our country. I also believe, and wrote an op-ed on the topic, that President Trump should design an engagement plan with the countries of the Western Hemisphere that promotes economic growth, defeats authoritarianism with free and fair elections, and conquers international drug cartels and global terrorists.
I believe Israel has a right to ensure its national security and to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people. I believe that ensuring Israel’s continued military effectiveness in the region remains a critical American national security priority. Israel is an important economic and strategic ally of the United States, and its stability is critical to peace in the Middle East. Although I support a two-state solution, history has shown that only Israel has been willing to make the tough compromises and concessions that are necessary for peace, and I believe that only through direct negotiations will the two parties be able to resolve their differences.
Threats to the United States
I believe that Iran poses a significant threat to U.S. national security interests both home and abroad. Iran is the greatest threat to security and peace to Israel and the entire Middle East. It is involved in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and continues to support the terrorist groups known as Hamas, located in the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, located in Southern Lebanon. Further, I did not support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran is also a persistent violator of human rights, the respect for which is a cornerstone of American values since our nation's birth. We must be cognizant that the people of Iran are living under the oppression of an extremist Islamic regime, and we must be supportive of their citizens who bravely advocate for changes that embrace liberty, freedom, and taking steps toward a more democratic government.
I also supported H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which includes further sanctions on Iran related to ballistic missile testing and its support of terrorism.
Russia under Putin is a threat to freedom and the post-Cold War world that so many fought and died for. Since its formation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has served as the foundation for security between the United States and our allies in Europe. I was serving in the U.S. Department of the Treasury at the end of the Cold War, and I had the unique opportunity to lead the design of U.S. technical assistance to the former Soviet controlled economies of Eastern and Central Europe in the areas of banking and securities. It was a fulfilling mission to help these countries break away from the shroud of the Iron Curtain.
I was also pleased to help craft and be an original cosponsor on H.R. 2820, the Fight Russian Corruption Act, with Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Peter Roskam (R-IL), which we introduced on June 7, 2017. If enacted, this bill would establish an office of Anti-Corruption Relating to Illicit Russian Financial Activities in Europe at the U.S. Department of State. This office will analyze Russian financial and corruption networks that operate in Europe, relating to investments in real estate, energy, media and infrastructure sectors, and report to Congress on these activities. This bill also authorizes foreign assistance to European countries to help combat corruption, and includes assistance for anti-corruption activities at NATO.
I also supported H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which includes important sanctions against Russia with respect to Russia undermining cybersecurity, crude oil exports, corruption, human rights abuses, and to counter Russian influence in Europe and Eurasia.
The North Korean government continues to be an untrustworthy regime, and, in my view, until it fully dismantles its nuclear program and stops its aggressive posturing, North Korea will remain a threat to the United States and her strategic allies throughout the world. I am committed to ensuring that the United States continues to lead on efforts to reducing the nuclear threat that North Korea poses.
I also supported H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which includes further sanctions on North Korea to cut off Kim Jong Un regime’s access to cash, restrict it’s shipping industry, and puts sanctions on countries who employ North Korean slave labor.