Senator Murray Opening Remarks at Hearing on National Security Supplemental Request
***WATCH: Murray’s opening remarks***
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, gaveled in today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the President’s national security supplemental funding request and delivered the following opening remarks:
“This hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee will please come to order. We are here today to discuss the national security components of the President’s supplemental funding request.
“I’m glad to have Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken with us to speak about the challenges we are seeing around the world, and the urgency of providing the necessary resources to meet these challenges, support our allies, and make the world—and our country—safer.
“At our first full committee hearing earlier this year on out-competing China, both Secretaries made a strong case for why passing our full year appropriations bills with robust investments in America and avoiding perpetual CRs and devastating cuts is so crucial to keeping our nation competitive on the world stage.
“As the two of you return to this Committee, I think every member on this dais understands and takes to heart many of the messages you left with us last hearing.
“These are unprecedented and difficult times and American leadership and support will be critical as we face the many threats and challenges we will discuss today.
“That’s why Congress must come together in a bipartisan fashion to act decisively and purposely. This is not a time to punt American leadership or punt on funding agencies critical to these efforts and to American families.
“If we let politics and division drive us away from this mission, I worry about where we will stand for years to come.
“So I hope this Committee can continue to lead the way with thoughtful, swift, bipartisan action that keeps your message here today in mind.
“Thank you both for joining us once again.
“We are at a precarious moment across the globe. Ukraine is continuing its courageous resistance against Putin’s bloody invasion and Israel is reeling from a horrific terrorist act by Hamas—a vicious attack that none of us will ever forget.
“Now, it is often the innocent that suffer most in war. So of course, there are also urgent humanitarian needs, including aid for the Ukrainian people, and the countries caring for those displaced by Putin’s war, and aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
“It is also a humanitarian imperative that Hamas release the hostages it took during its violent attack.
“And, of course, Putin’s invasion has also severely disrupted food supply chains around the world, leaving a serious crisis of global hunger in its wake.
“And in the Indo-Pacific, our friends and partners face growing threats and aggression—particularly from the Chinese government.
“In short, the world is on edge—and how the U.S. wields its leadership will be a critical factor in determining what happens next.
“Now is a time for serious, sober discussion—not partisanship, or political show.
“This hearing is a crucial opportunity for us to make sure we are taking a full view of this moment, meeting immediate requirements while planning for the long term, and providing the resources necessary to make the world safer for America and our allies.
“If we are going to get this right, we have to understand how these conflicts are developing today and what our strategy is for the future.
“We have to appreciate the nuances that differentiate each of these challenges, as well as the ways in which they are all interconnected.
“We have to see the big-picture without losing sight of the human reality on the ground—the fact that in the middle of every conflict, are civilians—residents displaced from their homes, hostages torn from their families, people facing obstacles getting basic medical services, and kids and families who desperately need food and water.
“And we have to be able to recognize the complexity of these issues—while holding fast to the simple, actionable truths that can guide our work.
“For me, that means: America must stand strong by our allies, dictators cannot be allowed to invade sovereign democracies, terrorism cannot be tolerated, and we cannot ignore the humanity, and the cries for help, from civilians caught in the middle of conflict and crossfire who we must protect.
“It’s a tall order—but the Biden Administration’s national security supplemental request offers a useful blueprint, and Vice Chair Collins and I are working right now to craft strong, bipartisan legislation that meets the national security priorities the President laid out.
“One that makes clear to other countries looking to copy Putin’s aggression that they will fail.
“And one that replenishes DOD’s stockpiles as well, and bolsters our domestic manufacturing. That is crucial to ensure we have secure supply chains when it comes to our nation’s defense, and that after we send Ukraine weapons—we are replacing our stocks with modern, American-made arms.
“And, let’s be clear, huge supermajorities in the House and Senate favor more support for Ukraine—so getting this funding across the finish line should not be controversial.
“Meeting this moment, also means a package that ensures we stand with Israel as it works to protect its people in the wake of the horrific Hamas attack, and deter additional terrorist threats.
“And one that helps us prevent further escalation of violence in the region and address humanitarian needs.
“It means a package that strengthens our presence and supports our allies in the Indo-Pacific and helps us keep pace as the Chinese government works aggressively to expand its footprint in the region.
“And, of course, it also means a package that continues our long-standing and all-important tradition of the U.S. leading the global humanitarian response, and delivering vital humanitarian aid to save lives in places that are being torn apart by conflict.
“Whether they are in Ukraine, or Israel, or Gaza, we cannot lose sight of the needs of civilians whose lives have been upended by war and violence around them. Making sure people have food, water, and medical care isn’t just the right and moral thing to do; it also promotes long-term stability and security—combatting hopelessness that can spiral into new threats.
“Let me also say this: as someone who voted against the Iraq war, I have been heartened to see the President urge our allies in Israel not to fall subject to so many of the same mistakes we saw following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It is an important message for the President and our country to deliver as a friend of Israel—to stay clear-eyed and strategic in pursuit of justice.
“Every country has an obligation to protect innocent life and abide by international law—especially during times of conflict.
“I’m glad the Biden administration is sending that message, and I strongly support their robust efforts to ensure further access to humanitarian relief for the civilians in Gaza.
“Finally—make no mistake—we need to address all of these priorities as part of one package—because the reality is these issues are all connected, and they are all urgent.
“The Chinese government is watching how we respond to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
“Putin is hoping the Hamas attack will give him an opening and distract the world from aiding Ukraine against his brutal invasion.
“And all of our adversaries are watching closely to see whether we have the vision to recognize how these crises are related, and the resolve to come together and respond forcefully to them.
“Our adversaries are cheering for dysfunction.
“So let’s instead show them unity.
“Let’s show them the strength of democracy—by passing a robust, bipartisan national security package.
“And, before I turn it over to Vice Chair Collins, let me just say: while we are focused on global challenges at this hearing, we should also address needs here at home, like the child care crisis, relief for communities struck by disaster, the fentanyl crisis, the needs at our southern border, and more.
“And I am continuing to discuss a separate hearing to address these issues with my colleagues.
“I know that is critical to many of us here—and next week we will have an opportunity to discuss these issues with Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Becerra at a hearing in front of this committee on November 7th.
“Bottom line: we face a number of urgent national security issues and challenges here at home.
“President Biden has submitted requests for much-needed supplemental funding to address these priorities, and I urge my colleagues on both sides to work with me on all of these urgent issues.
“And if we can pass our domestic priorities right alongside our national security priorities, we absolutely should.
“After all—we are the United States of America—we can stand with our allies around the world and tackle the challenges facing our families here at home at the same time.
“Now, I am glad we are holding this hearing today to discuss the vital national security requests the President has submitted to Congress.
“I look forward to a thoughtful discussion about what’s needed to fight and deter aggression from authoritarian leaders, tackle terrorist threats, and protect civilians.
“And about what is at stake for America’s own security and future if we fail to stand with our friends across the globe—and lead.”
Next Article Previous Article