Press Release ● National Security & Foreign Policy
For Immediate Release: 
January 22, 2019
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (NY-16), Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) at a press conference this afternoon in support of the bipartisan NATO Support Act. Below is a transcript of his remarks as delivered:

“Thank you very much, Jimmy. Congressman Panetta, of course, comes from a family that has made extraordinary contributions to the defense of our country and to the strengthening of our alliances. His father, Secretary Panetta, and in so many different roles, made sure we were a more a secure nation and that our alliances were more trustworthy and that they could rely on us as well. So, Congressman Panetta I want to congratulate you for introducing this piece of legislation.

“I’m also proud to be here with two new Members of the Congress of the United States, but not new at all to the support of our security alliances and to our security here and around the world. [Rep.] Tom Malinowski is an expert on foreign policy and an expert on national security.  Then, of course, [Rep.] Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania served so honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, and I’m sure understands how we keep America strong by promoting and not denigrating the alliances we have that provide that security.

“The NATO alliance is central to American security and maintaining peace and stability around the world. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as Mr. Panetta has pointed out, is probably the most successful military and political alliance the world has seen. Seven decades where we have had no war across the European plane, where so much carnage occurred historically.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the revolution that ended communism across Eastern Europe. I was serving as Chairman on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, affectionately known as the Helsinki Commission. I served as the Chairman on that Commission for a decade, then we went into the minority. In that position, I had a front row seat to the history and importance of the NATO alliance and bringing about a peaceful end to the Cold War.

“Now, one could say the Cold War continues, but the Soviet Union does not. It was the NATO alliance, along with the Helsinki Final Act, that brought the fall of that curtain. NATO has continued to build on the Cold War alliance and transform itself into an alliance to defend democracy in the 21st century. From Bosnia and Kosovo, to Afghanistan and Libya, the NATO alliance has been a force multiplier for the United States as we lead the free world in securing our safety and defense of freedom.

“Today, however, NATO is under threat both from a resurgent Russia and detractors within… We will consider [this bill] today under suspension. I am hopeful that it will pass with a bipartisan vote, and I think it will pass with a bipartisan vote. This bill makes it clear that the United States Congress still believes in the NATO mission and will prevent any short-sighted efforts to undermine NATO or unilaterally withdraw our country.

“I want to thank Representative Panetta, Representative Malinowski, Representative Houlahan, and Chairman Engel for their leadership on this issue, which is so critical to American security.

“Let me say that one of the first trips I took in 2017, after President Trump became President, was with four Republican members of the United States Senate, led by Senator Lamar Alexander and… Senator [Thad] Cochran. I was the only Democrat, and we met in Brussels with a number of NATO officials, and, to a person, everybody in the delegation assured the NATO Representatives that America was going to stand strong with them; that we would honor Article V; that we would be there for them as they were there for us after 9/11, as they have been there for 70 years as we kept the peace – not perfectly, but so that millions and millions did not lose their lives in another World War.

“So, I thank Mr. Panetta, Mr. Malinowski, and Ms. Houlahan for their leadership on this issue, and I am hopeful this will pass with a bipartisan vote saying that no funds will be spent to withdraw the United States from the NATO alliance.”