VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges Support For Stop Arming Terrorists Act
Washington, DC—In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard urged lawmakers to support the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608), legislation that would prohibit the U.S. government from using American taxpayer dollars to provide funding, weapons, training, and intelligence support to groups like the Levant Front, Fursan al Ha and other allies of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda and ISIS, or to countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.
Video of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s speech is available here
“The American people have felt directly the cost of our nation's interventionist wars—costs borne by our nation's sons and daughters who have served, and by communities and people in every part of this country. We have spent trillions of dollars on regime change wars in the Middle East while communities like mine in Hawaiʻi face a severe lack of affordable housing, aging infrastructure, the need to invest in education, health care, and so much more.
“Our limited resources should go toward rebuilding our communities here at home, not fueling more counterproductive regime change wars abroad. I have introduced the Stop Arming Terrorist Act, legislation that would stop our government from using taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly support groups who are allied with and supporting terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in their war to overthrow the Syrian government. The fact that our resources are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every American. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and stop this madness.”
Background: The bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608) is cosponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ted Yoho (R-FLY), and Garrett Thomas (R-VA), and endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council.
The legislation would prohibit U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria by ensuring U.S. funds are not used to support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups. The bill achieves this by:
- Making it illegal for any U.S. Federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in this bill to terrorists. The assistance covered includes weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash.
- Making it illegal for the U.S. government to provide assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such assistance to terrorists.
- Requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individual and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.
- Requiring the DNI to review and update the list of countries and groups to which assistance is prohibited every six months, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Requiring the DNI to brief Congress on the determinations.