Russia interfered in our election. There is considerable evidence that people at the highest levels of the Trump campaign were working with those very same Russian operatives while they were interfering with this election. It needs to be investigated, we need to get to the bottom of it, and the President needs to stop trying to obstruct the investigation. The President expects not to be questioned. He expects to be worshipped. Well, that's not the system of government that we have here. It is a representative democracy. Everybody is supposed to be held accountable. If you are subpoenaed by a court, by a legitimate investigation, nobody is above the law. The President should not be above the law. He should absolutely have to testify under oath. One of the issues that I'm working on is to try to stop nuclear proliferation and reduce the odds of us stumbling into a nuclear war. Well, Russia and the U.S. are the two largest nuclear powers by a large margin. Us being in a better place, so that we can avoid that would be critical. In Afghanistan and Syria and a whole bunch of places, it would be a better world if we got along with Russia. But that's not what Vladimir Putin is doing. If the president basically sells us out to meet Putin's agenda, instead of coming to a more balanced accommodation that protects democracy, that protects Eastern Europe, that advances our interests, not just Russia's, then that worries me. No President has shown that level of weakness in my memory. On issue after issue, to simply stand there and not challenge Putin at all on anything, to basically praise Putin, that type of weakness shows me that this president doesn't know how to deal with Russia. Check out my full interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's The Situation Room
Senator John McCain understood that you need to work with people that you don’t agree with, something that frankly we need a lot more of in politics. Senator John McCain was willing to speak the truth, even when it wasn’t in his best interest. President Trump’s reaction to Senator McCain’s death is the exact opposite of what John McCain personified. This isn’t hard. Trump could say, “look there is no secret that John McCain and I had our differences, but I definitely recognize a patriot when I see one.” John McCain's dedication to public service, his service in Vietnam, you have to admire that. But our President can’t get past his own pettiness to recognize someone who deserves it. You don’t have to endorse someone’s entire life to recognize what they did that was right. We need leadership that brings us together and lifts us up. Check out my full interview today with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
“The overall goal of foreign aid is to make sure that there hopefully at some point are no countries in the world that can’t provide for their people, to go after poverty, to reduce it wherever we can. And there are a lot of different projects that are important to foreign aid. Certainly global health, education, direct assistance all play a crucial role. But I would submit that nothing is more important than enabling these countries to develop their own economy by giving them the capital they need to invest in projects and grow businesses, so that they become self-sustaining partners. The BUILD Act does a crucially important job of making sure that the U.S. contribution to that effort is as effective as it possibly can be, it lives up to the name of our caucus: Effective Foreign Assistance.” July 19, 2018
The passage of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act, the first such designation in the Pacific Northwest, reflects the sustainable relationship between Washington state residents and nature in the Puget Sound Region. The Mountains to Sound Greenway will help preserve and promote the area’s scenery, resources and history for future generations. I thank Congressman Dave Reichert for his stalwart leadership, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for their tireless advocacy, and the engaged community members that made it possible for us to join together in preserving this natural treasure. June 25, 2018
Tonight, I took to the House Floor to join my colleagues in condemning the Trump Administration’s unconscionable policy of separating families seeking asylum. These families are fleeing unlivable conditions in a variety of countries throughout Latin America. To have a policy of separating parents from their children is inhumane and goes against every value we as Americans hold dear. You can watch my full remarks below. #KeepFamiliesTogether June 13, 2018
“Um, Donald Trump is president. And it seems to me like the one thing the Republican Party wants to do is they would love to have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to kick around for, like, ever. But you’re actually in charge now. So why don’t we be responsible for the policies that we have right now? “And I just, I couldn’t believe that I just heard the Representative from Wyoming say that, ‘America is now projecting strength.’ If there was ever an example of the president of the United States projecting the most embarrassing, abject weakness I’ve ever seen, than what President Trump just did with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, I can’t think of it. And quite frankly a number of Republican commentators that I’ve seen talk over the course of the last 24 hours can’t think of it either. “So I know it is incredibly comforting from a policy perspective to blame absolutely everything that’s gone wrong in the world on President Obama, but he’s not in charge anymore. Donald Trump is in charge. The Republican Party is in charge of the House and the Senate. And it’s time to focus on policies that are going to move us forward and advance our interests. And not just feel comfort in the fact that we can sort of rewrite history and blame President Obama for absolutely everything that has gone wrong. “It is a big, complicated, and difficult world for President Trump. It was for President Obama. We need to work together, we need to confront the challenges we face in a thoughtful way. Simply blaming the past president for absolutely everything isn’t going to get us there. “So again, let me just conclude by saying I absolutely agree, the issue that needs to be addressed is to have adequate readiness for all the men and women in the military. To get there, we need to have a strategy that is actually sustainable instead of one that is based on hope. …” July 17 2018
"In these times of scarce resources, it is incredibly important that we get the most out of what we spend. On that point: I do worry about the future, from a fiscal standpoint. We are right now spending roughly 20% more money than we take in every year, and that is projected to go up. The debt-to-GDP ratio is over 100% and, again, is projected to only go up. "Now we’ve got the deal for FY 18 and FY 19, which gives some degree of predictability for our military and that’s good. Because the last, gosh, eight years now we have gone from CR to CR, a couple government shutdowns, a number of threatened government shutdowns, and a large amount of unpredictability. Which is a problem for the entire discretionary budget, not just the Department of Defense. Every other department that is dependent on the discretionary budget has lived with uncertainty. That makes our government less efficient and less effective. We need to lock in more predictability. "Now, traditionally at this point, this is when everyone says that the Budget Control Act and the budget caps have got to go. And I agree with that. The problem is you get rid of the budget caps, you get rid of the Budget Control Act—and we certainly should: that was passed back in 2011 and it wasn’t even passed for a good reason back then—but even if you get rid of those caps, it doesn’t make money magically appear. "We still have the debt and the deficit that we are facing. We still have the crushing needs that we have, not just in the Department of Defense, but in infrastructure and research and education and a whole bunch of critical areas to the health and well-being of our country. "Somehow in the next few years--and I’ll admit I was joking when someone talked about his fiscal hawk credentials that I’m wondering if anybody has fiscal hawk credentials at this point when you look at the debt and deficit--we have got to get that in order. Now I don’t think we’re going to balance the budget tomorrow. I don’t think we should—I think the impact on the economy would be devastating. But we’ve got to get on a glide path to a more fiscally sustainable situation or we are headed for trouble. I simply don’t believe that you can spend 20% more money than you take in, forever, and have it not be a problem. "And everything you want to know about how big a problem this is is contained in three votes that I think we took over a one-month, couple-month period. There are many, many members of Congress who voted for the tax cut, which estimates are it’s going to reduce our revenue by $2 trillion; for the spending agreement, which increased our spending by $500 billion; and then a week later they voted for a balanced budget amendment. To say that that’s a math problem is the understatement of the evening. "It doesn’t add up. We all say we want to balance the budget, we don’t want to raise taxes, we don’t want to cut spending. That doesn’t work, and a lot of different aspects of our government pay a price for that, but the Department of Defense is one of the biggest. As the largest portion of the discretionary budget, they pay the highest price when we don’t get ourselves on a fiscally responsible path, and national security is at least one of if not the most important function that our government needs to provide. "So I think FY 18 and FY 19, those are good deals, but building for the future, we have got to get on a fiscally responsible path. But again within this bill, and you’ve heard a lot of it from our members, there are a lot of good policies that I think are going to make a very positive difference in terms of making our Department of Defense work better, and most importantly providing for the men and women who serve our country and their families." May 23, 2018
"The one thing that I would point out that is the most troubling to me is the endorsement of the Nuclear Posture Review that was just put forward by the administration. I am very concerned, number one, that we are spending too much money on our nuclear weapons arsenal going forward, and what impact will that have on those other needs that I mentioned just a minute ago?: What impact will that have on readiness? What impact will it have on our ability to have the forces forward deployed enough to deter Russia, to deter North Korea, to deal with China’s rise in Asia? "So I think we are overemphasizing nuclear weapons, number one, in terms of the amount of money that we are spending on them, but equally as troubling, this bill authorizes low-yield nuclear weapons for the first time in a very long time. It even authorizes a low-yield nuclear weapon for our submarines. I believe that puts us down a dangerous course. We need to make sure we are deterring any possibility of nuclear war. "There is a huge risk, as Russia rises back up, with what North Korea is doing, now that we’re not in the nuclear agreement with Iran--what they might be doing--that we avoid miscalculation and stumbling into a nuclear war. Thinking that there is such a thing as a tactical nuclear weapon, a weapon small enough that it doesn’t really rise to the level of the other nuclear weapons, I think is a mistake. And, yes, I know Russia is building them. So the question is how do we deter Russia? "Well, I think we deter Russia in a very straightforward way. We have over 4,000 nuclear warheads. We have more than enough nuclear firepower to present a credible deterrent to what they are doing. We don’t have to say, well, if you use a small nuclear weapon, we won’t want to use a bigger one in response. We want to say that our deterrence is, if you cross the red line of all red lines and use a nuclear weapon, we will respond overwhelmingly. We want to make sure it never happens. "So I think building low-yield tactical nuclear weapons is a mistake. I also think it’s incredibly important that we increase the dialogue between our country and Russia and China and North Korea, nuclear armed powers, to make sure that there is not a miscalculation and that we don’t stumble into a nuclear war. But overall, I think this bill is a good product and I look forward to the amendment debate." May 23, 2018
On the broader budget issue, the main thing that I am still concerned about with the National Defense Authorization Act is that it really doesn’t make choices. It continues to spend money in a variety of different places without a recognition of finite resources, and of the choices that need to be made about how to confront the threats that are most dangerous to us. This defense bill is $72 billion over the budget caps, so if we don’t eliminate or raise the budget caps, that will go away, and leave us once again in the land of uncertainty for the Department of Defense. We have to make choices so that we don’t leave the U.S. military in the lurch, not knowing how much money they are going to have. #FY18NDAA
National security is more than defense. The non-defense discretionary budget is the State Department, USAID, the Department of Homeland Security. If you’re going to have a national security strategy, it can’t just be the military. And you know who will tell you that more often than anybody? The military. They don’t want to bear the burden alone. I spoke about the need for a holistic national security strategy on the House Floor today. #FY18NDAA July 14, 2017
I want to warn strongly against using the issue of terrorism to demonize the Muslim religion. I know many people don’t want to do that—they simply want to confront groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS—but Steve Bannon, who advises the White House, indicates that he thinks that all Muslims are a threat. To the extent that we adopt a national security policy that views the world that way, we make the problem worse. That’s what ISIS wants. That’s what Al Qaeda wants. They want a clash of civilizations. We should not want that. Muslims have the biggest stake in this, and we must work with them, not against them, to confront the terrorist threat that ISIS and Al Qaeda and others present. I spoke about this, and the complex threat environment that we face, on the House Floor today. #FY18NDAA July 14, 2017
There’s a civil war going on in Yemen that is devastating to the civilian population and the U.S. is not doing enough to fix the situation. In the National Defense Authorization Act this year, Rep Ro Khanna was a real leader on putting provisions into the bill to try to get us to address that situation and I fought to ensure they were included. We should not be participating in making the humanitarian crisis there worse. We should be making it better. The U.S. military right now is all over the world in many places that members of Congress are not even aware of. That should not be. We should have the authority over what our military does, where, and when. And this bill attempts to address that issue. Both Congressman Khanna and I know that we’re not done. There’s a lot more work to do.
"This is about America; this is about all of us ... it's about whether or not we're going to have free and fair elections, that are free of foreign interference from Russia. We ought to be united on that." Check out my full interview on MSNBC with Alex Witt discussing the recently released Carter Page FISA documents, and the very clear facts of Russia's interference in our elections. July 23, 2018
The separation of children from their families, people fleeing violence and totally inhuman living conditions in their own countries and coming to America, hoping for a better life, is one of the most abominable policies that the US has ever had. Both the public and Congress need to put pressure on ICE, on the Executive Branch, to say “We need to know what you are doing.” Members of Congress have shown up at immigration detention facilities and have not been allowed in to see what is g