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Originally published in the Hill on April 8, 2024

Ukraine is fighting for its existence against Vladimir Putin’s rogue aggression; Israel is defending its right to exist against Hamas terrorists; and Taiwan and our Indo-Pacific partners face growing military threats from Xi Jinping’s China and Kim Jong Un’s North Korea. Russia, Iran, China and North Korea do not just have their eyes on these targets — they’re watching the United States. Our response to these threats will directly determine our national security and standing on the world stage. 

It’s nothing new that weakness invites aggression. Our adversaries have been emboldened by the Biden administration’s foreign policy decisions, particularly with the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan without a plan to ensure stability in the region. President Biden said he owed “no apologies” and that no one would be left behind, but Americans and allies know this was not the case. As a result, our adversaries are emboldened, and our allies and partners are questioning our leadership.  

We made commitments to Ukraine. It voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons program in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum in which the United States, United Kingdom and Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s security. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine violated this agreement, and as a result, the United States has provided much-needed aid to the Ukrainian people to follow through on our commitments. Now, the free world is questioning how committed we are to defending our friends and our values.  

Our ally Israel is fighting for its right to exist after enduring a savage unprovoked attack from Hamas and continued aggression from Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Turning our backs on Israel would send a signal that Iran — the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — has one less obstacle to its goal of destroying Israel and dominating the Middle East. 

Deterrence is not divisible. American leadership on the world stage requires us to stand strong in our commitments toward our allies and partners. History has shown repeatedly that when the free world wavers, adversaries interpret this as a green light to attack. Taiwan knows this as well. Recently, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that the U.S. failing to support Ukraine would embolden Xi Jinping and support Beijing’s propaganda that the United States is not a reliable partner. 

We would be fools to think that Putin will end his aggression with Ukraine, that Hamas and Iran will not seek the complete destruction of Israel, and that Xi Jinping will be content with the status-quo in the Indo-Pacific. If our adversaries win, they will rewrite the rules of the road at the expense of America’s national security and global standing. We will be leaving a more dangerous, less predictable world for our children.  

Weapons and other aid provided must be targeted and used as intended, and my colleagues and I on the Foreign Affairs Committee are continuing to conduct oversight of aid that has been sent by the United States. In this work, I discovered the United States had not delivered $19 billion in arms sales to Taiwan. If we want our allies and partners to continue to turn to us, they need to trust us. That requires us to deliver on our commitments and transfer weapons sold to our partners in a timely manner. 

Securing our border is also an extremely urgent national security priority. Supporting aid to our allies does not mean we do not want to secure the border. The crisis at our Southern border is worse than ever thanks to the policies put in place by the Biden administration. Just as the Biden administration was able to unilaterally rescind policies put in place by the previous administration to deter crossings — such as “Remain in Mexico” to require migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while their cases are vetted — the Biden administration can reinstate these policies or take other executive actions to begin to secure our border.  

Just because the Biden administration can act does not mean that Congress should not. Our constituents sent us to Washington to protect their families and livelihoods. That’s why I remain extremely disappointed that there has not been an agreement on a bipartisan border security and foreign aid package.  

Democracy is messy by design, and big problems can’t be fixed overnight. But failing to act to support our allies will also hurt the United States. I came to Congress to break through the partisan gridlock, work across the aisle, and get things done for our country. The American people crave solutions, and Congress must deliver. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said that a targeted bill to help Ukraine’s defense will come to the floor once we get back from recess and I will hold him to it.  

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