Price Floor Statement on the McKeon Amendment Regarding ISIL

September 16, 2014
Price Floor Statement on the McKeon Amendment Regarding ISIL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the McKeon amendment, which would permit the administration to train and equip Syrian opposition forces to confront the deadly threat posed to them and their country by ISIL.

This measure is limited, and it leaves for another day the broader question of authorizing the use of force against ISIL. It extends only until December 11, the expiration date of the continuing resolution it amends. But it is necessary if our country is to get underway the training of forces that are essential if the Syrian component of the President's plan to degrade and defeat ISIL is to succeed.

The President has no intention of introducing ground combat forces into this conflict. But our strategy does depend on indigenous forces in Iraq and Syria fighting for their own countries, forces capable of taking advantage of the air and other support we will provide.

Getting such forces up to speed in Syria is one of the most difficult aspects of the challenges we face. Many speakers today have stressed these uncertainties and risks. I doubt there is a single one of them that the President has not recognized and considered in devising his strategy. But he has also done what we must now do: consider the consequences of letting the threat of ISIL go unchecked.

The continued spread of ISIL and its version of violent jihad present a grave threat to our national security and that of our allies in the region and around the world. The United States must work with allies to ensure that militant extremists do not further destabilize an already volatile region or establish a staging ground for terrorist activities aimed at American personnel and assets, both at home and abroad.

So, we have a grave responsiblity, Mr. Speaker, to weigh the costs and benefits of our actions, or of inaction, or of this resolution being defeated. This is not a time, if I may say so, for Members to vote "no" and then hope the resolution nonetheless passes. We do not have the luxury of holding out for a perfect or assured outcome. We must make the best decision we can, countering the threat, but in a careful and measured way that maximizes the chances for success and that gives this body the ability to monitor and oversee the process so as to make course corrections when necessary.

I believe the resolution before us meets these tests, and I urge its adoption.