McGovern Statement on National Security Votes

“Here’s how I voted on this week’s package of national security bills—and why.

“Ukraine: Congress should provide long-overdue aid to help the Ukrainian people repel Russia’s illegal invasion. They did not choose this conflict—Putin did. He is a bully who acts with total disregard for human life—jailing his critics, murdering opposition leaders, and attempting to destroy democracy in Ukraine. He wants to rebuild the Russian empire. He’s waged a particularly cruel, barbaric war that has killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions of people. If the world does not stop him in Ukraine, this war will not end—it will grow. Only vital U.S. assistance can help Ukrainians hold the line.  We have a moral obligation to act. I voted YES.

“Israel: I have always considered myself a friend of Israel. I believe Israel has a right and responsibility to defend its people. But Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response to the October 7th terror attack has been indiscriminate. His reckless disregard for civilian life has killed over 33,000 Gazans, including over 200 humanitarian aid workers like those from World Central Kitchen. Nearly a million Palestinians, including women and children, are facing starvation. Meanwhile he continues to interrupt, impede, and restrict life-saving humanitarian aid, including food. That is wrong. U.S. law demands that we withhold weapons to anyone who frustrates the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid, and President Biden’s own recent National Security Memorandum requires countries that use U.S.-provided weapons to adhere to U.S. and international law regarding the  protection of civilians. To date, Netanyahu has failed to comply. It’s time for President Biden to use our leverage to demand change. I continue calling for a ceasefire, for the release of all the hostages, for the delivery of massive humanitarian relief, for the de-escalation of regional tensions, and for a path to long-term peace, dignity and respect for the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike. While I strongly support the humanitarian aid component of this bill, I cannot support providing more unconditional offensive military assistance. I voted NO, and I’m doing so to demand a change in Netanyahu’s behavior.

“Indo-Pacific Security: I’m deeply concerned that China is considering an invasion of Taiwan. Helping Taiwan defend themselves is about preventing war and giving the Taiwanese people the ability to make their own decisions about the future of their country free from Xi Jinping’s interference. I voted YES.

“The so-called 21st Century Peace Through Strength Act: It bans TikTok, which I’ve already said is an awful idea. It also has a slew of other Republican-led bills that the majority is rushing to the floor. I voted NO.”