September 18, 2014

HIRONO STATEMENT ON AUTHORIZATION TO TRAIN AND EQUIP SYRIANS TO FIGHT ISIL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono today voted in favor of a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through December 11th, which includes authorization for the Obama Administration to train and equip moderate Syrians to fight against ISIL. Hirono issued the following statement:

“The President, Secretary Hagel, and Chairman Dempsey have made a strong case regarding the threat ISIL presents to the Middle East, Europe, and our nation. I share many Americans' concerns about ISIL’s growing strength. This is a ruthless, well-funded, and organized group that is attracting recruits from all corners of the world, including the United States. Defeating ISIL will require a unified effort and resources from a multi-national coalition. 

"Currently, the President is relying on existing authorities to strike ISIL but a prolonged military campaign will require specific congressional authority. The President has assured us that U.S. forces will not have a combat mission and I will hold him to that assurance.

“While I will support the authorization to train and equip moderate Syrians to fight ISIL, it must be done with adequate safeguards to ensure that we do not create a scenario where this training and equipment are turned against us or our allies in the future. There are no easy answers to the complexities confronting the U.S. and our allies. The evolving situation in Syria and Iraq requires the people of the region to respond clearly and decisively against ISIL.”

The bill, which passed 78-22, now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.