Senate Floor Speech
September 18, 2014
“I came to the U.S. Senate primarily motivated by many different things, but one of the things that truly motivated me is the fiscal state of our country. The fear that our current spending patterns are not just unsustainable but threaten our future. In fact, impede our ability to achieve what I believe is our destiny – another American century. And that’s why each time I have been here that I’ve had an opportunity to be placed before me a vote on a short-term spending matter, I voted against them. Because I felt that they ignored our long-term problems of spending in this country and did not deal with them in a responsible way.
“Once again, today we’re confronted with a short-term spending bill that we are asked to approve. Otherwise, the government will shut down and the world will stop spinning. But today’s question’s a little different from the ones that have been posed to us in the past. For the one before us today has deeply embedded in it an issue of national security. For the better part of three years, I’ve argued that what’s happening in Syria is in our national interests, and many, quite frankly, in my own party but also in the White House disagreed with my view. They felt that it was a regional conflict or one that could be handled by leading from behind, and so from that time until today, we have largely watched as the events have unfolded in Syria, without carefully explaining to the American people why we should care.
“But I believed then, and I think have been proven right by recent events, that what happened in Syria and what was happening in Syria was in our national interest. Because if we fail to influence the direction of that situation, it would leave open a space for radical jihadists from all over the world to establish an operational space from which they could carry out their plots – not just against us, but all free and freedom-loving and peace-loving people in the world. And sadly that’s what’s happened in Syria.”
“I say this to you without a shadow of a doubt, as I said weeks ago: if we do not confront and defeat ISIL now, we will have to do so later. And it will take a lot longer, it will be much costlier and even more painful. We will confront ISIL one way or the other, and I believe the sooner the better. What we are asked to do now is approve funding to arm moderate rebel elements in Syria. There is no guarantee of success. There is none. But there is a guarantee of failure if we do not even try. And try we must. For one fundamental reason – if we fail to approve this, the nations of that region will say that America’s not truly engaged, that Americans are willing to talk about this, but are not willing to do anything about it.
“And so despite my concerns about the underlying bill and the budgeting that it entails, I will support this resolution. Because I think it’s in the best interest of our national security.”