I want to commend Attorney General Eric Holder for his important work and many accomplishments. Attorney General Holder has worked to advance democracy and the fair administration of justice by enforcing federal voting and civil rights laws, supporting equality for LGBT Americans, and promoting common sense steps to address the over-incarceration of nonviolent offenders and disparities in our criminal justice system. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his public service. I look forward to working with the Administration and my Senate colleagues to confirm a replacement that will continue these important efforts. I also want to thank Attorney General Holder for his years as a distinguished federal prosecutor enforcing our laws and protecting our nation.
Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the Jewish High Holidays and New Year. It is an opportunity to gather with family and friends, reflect on the events of the past year, and recommit to living by the core values of the Jewish faith. It is also a time for hope that the new year will bring renewed peace to our lives and our loved ones.
I am proud to represent Pennsylvania’s vibrant Jewish community, and I wish a happy New Year to all who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah. May we all strive to live out the values honored on this important occasion. L’Shanah Tovah!
The Ukrainian people want and deserve a unified, stable, secure, and prosperous country free from Russian interference. The tenuous cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists appears to be holding for the moment. However, I am concerned about reports from NATO that Russian troops remain inside eastern Ukraine with some 20,000 amassed along the border. Russia has been on the offensive since its forces began the illegal annexation of Crimea in late February.
It is important that we send a clear, unified signal with our European partners: there are consequences for Russia’s continued aggression. Additional sanctions may be necessary if President Putin continues to flout his public commitments and fails to work towards peace. All sides must come to the table to work towards a lasting, negotiated solution to this conflict.
Today, we pay tribute to and draw inspiration from the heroes who were lost on September 11, 2001. On that bright sunny day, in New York, at the Pentagon and in the skies above Pennsylvania - heroic Americans confronted the darkness with bravery and fortitude. Countless patriots acted selflessly on behalf of our nation. Let us today recommit ourselves to honoring their sacrifice. May God bless them, God bless their families and God bless America.
Tonight, the President outlined a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. and a broad coalition to take action against ISIL, a vicious terrorist group that has brutally murdered Americans and threatens our national security interests. I believe it is prudent for the U.S. to take action now to eradicate ISIL.
This effort must be supported by a broad coalition of countries. I welcome the Administration’s efforts, including extensive work by Secretary of State John Kerry, over the past few days and weeks to build a coalition that is committed to fighting ISIL. The Administration will need to continue its work to ensure all coalition members step up to the fight. I have urged the Administration to prioritize efforts to dismantle ISIL’s financial networks. This will help dampen their recruiting efforts and their operational effectiveness over time. I welcome the President’s commitment to ensuring there is an interagency effort to hold accountable those individuals who do business with ISIL in violation of international sanctions.
I also support the President’s commitment to training and equipping the moderate, well vetted Syrian opposition. I have called on the Administration to take more robust measures to support the moderate opposition for several years. Any effort to assist these forces must be well coordinated with other members of the coalition and must include a thorough vetting effort.
Protecting Americans must be our top priority. I will continue to press the Administration to ensure they are working with coalition partners to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria. I will also continue to urge the Administration to ensure American personnel at our diplomatic and support facilities in the region have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and safely.
We should be proud of the American men and women, especially our servicemembers, who are already helping to degrade ISIL Degrading and defeating ISIL will take time and there will be risks, but I support the strategy laid out by the President tonight and will work with my colleagues to ensure the Administration has the necessary resources and authorization to implement it swiftly and effectively.