Ernst calls for support for ‘critical partner in fight against ISIS’

Joni Ernst Floor SpeechBy The Iowa Statesman


Monday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) spoke on the Senate floor, urging her Senate colleagues to support the bipartisan amendment she authored alongside Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to the National Defense Authorization Act, to grant temporary, emergency authority for the President to provide weapons and training directly to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces who are a critical partner in the fight against ISIS.

This legislation affirms the Administration’s current policy to supply weapons to the Kurds, while remaining in communication with the Iraqi government. The Administration is not required to utilize this authorization, but this option would be at their disposal to respond to ISIS, who is gaining momentum on the battlefield. The Iraqi Kurds are the key partners in defeating ISIS, maintaining an inclusive and unified Iraq, and providing key humanitarian assistance to nearly two million people.

“Defeating ISIS is critical to maintaining an inclusive and unified Iraq, and the Iraqi Kurds are the key to that goal—and to help improve the humanitarian crisis in the region through their support and protection of over 1.6 million displaced persons from Iraq and Syria,” she said. “Currently by law, the U.S. must provide support to the Iraqi Kurds through the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, which has often not been timely or adequate in the past. These delays have had a negative impact on the Kurds’ ability to defend Iraqi territory and provide security for those who have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan.  The president’s recent decision to expedite arms to the Kurds as a way to improve the Counter-ISIS effort, I believe, speaks for itself.”

Scroll down to see video of Ernst’s speech.