Congresswoman Speier is deeply committed to keeping Americans safe and advancing democratic values around the world. She believes that providing effective oversight of our national security apparatus is essential to accomplishing these objectives. Congresswoman Speier serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), and the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s National Security Subcommittee. Congresswoman Speier works tirelessly to hold our national security leadership accountable for protecting our interests and our values. She is also dedicated to ensuring that the intelligence community is independent of political influence and reflective of our nation’s rich diversity.
Congresswoman Speier was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during the Iraq War. She used her very first floor speech to call for the return of American troops after hearing from constituents at over 60 meetings that they wanted an end to American deployments to Iraq. She remains committed to preventing costly, aimless American military engagements that harm our national interest.
From her position on HASC, Congresswoman Speier demands that the Department of Defense (DoD) adhere to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. She conducts oversight to make sure critical efforts to maintain military readiness and cutting-edge operational capabilities draw on the best management practices and that Department and military leadership are accountable stewards of America’s resources, especially our brave servicemembers. A strong national defense requires Congress to make policy and spending decisions based on ample information and insight. Serving both on Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Congresswoman Speier is one of the best positioned Members of Congress to oversee our nation’s defense and foreign policies.
Protecting our Democracy from Foreign Adversaries
Congresswoman Speier believes all Americans should be deeply concerned by troubling evidence of foreign efforts to influence our democracy. That’s why she has consistently called for efforts to harden our cyber defenses, detect incursions, and ensure that our cyber defenders are able to follow through with proportionate responses to cyber-attacks. In January 2019, she introduced H.R. 1028, the RIGHT Act to prevent foreign money from influencing our elections. She also introduced legislation to prevent any federal funding for a cybersecurity unit with Russia, after the U.S. intelligence community confirmed Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election through digital disinformation campaigns and criminal hacking. For more information, please see the Election Security page.
U.S.-Israel Partnership and Support for a Two-State Solution
Congresswoman Speier is a steadfast supporter of the United States’ special relationship with Israel. She believes that the United States and Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, share values and beliefs that make continued, close cooperation on security, technology, and myriad other issues in the best interests of both countries. Congresswoman Speier also believes strongly in the right of the Palestinian people to have their own country in lands currently occupied by Israel. Direct diplomacy between the parties, assisted by the United States, represents the best path to achieving a two-state solution. Congresswoman Speier also thinks the United States must work closely with the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority to address their respective issues with recent anti-democratic legislation, expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and accountable governance.
Promoting Global Women’s Empowerment and Access to Health Care
Congresswoman Speier believes that our world is safer and more prosperous when women are educated, have access to health care, and can participate in the global economy. She supports the Biden Administration’s repeal of the Global Gag Rule, which blocked foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that received U.S. health aid from providing referrals for abortion services with their own funding. Research shows that by limiting access to care, the previous administration’s disastrous policy led to a 14 percent decrease in contraceptive use, 12 percent increase in pregnancies, and 40 percent increase in abortion rates. However, she believes that more work must be done to ensure that future administrations do not reinstate the Global Gag Rule. She is a proud cosponsor of the Global HER Act, which would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule.
Congresswoman Speier strongly supports President Biden’s decision to re-fund the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which works in more than 150 countries to end preventable maternal deaths, provide voluntary family planning, combat gender-based violence such as child marriage, and train health care workers. Last Congress, Speier led a letter with 145 of her colleagues urging the previous administration to reverse its decision to withhold U.S. funding.
Congresswoman Speier also supports efforts to educate girls worldwide, eradicate gender-based violence, promote women’s participation in peace and security efforts, and ensure their access to jobs and an economic marketplace free from discrimination.
Reducing the Threat of WMD
Congresswoman Speier believes that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, remains a critical concern. The safety and security of the U.S. nuclear arsenal must remain a chief priority of our strategic forces. In 2017, she demanded greater transparency from the Department of Defense Inspector General on the safety of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Congresswoman Speier was also an ardent supporter of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which severely limited Iran’s nuclear activities. She believes that the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement under the Trump Administration negatively impacted our national security and supports President Biden’s efforts to rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran returns to full compliance. Congresswoman Speier also believes that we must work with our allies to ensure that nation state adversaries and violent extremist groups are not able to threaten others by enforcing international treaties.
Support for Armenia’s Democracy
As a proud Armenian American, Congresswoman Speier is committed to close U.S.-Armenia cooperation. As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Congresswoman Speier regularly works with Armenian American groups, the State Department and USAID, and the Armenian government to advance the U.S.-Armenia relationship, U.S. democracy assistance for Armenia, and bring our countries closer together. Congresswoman Speier has travelled to Armenia to help build ties between our people and demonstrate continued American support. She also supported measures to make economic cooperation between the two countries easier, including the establishment of direct flights between California and Yerevan, Armenia.
Congresswoman Speier is also a strong proponent of the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) to self-determination, an issue that is even more critical after the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 2020 she introduced H.Res. 1165, a bipartisan resolution condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression in initiating the conflict. She recently also co-led several letters to President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Defense Secretary Austin urging the administration to work towards a lasting settlement to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, support humanitarian assistance to the region, and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Eliminating the Dangerous Legacies of War
Congresswoman Speier has worked to rally support from her congressional colleagues for the security of conventional weapons. In 2018, she formed the bipartisan Congressional Unexploded Ordnance/Demining Caucus. The caucus membership continues to grow as Members of Congress and their staff learn about the devastating impact these harmful legacies of war have on civilian populations and how they prevent post-conflict economic and social development.
Congresswoman Speier led a successful effort to secure a $6.3 million increase in funding in the FY 2021 appropriations bill for humanitarian demining assistance. Congresswoman Speier also worked successfully to include support for demining efforts in Nagorno Karabakh in the House-passed appropriations bill.
Safeguarding International Human Rights
Congresswoman Speier believes that upholding human rights is one of our most important duties as a free society. She serves on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and sponsors several Prisoners of Conscience through the Defending Freedoms Project.
Congresswoman Speier is a leading advocate for human rights in Saudi Arabia. In 2019, she introduced a resolution condemning the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and demanding a reevaluation of the U.S.-Saudi relationship in response to human rights abuses against activists. She currently sponsors Samar Badawi, an imprisoned women’s rights defender, and has repeatedly called on the Saudi Government to release Samar and all women activists and human rights defenders.
Outside of Saudi Arabia, Congresswoman Speier regularly calls on the U.S. government to prioritize human rights and democracy over flawed security relationships. In 2020, she cosponsored H.Res.1145, a resolution condemning the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and calling for a robust U.S. response. She reintroduced a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings and the so-called “War on Drugs” in the Philippines and urging the Philippine Government to release Senator Leila de Lima, a human rights champion who has been detained for more than three years. She also supports assistance programs that help partner nations build accountable, transparent governance structures.
As the co-chair of the Congressional Ahmadiyya Muslim Caucus, Congresswoman Speier is at the forefront of efforts to promote international religious freedom in Congress. During the 116th Congress, Congresswoman Speier co-hosted briefings that brought together bipartisan stakeholders to discuss the United States’ role in safeguarding international religious freedom and brought members of persecuted communities to Congress to increase awareness of the human rights abuses perpetrated against religious minorities. She continues to fight for Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and around the world, the Rohingya people in Myanmar, Uyghur Muslims and other religious and ethnic communities in China, and other vulnerable populations.
Protecting Defense Innovation and Supply Chains
Keeping America safe also means ensuring the security of our defense industrial supply chain. Congresswoman Speier believes that American innovation must not be subject to foreign acts of espionage or sabotage, especially when those technological advances protect our troops and our citizens. Congresswoman Speier co-sponsored the Protecting NATO Skies Act of 2019 to prevent the delivery of F-35s to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to purchase and deploy Russian S-400 air defense systems. The exposure of costly U.S. and allied technology to adversary radar systems is dangerous and wasteful and Congresswoman Speier will continue to work to prevent the delivery of these weapons of war to Turkey. Rep. Speier recently led letters to President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Defense Secretary Austin urging the administration to re-examine the U.S. relationship with Turkey in light of President Erdogan’s embrace of authoritarianism and Turkey’s actions in opposition to U.S. security interests.
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