Gallagher responds to Biden’s remarks: Congress must hold an emergency session to support Ukraine
WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Joe Biden‘s remarks on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a member of the House-Armed Services Committee and House-Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today called on President Biden to remove Russia from the SWIFT system, impose crippling sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, and unleash America’s energy potential by ending his administration’s war on domestic energy production. Gallagher also called on Congress to immediately call an emergency session to quickly pass a strong sanctions passage, expedite the delivery of arms to Ukraine, and pass a full defense budget so the Pentagon is no longer operating under a continuing resolution.
in one Video‘ Gallagher said, “This is a time when many people in Congress want to work together. We want this to be a bipartisan show of American strength. But these half-measures, doubling down on the failed approach that hasn’t worked so far, raise many doubts. And again, I think these projects represent another weakness at a time when we need to learn the right lessons from our failures, lest we be doomed to repeat it.
Watch the congressman’s video HERE or read the full transcript below:
President Biden just delivered a speech on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Let’s start with the good first. Calling out what Russia is doing on the ground, the President made it clear that this is no small invasion. I also liked that he talked about the idea of strengthening NATO’s Eastern Front and that it also makes sense to me to urge NATO to strengthen its defenses. And I appreciate the increased commitment to Article Five.
Onward to the bad. The Biden administration‘s approach so far has been the idea that the use of sanctions and hashtag diplomacy will deter Putin. The problem is that this approach has obviously failed. This was perhaps the fairest and best test of this idea and this idea of phased deterrence through the threat of sanctions. So what gives us hope that further sanctions will now work? Especially as the president concedes that it could take months, if not longer, for them to take effect and as Biden appears unwilling to kick the Russians out of the SWIFT system or really target Russia’s energy sector. Biden said our sanctions are tougher than SWIFT but acknowledged the Europeans didn’t want to take the step of pushing them off SWIFT. It really doesn’t add up. It makes no sense. And with all due respect, the President is either misinformed or not telling the truth. Importantly, how will these slightly tougher sanctions help local Ukrainians who are fighting for their lives right now? This really brings me to the ugly part of this whole thing.
We have to ask: what are we doing on the ground in Ukraine to make this painful for Putin, to turn this into his Afghanistan, into a total quagmire for the Russians? And this is the most important lesson we need to learn, and one that the government, so far, seems unwilling to learn. Deterrence doesn’t just happen with slaps in the face or Twitter hashtags from the White House. Deterrence comes from hard power. And I think our liberal political class just doesn’t understand that predators like Putin and Xi are willing to write their names in the history books in the blood of innocent people. And until we understand this uncomfortable reality and use hard force to prevent it, our enemies will advance, the free world will retreat, and more innocent people will die. You know, one part of the speech that struck me on this point is that Biden said he promised that Putin would be a pariah on the international stage.
Do you think Putin cares? Do you think Putin cares about not being invited to Davos or not being able to hang out with Prince Harry at COP 26? Also, he will not be a pariah because the authoritarians, his authoritarian peers like Xi, work more closely with him. The President also spoke about “principles” for maintaining world peace. Well, principles do not uphold global peace. American power, hard power, upholds these principles and, by extension, world peace. In other words, freedom will not prevail unless we are truly willing to fight for it. And so far we have not shown that we are ready to fight for it.
So I would suggest that the President call an emergency session of Congress. Call us for a session this weekend. I mean, he has a State of the Union on Tuesday, why don’t you get us into town early and put the ball in our courthouse to pass legislation to speed up arms shipments to the Ukrainians? Spears, spikes, mines as they invade Belarus from the north to really turn this into a swamp for Putin. Think of other ways we can reinforce NATO’s Eastern Front with intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Eastern Front countries. Or how we can build up the Navy to regain control of the Mediterranean, where Russia has a dangerous hold. In this emergency session, force us to pass a defense budget. The Pentagon is still operating under a continuing resolution that is devastating for the US military. At a time when we need to project military might, our budget disruption does the opposite. It projects weakness.
And on the economic front, while I don’t think sanctions alone will deter Putin, let’s actually pass a mother of all sanctions laws. Go after the Russian energy sector, dump them from SWIFT. Even some Democrats are calling for it. But frankly, what would be more devastating for Putin than sanctions would be to end this administration’s war on American energy and unleash the true power of American energy. Activating strategic oil reserves will do nothing. We need to have a broader approach, starting with the reactivation of Keystone and the real charging of American energy production. In the long run, that would undermine Putin’s position.
This is a time when many people in Congress want to work together. We want this to be a bipartisan show of American strength. But these half-measures, duplicating the failed approach that hasn’t worked so far, raise many doubts. And again, I think these project further weaknesses at a time when we need to learn the right lessons from our failures lest we be doomed to repeat them.