Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Mesabi Daily News: Nolan’s provision OK’d for defense bill

Jun 8, 2015
In The News

WASHINGTON — Eighth District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan has been tireless and consistent in his opposition to what he views as senseless growing American entanglements in the Middle East.

The Democratic congressman says we basically have no friends, other than Israel, in the region, which is on a constant war footing.

He has also been a major critic of wasteful spending by the U.S. in the region.

The congressman last week received unanimous House support for an amendment that will withhold funds from any U.S.-sponsored military faction in Syria or Iraq if they are found to have misused American arms and resources.

The amendment was approved unanimously during debate on the $604.2 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. The defense act was passed by the House last Friday on a 269-151 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate. President Barack Obama, however, has issued a veto threat for the legislation.

The congressman, ironically, voted against the defense bill that contains his own amendment because he said the measure is “deeply flawed.”

“We need to stop funding and supplying those who make a mockery of America’s good intentions. My amendment simply assures that American taxpayers will stop funding the activities of so-called allies in Iraq and Syria once the secretary of defense

has determined that they misused the training and equipment we have provided for them,” Nolan said.

The congressman pointed out that too often the weapons the U.S. supplies to groups in Middle East conflicts “end up being used against us — because we have no friends in these endless sectarian wars where we have supported every side at one time or another.”

The Nolan amendment affects $1.315 million of combined authorizations for the Syria Train and Equip program and the Iraq Train and Equip program, both of which provide training and equipment for those who say they support the U.S.

But Nolan said the overall bill does not measure up enough to get his support.

“The measure contains $89.2 billion to continue U.S. involvement in the Middle East that has already cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of precious American lives.

“In order to do so, it pulls $38 billion from domestic and human development programs we need to create jobs rebuilding our nation here at home,” the congressman said.