Over the course of the last 25 years, the world has evolved beyond a Cold War mentality, and U.S. foreign policy must adapt to reflect these 21st Century global realities. Our goal in foreign affairs must always be to keep America safe and secure. Gone are the days of major superpowers, replaced instead by an increasingly interconnected global community, and protecting our shores and our allies means crafting a balanced approach and working multilaterally as often as possible.
In this rapidly-changing world, American defense policy must adapt to modern military engagements, and so too, must defense spending. In a world without grand armies meeting on sprawling battlefields, we need a more agile, more specialized military with the latest technologies to keep our troops out of harm’s way. At the same time, we must focus on diplomacy and development, as force is, and always should be, our last resort.
For the Tenth District and for myself, Israel means more than just America’s greatest ally in the world’s most volatile region; Israel means family and friends. Every year large numbers of our neighbors, friends, children, students and young adults visit Israel. And many of us have family, friends and co-workers in Israel.
Israel faces a broad spectrum of threats. A nuclear Iran, a collapsing Syria, uncertainty in Egypt, and more than 60,000 Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon all create unique security challenges. Additionally, increasingly-lethal Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets in Gaza and Palestinian efforts to delegitimize Israel internationally and to circumvent negotiations with resolutions at the United Nations all contribute to regional unrest
America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security flows both from our mutual strategic interests and our shared values and aspirations for our children. As vibrant democracies, we recognize that freedom and liberty are at the core of our national identities and mutual prosperity. Strategically, the United States and Israel share a disproportionate role in addressing the ominous threats of radical extremism, global terrorism and a nuclear Iran. A strong U.S.-Israeli relationship is crucial for our efforts to address the rapidly-changing security dynamic in the Middle East and is an instrumental component of our strategy to pursue and achieve real, lasting peace in the region.
I am committed to ensuring that the U.S.-Israeli relationship remains strong, steadfast and secure. As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs have been, and remain committed to playing a leading role in support of security assistance for the State of Israel.
Strengthening the U.S.-Israel Partnership
Congressman Schneider has a deep understanding of the unique, existential threats Israel faces. To combat these threats and protect itself in an increasingly unstable and dangerous neighborhood, Israel must maintain its qualitative military edge (QME). Congressman Schneider introduced the Israel QME Enhancement Act to strengthen the U.S.-Israel defense partnership and always ensure Israel remains safe and secure. The Israel QME Enhancement Act passed the House unanimously on December 11, 2013. You can read more about the Israel QME Enhancement Act here. You can watch Congressman Schneider speak in support of the bill here and here. You can also read Congressman Schneider’s joint op-ed with Congressman Doug Collins on the bill here.
In support of the strategic, economic and cultural bond between the U.S. the Israel, Congressman Schneider cosponsored a number of bills to strengthen these ties. Congressman Schneider cosponsored the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, the Iron Dome Support Act and the United States-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation Act. Congressman Schneider also helped introduce the Visa Waiver for Israel Act, which you can read more about here.
Congressman Schneider was part of two delegations to Israel in 2013. On these visits, Congressman Schneider had the chance to discuss Israel’s future and how to strengthen the U.S.-Israel partnership with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro. You can read more about Congressman Schneider’s most recent visit here.
Following his second trip to Israel, Congressman Schneider hosted a conversation with the Chicago global affairs community leaders to discuss the latest on the U.S.-Israel relationship. You can read more about the discussion here.
To celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary, Congressman Schneider helped introduce a resolution honoring the milestone. You can read Congressman Schneider’s statement marking the date here.
Preventing a Nuclear Iran
Congressman Schneider consistently stresses that U.S. policy toward a nuclear Iran is one of prevention and not containment and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Congressman Schneider co-authored new, harsher sanctions against Iran and helped introduce the bipartisan Nuclear Iran Prevention Act. In July 2013, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act passed the House overwhelmingly. Congressman Schneider’s amendment to the bill was successfully included. You can watch Congressman Schneider speak in favor of the bill here. You can read more about the bill here.
Congressman Schneider also offered an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would strengthen Iran sanctions. The amendment passed the House unanimously. You can read more about Congressman Schneider’s measure here. You can watch Congressman Schneider speak in support of his amendment here.
Congressman Schneider organized the support of 77 fellow bipartisan Freshman Members of Congress to send a letter to President Obama urging him to implement additional sanctions against Iran. You can read more about the letter here. Congressman Schneider also penned an op-ed in support of the letter and additional sanctions against Iran. You can read “A History That Does Not Lie” here.
As the P5+1 sat down to begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Congressman Schneider urged caution. Congressman Schneider wrote an op-ed stressing the need for increased sanctions against Iran. You can read his op-ed here. Upon announcement of a temporary deal, known as the Joint Plan of Action, Congressman Schneider released a statement reiterating the U.S. position of “prevention, not containment.” You can read the statement here.
Congressman Schneider and Congressman Doug Collins hosted a Special Order conversation on the state and implications of negotiations with Iran. You can watch their conversation here.
Combating Forces of Terror Worldwide
The devastating civil war in Syria carries consequences far beyond its borders and threatens to undermine regional stability. Congressman Schneider and his colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have been monitoring the situation closely and taken action to blunt its broader effects.
During a hearing on the situation in Syria, Congressman Schneider asked U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford about the future of regional stability. You can watch their exchange here.
Congressman Schneider and his colleagues sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding a stop to the illicit flight of arms from Iran to Syria through Iraqi airspace. You can read more about the letter here. Congressman Schneider also joined his colleagues to send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging caution over the transfer of weapons from Russia to the Syrian regime. You can read more about the letter here.
Congressman Schneider and his colleagues sent a letter to the European Union (EU), urging it to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. You can read that letter here. Just months after receiving this letter, the EU designated Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.
Standing Up for Global Human Rights
Congressman Schneider signed a letter to the United States Association for International Development Administrator in support of reproductive health as a core human right. You can read that letter here.
Congressman Schneider signed a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice in support of humanitarian aid to those suffering during the Syrian civil war. You can read the letter here.
Congressman Schneider testified in front of the Budget Committee on the importance of funding for our International Affairs budget and the profound social, economic and diplomatic impact it has. You can read that testimony here.
Congressman Schneider cosponsored bills in support of Iranian dissidents and religious minorities, who are often persecuted by the Iranian regime. These groups include dissidents at Camp Hurriya and the Baha’i minority.
More on National Security
U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) released the following statement after President Obama's announcement regarding Iraq.
U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) voted in favor of a measure today that provides critical funds for Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system.
“Iron Dome has been a game-changer and is critical in helping Israel protect her citizens from the unrelenting, indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas,” Schneider said. “Israel must be allowed and able to defend herself, which is why I am proud to support this important emergency funding for Iron Dome.”
U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) released the following statement after Hamas launched rockets into Israel, breaking the 72-hour ceasefire agreement with Israel.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the gross, reprehensible violation by Hamas of the most recent humanitarian ceasefire, and call for the immediate, unconditional release by Hamas of the Israeli soldier captured during the ceasefire. Civilians in both Gaza and Israel need quiet and deserve peace, but no quiet is possible until Hamas honors its agreements and ends its attacks.
U.S. Congressmen Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Doug Lamborn (CO-05) led a bipartisan group of 149 lawmakers on a letter calling on the United Nations to make the removal of Hamas’s rocket arsenal a top priority.
On July 29, the lead US Iran negotiator warned lawmakers that congressional action now that would threaten to impose new sanctions on Iran if a final nuclear deal is not reached in November could jeopardize the sensitive negotiations at a critical moment, and unravel the international coalition pursuing them.
Sixty eight members of the United States Congress have banded together to petition the United Nations to take action and disarm Hamas, which, according to the document, is singularly responsible for the current conflict that has cost numerous Palestinian lives since early July.
Some 2,000 Chicagoans stood united with Israel Monday morning at a rally supporting the Jewish homeland’s right to defend itself from Hamas terror attacks.
Hamas’ rockets, and the expansive network of tunnels it uses to move and deploy them, are singularly responsible for the ongoing violence in Gaza that has left as many as 800 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians. That’s the argument put forth by a growing number of members of Congress, who have banded together to petition the United Nations to pursue the bold – and perhaps impossible – move of working to eliminate the entirety of Hamas’ rocket stockpiles.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation that would target banks that deal with the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The legislation passed Tuesday, initiated by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), expands sanctions already in place due to Hezbollah’s designation as terrorist group to target financial institutions that do business with Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.