| February 26, 2024

Statement of former New York Governor George Pataki and former U.S. Representatives Peter King (Long Island), Sue Kelly (Hudson Valley), Susan Molinari (Staten Island), Bill Paxon (Western New York), John Faso (Hudson Valley), Jim Walsh (Central NY), John Katko (Central NY), John McHugh (North Country) and Chris Jacobs (Western New York):

“As former Republican elected leaders in New York State, we believe it’s essential that Republicans support legislation to provide needed military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

“The bipartisan Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act sponsored by U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Mike Lawler (NY) will provide critical funding to Ukraine to help them in their fight against Vladimir Putin’s butchery. We believe it is critical that Congress – on a bipartisan basis – continue our support for the brave Ukrainian people.

“The Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act is one legislative path to solving this problem. But there are other legislative paths that will achieve the same objectives.

 “If there’s one thing the cold-blooded murder of Alexei Navalny made clear, it’s that we must continue providing aid to Ukraine in their fight to maintain their democracy in Eastern Europe. Vladimir Putin has shown he will stop at nothing to grow Russia’s borders, and we must not waver in standing up to his tyranny. 

“The Ukrainian people have shown that they are willing to fight to defend their freedom. They have inspired the world by their courage and determination to resist Russian aggression. Some seem to have forgotten that weakness in the face of aggression makes war more and not less likely. That was a lesson which the free world learned when it permitted Hitler to violate the territorial sovereignty of Germany’s neighbors in the late 1930s. 

“This legislation also provides vital support to Israel in her fight against the terrorism of Hamas.  We must continue to support Israel. Hamas started this war and any deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza are the responsibility of this terrorist organization. Hamas should release hostages, lay down their arms and surrender. That is how peace can come to Gaza.

“It also provides critical reforms to help secure our borders. The bill would create a one-year suspension of entry for inadmissible aliens if the Homeland Security Secretary determines this is necessary for operational control of the border. Aliens deemed inadmissible will be immediately returned to their home country, and the bill would reestablish the `Remain in Mexico’ policy. While additional border security measures should be enacted, these provisions would immediately change the unacceptable status quo at the border. 

“The majority of funding to help defend Ukraine will also be spent here in the U.S. by making critical investments in our defense production capacities.  Contrary to some reports, the U.S. is not alone in its efforts to resist Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is also important to note that our NATO allies have stepped up their efforts to assist Ukraine as it fights for its very survival.  

“We commend Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Lawler for again leading Congressional efforts to enact this vital legislation, as well as others who are supporting similar solutions. We urge our Congressional delegation on a bipartisan basis to follow their lead.” 

Governor George Pataki served as New York’s 53rd Governor from 1995-2006. Peter King served in Congress from 1993-2021; Sue Kelly from 1995-2007, Jim Walsh from 1989-2009, Susan Molinari from 1989-1999, John Faso from 2017-2019, Bill Paxon from 1989-1999, John Katko from 2015-2023, John McHugh from 1993-2009, and Chris Jacobs from 2020-2023.