Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Darrell Issa (CA-50) today introduced a bipartisan resolution to express Congress' support of the ongoing U.S.-Lebanon relationship and the Lebanese people. LaHood is the co-chair of the U.S.-Lebanon Friendship Caucus.
Specifically, the resolution supports the ongoing efforts and need for humanitarian assistance for the people of Lebanon, U.S. goals for Lebanon to combat government corruption and execute needed structural reforms and supports the important role of the Lebanese Armed Forces. As we near the one-year anniversary of the tragic blast in the Port of Beirut, the resolution expresses ongoing support for the Lebanese people and opposes the growing influence and role of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
"As we approach the one-year anniversary of the tragic blast in Beirut that further destabilized the country and region, American support for the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Armed Forces is critical," said Rep. LaHood. "My resolution reaffirms United States' commitment to the people of Lebanon and to peace in the region. A strong, independent, and sovereign Lebanon can help provide stability in the Middle East, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to support a productive and sustainable U.S.-Lebanon relationship.”
Rep. Issa said, “The country of my grandparents is on the verge of becoming a failed state, and malign actors are circling like vultures. Working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the U.S.-Lebanon Friendship Caucus and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will never stop my advocacy for our bilateral relationship, a corruption-free government, and the restoration of Lebanon as an arbiter of peace in the region. It is manifestly unjust that while they are successful in every corner of the world, the one place the Lebanese people are not able to be successful is their very own country. This must change.”
“The House Resolution sends a very strong message to the Lebanese people that their survival and that of Lebanon are in the interests of the United States. As importantly, it sends a clear message to Lebanon’s government that members of Congress are concerned with its inability to conduct a transparent and credible investigation of the explosions and ‘calls on the Government of Lebanon to conduct a credible, impartial, and transparent investigation into the cause of, and responsibility for, the August 4 explosions, and include impartial international experts as part of the investigation team,” added Ed Gabriel, the American Task Force on Lebanon's President and CEO.
House Resolution XXX expresses the sense of Congress on the continued importance of the U.S.-Lebanon relationship. The resolution expresses U.S. support for:
- Continued assistance for the Lebanese people in response to the ongoing humanitarian and economic crisis
- Sovereignty, security, and independence of Lebanon as a U.S. ally
- The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) through continued U.S. military training and supplies of military equipment
- U.S. institutions in Lebanon through programs like American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) and U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
- Strong opposition to Hezbollah influence in Lebanon
- Strong opposition to corruption in the Lebanese public sector
- Strong opposition to the politicization of the independent judiciary
- The role and presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
The greater Peoria, Illinois area is home to over 8,000 Lebanese Americans, one of the largest Lebanese populations in the country. Congressman LaHood’s great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from the village of Aitou in Northern Lebanon. The U.S. is home to over 14,000 immigrants from Aitou, many of whom live in Peoria, Illinois.
Rep. LaHood is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Ways and Means Committee.