HONG KONG; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 180
(Senate - November 12, 2019)

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[Page S6490]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                               HONG KONG

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, now, on a totally different matter, 
Hong Kong has been rocked by more violence as citizens continue 
resisting the Chinese Communist Party's encroachment on their autonomy 
and freedoms.
  On Monday, it appears the local police shot a 21-year-old protester 
at nearly point-blank range. The police have arrested hundreds of 
demonstrators, reportedly as young as 12 and as old as 82. Tear gas, 
rubber bullets, and other violent measures have now become standard 
  A few days earlier, a number of democracy-supporting Hong Kong 
legislators were swept up in a government crackdown. These elected 
officials were either arrested or given summons just a few weeks before 
local elections.
  These continuing government escalations are inconsistent with the 
Hong Kong Basic Law, with international agreements, and with the will 
of Hongkongers. Brutalizing their own people will not circumvent the 
core issue here: Beijing's insatiable thirst for control.
  I have advocated for Hong Kong since I wrote our Nation's Hong Kong 
Policy Act back in 1992. I know many of us in this body now want to 
extend and expand that law in a targeted manner that focuses pressure 
on the Chinese Communist Party and its agents who are responsible for 
undermining Hong Kong's autonomy while minimizing the collateral 
economic damage to the very Hongkongers we want to help.
  I am eager to continue working with colleagues, such as Senator 
Risch, Senator Graham, Senator Rubio, and others, toward a strong and 
procedurally workable solution. Meanwhile, I appreciate statements by 
administration leaders such as Vice President Pence and Secretary 
Pompeo that show a clear-eyed perspective on China's Orwellian tactics 
and bad intentions.
  I urge the administration to use the significant leverage and 
authorities it already has, particularly under the Global Magnitsky 
Act, to hold individuals accountable.
  Hong Kong is not the only recent reminder that we live in a dangerous 
world in which America's interests, allies, and ideals are constantly 
threatened. Press reports this morning indicated that Israel is 
suffering yet another round of terror, including more than 160 rocket 
launches fired against civilian targets in Israel. This comes after 
Israeli forces appear to have eliminated one high-ranking leader in the 
terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Gaza, and targeted 
another PIJ terrorist in Damascus, Syria.
  The United States stands with our ally Israel against PIJ, Hamas, and 
Hezbollah terrorists who have long sought to erase the Jewish State. If 
these reports are accurate, it will be no surprise that one of these 
terrorist leaders was holed up in Damascus.
  Syria, under Assad, stands alongside Iran as the chief patron of 
anti-Israel terrorism. This is just another reminder that the United 
States and some of our closest allies have a strong say in the future 
of Syria and that a victory for Assad will be a victory for Iran and 
for terrorism.
  So every hour seemingly brings more evidence of our troubled world, 
but, just as with the trade agreements, critical legislation in this 
area is currently frozen in place. It is another casualty of Democrats' 
apparent inability to make headway on anything besides fighting with 
the White House.
  For the second time in 2 months, Senate Democrats recently voted once 
again to filibuster the annual funding for our Armed Forces--for our 
men and women in uniform--and while Senate Democrats block 
appropriations for defense, House Democrats are now slow-walking the 
authorizing legislation--the NDAA. Since the first NDAA was passed way 
back in 1961, Congress has never failed to pass a bipartisan NDAA by 
the end of the year--not once. Yet with House Democrats fixated on 
impeachment, I understand that Chairman Adam Smith and his fellow 
Democrats are now dragging their heels on the conference committee that 
is needed to complete this bill. These House Democrats passed a 
uniquely partisan NDAA earlier this year, unlike the Senate's 
bipartisan version, and now they are slow-walking the conference 
  These are among our most basic governing responsibilities: passing an 
NDAA and funding our Armed Forces. The United States of America cannot 
operate at less than full strength on the world stage because Democrats 
are too busy--too busy--impeaching the Commander in Chief.