Congressman Cohen Speaks in Favor of Defense Amendments He Authored to Stem Foreign Corruption and Recover Afghan Aircraft

September 22, 2021
Press Release
Debate over elements of the National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the House Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, today spoke on the House floor in favor of two amendments he authored for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Amendments to the bill are being debated this week.

The two Cohen amendments were made in order by the Rules Committee on Tuesday and will be voted on as part of an en bloc amendment tomorrow.

In his remarks, Congressman Cohen described his amendments by saying in part:

“The first [amendment] puts anti-corruption at the core of U.S. foreign policy, reflecting the Biden Administration’s declaration that corruption is a national security threat – as indeed it is. As the House Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Helsinki Commission, bipartisan foreign policy to promote human rights and counter corruption is deeply important to our group, and to the nation. Corruption is the fuel of human rights abuse and dictatorship and is the primary means by which dictators and their cronies influence government and society. I want to thank the large group of bipartisan colleagues who supported this amendment, many of whom are members of the Counter-Kleptocracy Caucus. Special thanks to Representatives [Tom] Malinowski and [Maria] Salazar whose Combatting Global Corruption Act is also included in the amendment.

“The other amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to attempt to recover Afghan aircraft that the U.S. provided to the Afghan government and were flown out of the country by Afghan pilots fleeing the Taliban. These aircraft were purchased by U.S. tax dollars and should be returned to us. They are in Uzbekistan and other countries and I’m sure the Taliban would like to get them back, but they should come back to the U.S.A.”

See Congressman Cohen’s entire speech here.