February 22, 2015

Corker Discusses ISIS Threat and Bold, Bipartisan Initiative for Ending Modern Slavery on NBC’s Meet the Press

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. – Following his recent trip to Turkey, Kuwait and Iraq, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined NBC’s “Meet the Press” today to discuss the threat from ISIS and the debate Congress will be having over an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF). Corker also announced a bold, bipartisan proposal he is introducing this week that would create a focused, sustained effort to help eliminate modern slavery around the world.

Excerpts from the interview follow.

On the threat posed by ISIS and debate in Congress over an authorization for the use of military force:

“[T]hey're Islamic extremists…No question. They are extreme in what they're doing. They are a threat to our country. It looks as if we have some pieces that are coming together appropriately in Iraq. I think there are still a lot of questions…as to how we deal with ISIS [in] Syria and…they're a threat now in Libya and other places. So this is something that we, as a nation, are going to be dealing with for a long time. I think you know we're going to be debating an authorization for the use of military force here soon. This is an important issue, important to our homeland security. Important to the world. And I hope as a nation we'll take it on in a sober and important way over next several weeks.”

On the murder of Kayla Mueller by ISIS and the U.S. government’s policy to not pay ransom to terrorists who capture Americans:

“I can't imagine a greater pain for a parent than knowing that your child is dead and you're doing everything you can to cause them to be free and be back home and be with your family. At the same time, what you do when you begin to pay ransom, which is how these groups support themselves, is encourage them to take other American citizens. [Not paying ransom] has been a long-standing U.S. policy. It is a policy that I support.”

On his proposal for ending modern slavery:

“There are 27 million people today…around the world, that are enslaved, in rug-making facilities, brick kilns, all kinds of sex trafficking…These are crimes of opportunity, average business people [worldwide] are making money by enslaving people. This week, we'll launch a bill…to end slavery by building off public-private partnerships around the world and using best practices. This is something that takes U.S. leadership…and I look forward to this coming out of committee this week.”

On a federal judge delaying President Obama’s executive action on immigration and the February 27th deadline for funding of the Department of Homeland Security:

“I was gratified by the judge's ruling. The president, 22 times had said he couldn't do this, and he didn't have the authority. I was very gratified by what the judge ruled. At the same time, I do believe that in this time where we have the kind of threats we have from all over the world, we certainly need to make sure that [the] Homeland Security [Department] is fully funded. My guess is we'll figure out a way to make sure that happens this week.”