Cheney unveils Turkey sanctions legislation

Cheney unveils Turkey sanctions legislation
© Greg Nash

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker House GOP pushes back at Trump on changing election date Cheney battle raises questions about House GOP's future MORE unveiled legislation on Wednesday to place sanctions on Turkey in the wake of Ankara’s military operation targeting Kurdish forces in Syria.

The Countering Turkish 5 Aggression Act of 2019 — which has attracted more than 70 GOP co-sponsors in the lower chamber  — would target the country’s energy sector, bar the U.S. from selling arms to Ankara, and impose sanctions on Turkish leaders, including its president, vice president, minister of Defense and those supporting its defense sector.

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Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, has been one of the most vocal critics of the administration’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, arguing it provides an opportunity for terrorist groups like ISIS to grow and could have negative implications for the U.S.’s national security. While the bill currently only has Republican co-sponsors, the Wyoming lawmaker said she is discussing the measure with Democratic members and lawmakers in the upper chamber.

“We’ve been working very closely with the Senate, working very closely across the aisle as well, but it’s very important to recognize the impact, in particular, that the Turks now are in a situation where we risk the resurgence of ISIS, where the Turks have gone in and we see evidence of atrocities being committed, and where our allies, the Kurds, frankly, are facing what looks like a betrayal from the United States that could have very negative consequences and impacts for us globally,” she told reporters Wednesday.

Cheney also took a swipe at Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  A plan to empower parents, increase education options as an uncertain school year looms Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert MORE (R-Ky.) for his position on the country’s involvement in Northern Syria, arguing the United States plays a critical role in ensuring the region is stable.

"That is the right thing to do, we are the only ones who can do it and if we step away from that role, if we go down the path that’s been suggested by Senator Paul and others, into isolationism then others will fill that void and we are going to face a possibility of living in a world where America’s not setting the rules, but our adversaries — the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians — are setting the rules and that is not a world anybody wants to live in,” she continued at the press conference.  

“So it’s very important that we make sure that we maintain America’s global engagement and that we consider the costs of inaction, we consider the costs of having to go back into situations where we’ve withdrawn from. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of the Obama era, which created the mess that we have inherited."

The bill follows Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamYates spars with GOP at testy hearing Trump knocks Sally Yates ahead of congressional testimony Republicans uncomfortably playing defense MORE (R-S.C.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenExclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D-Md.) introducing a similar measure in the upper chamber earlier this month.