Jeff Merkley on Foreign Policy

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


Investigate Saudi interference in US criminal cases

A push by Sen. Jeff Merkley to investigate the Saudi Arabian government's suspected role in spiriting accused criminals out of the United States may finally see a Senate vote by the end of this year. After two prior efforts fizzled, the Oregon Democrat's newest proposal found its way into a state and foreign operations funding bill that won unanimous approval last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where Merkley is a member.

The measure comes after an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive's found multiple cases where Saudi students studying around the U.S. vanished while facing serious criminal charges, ranging from rape to manslaughter, likely with the help of their government. "It's completely unacceptable and outrageous that any nation would assist their citizens in escaping the U.S. to evade justice after they've committed serious crimes," Merkley said in a statement.

Source: The Oregonian on 2020 Oregon Senate race , Sep 30, 2019

In a dangerous world, we need to work with other nations

Jeff is committed to protecting America from those who would do us harm, and to making sure we do so in a way that is consistent with American values and our Constitutional rights. Indeed, Jeff firmly believes that the measure of our strength isn't just the power of our military, but that the United States is safer and stronger when we honor our fundamental American values like respect for the rule of law and invest in the hard work of working with our allies. In a dangerous world, with global threats ranging from terrorism to global warming to nuclear weapons proliferation, Jeff understands that we need to be able to work with other nations to confront these challenges together.
Source: 2014 Oregon Senate campaign website, Merkley.senate.gov , Sep 1, 2014

Bush Administration has damaged America’s reputation

Q: What role should our nation play in the world today?

A: The US needs to work closely with other nations to address the world’s most pressing issues. I am appalled that the Bush Administration has damaged America’s reputation by misleading both the American public and other nations about the threat posed by Iraq by claiming that Iraq was pursuing “weapons of mass destruction.” I am deeply disturbed by America’s go-it-along philosophy, blatant disregard for the Geneva Convention, and the use of secret prisons, extraordinary renditions, and torture. America cannot take on the complicated issues facing the world without working in partnership with the world. The next Administration, supported by Congress, needs to restore a respectful dialogue with the world and work in collaboration to tackle environmental issues, international health issues, trade and economic policy, and nuclear proliferation and other security issues.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Support US payments to UN & show leadership

Q: Do you support the full and timely payment of U.S. assessments to the United Nations and its special fund for peacekeeping missions?

A: Yes. I absolutely support such payments. It is time for the US to shed its reputation for being continually in arrears and to show leadership in supporting international institutions.

Q: Will you oppose legislation that withholds U.S. dues to the U.N.?

A: Yes. I would oppose such legislation under most circumstances.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

De-emphasize military; focus on international collaboration

Q: Will you actively work to allocate an additional 1% of the US budget to Official Development Assistance in order to begin to match the commitments of our G8 partners and other allies to help reduce hunger, poverty, disease and other agreed upon goals?

A: Yes. The US needs to have a much broader view of national security than it has currently, with much less of an emphasis on military equipment and the projection of force and much more reliance on international stability and collaboration.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Rated +2 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.

Merkley scores +2 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues

The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.

  1. S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
  2. S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
  3. S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
  4. S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
  5. S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
  6. S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
  7. S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
  8. S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
  9. S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
  10. S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012

Enforce humanitarian aid access to South Sudan.

Merkley signed enforcing humanitarian aid access to South Sudan

Excerpts from Letter from 12 Senators to President Trump: Since the onset of South Sudan's civil war in 2013, at least 50,000 people have been killed and approximately 3 million have fled their homes. The African Union and the United Nations have documented numerous human rights abuses and warned of potential genocide. The assaults on civilians carried out during the course of the fighting in July 2016 between government and opposition forces shocked the conscience of the world, and served to demonstrate that the August 2015 peace agreement has failed. To date, the government has not held anyone accountable for the violence, nor for attacking a U.S. diplomatic convoy.

UN peacekeepers are protecting over 200,000 people who might otherwise be dead at UN bases in South Sudan. The UN Security Council approved an additional 4,000 peacekeepers in the wake of the July violence. Unfortunately, the government continues to obstruct the deployment of these troops.

In Sudan, it is critical that we ensure that Khartoum lives up to its agreement to adhere to its ceasefires, allow free and unfettered humanitarian access to all parts of Sudan and stop supporting rebel movements in South Sudan.

Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, 1/22/2014): The number of casualties and refugees in South Sudan is straining government and international humanitarian efforts. Pressure must be applied to both the government of South Sudan and the rebel faction to reconcile peacefully. The U.S. has a key role to play in the mediation efforts. South Sudan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. bilateral aid in sub-Saharan Africa, and the U.S. was instrumental in helping the young country gain independence and stand up its government. The U.S. should focus now on ending the conflict, political reconciliation, and humanitarian assistance.

Source: South Sudan Letter 17LTR-SUD on Feb 27, 2017

Sponsored bill to monitor forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang.

Merkley co-sponsored Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Legislative summary: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act: