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Foreign Policy and National Security

Foreign Policy and National Security

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.

Having worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office, Jeff has a unique understanding of national security policy.  In both positions, he was immersed in the national dialogue on responsible management of nuclear weapons.  Jeff also remained actively engaged in foreign policy issues as President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon.


Jeff has been a leading voice for recognizing that after 12 years and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, it is time to wind down the war in Afghanistan and invest in more nation-building here at home.  He led a bipartisan amendment in 2013 that put the Senate on record for the first time urging an end to combat operations. 

More recently, Jeff introduced a bipartisan resolution saying that the American people should weigh in and Congress should vote before we decide to commit massive resources and thousands of troops to another decade in Afghanistan.  Although the Administration has declared that the war in Afghanistan will be wound down by December 31, 2014, it is also negotiating an agreement with the Government of Afghanistan that would set guidelines for U.S. troops to remain in training, support, and counter-terrorism roles through at least 2024. After over 12 years of war, the public deserves a say. Congress owes it to our men and women in uniform to engage in vigorous oversight on decisions of war and peace. 

Jeff has visited Afghanistan twice since becoming a U.S. Senator.

Human Rights

The United States has a responsibility to restore the rule of law and preserve inalienable rights, including the rights to habeas corpus and fundamental due process. Jeff supports taking swift action to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Additionally, Jeff is dedicated to working with President Obama and his colleagues in Congress to bring stability and peace to areas of the world where the threat of violence is a daily reality and entire populations have been targeted for genocide.

Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties

America was founded upon principles of individual liberty and independence.  To that end, the United States government has a responsibility to protect the privacy of its citizens while meeting its obligation to public safety.

Jeff is appalled by the dragnet being employed by the National Security Agency, and has long pushed for more transparency on the extent of government surveillance in the U.S. He thinks the government program that has indiscriminately swept up the cell phone records of millions of law-abiding citizens is an outrageous abuse of Americans’ privacy. Jeff has led the effort in the Senate to declassify FISA Court opinions that the government used as the legal basis for these practices, pushing to put an end to secret law.

Jeff has been a leader in the Senate fighting against the extensions of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act has been extended with little to no scrutiny and little opportunity for amendments or debate. These provisions give broad authority to access our personal information, including phone, email, and library records, in secret, with virtually no checks or balances. 

Our nation is stronger when our civil liberties as Americans are protected.

Service Members and Families

Jeff is committed to standing up for our military men and women.  The men and women who honorably serve our nation in the armed forces deserve more than our thanks.  They deserve the equipment and training necessary to carry out their missions successfully while protecting them from harm.  Furthermore, they deserve to receive all of the health and other benefits promised to them, and they shouldn’t have to fight the bureaucracy to get them.  Jeff is working with his colleagues to ensure that all of the promises made to our service members are promises kept.

Jeff also understands that military family members are in many ways the backbone of our national security, sacrificing while their loved ones are deployed overseas. He has fought to provide assistance to family members to help before, during and after deployments to ease the transition and relieve any financial strain.

For more on Jeff’s work on behalf of military members and their families, visit the Veterans page.

Global Disease Prevention

As America considers international aid and global trade policy, it is imperative that we consider our responsibility to lift up others who are suffering across the world. Today, there are three interrelated plagues affecting third world nations: malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.  The United States has a vital role to play as an advocate and supporter of international education and prevention campaigns to reduce the spread of these deadly diseases.  Jeff believes that President Obama’s commitment to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is critical to addressing these international challenges.  Jeff wants to increase access to safe and affordable generic drugs to treat HIV/AIDS in developing countries and supports the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  Strengthening developing countries’ health infrastructure, investing in clean water, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals are also important steps that should be taken to alleviate global public health problems. 


Jeff believes a nuclear-armed Iran would be a grave threat to the United States, to Israel, and to ongoing global efforts to halt nuclear proliferation. He has repeatedly voted for tough sanctions on Iran, and strongly supports making every effort to convince Iran to voluntarily give up its weapons program.

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