A. Resolve international and civil conflicts through diplomacy:
Engage diplomatically with other nations to resolve conflicts.
On March 11, 2020, Rep. Phillips voted in favor of S.J. Res. 68, a joint resolution to direct removal of US Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress. The resolution passed the House 227-186 after having previously passed the Senate. However, President Trump vetoed it on May 6, 2020. (congress.gov & govtrack.us)
Rep. Phillips was one of five lawmakers who penned a letter to Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the administration to clarify humanitarian exemptions on Iran sanctions. Here’s a quote from the letter: “We are concerned that lifting sanctions would likely benefit corrupt components of the Iranian government disproportionally over delivering much-needed relief to the Iranian people. At this time, we encourage the Administration to consider alternative actions to help the Iranian people in their fight against COVID-19. Specifically, we ask the Treasury Department to issue clear guidance to foreign banks regarding the legality of certain humanitarian transactions with Iran, such as trade in medical devices and personal protective equipment. We appreciate the Department’s April 9, 2020 statement on ensuring the international flow of humanitarian aid through legitimate channels, and we urge the Department to issue additional detailed guidance on Iran sanctions in particular. The State Department should also pursue public diplomacy efforts to support and encourage non-governmental organizations who are working to combat COVID-19 in Iran.” – April 10, 2020 [votesmart.org & Sen. Coons press release]
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H. Con. Res. 83: Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in ostilities in or against Iran. He stated: “As a Gold Star son, I know the human cost of war is immeasurable. That’s why we need a igorous, bipartisan debate before making the very grave decision of sending young American men and women to battle.” The resolution passed 224-194. – Jan. 9, 2020 (govtrack.us)
Rep. Phillips was one of the signers of a letter to President Trump demanding answers on his Iran strategy. Quote from letter: “Your administration has yet to provide the American people and Congress with a sufficient explanation as to why this action was necessary and what your overall strategy is for curbing Iran’s regional aggression or nuclear ambitions.” Questions included: “What is the specific “imminent threat” your administration referenced and how has the strike mitigated that threat and its imminence?” ; “What is the mission, scope of responsibilities, and timeline for the more than 7,000 additional U.S. troops recently deployed to the region?” ; “How do recent U.S. military actions, undertaken at your direction, advance your publicly stated goal of averting a war with Iran,
which the American people do not support?” and others. – January 8, 2020 (votesmart.org)
Representative Phillips voted “Yes” to NDAA amendments to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMF. He also voted “Yes” to the Khanna-Gaetz “No War with Iran” amendment. – 07/2019
I support a diplomacy-first approach to these dangerous and complicated situations, but I have no faith in the current Administration’s ability to negotiate effectively or strategically – whether it’s in Pyongyang or Moscow. – 9/10/18, WCCO 2018 Election Guide
Promote stability by replacing US military aid with development aid.
Rep. Phillips cosponsored [as of 12/17/19] H.R. 2444, the Eastern European Security Act. This act authorizes the President to make direct loans to countries that joined NATO after March 1, 1999, for the purchase of U.S. defense articles. The measure was agreed to in the House by voice vote on March 9, 2020. (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips voted “aye” on H 153, to end U.S. military support for Saudi-led war Yemen.
Referencing the border crisis, Rep. Phillips stated “then we must address the root cause of this migration by investing in aid to Central American countries ravaged by violence.” – 06.27.19 e-newsletter
Support resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict through determined, balanced and multilateral diplomacy.
Quote from Rep. Phillips: “As a Jewish American, I am a proud supporter of Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East. I believe that Israel must remain a free and democratic nation, and we should continue to build bridges of understanding and support between Israel and the United States.” (letter from Rep. Phillips, 3/4/2020)
On 8/13/19, Rep. Phillips became a cosponsor of H.R. 3104, the Partnership Fund for Peace Act, “which encourages joint economic development and finance ventures between Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs and companies.” (letter from Rep. Phillips, 3/4/2020)
Rep. Phillips was a cosponsor and voted yes for H. Res. 326, which “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that only a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can ensure Israel’s survival as a secure Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations for a Palestinian state. It also expresses the sense that any U.S. proposal to achieve a just, stable, and lasting solution should expressly endorse a two-state solution and discourage steps that would put a peaceful resolution further out of reach.” The resolution passed. (congress.gov) 12.06.19
Rep Phillips is signatory to a letter from House members to Sec. General Guterres of the UN expressing concerns about threats to Israel from Hezbollah. The letter asked for full implementation of UNSCR 1701 which calls for Lebanese sovereignty, the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon, and allows a United Nations Interim Force to help Lebanon secure its border. – Nov. 18, 2019 (votesmart.org)
“It is important that Israel exists as a Jewish state, and that the conflict in the region is resolved with a negotiated two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. We must also work hard to eradicate anti-Semitism and hatred in all its forms. This resolution expressing the opposition of Congress to the BDS movement is an important step as we continue to work toward all these goals, and it was important to support it.” (quote from Rep. Phillips in a statement from the Problem Solvers Caucus upon the passage H. Res. 246, which opposed the BDS movement and supported a 2-state solution) – July 24, 2019 (votesmart.com)
On 5/7/2019, Rep. Phillips cosponsored H.R. 1837, the U.S. Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act. This bill calls for improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize assistance for Israel, and for other purposes. The bill passed by voice vote on 7/23/19. (congress.gov)
On 4/25/2019, Rep. Phillips co-sponsored H.Res.246 which opposes efforts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel. He also voted for the resolution which passed 398-17 on July 23, 2019. (congress.gov)
B. Build an infrastructure for peace and prosperity:
Develop and strengthen alternatives to military force such as civilian peacekeeping forces, diplomacy, mediation and conflict resolution, and significantly grow the US diplomatic corps.
Rep. Phillips is a cosponsor of H.R. 6174, the Youth, Peace, and Security Act of 2020, the purpose of which is to support the inclusive and meaningful participation of youth in peace building and conflict prevention, management, and resolution, as well as post-conflict relief and recovery efforts. – March 10, 2020 [govtrack.us]
Rep. Phillips voted yes on H. Res. 387: Condemning continued violence against civilians by armed groups in the Central African Republic and supporting efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the conflict. The resolution passed 378-7. – March 3, 2020 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H.R. 4331, The Tibetan Policy and Support Act. He had previously cosponsored the bill on 12/5/19. Its purpose is to modify and reauthorize the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002. This includes such provisions as: increasing diplomatic representation by establishing a US consulate in Lhasa; grants to NGOs to support sustainable economic development, cultural and historic preservation, health care, and environmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities; pursuing collaborative efforts to monitor the Tibetan plateau, from which the PRC is diverting water; respecting the right of the Tibetan Buddhist community to choose its own spiritual leaders without the interference of the PR; and funds for programs to strengthen Tibetan governance. – 1/28/2020 (congress.gov/govtrack.us)
Rep. Phillips co-sponsored H.R. 4097, the Afghan Women’s Inclusion in Negotiations Act, the purpose of which is to require a report on the participation of Afghan women in negotiations and dialogue relating to the Afghan peace process and a strategy for post-conflict engagement by the United States in Afghanistan, and for other purposes. – October 16, 2019 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips co-sponsored H.R. 549. This bill address the migration of Venezuelan nationals by permitting them to qualify for temporary protected status, which prevents their removal from the United States and allows them to obtain employment and travel authorization. – 2019
Commit the US to strengthening the United Nations and approving agreements and treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that reduce the risk of war.Rep. Phillips signed a letter from the Democratic members of the House Foreign Affairs committee objecting to the President’s decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization. From the text of the letter, “Halting funding to the WHO at this time is like cutting funding to the fire department in the middle of a blaze. Retreating from global health institutions at this time will only hinder our ability to fight the Coronavirus, thus putting our national security and American lives at risk.” The letter also noted that “the U.S. seat on the WHO Executive Board has remained vacant since 2018, an astonishing abdication of American leadership at a time of international crisis.” – April 22, 2020 [press release from House Foreign Affairs Committee]
Rep. Phillips cosponsored [as of 12/9/19] H. Res. 754: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should continue to support the people of Nicaragua in their peaceful efforts to promote democracy and human rights, and use the tools under United States law to increase political and financial pressure on the government of Daniel Ortega. This measure was agreed in the House by voice vote on March 9, 2020. (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips cosponsored H. Res. 752: Supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests, and for other purposes. Among its provisions, it “urges the Administration to work to convene emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime and establish a mechanism by which the Security Council can monitor such violations”.- 12/17/19 (congress.gov) [This resolution passed by voice vote on Jan. 28, 2020. (govtrack.us)]
Rep. Phillips is a cosponsor of H.R. 4722, the Support UNFPA Act, the purpose of which is to authorize contributions to the UN Population Fund, which supports reproductive and women’s health care, family planning and humanitarian assistance around the world. Annual US contributions to this fund have not been made for the last few years. 11/14/2019 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H. Amdt. 527 to the H.R. 2500, the House version of the 2020 NDAA, which expressed “the sense of Congress that the United States should extend the New START Treaty with Russia and requires a series of reports on potential consequences if the treaty lapses.” – July 11, 2019 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H. Amdt. 530 to H.R. 2500, the House version of the 2020 NADA. This amendment prohibited “funding for missiles non-compliant with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty until the Secretary of Defense meets certain conditions.” 7/11/2019 (congress.gov)
Commit to just and sustainable economic development strategies around the world.On October 8, 2019, Rep. Phillips cosponsored H. Res. 230: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States condemns all forms of violence against children globally and recognizes the harmful impacts of violence against children. This bill urges the U.S. to implement a comprehensive strategy to combat child abuse globally. Passed by voice vote. – March 3, 2020 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips became a cosponsor of H.R. 2153, the Keeping Girls in School Act, the main goal of which is “to support empowerment, economic security, and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world.” – 10/28/19 (congress.gov) The bill passed by voice vote on Jan. 28, 2020. (govtrack.us)] Here is is an excerpt of Rep. Phillips’ remarks in support of it: “When women and girls have access to education, they lift up their entire communities. In societies that make strides in education equality, we see better health outcomes, improved economic well-being, and greater security for everyone. That is why getting more girls in classrooms should be a foreign policy priority of the United States of America. It is the right thing to do. It also helps drive stability and prosperity in the long run. But today, too many still face barriers like harassment, early marriage, disabilities, and lack of access to hygiene. These barriers conspire against girls succeeding, particularly adolescent girls. This bill highlights those barriers to keeping girls in school all around the world and requires USAID to support activities addressing them throughout their existing work and into the future.” (Congressional Record for 1/28/2020)
Rep. Phillips cosponsored H. Res. 189, Recognizing the importance of sustained United States leadership to accelerating global progress against maternal and child malnutrition and supporting United States Agency for International Development’s commitment to global nutrition through its multi-sectoral nutrition strategy. – June 26, 2019 [govtrack.us]
C. Dismantle the infrastructure that encourages militaristic responses to conflicts:
Significantly reduce the US defense budget, increase its transparency and ensure the military is accountable for its defense expenditures.
Rep. Phillips voted for an amendment to HR 550 that would “ deny funding of any U.S. military action against Iran or its proxy forces that lacks congressional authorization, except when there is an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces or its territories. The measure asserts the sole constitutional power of Congress to declare war as spelled out in the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The president would have to notify Congress within 48 hours if he marshals the U.S. military against Iran, then withdraw the force within a specified period unless Congress votes to authorize the action.” H. R. 550 was previously called “Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019”, but is now titled the “No War Against Iran Act”. The amendment passed 228-175 and the bill goes to the Senate. – Jan. 30, 2020 (Mankato Free Press)
Rep. Phillips cosponsored H.R. 5543, the No War Against Iran Act, a bill to prohibit the use of funds for unauthorized military force against Iran – Jan. 7, 2020. (govtrack.us)
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act [conference report to accompany S. 1790]. Rep. Phillips had also voted in favor of the NDAA that originally passed the House [H.R. 2500] on July 12, 2019. This previous version of the bill contained a number of progressive measures, but many of these were removed in the final bill. According to Diane Randall of FCNL: “Not only does this bill fail to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, it also entrusts this administration with a massive $738 billion for the Pentagon this fiscal year. It is stunning that in a week when the Afghanistan Papers revealed the comprehensive failures of the 18-year conflict, Congress negotiated away this effort to curtail the use of force, end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and prevent war with Iran.” Additionally, the bill authorizes the creation of a new branch of the military, the Space Force, and allows deployment of a more usable, low-yield nuclear warhead, the W76-2. According to Ken Kimmel, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists: “The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act moves the world closer to nuclear war and creates a new and unneeded military bureaucracy to address alleged threats in space. “ The bill passed the House 377-48. 12.11.19 (votesmart.org, congress.gov, email from FCNL, the UCS website)
Rep. Phillips voted against H. Amdt. 538 to the 2020 NDAA, which would have decreased funding for Overseas Contingency Operations/aka the War on Terror, by $16.8 billion. (amendment failed) (congress.gov.) 07/12/19
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H. Amdt. 535 to NDAA 2020, which would “prohibit the use of funds for an exhibition or parade of military forces and hardware, except for the display of small arms and munitions appropriate for customary ceremonial honors.”- July 11, 2019 (congress.gov)
Reduce the number of military bases and military personnel in the U.S. and overseas.
Rep. Phillips voted for an amendment to HR 550, the No War Against Iran Act, that would “repeal the 2002 Iraq war resolution, which has been cited as the legal basis of U.S. military actions in Iraq and numerous other global theaters over the past 18 years, including the recent U.S. assassination at the Baghdad airport of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Congress would have six months to update U.S. war authority, and until it does so, the president could immediately deploy forces to protect national security without seeking congressional approval.” The amendment passed 236-166 and the bill goes to the Senate. – Jan. 30, 2020 (Mankato Free Press)
Rep. Phillips announced that his amendment aimed at cleaning up a polluted former missile site in Watertown, MN was included in final passage of the annual 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Watertown was the location of a Cold War anti-aircraft missile site until 1972. In 1974, it was jointly purchased from the military by 11 Minnesota communities: Mound, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Mayer, St. Bonifacius, Victoria and Watertown. The site was subsequently used for fire department training exercises until it was discovered that the site was contaminated with harmful pollutants left over from the Nike missile program.. Phillips’ provision will require the U.S. Army to identify the number of similar sites nationwide and make recommendations on how best to clean them up. – December 17, 2019 (Phillips press release)
Rep. Phillips voted for H.Amdt. 516 to H.R. 2500: To require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on the financial costs and national security benefits of operating, improving, and maintaining overseas military infrastructure. 07/2019
Rep. Phillips co-sponsored H.R. 1004, to prohibit the introduction of U.S. Military Forces into Venezuela -2/28/19
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of H. Res. 676, the NATO Support Act. This bill, which passed the House, prohibits the appropriation or use of funds to withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (votesmart.org) 01.22.19
Discontinue the practice of providing military equipment or training assistance to human rights abusers.
Rep. Phillips was signatory, along with a majority of members of the House, to a letter to Sec. Of State Pompeo asking for diplomatic action by the U.S. to renew the expiring U.N. arms embargo against Iran and also to renew U.N. travel restrictions against Iranians who have been involved in violations of U.N. weapons restrictions. – May 4, 2020 [press release from House Foreign Affairs Committee]
Rep. Phillips voted in support of S. 178: the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, a bill to condemn gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, and calling for an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China. This bill directs the President to impose sanctions and export restrictions on the sale of technology items that can be used in the surveillance, identification, and detention of individuals. The bill passed the House 407-1. – Dec. 3, 2019 [govtrack.us]
Rep. Phillips voted in favor of each of S.J.Res. 36, S. J. Res. 37, and S. J. Res. 38, which expressed disapproval of the proposed export of certain defense articles and services to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The resolution passed both House and Senate, but was later over-ridden by the President. – July 17, 2019
Voted for H.Amdt. 524 to H.R. 2500: To prohibit support to and participation in the Saudi-led coalitions military operations against the Houthis in Yemen. – 07/2019
Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, including Rep. Phillips, “called for an investigation into the process and legal justifications the State Department used in declaring a phony emergency to ram through $8 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries.” Quoting from the letter to the State Department Inspector General, “The dubious grounds for invoking an emergency under the Arms Export Control Act to sell or transfer over $8 billion of significant defense articles raises serious questions necessitating further investigation, particularly in light of the fact that significant quantities of weapons and munitions previously provided to coalition partners for use in Yemen have caused unacceptably high levels of civilian casualties.” -June 20, 2019 (foreignaffairs.house.gov press release)
Rep. Phillips voted YEA on S. J. Res. 7, a resolution directing the removal of US Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. [Bill passed the House 247-175 and had previously passed the Senate, but was vetoed by the president.] – April 4, 2019 (congress.gov)
Rep. Phillips voted YEA on H.J. Res. 37, a resolution directing the removal of US Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. [Bill passed the House 248-177.] – Feb. 13, 2019 (votesmart.org)