Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counter terrorism, is currently leading a bipartisan delegation of six Members of Congress to visit U.S. troops overseas to thank them for their service, participate in briefings from senior military and diplomatic personnel on U.S. strategic objectives in the region, and engage with foreign government officials.
The delegation departed Andrews Air Force Base Friday afternoon for Bahrain, where they spent Christmas Eve, and then traveled to Kuwait for Christmas Day. While in Bahrain, the delegation participated in a choir performance, Christmas tree decorating competition, and a stockings handout. In Kuwait, delegation members served Christmas dinner to the troops and then joined them for the meal.
“I’ve been proud to lead this holiday-time delegation to visit our troops in the past and am grateful to bring it back after a three-year hiatus due to COVID,” said Congressman Cicilline. “Those who wear the uniform, and their families, make incredible sacrifices every single day and it is an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to thank them in person – especially as they are away from loved ones at this time of year. We owe our service members and veterans an enormous debt of gratitude, one that can never be repaid, but we can start by ensuring that they have access to all the health care, resources, and benefits they have earned.”
Just this week, President Biden signed into law the Vet Center Improvement Act as part of the annual defense spending package for Fiscal Year 2023. This legislation, led Congressman Cicilline and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will improve services and performance standards at Vet Centers nationwide.
While in Kuwait, Congressman Cicilline met with Rhode Islanders stationed at Camp Arifjan:
- Keith Curran
- Chris Gardiner
- Julio Velasco
The delegation will spend the next few days visiting additional countries in the region. The locations of those visits are being withheld for security purposes. Joining the Congressman are:
- Representative Joe Wilson, House Foreign Affairs Committee, (R-SC)
- Representative Susan Wild, House Foreign Affairs Committee, (D-PA)
- Representative Kat Cammack, House Homeland Security Committee, (R-FL)
- Representative Sara Jacobs, House Foreign Affairs Committee, (D-CA)
- Representative Amata Coleman Radewagen, House Veterans Affairs Committee, (R-American Samoa)