DeFazio believes as the world's greatest economic, political, and military power the U.S. should be a global leader in promoting democracy, economic opportunities, the rule of law, and human rights. DeFazio has used both his voice and vote in Congress to shift U.S. foreign assistance away from military aid towards investments in education, infrastructure, and public health. He has criticized U.S. relations with dubious allies and voted against sending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to dangerous international regimes. At home, DeFazio has publicly supported permanently closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, voted against domestic spying legislation that puts Americans' Constitutionally-protected rights at risk, and is a recognized expert and a public watchdog on Congress' constitutional prerogative to declare war.
As a long-time member of the Human Rights Caucus, DeFazio is a vocal critic of the use of torture and supports the permanent closure of the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He believes Guantanamo contradicts American values, undermines U.S. diplomatic and military missions, strains our relationship with key allies, and puts Americans traveling or living abroad at risk.
DeFazio also firmly believes the U.S. government can protect the United States without trampling on the U.S. Constitution. DeFazio opposed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which established unprecedented trial procedures for detainees held at Guantanamo and provided immunity to administration officials that authorized torture. DeFazio also voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, legislation that dramatically expanded executive powers to conduct intrusive surveillance, including on Americans, without safeguards or congressional oversight. DeFazio is working with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that while we fight terrorism at home and abroad, we do not unduly trample on the rights of law abiding citizens.
DeFazio is committed to working with his colleagues in the House of Representatives and President Obama to bring stability and peace to Sudan, Burma, Israel and Palestine, Tibet, Haiti and other troubled areas of the world where violence, economic instability, ethnic conflicts, and natural disasters threaten lives and basic human rights.
Over the last ten years, one-third to one-half of all the money the U.S. has spent on foreign assistance went toward military, not humanitarian, assistance. DeFazio has consistently pointed out that it is hard to see how selling an F-16 fighter aircraft to an impoverished nation will assist in treating one AIDS victim, providing a single meal, or educating one child. DeFazio is working in Congress to redirect U.S. foreign assistance away from military aid toward investments in education, infrastructure, and public health.
DeFazio is deeply troubled Iran's support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, its drive to undermine U.S. interests in Iraq and the region, and its pursuit of developing nuclear weapons. DeFazio supports a policy of containment through active diplomacy, working with U.S. allies in Europe, and imposing escalating multilateral economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long-standing and complicated dispute. Both sides passionately believe the actions of the other are illegal under international law and consider the lands under dispute to be their ancestral home. The conflict is further complicated by religious, political, and economic differences. The United States has an interest to ensure a lasting peace is reached between Israel and Palestine. DeFazio believes this can only be accomplished through a two-state solution, which will require a much more assertive role by the U.S. in bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table.