U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement after the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee released its draft FY2014 defense budget that eliminates 2014 funds for the purchase of additional Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-controlled arms export firm that has been arming the Assad regime:
"The Obama Administration's arrogant circumvention of Congress' efforts to put an end to our role in subsidizing Assad's murderous campaign against his own people is mystifying and disturbing, particularly when there are other ways to provide helicopters for the Afghans.
"American taxpayers should not be indirectly subsidizing the murder of Syrian civilians, and I'm pleased committee leaders have joined this effort to end our relationship with Assad's arms supplier."
The FY2013 defense budget included an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Cornyn and unanimously passed by both houses of Congress, that prohibited funding from being used by the Department of Defense to enter into new contracts or other business arrangements with Rosoboronexport. Despite this, the Pentagon recently signed a new $572 million contract with the firm.