Bustos Visits the Middle East
National security was the focus for some members of Congress during a week-long trip to the Middle East. The group, including Cheri Bustos from East Moline and Illinois' 17th District, traveled to Israel and Jordan.
In Jordan, they met with US embassy officials in Amman, and visited refugee settlements where thousands of Syrians now live in desperate conditions after fleeing from their country's civil war.
"This is a national security issue we have to address because what happens is if families from Syria, if they can't be in a place where they can improve their lives, we have to be concerned about radicalization."
Her group also stopped at a maternity hospital for refugees.
In Israel, they met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US Ambassador.
"I think the overall sentiment of the leadership in Israel is that we've got to work toward a peaceful, two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis. I felt good about those meetings. I think we look at the US and our desire to have a two-state solution over there, and I think they're on the same page as well."
Another stop was the Iron Dome - an anti-missile defense system funded by the US, protecting Israel from rockets fired from neighboring countries like Lebanon and Syria. She calls it amazing technology that's saved many lives in the country Bustos calls our number one ally in the middle east.
They also visited the West Bank and met with Palestinian peace activists.
Bustos believes trips like this are very important for her and other members of Congress.
"We vote on funding four our foreign allies, we vote on our own national security, and we vote on funding programs like the Iron Dome. And so it's making sure I'm informed as well as my colleagues, that we're informed when we're making those decisions."
Her previous foreign trips include Afghanistan to meet with US soldiers, and Cuba with President Obama, to learn about possible Illinois exports to that country.