In Case You Missed It: Shaheen & Johnson Reaffirm Bipartisan Commitment in Congress in Support of Georgia’s Democracy

March 24, 2021

Shaheen & Johnson are Chair and Ranking Member of the SFRC Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation

During Subcommittee hearing, Shaheen and Johnson agreed to work on a bipartisan resolution in Congress in support of strengthening Georgia’s democracy

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chair of the SFRC Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation – and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the subcommittee’s ranking member, held a hearing on bolstering democracy in Georgia in light of the country’s recent political developments. During the hearing, Shaheen and Johnson both agreed on the importance of showing bipartisan support for Georgia’s path to strengthen its democracy and committed to spearheading a resolution in the Senate that expresses that sentiment.

“I decided to hold this hearing – the first for this subcommittee in the new session of Congress – because Georgia’s commitment to democracy matters for the Georgian people, our European partners and democracies everywhere, including the United States,” said Shaheen. “The political crisis Georgians are facing, which has been exacerbated by the Kremlin’s effort to sow chaos throughout the region, carries implications both near and far and is why there is a strong, bipartisan urgency in the Senate to show support for Georgia to fulfill its democratic goals. Senator Johnson and I share the same concerns regarding Georgia’s political instability, which is why I’m glad to work with him on this new resolution that sends a clear message from the Senate that we are watching and we stand by Georgia in its promise for democracy. The outcome of this hearing is an example of precisely how Congress can and should work: across the aisle and in support of democratic values.”

“The U.S. Senate supports Georgia in its pursuit to bolster democracy, and political participation and confidence in elections are key to strong democracies,” said Johnson. “Georgia must break free from the Soviet legacy by coming together as a country to resolve political disputes and implement election and judicial reforms. The U.S. stands ready to help Georgia work through this impasse and looks forward to a speedy resolution.”

Witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing included George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department, and Kara McDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at the U.S. State Department. 

Senator Shaheen has been a leader in Congress in support of Georgia’s path toward democracy for years. Senator Shaheen previously served as an election monitor during the 2012 Georgian elections and has since encouraged Georgian lawmakers to remain committed to a path of democracy. She and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) served as election monitors together and amid this recent political crisis, have led bipartisan calls in Congress for the Georgian government to release all political prisoners, end the violence and have pushed for all parties to pursue a peaceful solution.

Watch Shaheen’s opening remarks here.

Watch Shaheen’s questioning here.

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