Senators visit Gulf States

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) returned from a trip to the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and multiple U.S. military bases throughout the Gulf States. The trip was an opportunity to visit West Virginia servicemembers and to observe the impacts of heightened tensions in the region from a military and international commerce perspective.   

“The Gulf Region is crucial to the global oil supply and as the Ranking Member of Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this trip to the Gulf Region helped us assess the full effect of heightened tensions and the recent attacks on the region. This visit reinforced my view that our military service members are the greatest in the world and the glue that not only keeps our country together, but protects the entire free world. I met many young men and women including several West Virginians who are making sacrifices every day to keep us safe, and I am grateful for their service. I also saw firsthand that we need a greater global contribution to securing the Gulf Region, which is critical to the international economy. The United States is shouldering too much of the responsibility in the region and other western nations need to step up. We also had important conversations around the United States’ influence on human rights in the region and I believe that we have a responsibility to make sure that any country the U.S. partners with militarily or economically is making meaningful steps to promote human rights in their own country. It was an honor to join Senator McSally, my colleague on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, on this important trip,” said Senator Manchin.   

During the trip, Senators Manchin and McSally spoke with top defense and state department officials regarding drone attacks that are threatening global commerce; coalition efforts securing freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz; diplomatic considerations; and options to return the region to a peaceful state. They also met with commanders, sailors and aircrew on the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Ramage who are executing daily strategic deterrence missions through the Strait and the Arabian Sea. Senator Manchin was especially excited to meet with American officials in Doha to discuss the importance of the West Virginia National Guard’s State Partnership Program with Qatar.   

The Strait of Hormuz represents a critical choke point for the global economy, with one-third of the world’s oil supply—about 21 million barrels of crude and refined oil—traveling through its waters on a daily basis. That amounts to nearly $1.2 billion in oil each day.   

The delegation’s final stop was the Saudi Aramco oil processing facility in Abqaiq, which was recently attacked. McSally and Manchin were the first U.S. Senators to visit the damaged site since the September 14 attacks.