Turner unveils bipartisan Black Sea Security Act

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) on Monday introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to spur a more proactive role by the United States in the Black Sea region and establish a formal U.S. strategy that bolsters security and encourages trade there.

“This legislation creates a roadmap for the U.S. and our allies to strengthen economic ties, counter our adversaries and defend democracy abroad,” said Rep. Turner, vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and co-chair of the House Romania Caucus.

The congressman on Dec. 13 signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Black Sea Security Act of 2022, H.R. 9511, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) and would provide for security in the Black Sea region.

Ukraine, Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Turkey are strategic partners in the Black Sea region and are vital for U.S. security interests, according to information provided by Rep. Turner’s staff.

“The U.S. and our allies must maintain a strong presence in the Black Sea region to maintain and expand energy imports, digital infrastructure and economic development,” Rep. Turner said. “Our goal is to deter malign attempts by Russia and China to control the region – a move that would threaten our security interests abroad.”

The region also has economic importance as a transportation nexus for myriad goods, including grain exports from Ukraine and energy products from the Caspian Sea, the information says. 

“The Departments of State and Defense have been working for years developing a U.S. strategy for how we can best bolster security and stability in the region,” Rep. Keating said. “This legislation formalizes those efforts and provides greater certainty for our partners in the region going forward.”

Specifically, H.R. 9511 calls for a more robust foreign policy toward the Black Sea region, including increased advocacy between the U.S., NATO, and the European Union (EU), and strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and the Black Sea region, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers. 

Additionally, 180 days following passage of H.R. 9511, an interagency strategy would be required to increase military assistance and coordination with NATO and the EU, deepen economic ties, strengthen democracy and economic security, and enhance security assistance with Black Sea countries, the summary says. 

H.R. 9511 is the companion bill to the same-named S. 4509, introduced on July 12 by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).