On Wednesday, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), along with Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) hosted American and Israeli families of hostages abducted by Hamas terrorists. During the press conference, Senators discussed the urgent need for continued U.S. efforts to help bring home their loved ones after more than 100 days in captivity following the attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.
“It has been more than 100 days since the hostages were taken, including six Americans who remain in Gaza. Despite living through one of the most horrific attacks of our lifetime, these families have not given up. And I want to make one thing clear—we haven’t forgotten, and we will not give up,” said Chair Cardin. “In every meeting we have, with every senior official we meet, we press to bring your loved ones home. The United States stands with you in your effort to return your family members home safely, and we will not relent until every family is reunited.”
“We know how quickly the world moves on – even from unspeakable tragedy. But today– and every day since Hamas’s unspeakable, brutal attack – we speak in one voice so that the whole world can hear: we must bring every single hostage home. Every leader, every government, and every party with influence must do everything possible to bring these precious hostages home now. We will not rest until they are home,” said Leader Schumer.
“It’s been over 100 days since Hamas committed a brutal, premeditated, and horrific attack against the people of Israel. We have not forgotten the hostages and their families. We are working every minute of every day to ensure the safe return of all 136 remaining hostages, including 6 Americans,” said Ranking Member Risch. “Our message to the Israeli people remains clear: we stand with you, and we will do all that we can to ensure you can rebuild, defend your land and people, and ensure that Hamas or any other Iranian proxy can never do something like this again.”
“For over 100 days, Americans have been held at the mercy of Iran-backed Hamas. Their families do not even know if their loved one is dead or alive. We cannot let their pain go unanswered, which is why I’m taking action and calling on the rest of Congress to join me. Earlier this month, I led a bipartisan, bicameral delegation to four countries in the Middle East, solely focused on bringing our hostages home. In our meetings, we called on leaders in the region to pressure Hamas and release our hostages. I will not let up in holding our partners’ feet to the fire to reunite families. Now, these families have returned to Congress, asking for action and answers. There is only one response: bring Americans home now. Every second counts,” said Senator Ernst.
“103 days of unbearable pain, anguish, and so much uncertainty for the family members here today,” said Senator Collins. “I want to thank the extraordinary, courageous family members who are here to share their personal stories. My message to the family members is this: we have not forgotten you. We will continue to work for the release of your loved ones. We will stand in steadfast support of you as you seek to bring your hostage family members home.”
“The hostages and their families have endured unimaginable suffering in the 100+ days since October 7th,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am inspired by the strength and persistence of their loved ones here today, and I’m committed to making sure their stories are heard every single week on the Senate floor. The path to peace begins with the safe return of each and every hostage and I will keep fighting alongside my colleagues in Congress until we have secured their release.