WASHINGTON, D.C.— House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) returned this week from leading a bipartisan Congressional delegation to NATO allies Italy and Portugal.

In Italy, the delegation met with U.S. and NATO military officials at Aviano Air Base, U.S. Army Garrison Italy, and Naval Air Station Sigonella to discuss regional security issues and efforts to enhance defense cooperation.

The delegation also met with Sylvana Riccio, the Prefect of Catania Province, regarding the challenges Italy faces in Southern Europe, including the migrant crisis, and the upcoming 2017 G7 Summit.

The delegation at U.S. Army Garrison Italy with Brigadier General Kenneth H. Moore, Jr, Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Africa.

The delegation at Aviano Air Base with Colonel Bryan Wolford, 31st Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander and Colonel Stefano Cianfrocca, Base Commander of Aviano Air Base.

Richmond and Scalise with Captain Brent Trickel, Commanding Officer, NAS Sigonella. 

The delegation with Silviana Riccio, Prefect of Catania. 

In Portugal, the delegation met with President Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues of the Assembly of the Republic and Deputy Sergio Sousa Pinto, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The members also conducted an energy roundtable at the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD) with top government officials and representatives from the Portuguese industry.

They also visited and met with senior leadership at NATO Naval Striking and Support Forces (STRIKFORNATO).

Scalise with President of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues. 

The delegation with President Rodrigues and Deputy Sergio Sousa Pinto, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The delegation with Brigadier General Karsten S. Heckl, Chief of Staff, STRIKFORNATO.

In interviews with Portuguese media, Scalise and his colleagues reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to the NATO Alliance and emphasized the importance of Portugal as a partner in improving energy security.

Scalise and Richmond featured in the Portuguese newspaper, Diario de Noticias. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this bipartisan delegation of my House colleagues. Not only do the United States, Italy, and Portugal share a deep commitment to democratic values, we also share important goals on pressing matters like energy, economic growth, defense and international security,” Scalise said. “We look forward to working even more closely with our NATO allies to make our world freer, safer and more prosperous.”

The bipartisan delegation included U.S. Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Penn.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), and Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.).