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Budd, Tillis to Host NC Hostage’s Family at State of the Union

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) announced that he and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) have invited the family of Keith Siegel to be their guests at the State of the Union Address Thursday night. 

Keith’s sister Lucy and niece Hanna have accepted the Senators’ invitation.

Keith Siegel is the North Carolina native who is among the six Americans still being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Traditionally, each U.S. Senator is permitted to invite a guest to attend the address in-person.

Senator Budd said in a statement:

“It is my honor to host the family of North Carolina native Keith Siegel at the State of the Union. The American people cannot forget that six of our fellow citizens are still being held hostage by Hamas terrorists for more than 150 days. The ordeal that these families are going through is horrifying, and I will continue working as hard as I can to see that these Americans are released and returned to their families.”

Senator Tillis said:

“It is an honor to partner with Senator Budd to invite the Siegel family to this year’s State of the Union. Keith and Aviva Siegel were horrifically taken from their home and kidnapped by Hamas during the October 7th attack. While it is a great relief that Aviva has been released, we are still working to secure Keith’s freedom from Hamas captivity. As the terrorist organization Hamas continues its brutal reign over the Palestinian people, we must continue to work to ensure they can never return to power and release all the remaining hostages, including many Americans alongside Keith.”


On October 25, 2023, Senator Budd first spoke about the hostage situation in Gaza on the Senate floor, where he announced his intention “to hold all humanitarian aid to Gaza until each and every American hostage is home and is safe.”

On November 6, 2023, Senator Budd met with Qatari Ambassador Meshal Al Thani in Senator Budd’s Washington, D.C. office. In that meeting, he strongly urged the Qatari government to use their leverage on Hamas leaders currently residing in Doha to immediately release all hostages, and hold those same Hamas leaders accountable once the hostage situation is fully resolved.

On November 26, 2023, Senator Budd reacted to the release of Keith Siegel’s wife, Aviva, saying, “While we are encouraged by the government of Qatar’s efforts to mediate the release of some of the hostages, we renew our call to their government to exert pressure on Hamas leadership to release each and every hostage immediately and unconditionally.”

On November 28, 2023, Senator Budd spoke on the Senate floor and called out Qatar for its continued hosting of Hamas terrorist leaders, saying, “We need to tell our friends in Doha loudly and clearly: Qatar is accepting a significant liability with its pro-Hamas policy.”

On December 13, 2023, Senator Budd sent a holiday message of support to the hostages and their families in a speech on the Senate floor, saying, “I want every one of these family members to know that our country is behind them, we support them, and we are praying for them.”

On January 10, 2024, Senator Budd returned from a congressional delegation (CODEL) to the Middle East, which included stops in Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and Bahrain. The focus of the delegation’s meetings across the region was on securing the release of hostages. 

On the trip, Senator Budd and his colleagues toured one of the communities devastated by the October 7th massacre by Hamas terrorists. He personally spoke with former hostage Aviva Siegel, and met with top Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad Director David Barnea.

Senator Budd then met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Prime Minister of Qatar, to whom Senator Budd sent a strong message that Qatar must do more to secure the immediate and safe release of all of the hostages.

On January 15, 2024, Senators Budd and Joni Ernst (R-IA) published an op-ed marking the 100th day of captivity for the hostages, writing, “As long as Americans remain captive to these barbaric thugs, the latter is the victor. Allowing Americans to suffer under the yoke of terrorists is a win for evil around the world and a boon for Iran’s proxies.”

On January 25, 2024, Senator Budd spoke on the Senate floor and delivered a sharp message to the government of Qatar: “Our patience has run out. Time is up. Either pressure Hamas leaders to release the hostages now, or expel them from your land. It’s that simple. The United States of America will be watching.”


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