Note: Apologies for the irregular schedule of Round-Ups in recent weeks (due to winter colds,
international visitors, and now an impending snow storm). The Round-Up should return to its regular Friday
schedule starting next week.
APN Legislative Round-Up
Special Recess Edition
The FY14 Omnibus
Jan. 24, 2014
Last week the House and Senate passed HR 3547, the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act. On 1/17/14 the President signed it into law. Division K of HR 3547 is the “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014,” which includes all foreign affairs appropriations (other than that which is appropriated under the Department of Defense), as well as a great deal of authorizing language (this has long been the pattern, given the inability of Congress to usually pass a Foreign Relations Authorization bill).
Below are details of the Middle East-related elements in the final bill, as well as relevant details from the accompanying report (known in this context as a Joint Explanatory Statement - JES). For details of the Middle East elements in the House version of this bill, HR 2855, and its accompanying report, see the 7/19/13 Round-Up. For details of the Middle East elements in the Senate version of this bill, S.1372, and its accompanying report, see the 7/26-8/2 Round-Up (Part 2).
It should be noted that the JES states explicitly that: “In implementing this agreement, Federal departments, agencies, and other entities shall comply with the directives, reporting requirements, and allocations contained in H. Rept. 113-185 (House report) accompanying H.R. 2855 (House bill) and S. Rept. 113-81 (Senate report) accompanying S. 1372 (Senate bill) as though stated in this explanatory statement unless specifically directed to the contrary. This explanatory statement, while repeating some House and Senate report language for emphasis or clarification, does not negate such language unless expressly provided herein.” Thus, to gain a full picture of Congressional intent and directives, the analysis below must be combined with the analysis of the House and Senate reports, linked in the preceding paragraph and examined in the relevant Round-Ups.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is known for the quip "If you can't solve a problem, enlarge it." Opponents of Israeli-Palestinian peace have their own spin on that quip, best summed up as, "If you don't want to solve a problem, pile on more problems." As a result, a valuable metric for gauging how seriously things are going in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts - or, at least, how worried anti-peace folks are getting that things are going seriously - has long been the extent to which opponents of peace are ginning up discredited, specious, or disingenuous arguments. And a look at current headlines indicates that opponents of peace are taking the Kerry peace effort very seriously, indeed.
Today, Peace Now's Settlement Watch issued the following update regarding new settlement-related developments in Hebron: