for the period of
January 31- February 10, 2012
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Odds & Ends
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
(IRAN SANCTIONS) S. XXX: On 2/2/12 the Senate Banking Committee marked up and passed "the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012." The bill text has still not been formally introduced as of this writing; a copy of the draft text (as of 1/31/12) is available here (this is not necessarily the final text as marked up in committee). A number of amendments were adopted in committee during the markup, adding to the already far-reaching text of the bill. These included (and this list is not exhaustive):
- an amendment offered by Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and Wicker (R-MS) seeking to force the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) – effectively the clearinghouse for all inter-bank transactions - to stop processing transactions for Iranian banks (by imposing sanctions on banks that have officers on the SWIFT board if SWIFT fails to comply).
- an amendment offered by Bennet (D-CO) and Menendez (D-NJ) to compel the President to identify and report to Congress on those involved in the import/export/financing of Iranian crude oil and refined petroleum, including in joint ventures, and to report to Congress (Bennet press release here).
- a Menendez amendment targeting travel of senior Iranian officials and their families;
- a Menendez amendment targeting blocked Iranian assets and seeking to allow the seizure by the United States of any assets of Iran inside the U.S. (including, for example, exhibits on loan to museums);
- a Vitter (R-LA) amendment requiring an annual report on all the international organizations in which Iran is a member and the amount that the U.S. contributes annually to each organization.
The Committee’s press release announcing the passage of the bill and summarizing key provisions of the bill is available here. An article on the AIPAC website reporting passage of the bill is available here. A statement from the National Foreign Trade Council and USA*Engage criticizing committee passage of the bill is available here. Further reading here, including a preliminary list of amendments offered.
(SETTING RED LINE FOR IRAN WAR) S. Res. xxx: To be introduced any day now by Senators Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-KS) and Lieberman (R-, I mean I-CT) seeking to make it US policy any policy of "containing" Iran with a nuclear weapon or nuclear weapons capability is unacceptable – in effect saying that "capability" would be a red line requiring U.S. military action (the resolved clauses of the resolution, as currently drafted, include no mention of diplomacy). Draft text of the resolution, circulated in the Senate earlier this week (and not necessarily the final text) is available here. (The resolution, and the senators’ announcement of it, was covered previously in the 1/16-20, 2012 edition of the Round-Up). This resolution, which reportedly is backed by AIPAC, is expected to be one of the major "asks" during the upcoming AIPAC policy conference in Washington. Read more here, here, and here. Interestingly, the resolution has been in the offing, but not introduced, for a month – possibly (but by no means certainly) indicating that even in this "everyone wants to sound as tough as possible on Iran" season, some of the current language may go too far for many senators.
(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 2058: Introduced 2/1/12 by Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) and having 16 cosponsors, "A bill to close loopholes, increase transparency, and improve the effectiveness of sanctions on Iranian trade in petroleum products." Referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. See the committee press release touting introduction of the bill here. On 2/2/12, Section 2 of S. 2058 was approved by that committee as an amendment to "the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012," discussed above (see Committee press release here). Read more on the bill here and here.
(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 3843: Introduced 1/31/12 by Rep. Berman (D-CA), "To amend the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 to provide for the imposition of sanctions with respect to the National Iranian Oil Company and the National Iranian Tanker Company." Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services. The press release announcing the introduction of the bill can be read here.
IRAN SANCTIONS) HR
2/2/12 by Rep.
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and two cosponsors, "To require the
imposition of sanctions
on foreign financial institutions that are members of an
entity that provides
services relating to secure communications, electronic funds
cable transfers to the Central Bank of Iran or sanctioned
Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Financial Services. The press release announcing the introduction of the bill can be read here.
(VISAS FOR ISRAELIS) HR 3992: Introduced 2/9/12 by Rep. Berman (D-CA) and three cosponsors, "To allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated United States nationals are eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel." Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
(SYRIA) S. Res. 370: Introduced 2/9/12 by Sen. Casey (D-PA) and 6 cosponsors, "A resolution calling for democratic change in Syria." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. (full text available here).
(SUSPENDING EGYPT AID) S. Amdt 1531 to S. 1813: An amendment offered by Sen. Paul (R-KY) to prohibit assistance to Egypt "unless the President certifies to Congress that the Government of Egypt is not holding, detaining, prosecuting, harassing, or preventing the exit from Egypt of any person working for a nongovernmental organization supported by the United States Government, and that the Government of Egypt is not holding any property of any such nongovernmental organization." During 2/9/12 floor discussion on S. 1813 (a bill to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs), Paul made the case for his amendment. Senate ForOps subcommittee chairman Leahy (D-VT) responded that based on language included in current law (in the Leahy amendment to the last foreign aid bill) – requiring a suspension of military assistance unless it is certified that Egypt is upholding the moves necessary toward democracy – "all the money the Senator is concerned about is being held back because of the Leahy amendment." The Paul amendment has not yet been considered.
2. Odds & Ends
(EGYPT) 2/15/12, Hearing in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia: Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, Part I. Witnesses: Robert Kagan, Michele Dunne, Mr. Eric Trager, and Tamara Wittes.
(EGYPT) 2/16/12, Hearing in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Full Committee: Egypt at a Crossroads. Witnesses: The Honorable Lorne W. Craner, (President, International Republican Institute), Kenneth Wollack (President, National Democracy Institute), The Honorable David J. Kramer (President, Freedom House), and Ms. Joyce Barnathan (President , International Center for Journalists)
(IRAN) 2/14/12: Policy roundtable organized by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) entitled "Iran's expanding influence in Latin America". Featured speakers: Ilan Berman and the Honorable Roger Noriega.
Members on the Record:
King (R-NY), 2/9/12: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Lays Out 2012 Priorities (top priorities: "Continuing to investigate radicalization within the Muslim-American community;" "Studying the presence and activities in the United States of Iran’s intelligence services, proxies such as Hezbollah, and its ally of convenience, al-Qaeda; and the looming Iranian terror threat to the homeland;" and "Probing overseas Islamist money coming into the United States." (All this, despite recent report that threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism is "miniscule.")
Bartlett (R-MD), 2/9/12: Oil Crisis in America (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait)
Rep. Berman (D-CA) 2/8/12: Calling on Egypt to "Walk Itself Back from Precipice"
Gohmert (R-TX), 2/8/12: Our Friend in the Middle East (Bashing Obama officials for not supporting Israel enough in pretty much ever context, and making a pitch, again, for his resolution H. Res. 271, which would put Congress on the record supporting Israel attacking Iran)
Deutch (D-FL), 2/8/12: Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions (commending Obama for imposing new sanctions)
Rep. Olson (R-TX) 2/8/12: Energy Security and Iran
Jackson-Lee (D-TX), 2/8/12: We Are Our Brothers' and Sisters' Keeper (Syria & Egypt)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/7/12: Egypt Campaign Against U.S. NGOs Politically-Motivated, U.S. Aid Cutoff Should be Considered
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/7/12: Meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Leiberman, Emphasizing Unequivocal U.S. Support for Jewish State
Jackson-Lee (D-TX), 2/7/12: National Black HIV/Aids Day & the Release of American Citizens in Egypt
Message from the President to Congress, 2/6/12: Blocking Property of the Government of Iran and Iranian Financial Institutions--Message from the President of the United States (H. Doc. No. 112-85) (message to the Senate here)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/6/12: Fatah-Hamas Agreement to Form Government Shows Extremists Entrenched in PA
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/6/12: New Sanctions on Iran's Central Bank Not Enough
Rep. Peters (D-MI) 2/6/12: UN Security Council and Syria
Poe (R-TX), 2/3/12: Israel’s Right to Defend Itself (implied: Israel’s Right to Bomb Iran)
Leahy (D-VT), 2/2/12: Egypt (On Egypt violence and targeting of US and other NGOs by Egyptian authorities)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/2/12: Iran’s Ties in Latin American Region Pose Threat to U.S. Security
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/2/12: As Iranian Threat Grows, Ros-Lehtinen Introduces Bill to Deny Iranian Banks Access to Vital Financial Service Capabilities
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/2/12: Urges U.S. to Reconsider Support for Weak UN Security Council Resolution, Failed Arab League Efforts
Rep. Leahy (D-VT) 2/2/12: Egypt’s one-year anniversary of the popular revolution
Hoeven (R-ND), 2/2/12: Keystone XL Pipeline (arguing that situation in Egypt, Syria, & Iran prove need for pipeline)
Gardner (R-CO), 2/1/12: Keystone XL Pipeline (arguing that situation in the Middle East prove need for pipeline)
Gohmert (R-TX), 2/1/12: Honoring Lieutenant General William G. Boykin (long, rambling speech about the Keystone XL Pipeline, ANWR, Boykin - and somehow turning into yet another anti-Obama, Islamophobic rant)
Olson (R-TX), 2/1/12: Keystone XL Pipeline (arguing that situation in the Middle East prove need for pipeline)
Sen. Lieberman (ID-CT), Sen. Collins (R-ME), Sen. McCaskill (D-MO) 2/1/12: Progress of Iran Sanctions. The Senators stated that Iran Sanction Legislation "has had a demonstrable impact."
Poe (R-TX), 1/31/12: Keystone Xl Pipeline and the K-Fast Bill (Iran situation makes approval of pipeline a US national security issue)
From the News:
The Cable, 2/8/12: State Department on Egypt: SCAF may not be behind NGO raids (with comments from members)
JTA 2/8/12: Calls grow in Congress to reconsider Egypt aid
The Cable 2/7/12: Avigdor Lieberman comes to Washington (including Hill meetings)
JPost 2/6/12: Why I want to be the values-voice in the US Congress (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach)
The Cable 2/6/12: Kerry: We have many options to help the Syrian people fight back
The Cable 2/1/12: Levin and McCain: Egypt's military aid really is in jeopardy
Check the APN blog for breaking news and analysis about issues related to Israel, the Middle East, and the Hill.
Past editions of the Round-Up are archived and available online.
information, contact Lara