APN Legislative Round-Up: October 16, 2015

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
2. Hearings
3. Members on the Record

1. Bills & Resolution

(US-ISRAELI NEUROSCIENCE COOPERATION) HR 3717: Introduced 10/8 by Fattah (D-PA) and no cosponsors, the “U.S.-Israel Global Neuroscience Partnership Act.” Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

(PUSH TO LABEL IRGC AN FTO) HR 3693: Introduced 10/6 by Poe (R-TX) and no cosponsors, to require a report on whether Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a terrorist entity, and for other purposes (the short title gives away the intent of the act: the “IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2015.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(MAKE SOME IRAN SANCTIONS MANDATORY, EXPAND SCOPE) HR 3728: Introduced 10/8 by Schweikert (R-AZ) and no cosponsors, “To amend the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to modify the requirement to impose sanctions with respect to the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran and other sanctioned Iranian financial institutions, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, and Financial Services. The short summary of the bill states: “This bill changes the current discretionary authority to a requirement that the President impose sanctions under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 with respect to the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran and other sanctioned Iranian financial institutions. This requirement may not be waived.  Sanctions are expanded to include, in the case of an alien who is a senior executive or member of the board of directors of a person that provides such messaging services, visa denial and exclusion from the United States, and revocation of any visa or other documentation.”

Letters:

(TELL OFF ABBAS!) Ayotte letter to Kerry: On 10/15 Ayotte (R-NH) sent a letter to Kerry urging that he use his upcoming Middle East trip to condemn Abbas “During your trip, I hope you will: 1) reiterate that America stands unequivocally with our friend and ally Israel and its right to defend its citizens against terrorism; 2) condemn Abbas' September 16 statement; and 3) reject any suggestion of moral equivalence between Israeli security personnel doing their best to protect innocent lives versus terrorists deliberately trying to take innocent lives.”

(IRAN MISSILE TEST): Ayotte-Kirk letter: On 10/14 Senators Ayotte (R-NH) and Kirk (R-IL) sent a letter to President Obama regarding the Iranian ballistic missile test.

(IRAN MISSILE TEST) Corker et al letter: On 10/14, Senators Corker (R-TN), Johnson (R-WI), Gardner (R-CO), Kaine (D-VA), Flake (R-AZ), Barrasso (R-WY), Perdue (R-GA), and Isakson (R-GA) sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking him to clarify if the Iranian ballistic missile test violate the international ban?

2. Hearings

10/8: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Syrian Humanitarian Crisis from the Ground (Part I).” Witnesses were: Bernice Romero, Save the Children (testimony); Mark Smith, World Vision (testimony); David Ray, CARE (testimony); and Michael Bowers, Mercy Corps (testimony).

10/7: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “Iranian Influence in Iraq and the Case of Camp Liberty.” Witnesses were General  (Ret.) James Jones, USMC. Atlatnic Council (testimony);  Former Senator Joe Lieberman (no submitted testimony); and Colonel (Ret.) Wesley Martin, Board of Advisors U.S. Foundation for Liberty and Former Commander, Forward Operating Base Ashraf (no submitted testimony). Video available here.

10/6: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “The U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: Yemen and the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.” Witnesses were Mary Beth Long, Metis Solutions (testimony) and Stephen Seche, the Arab Gulf States Institute (testimony). Video is available here.

 

3. Members on the Record

On violence in Israel/Palestine:

Cruz (R-TX) 10/16: Calling on Kerry to disavow spokesman’s statement suggesting Israelis also are capable of terrorism or resign (apparently Cruz thinks Israelis burning a Palestinian family to death is something less than terrorism)

Reid (D-NV) 10/16: “The attacks by Palestinians on innocent civilians, including women and children, are the cowardly acts of terrorists and should be roundly condemned by anyone with a conscience. Instead of making comments that incite violence, President Abbas should join in condemning these acts of terrorism. The Palestinians cannot be partners in peace as long as they commit terrorist acts like these and seek to use the United Nations to circumvent any real peace process. The State of Israel has every right to defend itself and America will always support that right.”

Gillibrand (D-NY) 10/15: “I'm deeply disturbed by the violence that has killed and injured the innocent, and continues to threaten the people of Israel. These attacks have been waged against people doing nothing more than living their lives: commuting to work and school, running errands, visiting family and friends. President Abbas musts disavow this campaign of terror and remain focused on the only path to peace: direct negotiations.”

Portman (R-OH) 10/15: Standing in solidarity with Israel

Costello (R-PA) 10/15: “The escalating violence against Israeli citizens is deplorable and must come to an immediate end.  Israel has demonstrated resilience and has the fundamental right to defend itself and its people. President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority must denounce this violence and renew their bilateral commitment to peace.”

Zeldin (R-NY) 10/15: Rep. Zeldin Calls for Replacement of State Department Spokesman John Kirby for his suggesting that both Palestinians and Israelis are capable of acts of terrorism (apparently Zeldin thinks Israelis burning a Palestinian family to death is something less than terrorism)

Weber (R-TX) 10/15: Praising Israel’s “restraint” in dealing with the ongoing violence, and blaming the PA and…IRAN (yes, Iran – I don’t think Bibi has even said that)…for encouraging the attacks.

Lowey (D-NY) 10/15: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on Abbas to “do everything in his power to reduce tensions and restore calm.”

Bilirakis (R-FL) 10/15: Standing in solidarity with Israel, calling on Palestinians to condemn violence against Israelis

McSally (R-AZ) 10/15: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on the Obama Admin to do more to condemn the attacks and to “call on Palestinian leaders to end their incitement of violence.”  Also: “To urge a stronger response from our Administration, I’m currently drafting a resolution calling on them to freeze all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until their leaders step up efforts to thwart these attacks and vocally condemn them, and will begin circulating it to my colleagues.”

Lamborn (R-CO) 10/15: Expressing solidarity with Israel & disapproving of Kerry’s “refusal to hold the Palestinians accountable for these acts of terror” (no explanation of what that means

Menendez (D-NJ) 10/14: : Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis and stating, “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his government have an obligation to stop these attacks, to cease the harsh rhetoric that incites them, and to negotiate in good faith for a peaceful resolution. It is imperative that the United States continue to ensure that Israel has the resources its [sic]needs to enhance its security and meet these threats.”

Veasey (D-TX) 10/14: Expressing solidarity with Israel, calling on Abbas to restore calm (despite the fact that most violence is in areas outside PA authority)

Vargas (D-CA) 10/14: Urging the international community to engage to ease Israeli-Palestinian tensions “and bring both parties back together to find a negotiated path towards peace”; also condemning Abbas for incitement

Dold (R-IL) 10/14: United States Must Stand with Israel In Face of Terror Attacks

Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) 10/14:  Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on Abbas to “stop this violence and encourage unity.”

Van Hollen (D-MD) 10/14: “The recent wave of violence against Israeli citizens is horrifying. The international community should immediately condemn these crimes. This violence is a detriment to broader peace and the safety of all people in the region, and it must come to an end.”

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 10/14: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, blaming PA/Abbas incitement

Israel (D-NY) 10/14: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on Abbas to prevent them (despite the fact that Abbas has no authority or ability to act in any part of Jerusalem or Israel)

Nadler (D-NY) 10/13: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on Abbas to “do everything within their power to stop this campaign of vicious and deadly attacks”

Murphy (X-FL) 10/13: Standing in solidarity with Israel, stating that “President Abbas and Palestinian leaders must call for an immediate end to all terrorist attacks and speak out against those who promote hate and violence.”

Hastings (D-FL) 10/13: Calling on the PA to “condemn these terrorist attacks in the strongest terms and work to prevent future acts of violence.”

Engel (D-NY) 10/13: “It sickens me to wake up every morning to news of another stabbing or shooting in Israel.  When will the terrorism end? Violence will never pave the way to Palestinian self-determination.  Terrorism will never build the foundation of a Palestinian state. That approach only undermines the Palestinian cause. Palestinian leaders must to do everything in their power to encourage calm and quell the violence.  Incitement toward these attacks--including blatant excuses for violence--is unacceptable. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these brutal acts of terrorism and their families. And I hope that Israel and its people may soon know peace and security."

Kirk (R-IL) 10/13: America Stands with Israel Amid Mounting Palestinian Terror Attacks (“It is critical that the Obama Administration and Congress press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who regrettably used his speech before the United Nations General Assembly to worsen tensions, to act decisively to end the growing wave of Palestinian violence and return to bilateral peace negotiations with Israel.”)

Maloney (D-NY) 10/13: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis

Hoyer (D-MD) 10/13: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on Abbas to prevent them (despite the fact that Abbas has no authority or ability to act in any part of Jerusalem or Israel)

DeSantis  (R-FL) 10/13: Condemning Palestinian attacks on Israelis, calling on US to “punish” the PA

Cruz (R-TX) 10/8: Statement of support for/solidarity with Israel , blaming PA/Abbas incitement

On the Iran Ballistic Missile Test:

Lamborn (R-CO) 10/16: Accusing Iran of violating international law and once again opposing the JCPOA

Perdue (R-GA) 10/15: Iran’s Already Breaking Rules

Poliquin (R-ME) 10/15: Iran Developing and Test-Firing Long-Range Ballistic Missiles

Royce (D-CA) 10/14: Chairman Royce Demands Aggressive Obama Administration Response to Iranian Missile Test

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 10/14: White House Must Hold Iran Accountable for Ballistic Missile Test, Call for Emergency Security Council Session, Says Ros-Lehtinen

McCain (R-AZ) 10/12: Statement on “failed administration policy toward Iran”

On Iran’s Conviction of Jason Rezaian:

Cotton (R-AR) 10/15: Condemning Iran’s conviction of Jason Rezaian

Engel (D-NY) 10/13: Condemning Iran’s conviction of Jason Rezaian

Roskam (R-IL), Zeldin (R-NY), Pompeo (R-KS) 10/12: Slamming Iran’s Conviction of Jason Rezaian

Other:

Duncan (R-TN) 10/8: Floor statement - We Should Stop Trying to Run the Middle East (against US military intervention in Syria)

 

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