APN Legislative Round-Up: October 30, 2015

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Hearings
3. On the Record

Shameless plug:

10/29: Time for a New Israel-Palestine Peacemaking Paradigm (by Lara Friedman, in Huffington Post)
10/20: Netanyahu's REAL Settlement Record (by Lara Friedman & Hagit Ofran)


1. Bills & Resolutions

(HONORING YITZHAK RABIN) S. Res. 299 and H. Res. 502: Introduced 10/28 in the Senate by Feinstein (D-CA) and 8 cosponsors, and in the House by Ellison (D-MN) and 3 cosponsors “A resolution honoring the life, legacy, and example of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the twentieth anniversary of his death.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Foreign Affairs, respectively.  Feinstein press release is here; Ellison press release is here.  APN STRONGLY SUPPORTS THESE RESOLUTIONS AND IS URGING MEMBERS TO COSPONSOR.

(THE ETERNAL FIGHT AGAINST UNRWA) HR 3829: Introduced 10/26 by Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the latest edition of the UNRWA Anti-Incitement and Anti-Terrorism Act.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Ros-Lehtinen’s 10/27 press release touting the bill is here; her 10/28 floor statement doing the same thing is here. Ros-Lehtinen introduced similar legislation in 2014 (HR 5647) and 2010 (HR 5065). All of these bills seek to put conditions on UNRWA funding that for the most part are already required under the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill [most recently in HR 83, Sec. 7048(d)]. The key element in these bills that is NOT part of existing legislation is the sense of Congress in effect calling for UNRWA to be dissolved, reflecting a cherished, irrational conviction of some in Israel and the U.S. that if they can only do away with UNRWA, and if they can only re-define in U.S. law “Palestinian refugees” to exclude almost every Palestinian who considers himself or herself to be a refugee, then, presto, the Palestinian refugee “problem” will be solved! Because everyone knows that Palestinians – those who lost homes in what is now Israel and their descendants – are looking to Congress for permission to consider themselves refugees.

(JCPOA BAD FOR ISRAEL, SUPPORT ISRAEL AGAINST IRAN) H. Res. 500:  Introduced 10/28 by King (R-IA) and an all-GOP line-up of 38 cosponsors, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the State of Israel has the right to defend itself against Iranian hostility and that the House of Representatives pledges to support Israel in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty.”  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The key finding of H. Res 500 is that the JCPOA “substantially diminishes the security of Israel.” As a result, H. Res. 500 would make it a sense of the House that “the State of Israel has the right to defend itself against Iranian hostility” and that “the House of Representatives pledges to support the State of Israel in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty” – recalling in spirit 2013’s AIPAC-backed S. Res. 65 (aka, the “backdoor to war” resolution).  H. Res. 500 is proof that while the main battle over the JCPOA is over, skirmishing continues – especially when members seen an opportunity to earn partisan, grandstanding points on Israel.

 

2.  Hearings

11/5: The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security will hold a hearing entitled “Iran’s Power Projection Capability.” No witnesses have been announced as of this writing.

11/4: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing (presided over by Senator Cruz, R-TX) entitled, “Justice Forsaken: How the Federal Government Fails the American Victims of Iranian and Palestinian Terrorism.”  No witnesses have been announced as of this writing.

11/4: The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on presidential authority to waive anti-terror provisions in the tax code with respect to Iran. No witnesses have been announced as of this writing.

11/4: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “U.S. Policy in North Africa.” Scheduled witnesses are:  Haim Malka (CSIS) and William Lawrence, (GWU- Elliot School).

11/4: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “U.S. Policy After Russia’s Escalation in Syria.” Scheduled witnesses are: Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Committee press release is here.

11/4: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats will hold a hearing entitled, “Challenge to Europe: The Growing Refugee Crisis.” Scheduled witnesses Gary Shiffman, Georgetown University; and V. Bradley Lewis, The Catholic University of America.

10/28: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “The U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East.” Witnesses were: Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (testimony); and General John R. Allen (USMC, Ret.), Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, U.S. Department of State (testimony). Video of the hearing is here. More on the hearing: Corker (R-TN) 10/28: Corker Presses State Department on U.S. Sanctions Against Iran for Violation of UN Ballistic Missile Test Ban

10/27: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “United States Military Strategy in the Middle East.” Witnesses were: Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (testimony) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford (no written testimony).

10/27: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a CLOSED briefing entitled, “Administration Response to Syrian Conflict.” The sole briefer was Secretary of State Kerry.

10/27: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Syrian Humanitarian Crisis from the Ground (Part II).” Witnesses were: Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (statement); León Rodríguez, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (statement) and Thomas Staal, USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (statement).

 

3.  On the Record

(Note: AIPAC is continuing to maintain and update its handy public scorecard – I mean, tally – of Members of Congress condemning the PA, blaming PA incitement for the current violence, and demanding that this incitement stop).

Lieu (D-CA) 10/28: Congressman Lieu Statement on Recent Violence in Israel

Trott (R-MI) 10/28: Criticizing the JCPOA, "This deal was predicated on Iran changing its rogue behavior. We are 10 days into this deal, and so far, I have to say, we are not off to a very good start."

Peters (D-MI) 10/28: Peters Cosponsors Legislation Strengthening U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation S (S. 1789)

Lowenthal (D-CA) & Meadows (R-NC) 10/27: Op-ed in the Hill “Myths and facts from on the ground in Israel” (“No long-term peace can be achieved without two willing parties. The Israeli government is willing to work toward a long-term solution. It’s time the Palestinian Authority denounces Hamas’s terrorist activities and moves forward in pursuit of peace.”)

Cotton (R-AR) 10/27: Cotton slams Obama Administration's invitation to Iran to participate in Syria talks

McCain (R-AZ) 10/27: McCain slams Obama Administration's support for Russian invitation to Iran to participate in Syria talks

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 10/27: Press release - Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Response Cannot Be Met by United States Alone, Other Nations Must Step Up

Dold (R-IL) 10/27: Video - Ask Bob: U.S.-Israel Relationship (“I will always stand by our friends in Israel because the U.S.-Israel relationship is not about left vs. right; it is a right vs. wrong issue.”)

Garrett (R-NJ) 10/26: Garrett Visits Israel to Discuss Security of U.S. and Allies with Netanyahu and Military Officials

Lofgren (D-CA) 10/23: “I am concerned and saddened by the recent reports of increased violence in Israel and the West Bank. I join with Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in urging both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly condemn the violence, use rhetoric that will calm tensions in the region, and refrain from making public statements that will incite violence. It is my hope that Secretary Kerry's visits with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu this week are helpful in putting an end to the violence that has already taken so many lives and allows for a constructive dialogue that can ultimately lead to a peaceful resolution for the region.”

 

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