APN Legislative Round-Up: July 9-20, 2016

1. JCPOA Bday Week: Iran-Focused Bills Passed by the House
2. JCPOA Bday Week: New Iran-Focused Bills & Resolutions
3. JCPOA Bday Week: Action on Existing Iran-Focused Bills & Resolutions
4. JCPOA Bday Week: Iran-Focused Letters
5. Other Bills, Resolutions & Letters (Not Focused Solely on Iran)
6. Hearings (more Iran here, too!
7. On the Record: Slamming the JCPOA, Supporting Iran bills, etc
8. On the Record: Defending the JCPOA, Opposing Iran bills, etc
9. On the Record: About Everything Other Than Iran

As expected, last week – which marked the one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA – was for Iran deal opponents in Congress an opportunity for unremitting grandstanding, including with the introduction, promotion, and passage of various pieces of legislation designed to undermine or effectively cancel the agreement (see Washington Post 7/11: House GOP to tackle new Iran sanctions before leaving town). Those efforts were also unapologetically and overtly partisan (see Foreign Policy 7/12: House Dems Rebel Against GOP’s Iran Sanctions Push). For its part (and probably reflecting this partisan problem), AIPAC appears for now to be keeping its powder dry: it sent a memo to the Hill last week (Taking Stock: The Iran Deal One Year Later) acknowledging that the JCPOA has worked in reducing the threat of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and calling on Congress to take a range of actions to get tougher on Iran (a list well worth keeping around for future reference); however, as of this writing the AIPAC “legislative agenda” page does not endorse any of the pending Iran-related measures.

Also: APN on the JCPOA at One Year: A Clear Win for Both the U.S. & Israel; APN resources on the anniversary of the JCPOA are here.

1. JCPOA Bday Week: Iran-Focused Bills Passed by the House

(ALLOWING FOR CONSIDERATION OF 3 PARTISAN, GRANDSTANDING IRAN BILLS) H. Res. 819: Introduced by Byrne (R-AL) 7/11, “Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4992) to codify regulations relating to transfers of funds involving Iran, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5119) to prohibit the obligation or expenditure of funds available to any Federal department or agency for any fiscal year to purchase or issue a license for the purchase of heavy water produced in Iran; and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5631) to hold Iran accountable for its state sponsorship of terrorism and other threatening activities and for its human rights abuses, and for other purposes.” Floor consideration is here – which is an interesting window into the partisan grandstanding behind these bills. Speaking in support: Byrne (R-AL); speaking against: Polis (D-CO), Doggett (D-TX). Passed 7/12 by a 100% party-line vote of 237-172.

(UNDERMINE THE JCPOA ANY WAY WE CAN) HR 5119: On 7/13, this bill was passed by the House by a party-line vote of 249-176 (10 Democrats voting in favor, 2 Republicans against). It was introduced 4/28 by Pompeo (R-KS) and 5 GOP colleagues, “To prohibit the obligation or expenditure of funds available to any Federal department or agency for any fiscal year to purchase or issue a license for the purchase of heavy water produced in Iran,” otherwise known as (seriously), the “No 2H2O from Iran Act.” Passage of the bill is pure partisan grandstanding, given the veto threat contained in the Statement of Administration Policy issued by the Obama Administration. HFAC Chairman Royce (R-CA) sent out a Dear Colleague urging members to support the bill; the committee circulated a “factsheet” making the case for the bill and issued a statement celebrating passage of the bill is here. House Majority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) also issued a statement praising passage of the bill. Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) circulated a factsheet making the case against the bill. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Yarmuth (D-KY) also sent out a Dear Colleague opposing the bill. Floor consideration of the bill is here (pages 44-49 – for some reason this section of the Record is only available via the pdf). Speaking in support of the bill were: Royce (R-CA), Pompeo (R-KS), Trott (R-MI), Lamborn (R-CO), Costello (R-PA), Hill (R-AR), and DeSantis (R-FL). Speaking against the bill were: Engel (D-NY), Doggett (D-TX), Blumenauer (D-OR). See sections 7 & 8, below, for more statements from members on this and other Iran-related bills voted on last week in the House.

(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 5631: On 7/14, HR 5631 was passed by the House by a party-line vote of 246-179 (8 Democrats voting in favor, 4 Republicans against). It was introduced 7/6 by McCarthy (R-CA) and no cosponsors, “To hold Iran accountable for its state sponsorship of terrorism and other threatening activities and for its human rights abuses, and for other purposes,” otherwise known as the “Iran Accountability Act of 2016.” The bill seeks to expand existing sanctions and impose new far-reaching Iran sanctions – linked to the IRGC, Iran ballistic missile program, Iran’s support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. Passage of the bill is pure partisan grandstanding, given the veto threat contained in the Statement of Administration Policy issued by the Obama Administration. GOP Leader McCarthy (R-CA) factsheet in support of his bill. Reps. Hoyer (D-MD), Engel (D-NY), Lowey (D-NY), and Deutch (D-FL) sent a letter to Majority Leader McCarthy entitled, “GOP Bill Undermines Historically Bipartisan Stance on Iran” (press release is here). Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) circulated a factsheet making the case against the bill. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Yarmuth (D-KY) also sent out a Dear Colleague opposing the bill. Floor consideration of the bill is here. Speaking in support of the bill on the floor were: Royce (R-CA), McCarthy (R-CA), Zeldin (R-NY), and Carter (R-GA). Speaking in opposition to the bill on the floor were: Engel (D-NY), Cicilline (D-RI), Price (D-NC), Levin (D-MI), Deutch (D-FL), Hoyer (D-MD), and Connolly (D-VA).  Royce (R-CA) issued a statement praising passage of HR 5631. See sections 7 & 8, below, for more statements from members on this and other Iran-related bills voted on last week in the House.

(REAPPLYING SECONDARY SANCTIONS ON IRAN – IN VIOLATION OF THE JCPOA) HR 4992: On 7/14, HR 4992 was passed by the House by a party-line vote of 246-181 (6 Democrats voted in favor, 3 Republicans voted against). The bill was introduced 4/19 by Royce (R-CA) and having 14 cosponsors (all GOP), “To codify regulations relating to transfers of funds involving Iran, and for other purposes,” otherwise known (misleadingly) as the “United States Financial System Protection Act of 2016.” As helpfully summarized by the RPC, “This bill codifies existing regulations that prohibit the Administration from allowing the U.S. dollar to be used to facilitate trade transactions with Iran and upholds Iran’s designation as a ‘primary money laundering concern,’ to prevent Iran from doing business through international banks.Passage of this bill is pure partisan grandstanding, given the veto threat contained in the Statement of Administration Policy issued by the Obama Administration. HFAC circulated this factsheet in support of the bill. Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) circulated a factsheet making the case against the bill. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Yarmuth (D-KY) also sent out a Dear Colleague opposing the bill. Floor consideration of the bill is here. Speaking in support of the bill on the floor were: Royce (R-CA), Huizenga (R-MI), Hill (R-AR), Schweikert (R-AZ),  Zeldin (R-NY), and Lance (R-NJ); speaking against the bill on the floor were: Waters (D-CA), Doggett (D-TX), Himes (D-CT), Lynch (D-MA). Majority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement praising passage of the bill, as did Royce (R-CA). See sections 7 & 8, below, for more statements from members on this and other Iran-related bills voted on last week in the House.

 

2. JCPOA Bday Week: New Iran-Focused Bills & Resolutions  

(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 3267: Introduced 7/14 by Corker (R-TN) and 5 cosponsors, “A bill to protect against threats posed by Iran to the United States and allies of the United States, and for other purposes.”Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations (of which Corker is the Chairman). For some context, see the Washington Post 7/13: Corker has a new Iran sanctions bill, but more bipartisan support may be hard to come by.  Corker’s press release touting introduction of the bill and highlighting some of its components is here; Rubio’s (R-FL) statement on the bill is here; Menendez’s (D-NJ) is here; Cotton’s (R-AR) is here. Sullivan (R-AK) press release is here.

(EXTEND IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 3281: Introduced 07/14/ by Reid (D-NV) and 13 cosponsors (all Democrats), “A bill to extend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.” Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. NOTE: It will be interesting to see how this bill fares. Given (a) the overtly partisan nature of all the Iran-related efforts on the Hill right now, and (b) the fact that extension of the ISA is specifically listed as a priority on AIPAC’s Legislative Agenda (as of this writing – and as saved in a screen shot in case that changes): “The extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)—which is set to expire at the end of 2016—is a crucial step to ensure that there are sanctions in place to ‘snap back’ should Iran violate the nuclear agreement...” The AIPAC website (as of this writing) does not specifically endorse any of the currently pending Iran-related bills. Press release on the bill from SFRC Dems is here.

(BLOCKING BOEING SALES TO IRAN) HR 5711: Introduced 7/11 by Huizenga (R-MI) and Sherman (D-CA), “To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from authorizing certain transactions by a U.S. financial institution in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Marked up 7/13 by Financial Services Committee and reported out by a vote of 33-21 (party-line except for Sherman, D-CA and Vargas, D-CA). Financial Services Committee press release is here.

(BLOCKING U.S. COMMERCIAL DEALINGS WITH IRAN) HR 5715: Introduced 7/11 by Roskam (R-IL) and 10 cosponsors (only Democrat is Sherman, D-CA), the “No Ex-Im Assistance for Terrorism Act.” Marked up 7/13 by Financial Services Committee and reported out by a vote of 32-21 (party-line except for Sherman, D-CA and Vargas, D-CA). Financial Services Committee press release is here.

(BLOCKING BOEING SALES/LEASES TO IRAN) HR 5716: Introduced 7/11 by Pittenger (R-NC), “To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from issuing certain licenses in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to issue an annual report on the status of, and risks related to, U.S. financial institutions involved with the sale or lease of such a commercial passenger aircraft, and for other purposes.” Referred to House Financial Services Committee.

(BLOCKING US AIRCRAFT OR AIRCRAFT PARTS SALES TO IRAN) HR 5729: Introduced 7/12 by Pittenger (R-NC), “To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from issuing certain licenses in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran, to require annual reports by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Export-Import Bank on financing issues related to the sale or lease of such a commercial passenger aircraft or spare parts for such an aircraft, and for other purposes.” Marked up 7/13 by Financial Services Committee and reported out by a vote of 33-21 (party-line except for Sherman, D-CA and Vargas, D-CA). Financial Services Committee press release is here.

(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS IRAN) HR 5827: Introduced 7/14 by Chabot (R-OH) and no cosponsors, “To require the President to determine whether a sale or transfer of advanced integrated air defense systems to Iran meets the requirements to impose sanctions under certain Iran sanctions laws, and for other purposes.” Referred to House Oversight and Government Reform 

(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 5727: Introduced 7/12 by Kinzinger (R-IL) and 23 cosponsors, “To impose sanctions on persons that threaten the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq,” otherwise known as the “Preventing Iranian Destabilization in Iraq Act.” Referred to House Judiciary Committee. Kinzinger’s press release is entitled, “Rep. Kinzinger Introduces Bill to Counter Iran’s Tyrannical Ambitions Throughout Middle East” and notes that the bill: “seeks to counter the active role of Iran, its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-Quds), and its proxy militias that seek to destabilize Iraq by imposing economic sanctions on Iran and its affiliate terrorist organizations.”

(TO PREVENT FUTURE PAYOUTS TO IRAN) S. 3213: Introduced 7/14 by Lankford (R-OK) and Fischer (R-NE), “A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for transparency of payments made from the Judgment Fund.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On 7/14, Fischer delivered a statement on the Senate floor explaining the need for the measure, stating explicitly that the measure “is the result of payments made through the Judgment Fund to Iran earlier this year” and making explicit that the goal of the measure is to “prohibit the Judgment Fund from being used for this purpose.” Lankford press release is here, entitled, “Senators Lankford, Fischer Introduce Bill to Provide Transparency for Lawsuits Against US, Payments Made to Iran - On 1-Year Anniversary of Iran Deal, Bill Would Prohibit Taxpayer Dollars Going to State Sponsors of Terrorism like Iran.”

(ITALIAN COURTS: STOP PROTECTING IRAN FROM US LEGAL JUDGMENTS) S. Con. Res. 48: Introduced 7/14 by Blumenthal (D-CT) and 2 cosponsors, “A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation should domesticate and recognize judgments issued by United States courts on behalf of United States victims of terrorism, and that the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should cease its political interference with Italy's independent judiciary, which it carries out in the interests of state sponsors of terrorism such as the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This resolution deals with the case of the families of three U.S. citizens killed in acts of terrorism (in Israel) for which U.S. courts found Iran responsible and awarded damages, and those families are seeking to recover those damages by going after Iranian assets in Italy (and Italian courts are not cooperating).

(IRAN: LET OUR CITIZENS GO) S. Res. 529: Introduced 7/12 by Booker (D-NJ) and 4 cosponsors, “A resolution calling upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Booker-Hatch (R-UT) press release is here.

 

3. JCPOA Bday Week: Action on Existing Iran-Focused Bills & Resolutions  

(FY17 FINANCIAL SERVICES APROPS) HR 5485: Introduced 6/15 by Crenshaw (R-FL), the “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017.” On 7/12, received in the Senate and placed on the Senate Calendar. See the 7/8 edition of the Round-Up for details of Iran-related provisions added to the bill as amendments on the House floor.

(NO IRAN SANCTIONS RELIEF UNDER OBAMA-- & WE DON’T NEED TO GIVE A REASON) HR 3460: Introduced 9/9/15 by Roskam (R-IL), “To suspend until January 21, 2017, the authority of the President to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran.”  This bill would bar any sanctions relief under the JCPOA until after the inauguration of the next president of the United States (you can fill in the rest…). HR 3460 was passed by the House 9/11/15 (again, the symbolism of voting on this date was almost certainly not accidental) by a vote of 247 to 186 – with all GOP members voting in favor, and all but 2 Democrats opposing. It was received in the Senate on 9/15/15 – and sat there without any action being taken for almost exactly 10 months, until on 7/14, during the GOP’s “JCPOA-looza” week on the Hill on the Hill, it was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for further action – stay tuned!

(IRAN/CAMP LIBERTY)  S. Con. Res. 42: Introduced 7/06 by McCain (R-AZ) and having 2 cosponsors, “A concurrent resolution to express the sense of Congress regarding the safe and expeditious resettlement to Albania of all residents of Camp Liberty.” On 7/14, reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and placed on the Senate Calendar. The resolution’s second clause notes that it is the Sense of Congress that the U.S. should: “work with the Government of Iraq, the Government of Albania, and the UNHCR to prevent the Government of Iran from intervening in the resettlement process by abusing international organizations, including Interpol and other organizations of which the United States is a member.

(IRAN: LET OUR CITIZENS GO) H. Res. 808: Introduced 7/6 by Royce (R-CA) and having 13 cosponsors, “Calling on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi.” On 7/14, marked up in HFAC and ordered to be reported out of committee by Voice Vote.

 

4. JCPOA Bday Week: Iran-Focused Letters

(GREATER TRANSPARENCY IN REPORTING ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM) Peters et al letter: On 7/15, Sen. Peters (D-MI) and 14 Democratic colleagues (all of whom supported the JCPOA) sent a letter to President Obama urging his administration to “to ensure that the IAEA releases all relevant technical information so that we may continue to make our own judgments about the status of Iran’s nuclear program.” Press release is here.

(SNAP BACK IRAN SANCTIONS NOW) Perdue et al letter: On 7/13, Sen. Perdue (R-GA) and 10 GOP colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry asserting that Iran has likely violated the JCPOA, demanding that the Obama Administration investigate these violations (and posing a list of questions for which they are demanding answers), and calling for snap-back of sanctions. Press release here.

(IRAN ACCESS TO U.S. $$$) Collins-Nelson letter: On 7/8/16, Senators Collins (R-ME) and Nelson (D-FL) led a letter to President Obama, expressing concern “that your Administration is considering accommodation of certain dollar-based transactions for Iran following implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite sanctions imposed on Iran because of illicit activity separate from its nuclear enrichment program.” Totally ignoring the deal that was actually struck under the JCPOA (under which Iran dramatically rolled back its nuclear program in exchange for the promise an end to these kinds of sanctions), the letter closes, stating: “If Iran wants direct or indirect access to the U.S. financial system, Iran can cease money laundering, proliferating weapons, developing ballistic missiles, and supporting terror.” Collins’ press release is here.

(IRAN SANCTIONS, NOW!) Pittenger + 13 letter:  On 7/13 Rep. Pittenger (R-NC) and 13 GOP colleagues sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Treasury Secretary, and Secretary of State urging them (as summarized in the press release about the letter) to “impose stiff penalties on a Chinese government-affiliated company, ZTE Corporation, for blatantly violating Iran export control laws with what appears to be not even a modest attempt to maintain an internal compliance regime.” The press release is entitled, “Congressman Pittenger Demands Obama Administration to Enforce Iran Sanctions Law.”

 

5. Other Bills, Resolutions & Letters (Not Focused Solely on Iran)

(FY17 FOROPS APPROPS) HR 5912: On 7/12, the full House Appropriations Committee marked up, amended, and passed the FY17 State and ForOps Approps bill (press release; report). On 7/15, the bill was reported out of committee and became HR 5912. For Middle East-related details of this bill (and the Senate version) see the 6/18 edition of the Round-Up. Amendments adopted in committee are here.  They include an amendment by Granger (R-TX) adding language added to the Report accompany the bill, as follows:

The Committee is troubled by reports of one-sided resolutions that may come before the United Nations concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as efforts to reestablish parameters for Middle East peace negotiations. Such resolutions may actually hinder the prospects for a resumption of negotiations between the parties. The Committee expects the Secretary of State to support the resumption of direct negotiations as the means of achieving a lasting peace. Furthermore, the Committee instructs the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to continue to employ the longstanding United States veto [of – sic] one-sided Security Council resolutions when such resolutions are not consistent with United States Policy.”

(FY17 NDAA) S.2943: As is always the case, the House and Senate have each insisted on their own version of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act, so the bill will now to a House-Senate conference to resolve differences. On 7/8, the House appointed its conferees; on 7/14 the Senate did the same.

(FY 17 LABOR/HHS/EDUCATION APPROPS – BDS LANGUAGE) HR XXXX: On 7/14 the House Appropriations Committee marked up, amended, and passed the FY17 Labor, HHS, Education Approps bill (press release). Note that the bill has not yet been reported out of committee (as of this writing) so does not have a bill number. The base bill does not include anything related to the Middle East. However, during the markup, the committee adopted an amendment (page 15( proposed by Cole (R-OK), added (in code) anti-BDS language to the Report accompanying the bill. That language reads: “The Committee is concerned about any use of Federal funds to support activities that are in conflict with Congress’s support for the security of Israel. As such, the Committee encourages the Department of Education to take measures to ensure that none of the funds provided in this bill be used to facilitate or support any activities or policies, written or oral, that prohibit interaction with particular academic persons or institutions from a particular country due to an association that the person or institution has with that country.”

(FURTHER US-ISRAEL COOPERATION) HR 5639:  Introduced 7/6 by Moolenaar (R-MI) and 10 cosponsors, and passed by the House 7/11, the “National Institute of Standards and Technology Improvement Act of 2016.” Section 12 of the bill is entitled “United States-Israeli cooperation.” That section is a sense of Congress supporting and encouraging U.S.-Israel scientific cooperation and collaboration.

(MORE $$$ FOR ISRAEL) H. Res. 729: Introduced 5/13 by Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and having 273 cosponsors, “Expressing support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel.” On 7/14, this resolution was marked up and passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and reported out.

(EU SHOULD GET TOUGHER ON HIZBALLAH) H. Res. 750: Introduced 5/25 by Deutch (D-FL) and having 48 cosponsors, “Urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members.” On 7/14, this resolution was marked up and passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and reported out.

(COMBAT PAY FOR US FORCES IN MFO) S. 3272: Introduced 7/14 by Cornyn (R-TX) and no cosponsors, “A bill to provide that members of the Armed Forces performing services in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt shall be entitled to tax benefits in the same manner as if such services were performed in a combat zone.”Referred to the Committee on Finance.

(TO STOP THE SLAUGHTER IN SYRIA) HR 5732: Introduced 7/12 by Engel (D-NY) and having 17 cosponsors, “To halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, encourage a negotiated political settlement, and hold Syrian human rights abusers accountable for their crimes.” Marked up 7/14 by HFAC and reported out. Engel-Royce press release is here.

(MORE US-ISRAEL COOPERATION ON CYBERSECURITY) HR 5843: Introduced 7/14 by Langevin (D-RI) and Ratcliffe (R-TX), “To establish a grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to promote cooperative research and development between the United States and Israel on cybersecurity.” Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security. Press release here.

(MORE US-ISRAEL COOPERATION ON CYBERSECURITY) HR 5877: Introduced 7/14 by Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Langevin (D-RI) “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 to promote cooperative homeland security research and antiterrorism programs relating to cybersecurity, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Press release here.

(SHUN THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD) HR 5823: Introduced 7/14 by Brat (R-VA) and no cosponsors, “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to prohibit provision of assistance to or engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated persons.” Referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security. 

(REFUGEES: NIMBY) HR 5804: Introduced 7/14 by Culberson (R-TX) and 5 cosponsors, “To amend section 412(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to obtain the approval of the Governor of a State before placing or resettling a refugee with the State, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

(THE US HISTORIC COMMITMENT TO REFUGEES) S. 3241: Introduced 7/14 by Leahy (D-VT) and 3 cosponsors, “A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reaffirm the United States historic commitment to protecting refugees who are fleeing persecution or torture.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Leahy’s floor statement introducing the bill noted (among other things): “The ongoing conflict in Syria makes clear the enormity of the humanitarian crisis we face. The terror inflicted by Bashar Al-Assad's regime and ISIS, which now subjects vast swaths of the region to its barbaric rule, has forced more than half of Syria's 23 million people from their homes and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians Currently, there are more than 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom are women and children. The United States must assert its leadership in efforts to resettle the innocent victims of this catastrophe.

(LIMITING REFUGEE ENTRY TO OUR KIND OF PEOPLE) HR 5816: Introduced 7/14 by Babin (R-TX) and 44 cosponsors, “To suspend, and subsequently terminate, the admission of certain refugees, to examine the impact on the national security of the United States of admitting refugees, to examine the costs of providing benefits to such individuals, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. 

(RELIGIOUS FREEDOM GOES BOTH WAYS!) HR 5824: Introduced 7/14 by Brat (R-VA), “To provide that it shall be unlawful for foreign nationals of a country that limits the free exercise of religion in that country to make any expenditure in the United States to promote a religion in the United States, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. [NOTE: The question arises, how would this bill relate to Israel, with its tough stance on proselytizing and its barriers on Palestinian access to holy sites in Jerusalem?]

(THE HEARTBREAKING CRISIS IN YEMEN) S. Res. 524: Introduced 7/11 by Murphy (D-CT) and 2 cosponsors, “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the conflict in Yemen.” Marked up and reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 7/14.

 

Letters

(KUDOS, ISRAEL, ON HANDLING OF THE GAZA WATER/SEWAGE CHALLENGE) Blumenauer-Poe letter: On 7/13, Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Poe (R-TX) led a letter, signed by 12 House colleagues, sent to Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz and Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, praising Israel’s commitment to increase the sale of electricity to Gaza to support the operation of the Northern Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment Project (NGEST). The letter urges the Israeli ministers to consider how this energy can be sustained in the long term to keep NGEST fully operational. Press release here.

 

6. Hearings (more Iran here, too!)

 7/14: The House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up and reported out 13 measures, including a number related to the Middle East: H.R. 5732 (as amended), to impose new sanctions on Syria’s Assad regime and its key backers; H. Res. 729, supporting a robust military assistance package for Israel; H. Res. 750, urging the E.U. to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization; and H. Res. 808, calling on Iran to release Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi. The HFAC press release touting its actions is here; video of the markup is here; a summary of the Committee’s action is here. Ranking Member Engel’s (D-NY) press release on the markup is here.

7/14: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later.” Witnesses were: Mark Dubowitz, FDD (testimony) and Richard Nephew, Columbia University (testimony). Corker’s (R-TN) opening statement is here; Cardin’s (D-MD) is here. Perdue’s (R-GA) statement is here. Video of the hearing is here; podcast is here. Corker’s statement following the hearing (and announcing his new Iran sanctions bill) is here.

7/14: The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a two-panel hearing entitled “Hearing on S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.” It should be recalled that White House strongly opposes this legislation (background here and here). Panel 1 witnesses were: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson (testimony); and Department of State Legal Advisor Brian Egan (testimony). Panel 2 witnesses were: the Honorable Michael Mukasey (testimony); Richard Klingler (testimony); Paul Stephan, UVA Law School (testimony); and Jimmy Gurulé, Notre Dame Law School (testimony). Video of the hearing is here.

7/14: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing entitled, U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Syria: Minimizing Risks and Improving Oversight.” Witnesses were: Thomas Melito, GAO (testimony); and Ann Calvaresi Barr, USAID Inspector General (testimony). Video of the hearing is here.

7/13: The House Financial Services Committee marked up and passed a 3 Iran-related bills: H.R. 5715, the “No Ex-Im Assistance for Terrorism Act”; H.R. 5711, a bill to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from authorizing certain transactions by a U.S. financial institution in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran; and H.R. 5729, a bill to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from issuing certain licenses in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran, to require annual reports by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Export-Import Bank on financing issues related to the sale or lease of such a commercial passenger aircraft or spare parts for such an aircraft, and for other purposes.  Video of the markup is here.

7/13: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats will hold a hearing entitled, “Turkey’s Democratic Decline.” Scheduled witnesses were: Henri Barkey, The Wilson Center (testimony); Fevzi Bilgin, Rethink Institute (testimony); and Alan Makovsky, Center for American Progress (testimony). Video of the hearing is here.

7/12: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, “Human Rights Under Siege Worldwide.” The hearing announcement singles out for special mention as human right violators three countries: Iran, Russia, and Syria. Witnesses (who notably do not include a single representatives of a major human rights organization) were: Mark Lagon, Freedom House (testimony); Thomas Farr, Religious Freedom Institute (testimony); Amanda Schnetzer, the George W. Bush Institute (testimony); and Mark Bromley, the Council for Global Equality (testimony).

7/12: The full House Appropriations Committee is marked up, amended, passed, and reported out of Committee the FY17 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

7/12: The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations held a hearing to present the Joint Staff Report, “Review of U.S. State Department Grants to OneVoice.” Text of Joint Staff Report is here; text of appendix (review of State Department Grants to OneVoice) is here.

 

7. On the Record: Slamming the JCPOA, Supporting Iran bills, etc

Buchanan (R-FL) 7/19: Buchanan Urges Crackdown on Money Flow to Terrorist Groups (appearing to link fund from Iran to ISIS-linked terror)

Corker (R-TN) 7/19: Document Reveals Key Flaw in Iran Nuclear Deal

Kirk (R-IL) 7/19: Kirk Statement on Reports of Secret Document Outlining Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Plan

Royce (R-CA) 7/18: Secret Document Confirms Deal Leaves Iran Just a Short Step From Nuclear Bomb

Donovan (R-NY) 7/18: Statement from Congressman Dan Donovan on the Secret Iran Deal Documents

Black (R-TN) 7/18: Clarifying for the Record that if she had been there she would have voted for HR 5631

Kirk (R-IL) 7/17: oped in The Southern Illinoisan - Congress must act on Iran (calling on Senate to pass HR 5631 or something like it)

Smith (R-NJ) 7/15: House Passes Bills to Address Iran Deal Fallout (HR 5119, HR 5631, and HR 5727)

Tipton (R-CO) 7/15: Tipton Votes to Protect U.S. from Terrorism, Iranian Aggression (HR 5119, HR 5631, and HR 5727)

Denham (R-CA) 7/15: Iran-iversary (HR 5119 plus “I additionally supported the passage of several other terrorism-related suspensions earlier in the week that increase information-sharing about terrorist activities and seek to combat the financing of terrorism.”)

Whitfield (R-KY) 7/15: Whitfield Supports 3 Bills Countering Iranian Aggression (HR 5119, HR 5631, and HR 5727)

Royce (R-CA), McCarthy (R-CA), Zeldin (R-NY), and Carter (R-GA) 7/14: Speaking on the floor during debate on HR 5631

Royce (R-CA), Huizenga (R-MI), Hill (R-AR), Schweikert (R-AZ),  Zeldin (R-NY), and Lance (R-NJ) 7/14: Speaking on the floor during debate on HR 4992

Kirk (R-IL) and Menendez (D-NJ) 7/14: New GAO Study Warns Inspectors Face Challenges in Detecting Iran’s Undeclared Nuclear Activities

Rubio (R-FL) 7/14: oped in the National Review, “Iran’s Aggression And Provocation Have Been Met With Concessions.”

McCain (R-AZ) 7/14: McCain On First Anniversary Of Dangerous Iran Deal

Speaker Ryan (R-WI)’s blog 7/14: Snarky post attacking the JCPOA (“…there’s really nothing to celebrate or joke about today—unless, of course, you’re the Iranian regime. The president’s nuclear deal has only served to bolster Tehran’s terror proxies, ballistic missile program, and oppressive rule over its people. House Republicans are taking action this week to block additional concessions to the mullahs and impose fresh sanctions on the regime for its illicit behavior. The administration should mark this anniversary by reversing course on its dangerous game of appeasing our enemies, but we’re not holding our breath.”)

Royce (R-CA) 7/14: On Iran Deal Anniversary, Chairman Royce Applauds Passage of Measures to Hold Regime Accountable

Hanna (R-NY) 7/14: Why I voted “Yes” on H.R. 4992

Kirk (R-IL) 7/14: Kirk Statement on House Passage of Bill to Punish Iranian Terrorism & Missile Threats

Fitzpatrick (R-PA) 7/14: Fitzpatrick, House Vote to Hold Iran Accountable (HR 5631, HR 5119, and HR 4492)

Lankford (R-OK) 7/14: Floor speech in Iran deal and plugging his own Iran-related initiatives (excerpt: “Happy birthday to the Iran nuclear deal. I hope that in the years ahead, we can say that we have a non-nuclear power Iran, but I will tell you that based on what has happened in the past year, I remain incredibly skeptical of that.”

Stefanik (R-NY) 7/14: Stefanik Votes for Important Legislation to Hold Iran Accountable (HR 5631, HR 5119, and HR 4492)

Cramer (R-ND) 7/14: House Bills Address Concerns One Year After Iran Deal

Hill (R-AR) 7/14: “…in my view, the Iranian Nuclear Agreement remains the biggest foreign policy blunder of the last eight years

Lamborn (R-CO) 7/14: Oped in Medium entitled, “8 Ways Iran Has Become More Aggressive Since the Iran Deal

Perry (R-PA) 7/14: Rep. Perry Backs Bills to Block More Concessions to Iran

Heck (R-NV) 7/14: Heck Backs House Actions Against Iran (HR 5119, HR 5631, and HR 5727)

Kline (R-MN) 7/14: Holding Iran Accountable (HR 5631)

Zeldin (R-NY) 7/14: Rep. Zeldin Voices his Support and Votes for Two Bills to Hold Iran Accountable on One Year Anniversary of Iran Nuclear “Deal”

Rigell (R-VA) 7/14: “Holding Iran Accountable” touting Rigell’s support for and House passage of HR 5119, HR 5631, HR 5594, HR 5607, and HR 4492

Wilson (R-SC) 7/14: Floor statement: One Year of the Dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal

Rothfus (R-PA) 7/14: Rothfus Votes to Hold Iran Accountable (HR 5631)

Lance (R-NJ) 7/14: Lance Backs New Sanctions on Iran (HR 5631)

Scalise (R-LA) 7/14: Iran Deal ‘has failed America and our allies’ (on backing HR 5631 and HR 4492)

Pittenger (R-NC) 7/14: Congressman Pittenger’s Bill to Stop Dual Use Military Aircraft Exports to Iran Passes Committee (HR 5729)

Roe (R-TN) 7/14: On One Year Anniversary of Iran Deal, Roe Votes to Impose Sanctions and Protect Taxpayers (HR 5631, HR 5119, and HR 4492)

Hensarling (R-TX) 7/14: Hensarling Votes to Block the President from Granting Further Concessions to Iran (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Sessions (R-TX) 7/14: Sessions Takes a Stand Against Iran (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Loudermilk (R-GA) 7/14: Loudermilk Supports Iran Accountability Act (HR 5361, HR 4992 and HR 5119)

Graves (R-GA) 7/14: Rep. Tom Graves Votes to Hold Iran Accountable (HR 5119 and HR 5361)

Flores (R-TX) 7/14: Holding Iran Accountable (on backing HR 5631 and HR 4492)

Allen (R-GA) 7/14: House Moves to Impose Iran Sanctions (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Allen (R-GA) 7/14: Floor statement – “IRAN DEAL IS BAD FOR AMERICA”

Ross (R-FL) 7/14: Ross Votes to Hold Iran Accountable and Protect Human Rights (HR 5631)

Roe (R-TN) 7/14: On One Year Anniversary of Iran Deal, Roe Votes to Impose Sanctions and Protect Taxpayers (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Latta (R-OH) 7/14: Latta Backs Package of Bills to Hold Iran Accountable (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Barletta (R-PA) 7/14: Barletta Supports Aggressive Approach to Containing Iran, Terrorism (HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361)

Royce (R-CA), Pompeo (R-KS), Trott (R-MI), Lamborn (R-CO), Costello (R-PA), Hill (R-AR), and DeSantis (R-FL) 7/13: Speaking on the floor during debate on HR 5119

Cotton (R-AR) 7/13: Applauding House's Passage of Legislation Blocking Heavy Water Purchases from Iran

HFAC Blog 7/13: Blogpost entitled “Holding Iran Accountable” making the case for HR 5119, HR 4992 and HR 5361 (intro quote from Royce, R-CA): “This flawed nuclear deal is only entrenching Iran’s military and security forces that run the country.  Now more than ever, we need a policy of backbone, not backing down.”)

Lamborn (R-CO) 7/13: Statement Supporting H.R. 5119 - No Heavy Water From Iran Act

Roe (R-TN) 7/13: Weekly Column - The Iran Deal Turns One

Pompeo (R-KS) 7/13: Pompeo Applauds Bipartisan Prohibition of Heavy Water Purchases from Iran (JR 5119)

Garrett (R-NJ) 7/13: Garrett votes to ensure U.S. banks never finance airplane sales to Iran (HR 5729, HR 5711, and HR 5715)

Speaker Ryan (R-WI)’s blog 7/13: House to Block Administration’s Concessions to Iran

Roskam (R-IL) 7/13: Slamming the JCPOA and taking shots at Boeing for pursuing deals with Iran

LaMalfa (R-CA) 7/12: Floor statement - Iran Deal Doomed from Beginning

Zeldin (R-NY) 7/11: Rep. Zeldin Statement on German Intel Claiming Iran Violated Nuclear Agreement

Roskam (R-IL) 7/8: Congress Easily Blocks Boeing-Iran Sale (On House adoption of amendments to HR 5485 – for details see the 7/8 edition of the Round-Up) NOTE: Congress has not blocked anything at this point (only the House has adopted the measures Roskam is so delighted about – and House passage alone does not a law make).

McCarthy (R-CA) 7/8: Surprise! Iran is Breaking the Nuclear Deal

 

8. On the Record: Defending the JCPOA, Opposing Iran bills, etc

Van Hollen (D-MD) 7/15: Van Hollen Statement opposing HR 5631, HR 4992 and HR 5119

Engel (D-NY), Cicilline (D-RI), Price (D-NC), Levin (D-MI), Deutch (D-FL), Hoyer (D-MD), and Connolly (D-VA) 7/14: Opposing HR 5631

Waters (D-CA), Doggett (D-TX), Himes (D-CT), Lynch (D-MA) 7/14: Opposing HR 4992

Durbin (D-OH) 7/14: On the 1st anniversary of the JCPOA (excerpt: “despite all the naysayers and efforts to undermine this deal--including an unprecedented letter signed by most in the majority party to the hardline Iranian Supreme Leader that aimed to undermine our own President's efforts to negotiate a deal--the agreement is working.”

Pelosi (D-CA) 7/14: Pelosi Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement Anniversary

Ellison (D-MN) & FCNL’s Kate Gould 7/14: Oped in the Hill: At one year mark, Iran deal has already made world safer

Miller (D-MI) 7/14: U.S. Cannot Afford to Ignore Iran’s Deplorable, Destabilizing Actions (HR 5119, HR 5631, and HR 5727)

Peters (D-CA) 7/14: Rep. Peters Votes Against Three Bills that Could Make it Easier for Iran to Obtain a Nuclear Weapon (HR 5361, HR 4992 and HR 5119)

Lee (D-CA) 7/14: Congresswoman Lee Celebrates a Safer World Thanks to the Iran Deal

Blumenthal (D-CT) 7/14: Long floor statement in support of the JCPOA, discussing needs for greater enforcement and pressure on Iran, and pushing for greater military aid for Israel

Waters (D-CA) 7/14: Waters: Republicans Pass Reckless Iran Financing Bill, Leave Important Issues on the Table (HR 4992)

Doggett (D-TX) 7/14: “Tough diplomacy, so far, is working with the Iran Nuclear Agreement.” (video of remarks on the floor)

Engel (D-NY), Doggett (D-TX), Blumenauer (D-OR) 7/13: Opposing HR 5119

Waters (D-CA) 7/13: At Markup [in House Financial Services Committee], Waters Opposes GOP Efforts to Undermine Iran Nuclear Deal

Coons (D-DE) 7/13: Lengthy floor statement about the JCPOA (excerpt: “in my assessment so far, this deal has done what it intended to do. Because of aggressive enforcement of the terms of the agreement, the JCPOA has cut off Iran's most likely short-term uranium and plutonium pathways to building a nuclear weapon. The time it would take for Iran to break out, to assemble enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon has extended significantly from just 2 to 3 months to well over a year.”

Carper (D-DE) 7/13: Lengthy floor statement about the JCPOA (excerpt: “At this time a year ago, there were a lot of skeptics as to whether Iran would keep its part of the bargain and not go forward with developing nuclear weapons. We heard arguments that they would evade inspection and that Iran would never live up to their obligations under the agreement that we signed a year ago tomorrow…a year later that I believe there is good reason to believe the critics were proved wrong when Iran took those irreversible steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program--steps that were certified by the nuclear watchdogs at the International Atomic Energy Agency.”)

Polis (D-CO) 7/13: Speaking out against Iran bills (video of remarks on the floor)

Hoyer (D-MD), Engel (D-NY), Lowey (D-NY), and Deutch (D-FL) 7/12: Letter to Majority Leader McCarthy - GOP Bill Undermines Historically Bipartisan Stance on Iran

Blumenauer (D-OR) 7/12: Iran Nuclear Agreement Anniversary (excerpt: “In a very dangerous world, that agreement has made us a little bit safer. This would be a mistake of tragic proportions to undermine it.”)

Doggett (D-TX) 7/12: Opposing GOP efforts to undermine the JCPOA. (video of remarks on the floor)

 

9. On the Record: About Everything Other Than Iran

Royce (R-CA) 7/16: Chairman Royce Statement on Unrest in Turkey

Zeldin (R-NY) and Cruz (R-TX) 7/14: Rep. Zeldin and Sen. Cruz Issue Joint Statement on New PSI Report Investigating State Department Grants to OneVoice

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 7/14: Ros-Lehtinen Initiated GAO Review Of U.S. Humanitarian Assistance In Syria Finds That The State Department And USAID Need To Do More to Combat Waste, Fraud, And Abuse

Portman (R-OH) and McCaskill (D-MO) 7/12: Portman, McCaskill Release Bipartisan Report Regarding State Department Grantee In Israel

Meadows (R-SC) 7/12: Meadows Statement on Potential State Department Tampering in Israeli Elections

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