Legislative Round-up: July 20, 2018

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived

1. Bills, Resolution, & Letters
2. Hearings & Markups
3. On the Record


1. Bills & Resolutions, & Letters

(CONTINUING TO TARGET UNRWA) HR 6451: Introduced 7/19 by Lamborn (R-CO) and 5 GOP cosponsors, To establish the policy of the United States with respect to contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  This comes on the heels of HR 5898, “To require the Secretary of State to develop a strategy on administration policy regarding UNRWA, and for other purposes,” introduced 5/21.
 
(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 3243: Introduced 7/19 by Cotton (R-AR) and no cosponsors, “A bill to impose sanctions with respect to Iranian persons who engage in politically-motivated harassment, abuse, extortion, or extended detention or trial of individuals in Iran, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Iran Hostage Act.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. As noted in Cruz’s press release, the House passed its own version of the bill, HR 4744, on April 26.
 
(RESTRICTING ASSISTANCE FOR TURKEY OVER DETAINED US PASTOR) S. 3248: Introduced 7/19 by Corker (R-TN) and 5 bipartisan cosponsors, “A bill to restrict the provision by international financial institutions of loans and financial and technical assistance to the Government of Turkey, and for other purposes.” Corker (R-TN) & Menendez (D-NJ) press release: Senators Introduce Bill Demanding Turkey End Unjust Detention of US Citizens. Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
 
(THREATS TO ISRAEL) HR 6237: Introduced 6/27 by Nunes (R-CA), the “Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.”  On 7/12, the House adopted H. Amdt. 861, offered by Schneider (D-IL), adding a provision directing the DNI to report on Iran's support for proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon, including Hizballah and an assessment of the threat posed to Israel and other U.S. regional allies (S. 2515, “Report on Iranian expenditures supporting foreign military and terrorist activities”). Schneider press release is here. The final bill also includes Sec. 2511, “Report on Iranian support of proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon.” The House passed HR 6237 7/12 by a vote of 363-54, and referred it to the Senate.
 
(GOING AFTER TERRORISTS) S. 2946: Introduced 5/24 by Grassley (R-IA) and Cruz (R-TX), and having 9 bipartisan cosponsors, the “Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018” (covered in the 5/25/18 edition of the Round-Up). Reported out of the Judiciary Committee on 7/12; Grassley floor statement is here (noting, among other things, that “It is supported by groups like AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Christians United for Israel, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, the National Council of Young Israel, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Zionist Organization of America.” As noted in Cruz’s original press release, the purpose of the bill is to make “needed improvements to the Antiterrorism Act of 1992 to better ensure that American victims of international terrorism can obtain justice in U.S. courts by holding accountable those who commit, or aid and abet, terrorist activity abroad.” Cruz goes on to assert that, “The history of Palestinian and Iranian terrorism against Americans is extensive, going decades and ranging from hijackings to suicide bombings and assassinations,” Sen. Cruz said. “For too long American citizens have been disgracefully denied justice. This bill will ensure that American victims of terrorism are empowered to secure accountability from terrorists and their supporters.” The press release specifically cites Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization in explaining the need for the legislation. Note: The House companion bill, HR 5954, was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on 6/13.
 
Letters
 
(KHAN AL AHMAR) House Dems statement: On 7/12, a group of House Democrats released a statement in opposition to the demolition of Khan al Ahmar. The group is composed of: Jayapal (D-WA), Pocan (D-WI), Schakowsky (D-IL), Yarmuth (D-KY), Price (D-NC), Welch (D-VT), Lee (D-CA), Ellison (D-MN) and Grijalva  (D-AZ).
 
(TRANSPARENCY ON HOLDS ON $$$ FOR PALESTINIANS) HFAC Dems Letter: On 7/11, Reps. Deutch (D-FL), Connolly (D-VA), Cicilline (D-RI), Frankel (D-FL), Gabbard (D-HI), Boyle (D-PA), Lieu (D-CA), Schneider (D-IL) and Suozzi (D-NY) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging full transparency in his Administration's review of U.S. assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Press release is here.

2. Hearings & Markups

7/24: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a hearing entitled, “Egypt: Security, Human Rights, and Reform.” Witnesses will be: Samuel Tadros, Hudson Institute; Michele Dunne, Carnegie; Jared Genser, Georgetown University Law Center; and Andrew Miller, POMED.
 
7/17: The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security [acting in its capacity, apparently, as a second House foreign affairs committee) held a hearing entitled, “A New Horizon in U.S.-Israel Relations: From an American Embassy in Jerusalem to Potential Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” Witnesses were: Michael Doran, Hudson Institute (statement – arguing that “US national interests demands recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights”); Dore Gold, JCPA (statement, arguing that the US recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would be the “strongest rebuttal” to those who use force to threaten their neighbors); Eugene Kontorovich, Northwestern (statement – arguing that from the start it was an error in foreign policy consensus to not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, and that it is high time to fix that error); Daniel Kurtzer, Princeton (statement – arguing that there is no American interest in recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan at this time, nor would do so enhance Israeli security.); and Morton Klein, Zionist Organization of America (statement, concluding with, “Enshrining Israel’s right to the Golan Heights, by conferring U.S. recognition, would strengthen the security and stability of Israel, our Middle East allies, the entire region, the U.S. and the free world.”) Video of this hugely entertaining hearing is here. And congratulations, House Oversight Subcommittee, for convening another all-male panel!
 
7/12: The House Finance Committee’s held a hearing entitled, “Countering the Financial Networks of Weapons Proliferation.” Witnesses (focused very heavily on Iran and Iran sanctions) were: David Albright, ISIS (statement); Tom Keatinge, Royal United Services Institute (statement); Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD (statement); and Elizabeth Rosenberg, CNAS (statement). Video is here.
 

3. On the Record

Torres (D-CA) 7/18: Floor statement, “Recent attacks on Israel”
Menenedez (D-NJ) & Engel (D-NY) 7/16: Statement on Trump-Putin Summit and Syria
Cruz (R-TX) 7/14: Statement Following Latest Hamas Attack on Israel
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 7/12: Floor statement, “Commemorating Victims Of 1994 Terrorist Attack Against Jewish Community In Argentina”
Poe (R-TX) 7/11: Floor statement, “Attack on the MEK Rally”

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