APN Legislative Round-Up: Week ending July 12, 2013

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Congress Responds (with Some Confusion) to Egypt
3. House GOP Love-in with Settler Leader?
4. Hearings/Briefings
5. Members on the Record
6. From the Press/Blogs

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(CUT OFF EGYPT AID) S. 1278: Introduced 7/11 by Paul (R-KY), "A bill to prohibit certain foreign assistance to the Government of Egypt as a result of the July 3, 2013, military coup d'etat." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Text of the bill is not yet available on Thomas, but can be found here. Paul's statement on the introduction of S. 1278 ishere. Paul previously pushed repeatedly to cut off aid to Egypt under the Morsi government.

(PUNISH ARGENTINA - OVER IRAN, AMONG OTHER THINGS) H. Res. 291: Introduced 7/9 by Smith (R-NJ) and DeSantis (R-FL), "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Republic of Argentina's membership in the G20 should be conditioned on its adherence to international norms of economic relations and commitment to the rule of law." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The "whereas" clauses of the resolution include: "Whereas Argentina has undermined global sanctions on Iran by expanding bilateral trade with Iran tenfold over the last 5 years;" and "Whereas Argentina has circumvented due legal process by agreeing with Iran to jointly `re-investigate' the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more--an agreement that ignores the 2006 indictment by independent Argentine Government prosecutors of five senior Iranian Government officials for orchestrating the attack, which led to the issuance of Interpol arrest warrants against the Iranian Government officials." Smith's statement on the resolution, including on its Iran elements, is available here.

(U.S.-QATAR FRIENDSHIP) H. Res. 297: Introduced 7/11 by Grimm (R-NY) and Meeks (D-NY), "Congratulating the State of Qatar on the ascension of their new amir, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on June 25, 2013, and recognizing the special relationship between the United States and the State of Qatar." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Letters:

(IRAN DIPLOMACY) Dent-Price letter: This week, Reps. Dent (R-PA) and Price (D-NC) are seeking cosigners on a letter to President Obama on Iran. Signers of the letter are urging the president, "to pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement." This bilateral initiative is being actively supported by an array of organizations, including APN (our action alert is available here). As of this writing, the letter has reportedly garnered a bipartisan list of more than 50 cosigners. The letter will remain open for signatures until close-of-business on July 17.

2. Congress Responds (with Some Confusion) to Egypt

Congress doesn't seem to quite know what to make of recent events in Egypt. Most members are welcoming of the demise of the Morsi government - some effusively so. Others are being a bit more cautious, given concerns about the ousting of a democratically-elected government, regardless of its political/ideological coloration and irrespective of popular support for its ouster. All of that is separate from the looming question of what will happen with respect to U.S. aid to Egypt. U.S. law explicitly requires a cut-off in aid in the case where a democratically-elected government has been removed by the military (the law applies whether you call what happened a "coup" or not).

Some key members, like Sen. Leahy (D-VT), longtime chairman of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee - the committee with direct jurisdiction of aid-related legislation - have made it clear that in their view, the law requires aid to be cut off. Others, like House ForOps leaders Granger (R-TX) and Lowey (D-NY), have taken a somewhat more cautious stance, seemingly hoping that the new ruling authorities in Egypt will return Egypt to the path of democracy before any tough U.S. decisions need to be made.

Others in Congress seem to imply that they the president should find a way to continue aid, U.S. law notwithstanding. In essence, they seem to be supporting the Obama Administration finding some way around the law - a peculiar position for a lawmaker to take. And late this week, there were press reports that Congress may move to tweak the law to solve the current Egypt aid predicament. Stay tuned.

Sampling of Press Reports (with quotes from the Sunday talk shows)


FoxNews 7/9: While Obama backs Egypt's military, lawmakers in Congress debate whether to halt some aid
HuffPo 7/9: Egypt Aid Question Divides Congress Following Military Takeover
Roll Call 7/9: Bipartisan Divide on Hill Means Egypt Aid Will Keep Flowing
AP 7/9: Congress divided on using aid to pressure Egypt
Washington Times 7/8: To fund or not to fund: Congress bickers on Egypt
NewsMax 7/7: Congress at Odds Over Continuing Aid to Egypt
Washington Post 7/5: Key congressional committee backs Egypt coup
JTA 7/5: Tough congressional language limits Obama's Egypt options

Sampling of Reactions from House Members


Cantor (R-VA) 7/3: ""Egypt's stability is tremendously important for America's national security and for the security of our allies in the Middle East. The Egyptian military has long been a key partner of the United States and a stabilizing force in the region, and is perhaps the only trusted national institution in Egypt today. In the difficult days ahead, it will be important for Egyptian authorities to safeguard the rights, interests, and security of all of Egypt's citizens. For their part, Mohamed Morsi and his allies must put the interests of Egypt's diverse population ahead of the interests of himself or the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian people have made clear that President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government has threatened the pluralistic democracy for which they called two years ago. As President Obama has said, democracy is about more than elections. It is important that Egypt's leaders listen to their people, whose calls for a transparent and pluralistic democratic process should be respected."

Granger (R-TX) and Lowey (D-NY) 7/4: "Egypt has long been an important ally, and its stability is essential for regional and global security. It is our sincere hope that Adli Mansour and the Egyptian military quickly move forward with democratic elections to establish a government that is inclusive of all of Egypt's vibrant and diverse population. A new government must address the concerns of the Egyptian people the Morsi government so flagrantly disregarded. The United States will stand firm in support of human rights, a sound judiciary, freedom of expression, and a truly representative government for the people of Egypt."

Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) 7/5: "The decision by the Egyptian military to take state authority out of the hands of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood government marks another sharp turning point in Egypt's incomplete revolution. What the Brotherhood neglected to understand is that democracy means more than simply holding elections. Real democracy requires inclusiveness, compromise, respect for human and minority rights, and a commitment to the rule of law. Morsi and his inner circle did not embrace any of these principles and instead chose to consolidate power and rule by fiat. As a result the Egyptian people and their economy suffered greatly. It is now up to the Egyptian military to demonstrate that the new transitional government can and will govern in a transparent manner and work to return the country to democratic rule. We are encouraged that a broad cross-section of Egyptians will gather to rewrite the constitution. All parties in Egypt must show restraint, prevent violence, and prepare to be productive players in the future democratic Egypt. We encourage the military to exercise extreme caution moving forward and support sound democratic institutions through which the people and future governments can flourish."

Royce (R-CA) 7/3: "It is unfortunate that Morsi did not heed popular demands for early elections after a year of his incompetent leadership and attempting a power grab for the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was an obstacle to the constitutional democracy most Egyptians wanted. I am hopeful that his departure will reopen the path to a better future for Egypt, and I encourage the military and all political parties to cooperate in the peaceful establishment of democratic institutions and new elections that lead to an Egypt where minority rights are protected. But make no mistake about it, Egypt is in for very difficult days."

Pelosi (D-CA) 7/3: "The United States, like countries across the Middle East and around the world, is monitoring the events unfolding in Egypt today. In a nation and region of such great strategic importance, we encourage all sides to refrain from violence - amidst the current protests and demonstrations, and in the days and weeks to come. What happens next in Egypt is critical to meeting the aspirations of the Egyptian people. We call on the military to expeditiously transfer power to a democratically-elected, civilian government. We urge the military and people of all political persuasions to ensure the transition is non-violent and inclusive, that human rights are protected, and that the rule of law is maintained. A peaceful, democratic transition of power and the legitimate election of a new president are essential to ensuring Egypt's prosperity and enduring stability."

McCaul (R-TX) 7/3: "...I believe this is a positive development and I hope the Egyptian military will move swiftly to restore order and that the United States will play a constructive role in shaping a true democracy in Egypt, which deserves a government that represents all segments of society."

Kinzinger (R-IL) 7/8: "The United States must continue to insist on an orderly and democratic transition in Egypt. I am hopeful that continued aid will maximize our influence as events unfold and assist the Egyptian people in their fight for freedom. If the United States abandons a key point of leverage at this critical juncture, it will only increase the likelihood that violence and radicalization will pollute the process."

Fortenberry (R-NE) 7/3: "The demonstrations and subsequent military intervention reflect President Morsi's inability to implement a just and orderly governing structure in Egypt. Under the guise of democracy, he has consolidated power, disrespected minority rights, and pardoned jihadists while arresting pro-democracy activists. He has violated the responsibilities of just governance. Democracy cannot bring about the values upon which it rests. The Egyptian military is in best position to stabilize the country and seek a return to a responsible government that is capable of implementing majority rule while protecting minority rights, guaranteeing an honest and fair ballot in the future."

Issa (R-CA) 7/3: "While popularly elected, President Morsi's government curtailed freedom of religion and equal rights for the Egyptian people as the country's economy fell into a drawn out period of stagnation. Real democracy is about more than just one election - it requires a framework of justice and respect for the rights of all. Unfortunately, U.S. policy toward Egypt did too little to promote true democracy and avoid the necessity of the events that have taken place. The people of Egypt and institutions, including the Egyptian military, historically have been friends and allies to the United States. Our country must support the aspirations of the Egyptian people for a democratic government that respects the rights of all citizens."

Aderholt (R-AL) 7/3: "...in recent days millions of Egyptians across political and religious lines have been gathering to peacefully demonstrate their desire for a more transparent and real democracy. It is my understanding that the people of Egypt have come together and collected more than 25 million signatures asking for a transitional democratic government. That is nearly twice the number of votes that President Morsi received when he was elected last year. I am very concerned with the reports that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is resisting any attempt to move Egypt to a transitional government, and the possibility of Hamas elements being brought into Egypt from Gaza. That would be a cruel attack on people hungry for democracy. As we are on the eve of celebrating Independence Day here in the United States, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Egypt. I stand in solidarity with their desire to have a government rooted in the basic tenets of democratic representation. President Morsi would be well served to note the will of the people of Egypt and realize that this is about more than just one person or one regime, but rather about the future of the entire nation of Egypt."

Meng (D-NY) 7/2: "I strongly support the decision by the Egyptian military to intervene in the country's political crisis if President Morsi is unable to resolve it within the 48 hour deadline given to him by military leaders. In the wake of deaths, assaults on women, mass unrest and a lack of basic security throughout the country, it has become increasingly and painfully clear that the Egyptian government is losing its ability to govern the nation. As the largest Arab state and the linchpin of security in the region, Egypt cannot be allowed to implode. The U.S. has and should continue to support democratic governance in Egypt. At this juncture, however, the need for basic security is paramount. It is clear that this has compelled the military's announcement, not a desire for power or an aversion to the democratic process. Egypt's military has in the past supported transition to civilian control, and would be expected to do so again."

Rohrabacher (R-CA) 7/8: "It's very sad the Egyptian people were only given two options, Islamic extremist rule or a military government. Given their options it seems the Egyptian people have more faith in the military, as a result the Islamic extremist should be escorted out the door."

Franks (R-AZ) 7/7: "...The Egyptian people have again made clear that they have for too long toiled under oppressive dictatorships and will continue to protest until they have at long last laid hold of their self-evident, fundamental rights. Though it is impossible to predict what will ultimately arise from the midst of the current turmoil, one thing is clear: at the very least, both the Egyptian military and the 20 million Egyptians who have poured into the streets to protest seem to understand, far better than the Obama Administration ever has, the dangers posed by the radical ideas the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to implement."

Buchanan (R-FL) 7/9: ""The American taxpayer should not be funding an Egyptian military that just yesterday massacred 50 of its own people. When is Washington going to wake up and realize that we cannot buy friendships across the globe?"

Radel (R-FL) 7/10: Op-ed in US News, "If Egypt Chooses Military Rule, U.S. Aid Should Be Pulled"

Yoho (R-FL) and Radel (R-FL) 7/6: Article: "Ted Yoho, Trey Radel Cautiously Welcome Egyptian Coup d'Etat"

Sampling of Reactions from Senators


Leahy (D-VT) 7/3: "The Morsi government has been a great disappointment to the people of Egypt, and to all who wish Egypt a successful transition to responsive, representative government under the rule of law. He squandered an historic opportunity, preferring to govern by fiat rather than work with other political parties to do what is best for all Egyptians. Egypt's military leaders say they have no intent or desire to govern, and I hope they make good on their promise. In the meantime, our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree. As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture. As the world's oldest democracy, this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms."

Menendez (D-NJ) 7/3: "Circumstances in Egypt are rapidly unfolding. During this period of upheaval it is critical that all parties exercise restraint, that protests are peaceful, and that violence is rejected. Already too many lives have been lost during this period of unrest, including that of an American citizen. It is imperative that a political solution be reached for the sake of the Egyptian people, and that the nation quickly returns to a democratic and peaceful path where the people's voices are heard and respected."

Corker (R-TN) 7/3: "The U.S. should support the aspirations of the Egyptian people seeking a peaceful, secure, and inclusive government. In determining the future of U.S. assistance, the administration should look at the regional picture with our vital national security interests in mind. Our long-standing cooperation with Egypt, which is essential for stability in the region, should remain a priority. If necessary, I believe Congress would stand ready to work with the administration to address any restrictions that stand in the way."

Casey (D-PA) 7/3: ""During this challenging period in Egypt's transition, I urge all parties to refrain from violence in the wake of today's events. I am hopeful that the path forward will allow for peaceful political transition under a civilian leadership that leads to an election process that is inclusive, transparent and reflects the will of the Egyptian people. Elections, however, are but one step in the democratic process - the new transitional authority must engage constructively with all political actors and finally begin the hard work of building democratic institutions that remain severely underdeveloped throughout Egypt. In April, I traveled to Egypt and saw firsthand the economic and political challenges in the country. As the largest Arab country, what happens in Egypt matters for the rest of the Middle East. Democratic reform will take time following years of autocratic rule by Mubarak and democratic backsliding in recent years. During this tenuous period, the U.S. should be vigilant in support of the democratic process, a free and open press and minority rights in the country. With responsible leadership, a constructive opposition, and vibrant dialogue among all political actors, Egypt can once again emerge as a genuine leader in the region and a valued partner of the United States."

Levin (D-MI) 7/10: "...Events in Egypt, too, appear to have been driven more by political and economic forces than by terrorism or religious extremism. Surely the overthrow of a democratically-elected government in the Middle East should give us pause. While I welcome the departure of President Morsi, who deepened his country's divisions, I do not welcome the manner in which the change was made. There may be circumstances in which the overthrow of a democratically-elected government is justified - for example, if it systematically attacks its own people. There should be a very high threshold for such action, however, and that threshold was not met in Egypt..."

Boxer (D-CA) 7/3: "It is so sad that the promise of the Egyptian Arab Spring was not fulfilled by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Let us hope that the next steps in Egypt's transition are truly reflective of the hopes and dreams of the vast majority of the Egyptian people."

McCain (R-AZ) 7/8: "...I have always said that democracy is about more than elections, and I have consistently urged the Egyptian military to serve as the guarantor of Egyptian democracy and the protector of the Egyptian nation. I understand that the military's removal of Morsi from office was undertaken with broad public support in the name of democracy and could ultimately lead Egypt to a more inclusive and representative civilian government. However, it is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role. Current U.S. law is very clear about the implications for our foreign assistance in the aftermath of a military coup against an elected government, and the law offers no ability to waive its provisions. I do not want to suspend our critical assistance to Egypt, but I believe that is the right thing to do at this time..."

Paul (R-KY) 7/3: CNN Op-Ed: Stop using taxpayer money to aid Egypt's Morsy [note: this was written before Morsi was ousted. Following his ousting, Paul introduced a S. 1278, to bar aid to the post-Morsi military government.]

Paul (R-KY) 7/11: "...Egypt is the latest example of the Obama Administration's misguided foreign policy. The overthrow of the Egyptian government was a coup d'état, and the law is clear that when a coup takes place, foreign aid must stop. But, the President still plans to continue to send aid to Egypt, at a pace of more than $1.3 billion per year. By the President's refusal to call the situation in Egypt a 'coup' and continuing the flow of foreign assistance to Egypt, he is forthrightly saying 'I am ignoring the rule of law.'"

Inhofe (R-OK) 7/10: "...The United States must stand in support of the Egyptian people and their military. The military has consistently been viewed by an overwhelming majority of Egyptians as the most trusted institution in the country and the protector of their rights. For over thirty years, the United States has helped to train Egypt's military which remains key to maintaining stability in the region and peace with Israel. I urge the interim government to move prudently but quickly towards overhauling the suspended constitution and to fast-track the subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections that underpin democratic principles."

Inhofe (R-OK) 7/3: "Since President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood assumed power in Egypt, they have continued to oppress minority political opposition and have failed to bring stability to the country through strengthening the economy or providing basic government services to its people. Essentially, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have done nothing to benefit the people of Egypt, and until the promises to the Egyptian people and the international community have been met, he and the Muslim Brotherhood are unfit to govern. The Egyptian military understands the importance of maintaining peace and stability, and I applaud their efforts to assist the people of Egypt during this interim transfer of power, and their efforts to protect and assist the citizens of Egypt during this recent instability."

3. House GOP Love-in with Settler Leader?

This week the JTA reports in detail on a June 27th meeting between settler leader Danny Dayan and top House Republicans. Based on the email the JTA received from the House Republican Conference regarding the meeting, the GOP participants were very sympathetic to Dayan's ideological agenda. The JTA reports:

...AIPAC, notably, declined an invitation to attend the meeting June 27 between Dayan and top Republicans, including Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the committee's Middle East subcommittee; and Rep. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.), the party's chief deputy whip.

Instead, the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition led the Jewish contingent at the meeting. The ZOA has counter-rebuked the Jewish groups that criticized Bennett and Danon. Foxman, the ZOA said in a June 24 release, was "suppressing opposition to a Palestinian state."

Ros-Lehtinen declined to comment, and Royce and Roskam did not return requests to do so. But an official in the office of the House Republican Conference, which organized the meeting, said the meeting did not constitute an endorsement of Dayan's call to bury the two-state solution. The official said there was sympathy with Dayan's view that Kerry's mission was counterproductive and potentially harmful to US interests.

There was interest as well in a proposal by Dayan that Congress hold a hearing on how Jewish settlement has improved the lives of Palestinians; Palestinians say the expansion of settlements and the security measures that protect settlers have seriously impeded and frustrated daily life in the West Bank.

"The discussion focused on the historic and strategic significance of Judea and Samaria, and on the current obstacles to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, such as Holocaust denial, hero worship of terrorists, and incitement to violence by the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority," said an email from the House Republican Conference to Jewish groups in the capital. "We also discussed the positive ways in which Arabs and Jews currently coexist in Judea and Samaria, including the tremendous economic and jobs boost that Jewish settlements have brought to the area since 1967."

Dayan in an interview in the House Republican Conference office immediately after the briefing said he was pleased with the reception. "I was I must say even overwhelmed by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee" - Royce - "saying he reads all my articles," Dayan said.

The ZOA also put out its own report this week on the meeting, including a summary of Dayan's points and the remarks from Congressional participants:

The members of congress Congressmen's remarks were supportive of Israel and the presence of Jews in YESHA. Representing the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who was attending a family funeral, was Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL). After remarks by Dayan, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-CA) launched a forceful critique of the PA's incitement against Jews and Israel, pointing out that this is being spread in their schools, mosques, media, speeches and children's camps. He made it very clear that this incitement makes the possibility of peace very difficult. Rep. Royce also spoke about his own father, a PFC in a U.S. Army unit that liberated the Dachau concentration camp in 1945 and took photos for the public record of what they found. When the Congressman visited Ramallah as part of a Congressional Delegation two years ago, he confronted PA President Mahmoud Abbas about his own record of denying the Holocaust. Rep. Royce even noted that Abbas has a PhD equivalent from the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where his dissertation focused on Holocaust revisionism. Rep. Royce was able to share his father's personal testimony to challenge Abbas's hateful narrative, and the leader of the PA sheepishly agreed to move on to discuss the future instead of the past. Rep. Royce strongly reiterated the problems and dangers of PA incitement against Jews and Israel and how the PA must be held accountable.

Also speaking were Middle East Subcommittee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who indicated hearings on the Palestinian Arab incitement issue would be forthcoming, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), who spoke of his ongoing commitment to support Israel's ability to defend herself and indicated some of the benefits the US has received from Israel, such as F-16 avionics upgrades. He also stated that technology transfer between the two allies often benefit the US military far more than is commonly understood. Congressman Tom Cotton (R-AK) then emphasized the need for effective sanctions against Iran to persuade the regime to abandon its nuclear program.

4. Hearings/Briefings

7/16: The Senate Armed Services Committee will receive a closed briefing on the situation in Syria.

7/10: Hearing held in the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, entitled, "The Terrorist Threat in North Africa: Before and After Benghazi."Witnesses & briefers were: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (testimony); Aaron Zelin, WINEP (testimony); Daniel Byman, Georgetown University (testimony); and Mike Lovelady, Brother of Algerian gas plant terrorist attack victim, Victor Lovelady (testimony).

7/9: Hearing held in the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, entitled: "Threat to the Homeland: Iran's Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere." Vide of the hearing is available here. Statement by Subcommittee Chairman Duncan (R-SC) about the hearing, including focus on the absence of a witness from Argentina, Alberto Nisman, is available here. Statement from Duncan (R-SC) and McCaul (R-TX) about Argentina's decision to block Nisman's testimony - including Nisman's letter to McCaul expaining that he was denied authorization to testify and a letter from Duncan and McCaul to Argentina's president protesting the decision - is available here. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) makes her views known in comments to PJMedia, here. Witnesses at the hearing were: Ilan Berman, American Foreign Policy Council (statement); Joseph Humire, Center for a Secure Free Society, (statement); Blaise Misztal, Bipartisan Policy Center (statement); Douglas Farah, IBI Consultants (statement). In addition, WINEP's Matthew Levitt submitted written testimony to the committee (testimony not mentioned or posted on the committee's website).

5. Members on the Record

Fortenberry (R-NE) 7/11: Floor comments on the situation in Syria (opposing U.S. military engagement)
Gohmert (R-TX) 7/11: Taking the opportunity of Fortenberry's comments to rant about the Obama Administration's Middle East policies
Sen. Levin (D-MI) 7/10: Remarks on Syria at Carnegie Endowment for Peace (major foreign policy speech)
Boozman (R-AR) 7/10: Report on Mideast Codel - Middle East "Remains Very Volatile"
Sen. Levin (D-MI) and King (I-ME) 7/9: Levin, King call for 'London 11' summit to increase pressure on Assad following Mideast trip
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 7/9: "I Congratulate Miami Beach Native Ron Dermer on Being Selected as the Next Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., and I Thank Outgoing Ambassador Michael Oren for His Service"
Wicker (R-MS) 7/9: Report on delegation trip to Syrian border. "The question now is not whether America puts boots on the ground. We should not and will not do that. The question is whether the administration will strengthen the capabilities of Asad's adversaries. The question is whether the administration will trade its reluctance for resolve and--like that of our NATO allies--respond with robust military aid. So far, efforts in Geneva have failed to bring about a consensus among major world powers that outlines a lasting political transition. Without changing the momentum back to the rebels, the current situation will not change, and the threat to regional stability and to American interests will continue. "
Kaine (D-VA) 7/8: On his recess trip to the Middle East and Afghanistan (part of a bipartisan codel with 5 other senators)
Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) 7/1: Royce, Engel, Committee Members Urge President to Increase Pressure on Iran
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 6/28: "One Year After Morsi Came to Power, Egyptians Return to the Streets Expressing their Displeasure and Seeking to Revive the Revolution For Democratic Reforms, Says Ros-Lehtinen"

6. From the Press/Blogs

HuffPo 7/12: Blue Moon Over Congress: Opening to Push for Diplomacy with Iran
AP 7/12: Syrian opposition: Some in US Congress delay arms
NIAC 7/11: NIAC Legislative Memo: How Congress Can Start the Iran War through Sanctions
Washington Post 7/10: U.S. plan to arm Syrian rebels stalls amid congressional disagreements
Reuters 7/8: Congress delaying U.S. aid to Syrian rebels - sources
Politico 7/7: It's time to hit reset on Iran: Engage Hassan Rouhani (OpEd by Reps. Ellison, D-MN, and McDermott, D-WA)
NIAC 7/3: NGOs [including APN] Call on Congress to Halt Further Iran Sanctions Legislation
Newsmax 7/3: Ros-Lehtinen to Newsmax: Obama 'Bet on Wrong Folks' in Egypt
LobeLog 7/2: Why Have An Intelligence Community When AIPAC Knows Better? (On recent HFAC Iran letter)
Washington Times 7/1: House Democrats join Republicans in calling for tougher action on Iran
Maan 7/1: Hamdallah urges US [Coons Codel] to increase pressure on Israel
Tampa Bay Times, 6/30: Don't get involved in Syria's sectarian war(OpEd by Rep. Toomey, R-FL)

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