APN Legislative Round-Up: Week ending June 28, 2013

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Hearings/Briefings
3. Members on the Record
4. From the Press/Blogs

The House and Senate are now in recess until July 8, so no Round-Up next week (yippee!).

Of note:
APN's Top 10 Messages of Encouragement to Secretary Kerry as He Returns to the Middle East

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(BLOCKING FUNDS FOR MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA) HR 2507: Introduced 6/26 by Massie (R-KY) and 9 cosponsors, "To restrict funds related to escalating United States military involvement in Syria." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committees on Armed Services, and the Intelligence Committee (Permanent Select). Massie press release on the bill is here.

(BLOCKING FUNDS FOR MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA) HR 2503: Introduced 6/25 by Yoho (R-FL) and no cosponsors, "To prohibit the obligation or expenditure of funds to provide military assistance to opposition forces in Syria." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committees on Armed Services, and the Intelligence Committee (Permanent Select). Yoho press release on the bill is here.

(AUTHORIZING - WELL, ACTUALLY EMPHATICALLY BLOCKING - FUNDS FOR MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA) HR 2501: Introduced 6/25 by Rooney (R-FL) and 8 cosponsors, "To authorize assistance to conduct military or paramilitary operations in Syria, and for other purposes." The short title of the bill is the "Congressional Accountability and Oversight in Syria Act." The text of the bill is not yet in Thomas, but is available here. Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Rooney statement (along with original co-sponsor McCaul, R-TX) on the bill is available here (and here).

(BLOCKING FUNDS FOR MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA) HR 2494: Introduced 6/25 by Gibson (R-NY) and 6 cosponsors (bipartisan), "To restrict funds related to escalating United States military involvement in Syria." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committees on Armed Services, and the Intelligence Committee (Permanent Select). Press releases from original co-sponsors: Jones (R-NC)Welch (D-VT),Gibson (R-NY)Nolan (D-MN).

(BLOCKING FUNDS FOR MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN SYRIA) HR 2492: Introduced 6/25 by DesJarlais (R-TN) and Nugent (R-FL), "To restrict funds related to escalating United States military involvement in Syria." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committees on Armed Services, and the Intelligence Committee (Permanent Select). DesJarlais press release on the bill is here.

(BLOCK FUNDING FOR EGYPT) HR 2544: Introduced 6/27 by Schweikert (R-AZ) and 4 cosponsors, "To limit United States economic assistance and to oppose World Bank and International Monetary Fund assistance to the Government of Egypt." Referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(IRAN/SYRIA) H. Amdt. 236 to HR 2231: An amendment offered 6/27 by Lamborn (R-CA) to the "Offshore Energy and Jobs Act," to "prohibit the authorizing of leases under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to any person in violation of various Iranian sanctions." Lamborn's floor statement/floor discussion of his amendment is here. The amendment was adopted 6/27 by voice vote.

(US-JORDAN RELATIONS) H. Res. 222: Introduced 5/17 by Meeks (D-NY) and having 36 cosponsors, "Recognizing the long-term partnership and friendship between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, working together towards peace and security in the Middle East." On 6/27 the House Foreign Affairs committee marked up and passed H. Res. 222, after adopted an amendment in the nature of a substituteoffered by Meeks. Full details on the markup, including video, are available here.

(IRAN HOSTAGES COMPENSATION) S.559: Introduced 3/13 by Isakson (R-GA) and having 6 cosponsors, the "Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2013." On 6/25 S. 559 was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a voice vote. A statement applauding the SFRC action from Isakson and primary co-sponsor Blumenthal (D-CT) is available here (and here). The SFRC press release on the passage of S. 559 (and other measures during that same mark-up) is available here. Article from Arutz Sheva here.

Letters:

(NO LET-UP ON INCREASING IRAN SANCTIONS) Royce-Engel Letter: This week, House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chairman Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Engel (D-NY) are circulating among HFAC members a letter President Obama regarding Iran. The letter, which is expected to be signed by all or nearly all HFAC members from both parties, argues for a continuation of the U.S. strategy of increasing sanctions on Iran, notwithstanding the recent Iranian elections. The letter dismisses the results of the election as irrelevant, arguing simultaneously that, (a) "there appears nothing 'moderate'" about the new President-elect's approach on the nuclear issue, and (b) regardless of whether or not he is moderate, the President has little power when it comes to decision-making over Iran's nuclear program. The letter highlights HFAC's plans to move ahead rapidly with the passage of HR 850, the latest major Iran sanctions bill (discussed in detail in previous editions of the Round-Up, most recently in the context of the bill's HFAC mark-up,here). AIPAC reportedly is strongly backing the HFAC letter (the letter's arguments closely resembles those articulated in the AIPAC policy briefissued immediately after the election).

(REQUEST TO GAO FOR REPORT ON EGYPT) Ros-Lehtinen-Connolly Letter: On 6/25, Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Connolly (D-VA) sent a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States requesting "a review of U.S. economic and security assistance to Egypt." The letter includes a list of specific questions to be addressed in the report.

2. Hearings/Briefings

Note: On 6/27, Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, issued a statement slamming a State Department report on Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere as "inadequate" and announcing plans to hold a hearing on the issue.

7/9: Hearing scheduled 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." No witnesses have yet been announced.

6/26: Hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging threats, entitled: "Turkey at a Crossroads: What do the Gezi Park Protests Mean for Democracy in the Region?" Full video of hearing is available here. Witnesses were: Hillel Fradkin (Hudson Institute - written testimony), Soner Cagaptay (WINEP - written testimony), Kadri Gursel (Al-Monitor - written testimony), James Jeffrey (WINEP, Former American Ambassador to Turkey - written testimony) and Kadir Ustun (SETA - written testimony)

6/26: The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee (DSOC) hosted a meeting with 20 leaders of national Jewish organizations. The JTA reported on the (off-the-record) meeting here.

6/25: Joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committees Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, entitled, "Religious Minorities in Syria: Caught in the Middle." Full video of hearing is available here. Panel 1 witness was Thomas Melia (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy -written testimony); Panel 2 witnesses were: Zuhdi Jasser (U.S. Commission on Int'l Religious Freedom - written testimony), Rev. Majed El Shafie (One Free World International - written testimony), John Eibner (Christian Solidarity International, USA- written testimony), and Nina Shea (Hudson Institute - written testimony). Article on the hearing in the Armenian Weekly, here.

3. Members on the Record

Salmon (R-AZ) 6/27: Statement slamming State Department report on Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere as "inadequate" and announcing plans to hold a hearing on the issue
Shimkus (R-IL) 6/27: Attack on Shiite Muslims in Egypt
Smith (R-NJ) 6/26: Religious Minorities in Syria: Caught in the Middle
Poe (R-TX) 6/25: Syria--another gunrunning operation by Uncle Sam (statement opposing providing weapons to Syria opposition)

4. From the Press/Blogs

DefenseNews 6/28: DSCA Informs Congress of Intention To Sell Reapers to France (Israel Aircraft Industries competing for the same deal)
JTA 6/28: Freedom-of-religion crusader 'wacky, impolitic -- and right' (re: Members of Congress targeting Mikey Weinstein)
The Cable 6/27: Biden Gathers Senators For Last-Minute Syria Briefing
AP 6/27: Bipartisan group pushes measure barring Obama from arming Syrian rebels without Congress
NY Jewish Week 6/27: Israeli Politics Enters Mayoral Race
Daily Beast/Open Zion 6/27: Anthony Weiner Stands By Claim That West Bank Isn't Occupied By Israel
Bloomberg 6/26: Iran Influence in Latin America Waning, U.S. Report Says
AP 6/26: Lawmakers want more details before funding Syria
MinnPost 6/26: Aid to Syria unites Bachmann and Nolan
DefenseNews 6/26: Congress Pushes Back Against White House on Nukes, Syria
The Cable 6/24: Democratic Senator: Obama Has 'No Articulated Strategy' on Syria
UPI 6/23: U.S. seeks to buy into Israeli missile programs
USA Today 6/23: Obama's Syria plan has many dangers (op-ed by Rep. Rangel, D-NY)
Washington Times 6/23: State secrets: Kerry's department downplays Iran's role in Latin America; likely to anger Congress

comments powered by Disqus