APN Legislative Round-Up: Dec. 21, 2012 - Jan. 4, 2013

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters (113th Congress)
2. Bills, Resolutions & Letters (end of 112th Congress)
3. Members on the Record
4. Hagel on the Record on the Middle East

The 113th Congress convened on January 3, 2013. The 2013 House Calendar is available here; the 2013 Senate Calendar is available here.

ICYMI: APN Briefing Call 1/2/13: Leading Israeli columnist Akiva Eldar analyzes pre-elections Israeli politics; APN publication 12/31/13: Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: On Israeli elections, the 2-state solution leads

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters (113th Congress)

(JERUSALEM) HR 104: Introduced 1/3/13 (the day the 113th Congress convened) by Rep. Garrett (R-NJ) and no cosponsors, "To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to relocate to Jerusalem the United States Embassy in Israel, and for other purposes." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

2. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters (end of 112th Congress)

(PUNISH THE PALESTINIANS) Ros-Lehtinen et al Dear Colleague: As reported on previous round-ups (here and here), on 12/10/12, Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Berman (D-CA), Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) began circulating a letter to be sent to President Obama, calling on the president to adopt suggestions actions to punish the Palestinians for going to the UN. The letter, which is listed on AIPAC's Legislative Agenda, was reportedly originally supposed to circulate only until 12/14, but was held open until 12/21 for signatures. In the end, the letter garnered 241 signatures. A table of all signers/non-signers is availablehere. For reporting on the letter, see here and here.

(HIZBALLAH/EUROPE) H. Res. 834: Introduced 12/17/12 by Kelly (R-PA) and having 85 cosponsors, "Urging the governments of Europe and the European Union to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions, and urging the President to provide information about Hizballah to the European allies of the United States and to support the Government of Bulgaria in investigating the July 18, 2012, terrorist attack in Burgas." Passed 1/1/13 under suspension of the rules by a voice vote. Floor discussion here. Kucinich (D-OH) statement 12/31/12 objecting to the resolution here. This resolution is listed on AIPAC's website as part of the organization's legislative agenda.

(HIZBALLAH/EUROPE) S. Res. 613: Introduced 12/11/12 by Lieberman (R-, I mean I-CT) and 65 cosponsors, "A resolution urging the governments of Europe and the European Union to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions, and urging the President to provide information about Hizballah to the European allies of the United States and to support to the Government of Bulgaria in investigating the July 18, 2012, terrorist attack in Burgas." Passed 12/21/12 by voice vote. This resolution is listed on AIPAC's website as part of the organization's legislative agenda.

(IRAN/BAHA'I) H. Res. 134: Introduced 3/1/11 by Rep. Dold (R-IL) and having 146 cosponsors, "Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights." Passed in the House 1/1/13 under suspension of the rules, by a voice vote. Floor discussion here.

(SANDY RELIEF) HR 1: Introduced 2/11/11 by Rep. Rogers (R-KY) as the "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011," this bill is the Senate legislative vehicle for Superstorm Sandy supplemental appropriations. Passed by the senate 12/28/12 by a vote of 62-32. Senate floor debate ishere and here, including debate over S. Amdt. 3410, offered by Sen. Paul (R-KY), to require offseting a portion of the cost of the supplemental by rescinding unobligated funds from the fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution for the Department of State and foreign aid programs and operations of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and including discussion of aid to Israel and Egypt. As the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (USGLC) reported:

On December 28 the Senate overwhelmingly rejected 3-91 an amendment by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to slash funding for the International Affairs Budget as part of an emergency supplemental appropriation for Hurricane Sandy relief. Similar to his 2011 amendmentto a disaster appropriations bill, Senator Paul's amendment would have rescinded $9 billion in funding from the FY13 State-Foreign Operations account - a cut of nearly one-third to many key development and security aid programs - in order to pay for some of the costs of the disaster relief.Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Mike Lee (R-UT) joined Senator Paul in support of the amendment.

In supporting his amendment, Senator Paul asserted that "we should not be sending billions of dollars to dictators who oppress their people, who burn our flag, who will not protect our embassies. I think it is an absolute mistake." Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke out strongly against the amendment, saying, "If you think you can withdraw from the world and if you think America has no leadership role, then this is a good amendment. If you think the best thing America can do is invest in aid programs that help us as a nation to be safer, then I would vote no for this amendment." Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) also spoke out against the amendment, with Senator Mikulski echoing Senator Graham's statement that the International Affairs Budget represents a "compelling national security interest."

(SYRIA) Moran et al letter: On 12/21/12 a group of Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton applauding the State Department's leadership in assisting two million Syrian refugees and calling on the U.S. to dedicate more funding, study, and multi-government coordinated care for vulnerable women and girls in conflict and refugee zones. The letter was signed by Reps. Moran (D-VA), Conyers (D-MI), Berman (D-CA), Lee (D-CA), Bill Keating (D-MA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Larsen (D-X), Towns (D-X), Honda (D-CA), Schwartz (D-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), McGovern (D-WA), Ellison (D-MN), and Schakowsky (D-IL).

3. Members on the Record

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Engel (D-NY), and Sherman (D-CA) 12/31/12: Harshly criticizing Turkey for its treatment of Israel, in the context of discussion of HR 6649, the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012.
Kirk (R-IL), 12/21/12: Press release - New Iran Sanctions Pass Congress
Wolf (R-VA), 12/21/12: Speech on Deteriorating Situation in the Middle East Particularly For Religious Minorities
Johnson (D-SD), 12/21/12: On Iran sanctions and diplomacy
Levin (D-MI), 12/21/12: On the Iran provisions in the conference version of the NDAA

4. From the Press

The Cable 1/4/13: Obama expected to pick Hagel as opponents prepare for a fight
Jerusalem Post 1/4/13: US Congress missing prominent pro-Israel voices
JTA 1/2/13: New Congress Loses Pro-Israel Pillars
The Cable 12/27/12: Republican senators were for Hagel, before they were against him
Jewosity.com 12/26/12: 
ZOA commends Congress on passage of "Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act"

JTA 12/23/12: Congress delivers final approval for new Iran sanctions, missile defense funding
The Cable 12/21/12: Top House Democrat: Hagel has an 'endemic hostility towards Israel'

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