Legislative Round-Up: April 13, 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, Resolutions & Letters
  2. Hearings
  3. On the Record

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(O JERUSALEM!!!) H. Res. 815: Introduced 4/11 by Wilson (R-SC) and no cosponsors, “Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel and the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.” Tellingly, the resolution omits even the usual empty, formulaic pretense of concern/respect for Palestinian, Muslim, and Christian claims/equities in the city by the United States or Israel. Wilson press release is here.

(YEMEN/KSA MILITARY OPERATIONS) S. J. Res. 58: Introduced 4/11 by Young (R-IN) and three cosponsors (bipartisan), “A joint resolution to require certifications regarding actions by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(ROBERT LEVINSON/IRAN) S. Res. 85: Introduced 3/9/17 by Nelson (D-FL) and Rubio (R-FL), and having no other cosponsors, “A resolution calling on the Government of Iran to fulfill repeated promises of assistance in the case of Robert Levinson, the longest held United States civilian in our Nation's history.” Passed by the Senate 4/9/18 with an amendment and an amended preamble, by Unanimous Consent (text as passed is here). This comes on the heels of the 3/20/18 SFRC business meeting that dealt with the resolution.


(NO $$ FOR PA!) Buchanan letter to Acting SecState: On 4/4, Rep. Buchanan (R-FL) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan urging the State Department to “immediately end all foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).” The letter suggests that the recently passed Taylor Force Act (which freezes funding that directly benefits the PA, with very limited, specific exceptions) does not go far enough and demands that all aid be cut off.

(LET’S REDEFINE PALESTINIAN REFUGEES OUT OF EXISTENCE!) Congressional letter, as reported in the Free Beacon: On 4/11 the Washington Free Beacon – the favorite venue for Congressional hardliners to leak info about anti-Palestinian initiatives – reported: “Congress is pressuring the State Department to release a long classified report on Palestinian refugees that insiders say could change the calculus on how the United States approaches the situation and allocates millions in taxpayer funds to a key United Nations agency, according to sources and a congressional letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.” The article notes: “The report was described to the Free Beacon as a potential tipping point in the debate over the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and its mission, which has come under increased criticism in Congress for what many claim is the agency's anti-Israel bias and routine promotion of pro-terrorism doctrines. The United States decided recently to cut taxpayer funding to UNRWA, the chief Palestinian refugee aid organization, as a result of the group's longstanding anti-Israel bias.”


2. Hearings

[NOTE: As previously reported in the Round-Up, on 2/14/18, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing entitled, “Israel, the Palestinians, & the Administration’s Peace Plan.” The full transcript of that hearing has now been released, here.]

April 18, 2018: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing entitled, “U.S. Policy Toward a Turbulent Middle East.” Scheduled witnesses are: David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; and A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.  Hearing announcement is here.

April 17, 2018: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “State Sponsors of Terrorism: An Examination of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network.” Witnesses have not been announced.

April 17, 2018: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing “To Examine U.S. Policy in Yemen.” Scheduled witnesses are: David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; Robert S. Karem, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; and Robert Jenkins Deputy Assistant USAID Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.


3. On the Record

[many, many members issued statements related to developments in Syria – check members’ websites to see if a particular member did so]

Pocan (D-WI), Jayapal (D-WA), Ellison (D-MN), Lee (D-CA), and Johnson Jr. (D-GA) 4/12: Members of Congress Release Statement on Protests in Gaza [also see: The Intercept 4/13: As Most Democrats Stay Silent, Elizabeth Warren Calls on Israel to Exercise Restraint Against Palestinian Protesters & Splinter 4/3: We Asked Every U.S. Senator About Israel Killing 17 Palestinians and Shooting Hundreds More]

DeLauro (D-CT) 4/4: DeLauro Visits Troops Stationed in Afghanistan, Meets with Heads of State in Israel and Jordan

Cruz (R-TX) 4/4: Sen. Cruz Announces Staff Updates [including hiring longtime Israel Project staffer Omri Ceren as his “National Security Advisor”]

Wilson (R-SC) 4/2: Congressman Joe Wilson Urges Senate to pass the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act [in response to Israel killing Palestinian protesters]

Bass (D-CA) 4/2: Rep. Bass Statement On Israeli Agreement with the U.N. Refugee Agency Regarding Immigrant Relocation [subsequently annulled by Netanyahu]

Panetta (D-CA) 3/30: Congressman Panetta Returns from Trip to Middle East

Buchanan (R-FL) 3/28: Buchanan Addresses AIPAC Annual Dinner in Sarasota

Roskam (R-IL) 3/28: Roskam, Vargas endorse amended Israel Anti-Boycott Act

Roskam (R-IL) 3/28: Roskam, Meng secure robust funding for U.S.-Israel Missile Defense, advocate for continued support in FY 2019

Pelosi (D-CA) 3/27: Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Hold Key Stakeholder Meetings in Jerusalem

Pelosi (D-CA) 3/26: Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Hold Meetings with Senior Israeli Officials

Pelosi (D-CA) 3/26: Pelosi Leads Congressional Delegation to Israel and Jordan