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


1. Bills & Resolutions

(HAPPY BDAY ISRAEL) H. Res. 835: Introduced 4/18 by Foxx (R-NC) and 3 bipartisan co-sponsors (Sires, D-NJ; McCaul, R-TX; and Lowey, D-NY), “Supporting robust relations with the State of Israel bilaterally and in multilateral fora upon seventy years of statehood, and for other purposes.” The resolution marks Israel’s 70th birthday and (among other things) calls on UN member states to, “to support Israel’s candidacy for the United Nations Security Council” and urges “diplomatic recognition of the state of Israel and robust engagement with Israel from all United States allies and from governments across the globe” [code for pressing for normalization of relations with Israel by Arab nations]. It also reiterates support for a negotiated two-state solution (something that should not be taken for granted in the current political environment). Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Sponsors’ joint press release is here.

(TAKING ON HIZBALLAH) HR 5540: Introduced 4/17 by Suozzi (D-NY) and Kinzinger (R-IL), “To direct the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on Hizballah, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Disarm Hizballah Act.” Referred to the Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Press release is here.

(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 4744: Introduced 1/9 by McCaul (R-TX) and having 46 bipartisan cosponsors, the “Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act” aka, “to impose additional sanctions with respect to serious

human rights abuses of the Government of Iran.” HR 4744 was marked up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 3/15; on 4/18, the bill was reported out of HFAC with a written report. That same day, the bill was discharged by the other three committees of jurisdiction (without markups) and it was placed on the Union Calendar (meaning it can be called up for a vote on the House floor).


(YAY FOR IRON DOME & MISSILE DEFENSE COOOPERATION) Roskam-Meng letter: This week, Reps. Roskam (R-IL) and Meng (D-NY) went way, way out on a limb politically and led a letter, cosigned by 40 House colleagues, urging House appropriators to continue robust funding for U.S.-Israel defense cooperation. [In other news, members of the Scoring-Easy-Political-Points Caucus circulated a letter urging House leaders to continue to support the use of electric lights in House office buildings].


2. Hearings

April 26, 2018: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa and on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade will hold a hearing entitled, “Grading Counterterrorism Cooperation with the GCC States.” Witnesses will be: Katherine Bauer, WINEP; David Andrew Weinberg, ADL; and Leanne Erdberg, U.S. Institute of Peace.

April 18, 2018: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing entitled, “U.S. Policy Toward a Turbulent Middle East.” Witnesses were: David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (statement); and A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (statement). Chairman Royce (R-CA) statement is here. Hearing video is here.

April 18, 2018: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing entitled, “Libya Fractured: The Struggle for Unity.” Witnesses were: Christopher Blanchard, Congressional Research Service (statement); Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (statement); and Alice Hunt Friend, Center for Strategic and International Studies (statement). Hearing video is here.

April 17, 2018: The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing entitled, “State Sponsors of Terrorism: An Examination of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network.” Witnesses were: Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD (Testimony); Michael Pregent, The Hudson Institute (Testimony); Nader Uskowi, WINEP
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Testimony); and Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress (Testimony). Hearing video is here.

April 17, 2018: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing “To Examine U.S. Policy in Yemen.” Witnesses were: David Satterfield, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (statement); Robert S. Karem, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (statement); and Robert Jenkins Deputy Assistant USAID Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (statement). Hearing video is here.


3. On the Record

Lots and lots of members of the House and Senate issued statements celebrating Israel’s Independence Day and 70th birthday (and in many cases praising Israel to the moon while ignoring the occupation, snipers shooting into Gaza, and the rapid dissolution of Israeli democracy). Check members’ websites to see what a specific member said. Ditto on Syria strike. And FWIW, a search of the Congressional Record for the past week turns up not a single statement related to the Gaza situation.

Wilson (R-SC) 4/20: Congressman Joe Wilson's Statement on European Parliament Resolution Condemning Hamas

Casey (D-PA) 4/19: Floor statement on Syria

Raskin (D-MD) 4/18: Twitter statement of concern regarding the situation in Gaza

Nadler (D-NY) 4/16: Congressman Nadler Statement on BDS Campaign at Barnard College (offering his support for students “fighting to defeat this divisive and wrong-headed measure.” Notably, the “divisive” measure passed by a 2-1 margin.

Sanders (I-VT) 4/16: Speech at the J St Conference

Schatz (D-HI) 4/17: Speech at the J St Conference

Cardin (D-MD) 4/16: Speech at J St Conference in which, among other things, he both mischaracterized his gag legislation and outright lied regarding the UN’s actions, stating that the UN was targeting US businesses for doing business in Israel (this is factually 100% incorrect).

Hoyer (D-MD) 4/13: Hoyer Statement on Reports Iran Launched a Drone Intended for Israel