Legislative Round-up: October 26, 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, Resolution, & Letters
2. Hearings
3. On the Record

1. Bills & Resolutions, & Letters

(PALESTINIAN PARTNERSHIP FUND) HR 7060: Introduced 10/12 by Fortenberry (R-NE) and Lowey (D-NY), the “Palestinian Partnership Fund Act of 2018.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This is the House version of S. 3549, introduced in the Senate on 10/12. Fortenberry’s press release is here; Lowey’s is here. Press release from ALLMEP – which has been a moving force behind this legislation – is here.
 
(NO US SECURITY AID TO KSA FOR NOW) HR 7082: Introduced 10/23 by McGovern (D-MA) and 20 bipartisan cosponsors (17D, 3R), “To prohibit the provision of United States security assistance to the Government of Saudi Arabia, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. McGovern press release is here, noting that the bill “is stronger than the one Congressman McGovern introduced last week.”
 
(NO US SECURITY AID TO KSA FOR NOW) HR 7070: Introduced 10/16 by McGovern (D-MA) and 15 bipartisan cosponsors, “To prohibit the provision of United States security assistance to the Government of Saudi Arabia pending a determination by the Secretary of State regarding the status of Jamal Khashoggi, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. McGovern press release is here. Other cosponsor press releases: Dingell (D-MI), Welch (D-VT), Pingree (D-ME), Lieu (D-CA).
 
(NO US AID TO COUNTRIES THAT ENFORCE BLASPHEMY LAWS) H. Res. 1132: Introduced 10/23 by Rooney (R-FL) and no cosponsors, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that to promote global religious freedom and freedom of expression, United States foreign aid should not be directed to countries that enforce blasphemy laws.” The resolution specifically calls out Saudi Arabia as a country that should not get U.S. funding due to blasphemy laws.
 
Letters
 
(TRUMP: CONDEMN KHASHOGGI MURDER!) Durbin-Leahy-Feinstein-Sanders letter: On 10/23, Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Leahy (D-VT), Feinstein (D-CA) and Sanders (I-VT) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to condemn the murder of Jamal Khashoggi: “Despite mounting evidence that Mr. Khashoggi, a peaceful critic of the Saudi government, was tortured and killed, the White House has continued to equivocate on the obvious and coddled Saudi leaders. [We] should speak firmly with a united voice—American values are not for sale.” Press release is here.
 
(QUESTIONS TO TWITTER RE: SAUDI-TRUMP RELATIONS) Blumenthal letter: On 10/22, Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to the CEO of Twitter asking for answers to a list of questions related to Twitter’s knowledge and activities with respect to entities affiliated with Joel Zamel/Psy-Group.
 
(DID US HAVE PRIOR INTEL OF KHASHOGGI MURDER) Pocan-Khanna et al letter: On 10/22, Reps. Pocan (D-WI) and Khanna (D-CA) led a bipartisan group of 55 Members of Congress in writing to Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, calling for the release of information regarding the U.S. intelligence community’s advance knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s plot to capture journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi. Press release is here.
 
(NEED ANSWERS ABOUT TRUMP FINANCIAL DEALS WITH KSA) Nadler-Blumenthal letter to Trump: On 10/19, Reps. Nadler (D-NY) and Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to President Donald Trump to demand answers about payments the President and the Trump Organization have accepted from the Saudi royal family and government during the President’s time in office, apparently in violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Press release is here.  
 
(SANCTIONS ON KSA) Doggett et al letter: On 10/18, Doggett (D-TX) let a letter, signed by more than 40 fellow lawmakers, urging President Trump to impose sanctions, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, on those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death. The letter states their support for their Senate colleagues’ action to begin an investigation and urges an overdue end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabian military action in Yemen. Press release is here.
 
(MNUCHIN: DON’T GO TO KSA) Watson Coleman et al letter: On 10/17, Rep. Watson (D-NJ) and 11 fellow House Democrats sent a letter urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to cancel plans to attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference in light of concerns that the Saudi government is responsible for the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Press release is here.
 
(SENATORS WANT INFO ON TRUMP $$ TIES TO KSA) Udall-Leahy et al letter to Trump; letter to Trump Organization: On 10/17, Senators Udall (D-NM), Leahy (D-VT), Durbin (D-IL), Warren (D-MA), Booker (D-NJ), Heinrich (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), Duckworth (D-IL), Whitehouse (D-RI), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Merkley (D-OR) wrote to President Donald Trump and to the Trump Organization seeking a full accounting of any financial ties between the Trump Organization and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Press release is here.
 
(INVESTIGATE KHASHOGGI MURDER) Dingell et al letter to KSA: On 10/12, Rep. Dingell (D-MI) and 27 fellow House Democrats sent a very diplomatically worded letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the United States regarding Jamal Khashoggi, closing with: “we are requesting the full cooperation of the Saudi government into an independent investigation of Mr. Khashoggi’s whereabouts. We appreciate your consideration of this matter and look forward to a full and fair accounting of the facts of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.”
 
(US MUST DEMAND ANSWERS FROM KSA) Jones letter to Trump: On 10/12, Jones (R-SC) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to “demand answers from the Saudi Arabian government regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, to end support of Saudi Arabian involvement in the Yemeni Civil Warm and to reevaluate our unholy alliance with the kingdom immediately.”
 
(SWIFT US ACTION RE: KHASHOGGI) Royce-Engel letter to Trump: On 10/12, Reps. Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) wrote President Trump urging swift action following the disappearance and likely murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Press release is here.
 
(POSSIBLE KSA SANCTIONS UNDER GLOBAL MAGNITSKY ACT) Donnelly letter: On 10/12, Sen. Donnelly (D-IN) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to “make a determination with regard to the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in the case of Mr. Khashoggi. This law is explicitly designed to punish persons “responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in any foreign country seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials, or to obtain, exercise, or promote human rights and freedoms.” Press release is here.

2. Hearings

No hearings but the transcript of the September 27 HFAC markup was released,
here. That markup included HR 4591, “Preventing Iranian Destabilization of Iraq Act of 2017.”


3. On the Record


Hastings (D-FL) 10/24: Op-ed in the Times of Israel pushing back (yet again) against suggestion that Democrats are less pro-Israel than Republicans: “…the Democratic Party will always support Israel and Jewish communities across the globe.”
Olson (R-TX) 10/24: Olson Condemns Murder of Washington Post Reporter
Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) 10/23: Congressman Krishnamoorthi Calls for Transparency on All Financial Ties Between Trump Administration Officials and Saudi Arabia, Investigation of President Trump’s Failure To Nominate an Ambassador
Smith (R-NJ) 10/23: On the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Durbin (D-IL) 10/22: Durbin Calls For Expulsion Of Saudi Ambassador
Lee (R-UT) 10/22: Sen. Lee Calls for End to U.S.-Saudi War in Yemen
Smith (D-WA) 10/20: Statement on Murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Reed (D-RI) 10/20: Statement on Saudi Arabia Admitting to Killing Jamal Khashoggi in Turkish Consulate
Kaine (D-VA) 10/20: Kaine Statement On Saudi Arabia Claims Regarding Jamal Khashoggi
Heinrich (D-NM) 10/20: Heinrich Calls For Ban On Saudi Arabian Oil Imports
Corker (R-TN) 10/19: Statement on Saudi Arabia Claims Regarding Death of Jamal Khashoggi
Leahy (D-VT) 10/19: Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The Saudi Account Of The Death Of Jamal Khashoggi
Coffman (R-CO) 10/19: Coffman Calls for Immediate Recall of Acting U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) 10/19: on Khashoggi Disappearance, Press Freedoms
Maloney (D-NY) 10/19: Reported Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Costa (D-CA) 10/19: Statement on Reported Death of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Hoyer (D-MD) 10/18: Hoyer Statement on the Reported Death of Jamal Khashoggi
Fitzpatrick (D-PA) 10/18:  Statement on Jamal Khashoggi
Leahy (D-VT) 10/17: Statement On Jamal Khashoggi
Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) 10/17: “While President Trump May Accept Saudi Arabia’s Denials About The Disappearance And Death Of Jamal Khashoggi At Face Value, The American People Won’t”
Sanders (I-VT) 10/17: Video, “Message from Bernie: Stop Supporting the War in Yemen”
Coons (D-DE) 10/16: Sen. Coons on disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi: “If President Trump won’t send a strong signal…then the Senate should step forward and do it.”
Murphy (D-CT) 10/16: U.S. Should Suspend Military Support For Saudi Arabia In Wake Of Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance
Van Hollen (D-VA) 10/15: Van Hollen Statement on Trump Claims About Khashoggi Murder
Sanders (I-VT) 10/15: Sanders to Bring Back War Powers Resolution to End Unauthorized U.S. Military Involvement in Yemen
Feinstein (D-CA) 10/15: Feinstein Statement on Jamal Khashoggi
Kaine (D-VA) 10/15: Statement On Saudi Arabia Claims Regarding Jamal Khashoggi
Jackson Lee (D-TX) 10/15: Statement on the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoogi [sic]
Durbin (D-IL) 10/14: Statement On Disappearance Of Saudi Critic Jamal Khashoggi
Jones (R-NC) 10/12: Jones Calls For Action On Saudi Arabia
Smith (D-WA), Engel (D-NY) and Schiff (D-CA) 10/12: Joint Statement Demanding Action on the Disappearance of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
McGovern (D-MA) 10/12: Statement on Apparent Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Chabot (R-OH) and Schiff (D-CA) 10/12: Joint Statement on the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Bennet (D-CO) and Wyden (D-OR) 10/12: Statement on Mnuchin Attendance at Saudi Arabia Conference
Feinstein (D-CA) 10/12: Anyone Complicit with Khashoggi Disappearance Must be Held Accountable

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