Legislative Round-up: June 7, 2019

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 - Israel/Palestine
  2. Bills & Resolutions - Iran
  3. Bills & Resolutions - Approps/Auth bills
  4. Bills & Resolutions - Syria
  5. Bills & Resolutions - Arms Sales to KSA & UAE
  6. Bills & Resolutions - MISC
  7. Letters
  8. Hearings
  9. On the Record

1. Bills & Resolutions - Israel/Palestine

[NOTE: Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, writing for Axios, had a fun scoop this week: Israel works to stop Senate resolution on two-state solution. At issue is a bipartisan Senate resolution - being drafted by Van Hollen (D-MD) and Graham (R-SC) - endorsing a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ravid writes: “Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to Washington, and other Israeli embassy officials have been lobbying Graham and Van Hollen to remove the words ‘two-state solution’ from the text, Israeli officials and congressional staffers told me.” Easy to imagine the cries of indignation and outrage if it was the Palestinians, rather than Israel, at the center of this story...]

(TRYING TO AMEND IRS LAW TO TARGET FREE SPEECH) HR 1994: On 5/23, during final consideration of HR 1994 - the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019,” McHenry (R-NC) took to the House floor to offer a motion to recommit to require the bill to be amended before passage by adding a new section entitled "Reports by Taxpayers Engaged in Boycotts Etc. Affecting Israel." This was a grandstanding move not actually geared to amend the bill, but geared, rather, to score political points by letting the GOP crow (yet again) about Democrats blocking passage of anti-BDS language, was defeated by a vote of 200-220, with 12 Democrats voting in favor: Brindisi (D-NY), Cunningham (D-SC), Gottheimer (D-NJ), Horn (D-OK), Houlahan (D-PA), Luria (D-VA), Moulton (D-MA), Rose (D-NY), Slotkin (D-MI), Spanberger (D-VA), Van Drew (D-NJ) and Wild (D-PA). And while it didn’t pass, this amendment is a very big deal.

  • What McHenry tried to do - with an amendment that underwent no committee process or public scrutiny, and failed by a mere 20 votes -- was amend IRS law to treat voluntary boycotts of Israel or settlements (i.e., where boycotts are undertaken at the personal initiative of an individual or business owner in order to express personal political views that are in opposition to a given company or country’s policies or actions -- basically, the same reason why people voluntarily boycott anything) as the same as coercive boycotts of Israel (i.e., where boycotting Israel is neither voluntary nor is an expression of a political or moral view, but is a condition for doing business with a given state). This is similar to the approach of the brazening unconstitutional Israel Anti-Boycott Act (which would achieve the same objective by amending a different piece of law),
  • In terms of impact, McHenry’s amendment would require Americans to report to the IRS as part of their annual tax filings whether or not they, in matters related to interstate or international commerce (business decisions/activities) or investments, engage in boycotts or divestment actions targeting Israel or settlements. This is a brazen violation of Americans’ right to free speech. It is also a McCarthyistic tactic of required self-reporting designed to enable - and legitimize - the U.S. government in building a list of Americans tracking their political views/activities. The amendment would also hold the possibility of tax penalties as a result of that reporting -- likewise a brazen of Americans’ right to free speech - in effect imposing a financial/legal sanction for the exercise of Constitutionally-protected rights.
  • McHenry’s floor speech introducing the amendment, including text of the amendment, is here. McHenry’s press release crowing about his effort (and linking to video of his floor speech) is here. Money quote: “I have worked for 3 years to hammer out a bipartisan approach to stopping the BDS movement. That got rolled into the bill that was passed in January in the Senate. Seventy-seven Senators joined together and sent a bill over here to the House. We have waited 4 months, with no vote on that bill, and it is not because we don't have bipartisan support to stop the BDS movement. We do. We do.  In this Chamber, we have stood together in a bipartisan forum to stand against hate and to stand against anti-Semitism, but the leadership over there doesn't want us to have a vote on that bill. So, today, we are saying let's have the vote. Let's stand up for the State of Israel. Let's stand against hate. Let's stand up against this anti-Zionism and the anti-Semitism that underlies it. Let's stand up for our Jewish friends and allies, and let's speak with one voice that the BDS movement is anti-Semitism.”

(SUPPORTING 2SS, OPPOSING ANNEXATION) S. Res. 234: Introduced 6/5 by Merkley (D-OR) and 7 cosponsors (6 Democrats plus Sanders, I-VT), “A resolution affirming the United States commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and noting that Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank would undermine peace and Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. [This is in effect the Senate version of H. Res. 326]. Press release is here; text of the resolution is here.

(PALESTINIAN PARTNERSHIP FUND) HR 3104 and S.1727: Introduced 6/5 in the House by Lowey (D-NY) and Fortenberry (R-NE), and in the Senate by Coons (D-DE), Graham (R-SC), Kaine (D-VA) and Gardner (R-CO), “To establish the Partnership Fund for Peace to promote joint economic development and finance ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies and those in the United States and Israel to improve economic cooperation and people-to-people peacebuilding programs, and to further shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” Joint House-Senate press release introducing the bill is here; Coons twitter thread on the bill is here. Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The bill is being supported (so far) by Americans for Peace Now, J Street, T’ruah, and Ameinu (press release). Also see: video from people-two-people NGOs endorsing the fund.

 

2. Bills & Resolutions - Iran

(NO LIFTING IRAN SANCTIONS) H. Res. 390: Introduced 5/20 by Gallagher (R-WI) and having 8 all-GOP cosponsors, “Opposing the lifting of sanctions imposed with respect to Iran without addressing Iran's nuclear program, ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, and other destabilizing activities.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see Gallagher’s press release: Rep. Gallagher, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Marking Anniversary of U.S. Withdrawal from Iran Deal

(NO AUMF AGAINST IRAN) HR 2829:  Introduced 5/17 by Levin (D-MI) and having 27 cosponsors (26 Democrats, 1 GOP), “To clarify that Congress has not provided authorization for the use of military force against Iran.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

3. Bills & Resolutions - Approps/Auth bills

(FY20 SFOPS) HR 2839: Officially introduced 5/20 by Lowey (D-NY), the “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.”  Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 54. For full Mideast-related details of the bill, see the 5/17/19 edition of the Round-Up. NOTE: Floor amendments for HR 2839 (which has now been subsumed into HR 2740, which consolidates several approps bills) - had to be submitted to the Rules Committee by 6/7/19. As of this writing, the following Middle East-related amendments had been submitted (not known yet which ones will be made in order/considered):

  • An amendment submitted by Zeldin (R-NY) and Barr (R-KY) stating that “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to any nongovernmental organization, contractor, or grantee that participates in a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel.” Two things to note: (1) Zeldin has been pushing this effort since 2018 - in effect an effort to impose a pro-settlements, anti-political free speech litmus test for all U.S. assistance worldwide, and (2) the policy embodied in this amendment is already legitimized, to a great degree, in language included in the Report accompanying the SFOPS bill - for background, details, and implications of this effort, see my recent thread on Twitter, here).
  • An amendment submitted by Walker (R-NC), stating that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to move or relocate the United States Embassy in Israel out of the city of Jerusalem, unless the post is designated as a high risk, high threat post.”

(DOD APPROPS - MIDEAST ELEMENTS) HR 2968: On 5/23, the  “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020” bill was reported out of the Appropriations Committee, accompanied by a Report (including Minority views).  [Note: this bill has been subsumed into HR 2740, which consolidates several approps bills; - as of this writing, no Middle East-related amendments to the DOD approps part of that bill have been submitted].  Key Mideast-related provisions of HR 2968, as it heads to the floor, are:

  • Israel funding: Section 8068 earmarks $500 milion for Israeli Cooperative Programs [$95 million for Iron Dome; $191 million for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program; $55 million for Arrow 3 Upper Tier systems; and $159 million for  the Arrow System Improvement Program]
  • No Iran AUMF: Section 9026 states that, “Nothing in this Act may be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.”
  • US Out of Yemen War: Title X directs the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from “hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen,” including in-flight refueling of non-United States aircraft conducting missions as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen. The only exception is those U.S. forces engaged in operations “directed at al Qaeda or associated forces.” The bill gives the President a timeline to do this of within 30 days of the Act becoming law, “unless the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date” and “unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces has been enacted.” Title X also includes three separate rules of construction clarifying: that:

- “nothing in this title shall be construed to influence or disrupt any military operations and cooperation with Israel”;

- “nothing in this title may be construed to influence or disrupt any intelligence, counterintelligence, or investigative activities relating to threats in or emanating from Yemen conducted by, or in conjunction with, the United States Government involving— (1) the collection of intelligence; (2) the analysis of intelligence; or (3) the sharing of intelligence between the United States and any coalition partner if the President determines such sharing is appropriate and in the national security interests of the United States”; and

- “nothing in this title may be construed as authorizing the use of military force.”

- It  also requires a report on “assessing the risks posed to United States citizens and the civilian population of Saudi Arabia and the risk of regional humanitarian crises if the United States were to cease support operations with respect to the conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen” and a report “assessing the increased risk of terrorist attacks on United States Armed Forces abroad, allies, and to the continental United States if the Government of Saudi Arabia were to cease Yemen-related intelligence sharing with the United States.”

- See press release for Ruppersberger (D-MD): House Appropriations Committee Adopts Ruppersberger’s Amendment Ending U.S. Support for Saudi-led Military Campaign in Yemen

(INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION) S. 1589: Introduced 5/22 by Burr (R-NC), the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020.” This bill includes three Iran-related requirements: Sec. 707, “Report on Iranian support of proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon”; Sec. 708, “Annual report on Iranian expenditures supporting foreign military and terrorist activities,” and Sec. 709, “Expansion of scope of committee to counter active measures and report on establishment of Foreign Malign Influence Center” (to include China, Iran, and North Korea).

 

4. Bills & Resolutions - Syria

(SYRIA VIOLENCE) H. Res. 395: Introduced 5/22 by Boyle (D-PA) and Kinzinger (R-IL) “Condemning the senseless attacks on hospitals and medical personnel in Syria, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(US POLICY ON SYRIA) HR 31: Introduced 1/3 by Engel (D-NY) and having 57 bipartisan cosponsors, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019.” On 1/22, it was by the House; on 5/22, amended and passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reported out of Committee on 6/3. NOTE: This is one of the bills that was included in S. 1.

 

5. Bills & Resolutions - Arms Sales to KSA & UAE

On 6/5, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Graham (R-SC), Murphy (D-CT), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Leahy (D-VT), Young (R-IN), and Reed (D-RI) introduced 22 separate Joint Resolutions of Disapproval” regarding U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The joint press release announcing the resolutions says the purpose is “to protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments” and come “after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared an emergency on May 24 to waive the congressional review process for 22 separate arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE – a total of $8.1 billion.” All of the resolutions were referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For further background see the New York Times: Senators Look to Force 22 Votes Blocking Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia. Also, as background, SFRC Chairman Risch (R-ID) entered into the record the full text of the Secretary of State’s determination and justification, here.  The resolutions are:

  1. J. Res. 27:  disapproval of the proposed transfer to the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Australia certain defense articles and services.
  2. J. Res. 28: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.
  3. J. Res. 29: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  4. J. Res. 30: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.
  5. J. Res. 31: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  6. J. Res. 32: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  7. J. Res. 33 disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.
  8. J. Res. 34: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.
  9. J. Res. 35: disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.
  10. J. Res. 36: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Italian Republic of certain defense articles and services.
  11. J. Res. 37: disapproval of the proposed export to the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of France of certain defense articles and services.
  12. J. Res. 38: disapproval of the proposed export to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of certain defense articles and services.
  13. J. Res. 39: disapproval of the proposed export to the United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom of certain defense articles, including technical data and defense services.
  14. J. Res. 40: disapproval of the proposed export to India, Israel, Republic of Korea, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of certain defense articles, including technical data and defense services.
  15. J. Res. 41: disapproval of the proposed export to the Government of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of technical data and defense services.
  16. J. Res. 42: disapproval of the proposed export to the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of certain defense articles, including technical data and defense services.
  17. J. Res. 43: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  18. J. Res. 44: disapproval of the proposed retransfer of certain defense articles from the United Arab Emirates to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  19. J. Res. 45: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  20. J. Res. 46: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the United Arab Emirates certain defense articles and services.
  21. J. Res. 47: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia certain defense articles and services.
  22. J. Res. 48: disapproval of the proposed transfer to the United Arab Emirates certain defense articles and services.

 

6. Bills & Resolutions - MISC

(CAMPUS FREE SPEECH) S. Res. 233: Introduced 6/5 by Blackburn (R-TN) and 11 all-GOP cosponsors, “A resolution recognizing the importance of protecting freedom of speech, thought, and expression at institutions of higher education.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Blackburn’s powerful floor speech introducing the bill is here; transcript of that speech. along with text of the resolution, is here; Blackburn’s press release is here, featuring quotes from validators include Education Secretary DeVos. Notably: the passionate, principled defense of free speech etc on campus offered by Blackburn and friends (prompted by their concerns about the alleged quashing of right-wing views on campuses) comes in the context of ongoing efforts to quash free speech on campus that is critical of Israel (including with the pending “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act”). Regardless of their specific motivation, Blackburn and friends are articulating support/commitment to free speech as a right that must be upheld, regardless of the subject or political viewpoint. In supporting the resolution, Education Secretary DeVos states: “As students pursue their education, they should never face limits on what, when, where, or how they learn. They should be empowered to pursue truth through the free exchange of all ideas, especially ideas with which they may not agree. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our democracy, and this administration will continue to vigilantly protect the First Amendment.

(TUNISIAN DEMOCRACY) S. Res. 236: Introduced 6/5 by Menendez (D-NJ) and Romney (R-UT), “A resolution reaffirming the strong partnership between Tunisia and the United States and supporting the people of Tunisia in their continued pursuit of democratic reforms.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Menendez press release is here.

(PROMOTING ISRAEL-GREECE-CYPRUS TRILATERAL PARTNERSHIP, SMACKING DOWN TURKEY) HR 2913: Introduced 5/22 by Deutch (D-FL) and 12 bipartisan cosponsors, “To promote security and energy partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean, and for other purposes. Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Oversight and Reform, Ways and Means, and the Judiciary. Deutch press release is here. This is the House companion to S. 1102, covered in the April 12, 2019 edition of the Round-Up.

 

7. Letters

(IRAN POLICY) Larsen letter to Pompeo & Shanahan: On 5/23, Rep. Larsen (D-WA) sent a letter to SecState Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan asking for answers to a list of questions about the present U.S. policy regarding Iran. He noted: “I was in Congress during the debate over war with Iraq. I remember well supporters’ selective release of individual pieces of intelligence, allegations of terrorist connections, hostility towards diplomacy and predictions that a war would be quick, easy and cheap. In recent weeks, I have seen ominous reminders of this script in the words and actions of those who support military conflict with Iran. I am alarmed by increasing tensions between the United States and Iran. With tensions running high, an accident or minor incident could lead to a wider conflict, even if neither party desires this outcome.” Press release is here.

(STOP U.S. & FOREIGN COMPANIES FROM PROVIDING SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES TO REPRESSIVE GOVERNMENTS) Letter to Pompeo: On 5/20, Rep. Malinowski (D-NJ) led a letter, co-signed by 9 colleagues (bipartisan), sent to SecState Pompeo urging greater scrutiny and regulation of private companies providing highly advanced surveillance capabilities to governments with troubling human rights records. The press release announcing the letter notes media reports that “such companies, often employing individuals who once worked for the intelligence agencies of Western countries, have sold hacking expertise and technology to authoritarian governments, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which in turn have exploited it to spy on dissidents and journalists, including in the United States.  One report suggested that capabilities provided by a private company aided Saudi Arabia in its surveillance of Jamal Khashoggi and his associates. Yet currently, there are few rules governing the spread of these surveillance tools.” The letter notes, specifically (among other things) that “the Israel-based NSO Group has reportedly sold its powerful Pegasus software to multiple governments that have then used it to target dissidents, journalists, activists, and their family members.” The letter offers specific suggestions for what the U.S. should be doing to “mitigate the risk that foreign governments can use U.S. private sector assistance in an unlawful, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate fashion” and requests “a briefing from the State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on steps taken thus far to prevent foreign governments and companies from using U.S. private sector assistance, including former U.S. government personnel, in furtherance of unlawful, abusive or otherwise inappropriate activities.”

(TRUMP: ADDRESS THREATS IN SYRIA! - AIPAC LETTER) Bipartisan/Bicameral letter: On 5/20, Reps. McCaul (R-TX) and Engel (D-NY), and Sens. Risch (R-ID) and Menendez (D-NJ) led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to President Trump, signed by nearly 400 legislators (out of a total of 535), expressing deep concern “about the role that terrorist and extremist groups and U.S. adversaries continue to play, particularly in Syria” and recommending “several specific steps to advance our regional security priorities, including assisting our ally, Israel, in defending itself in the face of growing threats, including on its northern border.” NOTE: This is the letter that AIPAC has been pushing since its March 2019 conference. With respect to assisting Israel, the letter recommends that the Trump Administration “underscore” Israel’s right to self-defense; look for ways to “augment” U.S. support for Israel; and “continue to oppose international efforts to isolate and weaken Israel.” Press release is here.

(NO RUSH TO WAR WITH IRAN) Himes et al letter to Trump: On 5/17 (not previously reported), Rep. Himes (D-CT) and more than 100 House colleagues (all Democrats) sent a letter to President Trump warning against an escalation with Iran and against any unauthorized use of military force, writing: “We write to both warn of the possible disastrous consequences of a conflict with Iran and to remind your Administration that you must come before Congress to seek a new AUMF before pursuing military action against Iran, not rely upon dubious assertions of authority under the 2001 AUMF.” Press release is here.

 

8. Hearings

5/22: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, “Searching for Solutions in Syria: The Trump Administration’s Strategy.” The sole witness was James F. Jeffrey, the State Department’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS (testimony). Video of the hearing is here. McCaul (R-TX) statement is here.

5/22: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a markup of a number of pending bills, including H.Res. 129, Condemning the Government of Saudi Arabia's continued detention and alleged abuse of women's rights activists (Engel #49 (Amendment in the nature of a substitute)  and H.Res. 372, Expressing concern for the United States-Turkey alliance.

5/22: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a business meeting to deal with a number of pieces of pending legislation, including HR 31, Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (with an amendment in the nature of a substitute); on 6/3, the bill was reported out of Committee, amended.

 

9. On the Record

Schumer (D-NY) 6/5: Floor speech with focus on bad behavior of Saudi

Leahy (D-VT) 6/5: Floor speech on Trump Cuba sanctions [“...Egypt has destroyed what fragile democratic institutions existed there. They have locked up thousands of political opponents, as well as American citizens. Yet President Trump calls President al Sisi a great friend--a man who locks up Americans, locks up people who disagree with him. Saudi Arabia commits war crimes in Yemen, they treat women as property, and they murdered Jamal Khashoggi and other dissidents. The Crown Prince, who we know was involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, is apparently untouchable, and our President and Secretary of State seem to prefer it that way. But Americans can still travel to Saudi Arabia without reservation…”]

Kaine (D-VA) 6/4: Kaine Statement On Transfers Of Nuclear Technical Expertise To Saudi Arabia

Markey (D-MA) 6/4: Senator Markey Lambasts Trump Administration’s Secret Nuclear Cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Van Hollen (D-MD) 6/4: Floor speech on President seizing powers that are not his [“I rise to address a matter that I believe should alarm every Member of this Senate, regardless of party, and that is the President's and the executive branch's increasing use of declared emergency powers to seize powers that are not lawfully theirs to take. Just in the last week, we have seen two examples of this. We saw an administration claim emergency authority to move forward with an arms sale to Saudi Arabia and others…” Well worth reading in full...]

Cruz (R-TX) 6/4: Sen. Cruz Delivers Remarks at the AJC’s 2019 Global Forum

Smith (R-NJ) 6/4: Smith Honored [by the ADL] for His Bipartisan Leadership in Fighting Anti-Semitism

Khanna (D-CA) 6/4: Rep. Khanna on work to end U.S. complicity in the war in Yemen

Hoyer (D-MD) 6/3: Hoyer Remarks at ADL National Leadership Summit [his remarks include no punching left, no “both sides”, and no conflation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism -- pleasant surprise!]

Paul (R-KY) 6/3: Floor speech on Iran saber rattling by Trump Admin [“Our Founding Fathers said you only go to war when Congress votes on it. Recently, there has been a rattling of sabers over Iran. We are tightening the screws on Iran and not letting them sell oil to anyone. They are getting their back up and tensions are flaring. Well, the Constitution says very clearly that you don't go to war with anybody--including Iran--unless you ask Congress for permission. The President does not have permission to take us to war. Many people don't realize this. The Founding Fathers specifically didn't want to give that power…”]

Van Hollen (D-MD) 6/3: Interview with Al-Monitor, “Sen. Van Hollen challenges Trump's bypass of Congress on Saudi Arabia, Iran

Hoyer (D-MD) 5/28: Hoyer Statement on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Duckwork (D-IL) 5/25: Duckworth Statement on Trump Administration’s Decision to Send More US Troops to Middle East, Circumvent Congress in Selling Arms to Saudi Arabia

Feinstein (D-CA) 5/24: Feinstein: President Trump’s Iran Emergency Claim Doesn’t Justify Saudi Arms Sale

Menendez (D-NJ) 5/24: Menendez on Trump Admin’s Decision to Flout Congress’ Role in Approving Arm Sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Khanna (D-CA) 5/24: Statement on President Trump Bypassing Congress to Sell More Bombs to Saudi Arabia

Feinstein (D-CA) 5/24: Feinstein Opposes Saudi Arabia Arms Sale

Van Hollen (D-MD) 5/24: Van Hollen Statement on Administration Decision on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Murphy (D-CT) 5/24: Murphy Statement On New Middle East Arms Sale Markey (D-MA) 5/24: Senator Markey Denounces Trump Administration Decision to Sell Weapons to Saudi Arabia without Congressional Review

McConnell (R-KY) 5/23: Memorial Day speech rallying Congress to support Trump Admin on Iran

Menendez (D-NJ) 5/23: Menendez on Reports that the Trump Admin Plans to Sell Arms to Foreign Governments without Congress’ Approval

Murphy (D-CT) & Young (R-IN) 5/23: Murphy, Young Condemn Houthi Theft Of Food Aid In Yemen

Durbin (D-IL) & Merkley (D-OR) 5/23: Opposing the rush to a military confrontation with Iran

Hoyer (D-MD) 5/22: Hoyer: This President and His Team Have No Clear Strategy on Iran

Walorski (R-IN) 5/22: Walorski Calls for Vote to Combat Anti-Israel BDS Movement - signs Discharge Petition to Bring Legislation to Stand with Israel and Protect U.S. National Interests in the Middle East (press release highlighting 5/17 floor speech)

Durbin (D-IL) 5/22: On Iran [“...I listened in disbelief yesterday to the administration's briefing justifying a confrontation with Iran. While I was listening, I thought to myself, before America plunges into another Middle Eastern war, we ought to take stock and remember how we got into the two wars in that part of the world--two wars, one of which is still raging, that left American soldiers subject to injury and death every day and cost American taxpayers billions of dollars…”]

Leahy (D-VT) 5/22: Floor speech on Iran incl article for the record [“We all deplore Iran's support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, its horrific violations of human rights, and its constant

outpouring of hateful anti-American, anti-Israel rhetoric, but a war with Iran would be far worse, and no one can be certain how it would end. As tensions increase, a misunderstanding or provocative act by either Iran or the United States could quickly trigger retaliatory strikes that spiral out of control, drawing us, our allies, and our adversaries into protracted hostilities. Rather than risk that potentially disastrous result, the administration should be partnering with our European and Middle Eastern allies on a strategy of negotiations to reduce regional tensions...”]

Scalise (R-LA) 5/21: Press release highlighting previous week’s floor speech on BDS and signing of discharge petition

DeFazio (D-OR) 5/21: John Bolton Beating Drums of War [on Iran]

Palazzo (R-MS) 5/21: Post highlighting previous week’s action to sign discharge petition on BDS legislation ["I totally reject rising forms of anti-Semitism on every level, especially those coming from our own members of Congress. I join many of my colleagues in standing strong with our Israeli partners and fully condemn the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that exists to delegitimize and sabotage Israel. It is imperative that we continue supporting  our like-minded Middle Eastern allies in Israel. While I am not surprised by Speaker Pelosi's inaction, I am disappointed in her inability to fully rebuke anti-Semitism due to the most extreme individuals currently controlling her party."]

Peters (D-MI) 5/21: Statement on Iran

Brady (R-TX) 5/20: Post highlighting previous week’s action to sign discharge petition on BDS legislation [“As members of Congress, we have a duty to stand against hate and fight for what is right. The recent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric coming from some of my Democratic colleagues is intolerable and inexcusable, and Republicans will not allow it to continue.”]

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