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(FY22 SFOPS) HR 4373 (report): Following House Appropriations subcommittee/committee hearings, introduced 7/6 by Lee (D-CA), the “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022,” aka, the FY22 SFOPS bill. For full details of the bill – which now awaits action on the House floor – see the July 2, 2021 edition of the Round-Up.
(FY22 DOD APPROPS) HR 4432: Following House Appropriations subcommittee/committee hearings, introduced 7/15 by McCollum (D-MN), the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2022.” See Section 2 of this report for Israel/ Middle East-related provisions.
(FY22 ENERGY & WATER APPROPS) HR XXXX: On 7/16, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY22 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies bill. Hearing video, base text, report, and amendments here. The Subcommittee Report accompanying the bill notes that of the funds appropriated in the bill, the Committee recommends $6 million to be used “to continue implementation of the U.S.- Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement and to develop the U.S.-Israel Energy Center”.
(FY22 NDAA) HR 4350: Introduced 7/2 by Schiff (D-CA), the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.” Referred to the Committee on Armed Services. On July 28-29, various subcommittees of the House Armed Services are scheduled to mark up the bill, with the Full Committee will markup scheduled for September 1 (mark-up schedule details are here). There is no info as yet on Middle East-related elements of the bill because, as noted in the Committee’s press release announcing the bill, “The legislation filed this week does not reflect substantive work by the Armed Services Committee. Rather, provisions contained in the bill reflect legislative proposals submitted by the Department of Defense. When the Committee meets to consider the FY22 NDAA, the content of H.R. 4350 will be struck and replaced with subcommittee and full committee proposals.” Stay tuned.
(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 2374 (text): Introduced 7/15 by Cruz (R-TX) and 16 Republican cosponsors, “A bill to impose sanctions with respect to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Sayyud Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati, who was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 2021 presidential election.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Also see: Sen. Cruz Introduces Bill to Sanction Iran Supreme Leader and President-Elect (Cruz press release); Senate Republicans seek Magnitsky sanctions on Raisi, Khamenei (Jewish Insider)
(NEED US-EU Response to Turkish Provocations in Varosha) Menendez/Van Hollen letter to POTUS: On 7/14, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Van Hollen (D-MD led a letter, cosigned by 11 other Senate Democrats, to President Biden, regarding Turkey/Cyprus developments. Per the press release, the senators came together in “condemning Turkey’s continuing efforts to open the coastline of Varosha, Cyprus in contravention of several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and in defiance of recent calls from the UNSC and the European Council to immediately reverse course. In a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden, the senators urged the Administration to utilize both bilateral and multilateral channels to pressure Turkey to halt its provocations in Varosha and to clearly articulate the consequences of Turkey’s illegal actions.”
On 6/30, the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee held a CLOSED mark-up of the FY22 Defense Appropriations bill (base text). On 7/13, the full Appropriations Committee marked up the bill (full details – including base text, amendments, and mark-up video area here; subcommittee report is here). Following this committee consideration, on 7/15, Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee Chair McCollum (D-MN) introduced the resulting text in the form of HR 4432, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2022.” As always, this bill includes significant Israel/Middle East-related funding and legislative provisions as laid out below.
Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund: $500 million “…to provide assistance, including training; equipment; logistics support, supplies, and services; stipends; infrastructure repair and renovation; construction for facility fortification and humane treatment; and sustainment, to foreign security forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals participating, or preparing to participate in activities to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their affiliated or associated groups…” With the proviso (among others) that “the Secretary of Defense shall ensure that prior to providing assistance to elements of any forces or individuals, such elements or individuals are appropriately vetted, including at a minimum, assessing such elements for associations with terrorist groups or groups associated with the Government of Iran; and receiving commitments from such elements to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
Section 8073: $500 million for “Israeli Cooperative Programs,” sub-earmarked as follows:
- $108 million “shall be for the Secretary of Defense to provide to the Government of Israel for the procurement of the Iron Dome defense system to counter short-range rocket threats, subject to the U.S.-Israel Iron Dome Procurement Agreement, as amended”
- $157 million “shall be for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program, including cruise missile defense research and development under the SRBMD program, of which $30,000,000 shall be for co-production activities of SRBMD systems in the United States and in Israel to meet Israel’s defense requirements consistent with each nation’s laws, regulations, and procedures, subject to the U.S.-Israeli co-production agreement for SRBMD, as amended”
- $62 million “shall be for an upper-tier component to the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture, of which $62,000,000 shall be for co-production activities of Arrow 3 Upper Tier systems in the United States and in Israel to meet Israel’s defense requirements consistent with each nation’s laws, regulations, and procedures, subject to the U.S.-Israeli co-production agreement for Arrow 3 Upper Tier, as amended”
- $173,000,000 “shall be for the Arrow System Improvement Program including development of a long range, ground and airborne, detection suite”.
Section 8126: “During the current fiscal year, the Department of Defense is authorized to incur obligations of not to exceed $350,000,000 for purposes specified in section 2350j(c) of title 10, United States Code, in anticipation of receipt of contributions, only from the Government of Kuwait, under that section: Provided, That, upon receipt, such contributions from the Government of Kuwait shall be credited to the appropriations or fund which incurred such obligations.” NOTE: 10 USC 2350j(c) deals with costs related to “Compensation for local national employees of the Department of Defense”, “Military construction projects of the Department of Defense”, and “Supplies and services of the Department of Defense”.
Section 8130: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution…”
Section 8131: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used with respect to Iraq in contravention of the War Powers Resolution…including for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities in Iraq, into situations in Iraq where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, or into Iraqi territory, airspace, or waters while equipped for combat, in contravention of the congressional consultation and reporting requirements of sections 3 and 4 of such Resolution…”
Section 8132: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used with respect to Syria in contravention of the War Powers Resolution…including for the introduction of United States armed or military forces into hostilities in Syria, into situations in Syria where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, or into Syrian territory, airspace, or waters while equipped for combat, in contravention of the congressional consultation and reporting requirements of sections 3 and 4 of that law…”
Section 8133: “Nothing in this Act may be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Section 8134: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this or any other Act shall be obligated or expended by the United States Government for a purpose as follows: (1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq. (2) To exercise United States control over any oil resource of Iraq or Syria. (3) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan.”
Section 8143: “Funds appropriated in this Act under the heading “Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide”, for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, may be used, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to provide supplies, services, transportation, including airlift and sealift, and other logistical support to coalition forces supporting military and stability operations in Afghanistan and to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria…”
Section 8147: $60 million “shall be for payments to reimburse key cooperating nations for logistical, military, and other support, including access, provided to United States military and stability operations in Afghanistan and to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria…”
Section 8148: $370 million “shall be available to reimburse Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman under section 1226 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016…for enhanced border security, of which not less than $150,000,000 shall be for Jordan…”
Section 8149: Up to $500 million “may be used to provide assistance to the Government of Jordan to support the armed forces of Jordan and to enhance security along its borders.”
Section 8151: Bars DOD from entering into a contract, MOU or cooperative agreement with, or making a grant, loan or loan guarantee to Rosoboronexport or any subsidiary of Rosoboronexport unless SecDef certifies (among other things) that “Rosoboronexport has ceased the transfer of lethal military equipment to, and the maintenance of existing lethal military equipment for, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Section 8153: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to support or facilitate offensive military operations conducted by the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in the war in Yemen.”
Section 8159: “Effective 240 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.”
Section 8160: “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.”
NDAA: The Senate Armed Services Committee and its subcommittees will be marking up various parts of the FY22 NDAA July 19-22. The House Armed Services Committee’s various subcommittees are scheduled to take up the bill July 28-29, with the full committee set to markup the entire bill on September 1 (details are here).
July 29: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism will hold a hearing entitled, Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy. No witnesses have yet been announced.
July 21: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, People to People: Examining Grassroots Peacebuilding Efforts Between Israelis and Palestinians. Scheduled witnesses are: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen (USIP), Nada Majdalani (EcoPeace Middle East), Meredith Mishkin Rothbart (Amal-Tikva), and Daniel Runde (CSIS).
July 21: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, U.S. Policy on Turkey. The sole scheduled witness (as of this writing) is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland.
July 14: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, The Biden Administration’s Foreign Assistance Priorities and USAID’s FY22 Budget Request. The sole witness was USAID Administrator Samantha Power (written testimony). Video of the hearing is here. The hearing had a lot of Middle East/Israel/Palestine content – well worth watching the whole thing, and especially the Q&A. Also see: USAID chief Samantha Power defends US funding for Palestinians (Middle East Eye); Power emphasizes Israeli role in clearing Gaza aid during latest congressional hearings (Jewish Insider)
HFAC Codel to Middle East – statements, media reports, etc
Jerusalem Post 7/15: Bipartisan delegation concludes first Middle East trip since COVID
New York Post 7/13: Israel urges visiting US lawmakers to oppose reviving Iran-nuclear deal
Times of Israel 7/14: US lawmakers castigated Abbas for terror payments during ‘tense’ Ramallah meet
Malliotakis (R-NY) 7/14: Tweet – “‘The new Israeli leadership has grave concerns about the Iran deal and they reflected that numerous times,’ Malliotakis said. Read more about Nicole’s trip to the Middle East & our allies’ concerns about @POTUS’ willingness to make concessions to Iran”. Linked to article, Israel urges visiting US lawmakers to oppose reviving Iran-nuclear deal (New York Post)
Meeks (D-NY) 7/13: Meeks Issues Statement After Returning from Bipartisan CODEL to Middle East
Hill (R-AR) 7/12: Tweet – “I joined my colleagues in a visit to Israel & Qatar last week, led by @HouseForeign Chairman @RepGregoryMeeks of NY. We joined the entire diplomatic community & the Marine Color Guard at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem for the July 4th celebration. More to come on my visit soon.”
Barr (R-KY) 7/12: Tweet – “Last week, I participated in a bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip to the Middle East. We met with leaders from the new government in Israel and visited the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to visit U.S. military servicemembers. More on this trip to come.”
Malliotakis (R-NY) 7/9: Malliotakis Meets with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III
Malliotakis (R-NY) 7/8: Tweet – “Nicole is in Israel right now for the first meeting between members of Congress and Israel’s new government.” Linked to article, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis travels to Middle East as part of Congressional Delegation (Staten Island Live)
Schneider (D-IL) 7/5: Schneider Joins Congressional Delegation to the Middle East
Meeks (D-NY) 7/5: Meeks Announces Congressional Delegation to the Middle East
Members on the Record
Re: Israel & Palestine
Tlaib (D-MI) 7/16: Tweet – “Our country needs to stop pretending that Israel doesn’t discriminate towards Palestinians in the most inhumane ways like taking away access to water. Water is a human right from Detroit to Palestine.” Linked to article, Palestine runs dry: ‘Our water they steal and sell to us’ (Al Jazeera)
Stefanik (R-NY) 7/15: Tweets – “Let me be perfectly clear. The Democrats are the party of Anti-Semites who refuse to support Israel. My Far-Left NYC Democrat opponent represented Qatar who funds terrorists targeting and attacking Israel. Any reporting about that fact in #NY21? Absolute crickets.” & “The Republicans stand for election integrity with @claudiatenney, support Israel, and strongly condemn Anti-Semitism. Get back to your predictable shilling @ncpr – when Republicans win back the House, you and @NPR will be defunded.”
Norcross (D-NJ) 7/14: Tweet – “The Iron Dome provides necessary, life-preserving protection & I applaud the decision to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome to support the people of Israel.”
Frankel (D-FL) 7/13: Rep. Frankel Statement on Israel and United States Security Program Funding; also see her Twitter thread, opening with, “Today @AppropsDems passed a bill that funds missile defense technology that protects Israeli and Palestinian civilians from terror groups like Hamas who fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities while hiding behind civilians in Gaza.”
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/13: Tweet – “4,000 rockets were launched by Hamas at our ally Israel. Who funds those rockets? Who provides the technology? Iran. I went there to assure our allies that America stands with Israel.” Includes video clip of Hagerty speaking on the topic at CPAC.
Tlaib (D-MI) 7/12: Tweet – “Aparthied Israel denies rights to ‘mixed couples.’ So if a Palestinian falls in love & marries an Israeli, they are prohibited to live in certain neighborhoods & won’t get the same benefits as other married couples. The inside political fight is exposing this discriminatory law.” Linked to screen grab of Al Jazeera headline on the topic.
Tlaib (D-MI) 7/12: Tweet – “The simple desire to live is criminalized in some of the most inhumane ways in Israel. Like not allowing a mother to truly mourn the loss of her daughter. Suha’s death is heartbreaking. Khalida & her family have gone through so much already. Learn more:” Linked to Haaretz article about the longtime, repeated imprisonment by Israel of Khalida Jarrar.
Pocan (D-WI) 7/9: Tweet – “When I read this, @DemMaj4Israel, are you saying funding & working with a shill organization that worked for @IlhanMN’s primary opponent wasn’t ‘dark’? And if so, why did you need to do that unusually obscure model? Appreciate a reply.” Linked to article, Pocan asks why Israel lobbying group doesn’t mention country in its Nina Turner attack ads (Mondoweiss)
Tlaib (D-MI) 7/8: Tweet – “Reminder: Apartheid government is not a democracy. We must stop our taxpayer dollars being used to violently oppress the Palestinians. Just this week Israel demolished and leveled the home of a Palestinian family in the beloved village of Turmusaya. For what? To dehumanize.” Linked to video of the IDF demolishing the home of a Palestinian-American family in the West Bank in an act of collective punishment, linked to an act of terrorism carried out by a single member of the family.
Pocan (D-WI) 7/9: Tweet – “Wonder why @DemMaj4Israel ’s negative ads against @ninaturner for Congress have nothing to do with Israel? Dark money running dark ads. Yuck. ——Support Nina against those big money deceptive ads and send a message to shady dark money groups.”
Nadler (D-NY) 7/7: Tweet – “Thank you to Israel’s 10th president,@PresidentRuvi, for your leadership and commitment to the friendship between Israel and the United States. Mazel tov to Israel’s 11th President @Isaac_Herzog on your swearing in today! Wishing you and the people of Israel success.”
Frankel (D-FL) 7/6: Tweet – “Last week, I championed critical funding for Israel’s security in the #SFOPS Appropriations Bill. This funding will ensure that Israel is able to defend itself against common threats, continue to help developing nations, & reinforce the bonds that make both our nations stronger.”
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/6: Tweet – “My recent visit to Israel only reaffirmed my belief that the U.S. must reverse its current trajectory & take immediate steps to help our allies better defend themselves & our common interests amid grave and gathering threats. America must stand with Israel.” Linked to article, Exclusive—Sen. Bill Hagerty: The United States Must Increase Support for Israel’s Iron Dome (Breitbart)
Cammack (R-FL) 7/6: Tweet – “I’m a proud co-sponsor of @RepChipRoy’s UNRWA Transparency & Accountability Act. This bill ensures no funding goes to the UNRWA if any employee is affiliated with a known terrorist org. or propagates anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/16: Tweet – “Senator Bill Hagerty Slams Biden for Waiving Iranian Sanctions“. Linked to article, Senator Bill Hagerty Slams Biden for Waiving Iranian Sanctions (Tennessee Star)
Schakowsly (D-IL) 7/15: Tweet – “Don’t let history repeat itself. Stop hate propaganda against Baha’is in Iran!”
Deutch (D-FL) 7/15: Tweet – “I am very concerned about a recent rise in hate propaganda directed at Iran’s Baha’i community. The Iranian regime must put an end to this climate of hate, persecution of religious minorities, and human rights abuses against the Iranian people. #StopHatePropaganda”
Bacon (R-NE) 7/15: Tweet – “Iran plotted to kidnap journalist @AlinejadMasih in NYC and smuggle her via #Venezuela. Meanwhile, @POTUS negotiates a return to the dangerous #IranDeal. This is more proof that #Iran is a destabilizing force & doesn’t warrant a reprieve.” Linked to article, Official: U.S. still wants to revive nuclear deal, despite Iran kidnap allegations (Politico)
Risch (R-ID) 7/14: Risch: Iran’s Attempt to Kidnap on U.S. Soil is Appalling, Admin. Must Cease Negotiations Immediately
Biggs (R-AZ) 7/14: Tweet – “Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Deal six years ago today. Trump got rid of it, now Biden wants to re-enter it. Nothing like putting money back into the hands of terrorists.” Linked to article, Biden Admin Waives Sanctions on Iranian Oil Trade As DOJ Announces Charges On Spy Network (Free Beacon)
Lamborn (R-CO) 7/14: Tweet – “Unbelievable! The Biden admin is waiving sanctions on Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. With this influx of cash, Iran will again export violence & chaos throughout the Middle East. This is the latest fiasco in a career of foreign policy failures by Joe Biden.”
Lankford (R-OK) 7/14: Tweet – “From day one the Iran Nuclear Deal has been flawed. Instead of appeasing the Iranian regime Biden needs to call off talks, enforce President Trump’s sanctions, and return to maximum pressure.”
Franklin (R-FL) 7/14: Tweet – “Once again President Biden is putting foreign governments ahead of the US. Waiving these sanctions will fund Iran’s terrorist activities and sends a clear message that the administration is not putting Americans first.” Linked to article, Biden Admin Waives Sanctions on Iranian Oil Trade As DOJ Announces Charges On Spy Network (Free Beacon)
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/14: Tweet – “President Biden is doubling down on his Iran appeasement policy just as it was revealed that Iranian officials were plotting to abduct an American citizen in NYC, and as the regime is continuing to use missiles and proxy militants to attack Americans in Iraq and Syria.” Linked to article, Biden Admin Waives Sanctions on Iranian Oil Trade As DOJ Announces Charges On Spy Network (Free Beacon)
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/14: Tweet – “The Administration must immediately rescind all waivers of sanctions against Iran, and stand up for U.S. interests. President Biden must also immediately end the Vienna negotiations.” Linked to article, Biden Admin Waives Sanctions on Iranian Oil Trade As DOJ Announces Charges On Spy Network (Free Beacon)
Ernst (R-IA) 7/14: Tweet – “The Biden Admin’s latest appeasement of Iran lifts sanctions & delivers an economic bailout to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. I’m backing an effort to ensure Congress has a say before @POTUS terminates sanctions against the Iranian regime.” Linked to article, Biden Lifts Some Iranian Oil Sanctions As Feds Bust Iranian Spy Network Planning To Kidnap American: Report (Daily Wire)
Wilson (R-SC) 7/14: “The disturbing plot to kidnap an Iranian-American journalist who criticized the Iranian regime and its human rights abuses further underscores the critical global threat posed by Iran. The U.S. should not be making deals with exporters of terrorism who seek to harm Americans!”
Romney (R-UT) 7/14: Tweet – “Terrifying. The lengths at which the Iranian government will go to silence critics—even American citizens—is appalling and unacceptable. This is yet another warning call that we must consistently take a hard line against their oppressive regime.” Linked to article, Iranian Operatives Planned to Kidnap a Brooklyn Author, Prosecutors Say (New York Times)
Republican Policy Committee 7/14: Biden’s Foreign Policy Déjà Vu [lots on Iran]
Garcia (R-CA) 7/14: Tweet – “Biden & the far left continue to push for re-entry into the failed Iran Nuclear Deal, even as it has become clear Iranian operatives planned to kidnap an American journalist. It is foolish to make any concessions to the oppressive, anti-American Iranian…” Linked to article, Official: U.S. still wants to revive nuclear deal, despite Iran kidnap allegations (Politico)
Hagerty (R-TN) 7/13: Hagerty Statement on Biden Administration Waiving Sanctions on Iranian Oil Trade
McCaul (R-TX) 7/13: McCaul on “Chilling Plot by the Iranian Regime to Kidnap a U.S. Citizen”
Cotton (R-IA) 7/12: Cotton Statement on Delivery of A Report on the Fighting Culture of the Navy’s Surface Fleet (lots of Iran-related content in the Report)
Re: Miscellaneous Matters
Smith (R-NJ) 7/15: Rep. Smith: ‘Religious freedom is under siege all over the world’
McCaul (R-TX) 7/8: McCaul, Meeks Statement on the Upcoming United Nations Security Council Vote on Humanitarian Access to the Syrian People
Fortenberry (R-NE) 7/6: Lincoln Journal-Star: Fortenberry Initiative Provides New Mideast Tool
Luria (D-VA) 7/5: Tweet – “Having been to the Israeli-Lebanese border, I understand the importance of curbing Hezbollah’s presence and in Lebanon. Last week I introduced legislation to strengthen the international effort to prevent Hezbollah from threatening our Middle East allies.” Linked to article, Luria introduces bill to combat Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanese military (Augusta Free Press)
Media & Other Reports
Jewish Insider 7/16: Why the congressman who boycotted South Africa says he won’t do the same for Israel
Jewish Insider 7/15: No path forward on Iran without nuclear agreement, Murphy says
Times of Israel 7/15: Ilhan Omar’s antisemitism poses a moment of reckoning for Democrats (Op-ed by Christians United for Israel founder Rev. John Hagee)
Arutz Sheva 7/14: House committee approves funding for Iron Dome
Washington Free Beacon 7/12: Omar and Tlaib Mum on Whether Palestinian Aid Should Be Conditioned on Human Rights Abuses [Note: Under current law, NO U.S. funding goes to the Palestinian Authority. So in effect, this article is demanding that Omar and Tlaib support punishing the Palestinian people (not the PA) for human rights abuses committed against them by the PA. And this article is suggesting that calling for conditions on US aid to the Israeli government, in response to violations of such rights by the Israeli government, but NOT calling for conditions on US aid to the Palestinian people, in repsonse to violations of those rights by the PA, is hypocrisy. Hilarious, right?]
Jewish News Syndicate 7/9: Senators, Jewish groups question Pakistani-born Biden nominee for small business