Legislative Round-Up: September 17, 2021

1. FY22 NDAA – House
2. Hearings & Markups
3. On the Record

*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

More great FMEP programming:

1. FY22 NDAA – House

As reported in last week’s Round-Up, on 9/2, the House Armed Services Committee completed its mark-up of HR 4350, the FY22 NDAA. As report in that Round-Up, coming out of Committee, the bill includes a number of Israel/Middle East-related provisions, as follows.

Israel:

  • While not mentioned in the bill text, the tables at the end of the bill include $500 million for Israel-related programs, as follows: Israeli Cooperative Programs – $300 million; Arrow 3 Upper Tier Systems – $62 million; Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense – $30 million; Iron Dome – $108 million. On 9/9 AIPAC tweeted  Last week the House Armed Services Committee authorized $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation. Collaboration on lifesaving programs like Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow keeps Americans and Israelis safe, supports our economy and creates American jobs.
  • In addition, Section 731 of the bill provides for a “Grant program for increased cooperation on post-traumatic stress disorder research between the United States and Israel.” Also see 9/17 Tweet from Luria (D-VA) – “In a time for our country that seems very challenging, we can come together and help our service members and strengthen the U.S./Israel relationship. I worked to ensure that the U.S.-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act was included in this year’s defense budget.”

Other Middle East-related provisions:

  • Section 1053. Reports and briefings regarding oversight of Afghanistan [including with respect to support from Iran]
  • Section 1221. Extension and modification of authority to provide assistance to vetted Syrian groups and individuals.
  • Section 1222. Extension and modification of authority to support operations and activities of the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq
  • Section 1223. Extension and modification of authority to provide assistance to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
  • Section 1224. Prohibition of transfers to Badr organization.
  • Section 1225. Prohibition on transfers to Iran.
  • Section 1226. Report on Iran-China military ties.
  • Section 1227. Report on Iranian military capabilities.
  • Section 1228. Report on Iranian terrorist proxies.
  • Section 6009. Expansion of scope of Department of Veterans Affairs open burn pit registry to include open burn pits in Egypt and Syria.

AMENDMENTS

In preparation for floor consideration, on 9/7 the House Rules Committee opened the window for the submission of amendments to the House NDAA. While the submission period ended 9/14 at 1pm, late amendments were still being submitted well into the week. The full list of amendments is here – 834 (as of 10:30am on 9/17 — compared to a total of 751 last year).

As a reminder: as in past years, few of these amendments will likely make it to the floor for a vote – yet, as always, amendments offered to “must pass” bills like the NDAA are often more about signaling/grandstanding than anything else, and in all cases offer a valuable window into the priorities and intentions of members of Congress.

The Rules Committee will meet 9/20 to decide which amendments will be made “in order” (i.e., will be brought to the floor for a vote, either individually or as part of pre-negotiated blocs of amendments) and to adopt a Rule regarding floor consideration of the bill.

Middle East-related amendments (submitted) are detailed below. Stay tuned to a future Round-Up to see how they fared.

Israel

  • Amdt. 110: Offered by Biggs (R-AZ), “Expresses a sense of Congress about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • Amdt. 193: Offered by Garabin (R-NY) and Langevin (D-RI), “Establishes a Department of Homeland Security grant program to facilitate closer U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation.” [This is the NDAA amendment version of Langevin’s bill HR 2651].
  • Amdt. 203: Offered by Perry (R-PA), “Prohibits funding to any organization or any country that has labelled Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state.”
  • Amdt. 220: Offered by Jackson (R-TX), “Expresses the Sense of Congress that Israel is a critical defense partner and highlights various things such as improving interoperability, opposing terrorism in the Middle East, and maintaining a strong relationship.”
  • Amdt. 232: Offered by Phillips (D-MN) and Gonzalez (R-OH), “Requires a Secretary of Defense report on how the US is working with other countries in CENTCOM area of responsibility to improve Israel’s coordination with other regional militaries and also requires the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator provide an analysis of the strategic initiatives taken to integrate the Abraham Accords into congressionally authorized and appropriated programs.
  • Amdt. 380: Offered by Gottheimer (D-NJ), “Restricts universities which have sponsored or endorsed events hosting convicted terrorists on campus from receiving Basic Research funding under the RDT&E account for all service branches.” [The apparent target of this amendment is Palestinian activism/free speech on US campuses, as tested in the past years by events featuring Laila Khaled].
  • Amdt. 512: Offered by Auchincloss (D-MA), Gonzalez (R-OH), and Meng (D-NY), “Establishes the United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Center to improve artificial intelligence research and development cooperation.” [Note: this is an effort to attach HR 5148/S. 2120 to the NDAA – a gambit that would preempt even minimal congressional scrutiny of the proposal]- WITHDRAWN
  • Amdt. 669: Offered by Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Pocan (D-WI), and Tlaib (D-MI), “tSuspends the transfer of Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition weaponry under the $735 million direct commercial sale to the Israeli government.” Ocasio-Cortez press release notes: “This would block the transfer of the same kind of Boeing weaponry that the Israeli government used to kill 44 Palestinians in one night in al-Rimal.
  • Amdt. 672: Offered by Schneider (D-IL), Wilson (R-SC), Murphy (R-FL), Manning (R-NC) and Frankel (D-FL), “Requires the creation of a U.S.-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group.” [Note: This appears to be the same amendment that these members announced they were offering to the NDAA during committee consideration (it does not appear to have been considered). The purpose of this amendment is to take a program that was authorized in the FY21 NDAA and make it mandatory. As a reminder, in 2020 Wilson introduced legislation to authorize this (HR 7148). That bill underwent no hearings, and then with no discussion was added to (and adopted as part of) the FY21 NDAA – see FDD statement in celebration, here.]
  • Amdt. 698: Offered by Malinowski (D-NJ), Phillips (D-MN), Porter (D-CA) and Khanna (D-CA), “Requires an annual report to Congress by the State Department on foreign companies proliferating dangerous cyber-weapons and hack-for-hire capabilities to known human rights abusers and repressive governments.

Egypt

  • Amdt. 532: Offered by Malinowski (D-NJ), Wagner (R-MO), and Spanberger (D-VA), “Requires the Secretary of State to provide a report on state-sanctioned intimidation and harassment by the Egyptian government against Americans and their families.”
  • Amdt. 536: Offered by Malinowski (D-NJ), Beyer (D-VA), Lieu (D-CA), Levin (D-MI), Wild (D-PA), Omar (D-MN), Khanna (D-CA), and Lynch (D- MA), “Requires a report by the State Department on allegations of systematic extrajudicial killings and torture by Egyptian security forces and a determination of whether such acts constitute a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
  • Amdt. 637: Offered by Fortenberry (R-NE) and Ruppersberger (D-MD), “Adds a Sense of Congress that it is in the best interests of the region for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to immediately reach a just and equitable agreement regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Iran

  • Amdt. 213: Offered by Perry (R-PA), “Prohibits the use of funds to enter into any nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
  • Amdt. 300: Offered by Fallon (R-TX), “Repeals the Iran sanctions exemption for Afghanistan reconstruction assistance and economic development.
  • Amdt. 318: Offered by Tenney (R-NY), “Revises the report on Iran’s military capabilities to include all instances of the supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related material, to or from Iran.
  • Amdt. 323: Offered by Tenney (R-NY), “Requires a report on the United Nations arms embargo on Iran and its effectiveness in constraining Iran’s ability to supply, sell, or transfer arms or related material while the arms embargo was in effect. Requires the Department of Defense to report on the measures that the agencies are taking, in the absence of such a United Nations arms embargo on Iran, to constrain Iranian arms proliferation.”
  • Amdt. 326: Offered by Tenney (R-NY), “Requires a report on all IRGC-affiliated operatives serving in diplomatic and consular posts outside of Iran, and the ways in which the Departments of Defense and State are working with partner nations to inform them of the threat posed by IRGC-affiliated operatives.
  • Amdt. 370: Offered by Steil (R-WI), “Requires the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the short- and long-term threats posed by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to Iraq and to United States persons and interests.”
  • Amdt. 379: Offered by Steil (R-WI), “Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to apply one or more special measures with respect to a foreign financial institution that conducts a significant transaction with INSTEX, if the transaction facilitates the evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran. Requires consultation with European allies and clear objectives as the basis for a special measure. This amendment does not apply to non-sanctionable activities such as humanitarian assistance.
  • Amdt. 496: Offered by Luria (D-VA), “Expresses a sense of Congress that the Government of Iran’s decision to enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity is a further escalation and shortens the breakout time to produce enough highly enriched uranium to develop a nuclear weapon, and the Government of Iran should immediately abandon any pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
  • Amdt. 521: Offered by Malliotakis (R-NY), “Requires a report to Congress of all malign operations by Iran conducted on Unites [sic] States soil. Including: Iran-backed terrorist attacks, kidnapping, export violations, sanctions busting activities, cyber-attacks, and money laundering.”
  • Amdt. 593: Offered by Hill (R-AR), “Requires reporting on the monetary assets held by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Yemen, & UAE

  • Amdt. 19: Offered by Connolly (D-VA) and Meeks (D-NY), “Imposes temporary limits on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and requires various reports and actions related to the death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
  • Amdt. 57: Offered by Meeks (D-NY), Deutch (D-FL), and Lieu (D-CA), “Requires the suspension of U.S. sustainment and maintenance support to Saudi air force units determined to be responsible for airstrikes resulting in civilian casualties in Yemen with certain exemptions for territorial self-defense, counterterrorism operations, and defense of U.S. government facilities or personnel.
  • Amdt. 61: Offered by Omar (D-MN), “Prohibits the proposed sale of F35s and other weapons to the United Arab Emirates.”
  • Amdt. 449: Offered by Malinowski (D-NY), Schiff (D-CA), DeFazio (D-OR), Cicilline (D-RI), Cohen (D-TN), Castro (D-TX), Khanna (D-CA), Titus (D-NV), Norton (D-DC), Luria (D-VA), and Allred (D-TX), “Imposes sanctions on foreign persons listed in the report of the Director of National Intelligence for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which is the language from HR 1464 that as passed by voice vote in the Foreign Affairs Committee during the 117th Congress.”
  • Amdt. 520: Offered by Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Connolly (D-VA), “Prohibits funds from being used to provide weapons or military aid or military training to Saudi Arabia’s Rapid Intervention Force (RIF), the unit responsible for the murder of U.S. journalist Jamal Khoshoggi.”
  • Amdt. 550: Offered by Dingell (D-MI), “States that none of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act are authorized to be made available for any US governmental or private entity to participate in, or in any way assist, restrictions on imports, including humanitarian and civic assistance, or travel at Yemen’s air or sea ports, including any communication, coordination, training, or any other interaction between the U.S. military and the members of an air force or navy that may enable, aid, or facilitate the enforcement of these restrictions.”
  • Amdt. 573: Offered by Khanna (D-CA), Jayapal (D-WA), and Schiff (D-CA), “Terminates U.S. military logistical support, and the transfer of spare parts to Saudi warplanes conducting aerial strikes against the Houthis in Yemen and permanently ends intelligence sharing that enables offensive strikes and any U.S. effort to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces in the war in Yemen.
  • Amdt. 670: Offered by Schiff (D-CA), “Prohibits funding from being used to share intelligence with Saudi ships enforcing the blockade of the Port of Al Hodeidah, Yemen, and plans imposing a no-fly zone over the airport in Sanaa, Yemen.”

Iraq

  • Amdt. 28: Offered by Sherman (D-CA), “Authorizes the Secretary of Defense, upon request of the Government of Iraq and in consultation and coordination with the Government of Iraq, to provide support for vetted forces in Iraq operating in the Nineveh Plains to successfully facilitate the return of religious minorities.”

Tunisia

  • Amdt. 758: Offered by Malinowsky (D-NJ) and Connolly (D-VA), “Limits security assistance to the Tunisian military until the President certifies that the Tunisian government has met certain conditions.

Syria

  • Amdt. 56: Offered by Meeks (D-NY) and Deutch (D-FL) “Requires a report and clarification on U.S. – Syria political strategy and policy goals, including diplomatic, development/humanitarian, and security objectives.”
  • Amdt. 622: Offered by Jayapal (D-WA), “Commissions a Defense Department report on estimated savings to come from full drawdown from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria compared to the status quo ante and the estimated cost of redirecting U.S. personnel and materials to effectively engage in great power competition with Russia and China, including increased outlays in ships, aircraft, nuclear weapons, etc. sufficient to effectively curb and deter both countries militarily in their respective regions.”
  • Amdt. 673: Offered by Steil (R-WI), “Requires the President, acting through the Secretary of State and in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Treasury to submit a report to relevant congressional committees that describes the financial benefits the Assad regime in Syria will obtain through transit fees for allowing the export of gas into Lebanon through the Arab Gas Pipeline in the case that the President issues a waiver under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (P.L. 116-92).”
  • Amdt. 706: Offered by Hill (R-AR), “Requires an interagency strategy to disrupt and dismantle narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”
  • Amdt. 734: Offered by Green (R-TN), “Withholds funds from POTUS if he tries to lower troop levels in Syria and Iraq below 10% of current deployments without updating Congress on effects to counterterrorism and national security.”
  • Amdt. 759: Offered by Tenney (R-NY), “Requires a report on the net worth of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.”
  • Amdt. 771: Offered by Bowman (D-NY) and Khanna (D-CA), “Prohibits U.S. military presence in Syria without Congressional approval within 60 days of enactment.”

Libya

  • Amdt. 567: Offered by Malinowsky (D-NJ), “Requires the Department of Justice to consider reviewing credible information on war crimes and torture committed by US citizens in Libya (including Mr. Khalifa Haftar).”
  • Amdt. 609: Offered by Malinowsky (D-NJ), “Requires the President to review certain alleged arms embargo violators for sanction under Executive Order 13726 (81 Fed. Reg. 23559; relating to blocking property and suspending entry into the United States of persons contributing to the situation in Libya).”
  • Amdt. 817: Offered by Omar (D-MN), “Requires State and USAID to report on human trafficking and slavery in Libya, and develop a strategy for addressing root causes and holding perpetrators accountable.”

General Provisions with Middle East Implications

  • Amdt. 123: Offered by Pallone (D-NJ), “Requires a report from the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, addressing allegations that some units of foreign countries that have participated in security cooperation programs under section 333 of title 10, U.S.C. may have also committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights before or while receiving U.S. security assistance. This report would also includes recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations.”
  • Amdt. 294: Offered by Connolly (D-VA) and Turner (R-OH), “Requires a report related to human rights abusers, terrorists, and military coup participants who have received security cooperation training from the United States.”
  • Amdt. 313: Offered by Posey (R-FL) and Waltz (R-FL), “Prevents terrorist agents from asserting a Uniform Commercial Code state law defense that they argue requires their victims to execute on the foreign entity where they opened the account, not the U.S. entity holding their blocked assets here and reporting them to OFAC.” 
  • Amdt. 341: Offered by Gottheimer (D-NJ), “Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to submit to Congress (1) a copy of licenses authorizing financial institutions to provide services benefitting a state sponsor of terrorism, and (2) a report on foreign financial institutions conducting significant transactions for persons sanctioned for international terrorism and human rights violations.”
  • Amdt. 348: Offered by Gottheimer (D-NJ), “Requires the Secretary of State, upon receipt of a request from appropriate Committee Chairs and Ranking Members, to determine whether a group constitutes a Specially-Designated Global Terrorist Group or foreign terrorist organization and to submit a report with respect to that determination.”
  • Amdt. 446: Offered by Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Gonzalez (R-OH), “Requires GAO to carry out a study on the financing of domestic violent extremists and terrorists, including foreign terrorist-inspired domestic extremists.”
  • Amdt. 468: Offered by Curtis (R-UT), Malinowski (D-NJ), Kim (R-CA), and Phillips (D-MN), “Updates the Annual Report on Human Rights Practices to report on the status of surveillance and use of advanced technology to impose arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, or unlawful or unnecessary restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, or other internationally recognized human rights.”
  • Amdt. 563: Offered by Jacobs (D-CA) and Malinowski (D-NJ), “Requires human rights vetting of potential recipients of U.S. support to combat terrorism under 10 U.S.C. 127e.”
  • Amdt. 600: Offered by Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), “Prohibits Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to any country that has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, genocide, or war crimes.”
  • Amdt. 601: Offered by Schiff (D-CA) and Malinowski (D-NJ), “Establishes measures to protect the human rights of journalists. Expands the scope of required reports related to violations of the human rights of journalists, requires the President to impose certain property- and visa-blocking sanctions on persons responsible for gross violations of the human rights of journalists, and prohibits certain foreign assistance to a governmental entity of a country if an official acting under authority of the entity has committed a gross violation of human rights against a journalist.”
  • Amdt. 611: Offered by Lee (D-CA), “Repeals the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.”
  • Amdt. 655: Offered by McGovern (D-MA), “Modifies the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Subtitle F of title XXI of PL 114-328) to authorize sanctions for serious human rights abuse, any violation of internationally recognized human rights, or corruption; adds two new reports to Congress; and repeals the sunset.”
  • Amdt. 738: Offered by Meeks (D-NY) and McCaul (R-TX), “Requires congressional notification for certain rewards provided under the State Department rewards program.”
  • Amdt. 765: Offered by Gracia (D-IL), Omar (D-MN), Jacobs (D-CA), Bass (D-CA), Tlaib (D-MI), Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jayapal (D-WA), and Hayes (D-CT), “Requires the GAO, in consultation with the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to submit a report to Congress on humanitarian impacts of US sanctions.”

Also see

2. Hearings & Resolutions

September 15: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to consider Biden Administration four Biden nominees, including Barbara Leaf, nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (testimony), and Julieta Valls Noyes, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (testimony). Full video of the hearing, which covered a plethora of Middle East-related issues (including Iran), is here – well worth watching in full.

Notably, there was meeting of the minds, it seemed, among SFRC members on Israel-related issues, including bashing UNRWA, and doubling/tripling/quadrupling down on the Abraham Accords. Key excerpts:

  • In his opening ranking member Risch (R-ID) went on at some length on the Middle East, including praising the Abraham Accords and normalization, taking a strong shot at Biden administration policy on Iran and also at UNRWA. He later again attacked UNRWA during his questioning of Noyes, plugging S. 2479 [a bill that, as a reminder, attacks UNRWA (the organization), attacks Palestinian refugees (legislating them out of existence), delegitimizes Palestinian history/narrative/rights (by targeting the mere idea of the right of return), attacks non-violent protest of Israel via boycotts of either Israel or settlements (citing an Obama-era trade law to conflate the two), and legislates/weaponizes a definition of “antisemitism” that explicitly conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism). Noyes responding — stunningly, given the content of S. 2479, and the fact that this bill is entirely partisan, with 13 GOP cosponsors and zero Democrats — by saying she and the Administration share Risch’s concerns as expressed in S. 2479 “about the efficiency, effictiveness and neutrality of UNRWA.” She went on to offer a weak defense  of resuming funding for UNRWA (attacked by Risch as such), based on the argument that the only alternative to UNRWA is Hamas (watch the whole exchange, starting at around 01:13:00 in the video).
  • Cardin (D-MD) used his question to push for a stronger US policy to expand Arab normalization with Israel rather than to have them pursue the path of isolating Israel at the UN. Leaf responded by fulsomely praising the Abraham Accords and committing to making it her priority to work to expand the “circle” of countries normalizing with Israel. Leaf also agreed that there is anti-Israel bias at the UN that she is committed to fighting.
  • Kaine (D-VA) asked the nominee for Ambassador to France about how the US and France can work together on Lebanon. He also asked Leaf about US policy on Egypt, and in particular human rights issues, including possible involvement in the Khashoggi murder (see question and Leaf’s response – in which she quickly pivots to the importance of Egypt when it comes to Israel, and the recent Bennet-Sissi mtg – around 01:25:20 in the video).
  • Cruz (R-TX) delivered a speech (around 01:28:40 in the video) attacking the Biden Administration — praising the Abraham Accords, praising Trump Admon’s policy of total support for Israel, accusing the Biden Administration for allegedly trying to unwind all of the Trump Admin’s successes, and slamming the Biden Administration for insufficiently supporting/celebrating the Abraham Accords and (falsely) stating that it is Biden Administration policy to refuse to use the term “Abraham Accords.” In response, Leaf  agreed emphatically with Cruz that the Abraham Accords “are historic accords” that “changed and brought a new dynamic to a region that has really had very little in the way of good news in recent years.” She gushed: “”There’s no question in my mind that they have already contributed and will contribute still more to peaceful coexistence and to economic integration…I can assure you that if confirmed I will make it a top priority not just to help foster the deepening of the roots of those relationships…but I will work with those governments and the Israeli government to strengthen and deepen those Accords, and then widen the circle. Absolutely – there are more opportunities out there. They’re not quite as in a state of readiness perhaps as the UAE was, but there are prospected there, the start with some very significant moves on people-to-people contact.. That’s the sort of thing that frankly the US has to push on with other governments and I’m ready to do it.”  [Menendez broke in shortly thereafter to clarify that the Biden Administration indeed uses the term “Abraham Accords” and is totally supportive of it].
  • Murphy (D-CT) asked Leaf about the Biden Administration’s strategy regarding Iran and rejoining the JCPOA (question and answer starting around 01:42:49), asking about the sequencing of re-joining the JCPOA vs. getting Iranian agreement with respect to non-nuclear related issues). He followed up noting he will submit a question for the record regarding Lebanon/Hezbollah and Lebanon’s fuel shortage.
  • Van Hollen (D-MD) asked Leaf (starting around 01:49:00) whether she agrees it is in the US national interest to continue to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (Leaf agreed). He asked about Biden’s plan to “reopen” the consulate in Jerusalem, asking whether the president plans to continue with that plan and what is the timetable? Leaf said yes, he does, but was unable to say anything about the timing. And he echoed Murphy’s question about Lebanon’s fuel shortage and the challenge posed by Iran/Hezbollah’s role in supplying fuel.
  • Menendez (D-NJ) followed up on Murphy’s question regarding the JCPOA, strongly objecting to the idea of returning to the JCPOA without agreement on all issues of concerns. Menendez followed up (at 01:59:05) by asking Leaf, for the record, “Do you commit to fully supporting Israel’s right to self-defense and its Qualitative Military Edge, including through U.S. military assistance?” Leaf responded, “Yes, senator.” Menendez continued, asking about Lebanon’s economic crisis, asking how we “balance the need to help alleviate suffering in Lebanon…but ensure that our assistance is being used to incentivize reforms?” He then talked about Egypt, stressing Egypt’s importance and construction role in the region, but also challenges, especially human rights. He then asked the nominee to be ambassador to NATO about Turkey and its behavior towards Greece.

3. On the Record

Israel/Palestine

Burchett (R-TN) 9/16: Tweet – “When Americans donate to@PACBI, they potentially finance anti-Israel terror cells that are closely tied to this organization. @actblue needs to prevent its service from being used to fund sinister violence against Israel by kicking PACBI off its platform.” Linked to article, Discover Card Cuts Ties With Palestinian Terror-Linked Organization (Free Beacon)

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 9/15: Tweet – “I asked @benandjerrys & @unilever to reconsider their misinformed decision. They didn’t. I’m proud that New Jersey & @GovMurphy are standing strong w/ Israel. If you refuse to do business w/ our ally Israel, states like NJ will not do business with you.” Linked to article, N.J. moves to divest investments in Unilever after Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott (New Jersey Globe)

Al Shabaka/Nadya Tannous  9/14: Restricting US Military Aid to Israel in the Age of Normalization

Zeldin (R-NY) 9/13: Rep. Zeldin Joins International Lawmakers in Condemning Discrimination Against Israel at the UN

Boebert (R-CO) 9/12: Tweet – “There are two nations in this world that were made to glorify God almighty: Israel and the United States of America. I don’t care what it looks like right now, the United States of America and the people here will glorify God. We will exalt Jesus as Lord. Glory to God.” Linked to MUST-WATCH video of Boebert delivering a church sermon with these and related thoughts.

Haaretz 9/12: After First Visit to post-Netanyahu Israel, Democratic Senators Leave Optimistic

 

Celebrating Abraham Accords/Normalization

[Note: whoever was mobilizing members of Congress to make statements on this did a really good job]

Cardin (D-MD), Graham (R-SC), Mendendez (D-NJ), and Young (R-IN) 9/15: Cardin, Graham, Menendez, Young Recognize One Year Anniversary of Historic Abraham Records

Babin (R-TX) 9/15: Tweet – “Today, we celebrate the first anniversary of Pres. Trump’s Abraham Accords – the groundbreaking peace deal between our great ally, Israel, & the U.A.E./Bahrain.   I pray this new chapter in Israel’s relations w/ Arab nations continues to prosper & expand!

Coons (D-DE) 9/15: Tweet – “One year ago, the UAE took the bold step to normalize relations with Israel by signing the #AbrahamAccords. I was pleased to see Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan followed. I will continue to support the spirit of this effort and encourage other countries to follow their example.

Deutch (D-FL) 9/15: Tweets (threaded together here) – “One year ago, the signing of the Abraham Accords signaled a new day. The Accords ushered in new, broad relations between Israel and Arab nations. The region is changing. We have so much more that unites us than divides us. I am proud of the broad bipartisan support for normalization. I have seen firsthand, and I share, the optimism and hope people in the region feel about these emerging ties, and I am so pleased to celebrate this milestone. This week I have been honored to participate in several events w/ Ambassadors from Israel, UAE, & Bahrain, together with past & current Admin officials, all coming together to commit to strengthen and expand the Abraham Accords & the incredible opportunities ahead.”

Frankel (D-FL) 9/15: Rep. Frankel Statement on Anniversary of Historic Israel Peace Agreements

Garabino (R-NY) 9/15: Tweet – “One year ago, the Abraham Accords were signed, marking historic advancement of peace and cooperation between Israel and its neighbors. We must continue to build upon this progress towards stability in the region and stand by our friend and ally Israel.”

Grassley (R-IA) 9/15: Tweet – “2day is 1st anniversary of Abraham Accords- big step forward for relations btwn Israel & Arab countries. Resulted in new business ties Need to expand # of countries + deepen bonds btwn citizens We thank Pres Trump for bringing this about”

Grassley (R-IA) 9/15: Tweet – “54 yrs ago Arab League signed Khartoum Res committing to “no peace w Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations w it” 1yr ago 2 Arab countries signed Abraham Accords opening full relations w Israel others hv joined Recognizing Israel is path to peace&prosperity in Mid East”

Kim (R-CA) 9/15: Tweet – “One year has passed since the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. I commend our partners for committing to normal relations and hope it continues to serve as a stabilizing force for peace and prosperity in the Middle East.”

Lankford (R-OK) 9/15: Tweet – “I will continue to support Israel, encourage the further expansion of the Abraham Accords, and share the benefits of making peace with Israel around the world.”

Latta (R-OH) 9/15: Tweets – “As a Member of the House Republican Israel Caucus, I have long been a staunch supporter of the economic and security partnership between the United States and Israel.” and “Today, we are celebrating the anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which President Trump helped broker between Israel and their Arab neighbors. I supported the House Resolution last year, and I hope we continue to build a safer and more secure Middle East.”

Meeks (D-NY) 9/15: Meeks Issues Statement on the Anniversary of the Signing of the “Abraham Accords”

Meuser (R-PA) 9/15: Tweet – “Today marks one year since the Abraham Accords were signed, a historic agreement between Israel and Arab countries that brokered peace in the Middle East for the first time in decades. The Abraham Accords Declaration has led to a safer world.”

Miller (R-WV) 9/15: Tweet – “One year ago today, the United States under President Trump negotiated the first steps to peace in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords. I thank Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain for their commitment to bring peace and prosperity to the region, and pray for its continued success.”

Pfluger (R-TX) 9/15: Tweet – “A year ago today, President Trump negotiated peace in the Middle East through a historic agreement between Israel and her Arab Allies. Now more than ever, the United States must affirm our support for Israel and a prosperous, peaceful region. #AbrahamAccords”

Risch (R-ID) 9/15: Tweet – “Today marks 1yr since the signing of the historic #AbrahamAccords btwn #Israel, #Bahrain, & #UAE. In a sign of the changing tide, #Morocco & #Sudan quickly followed suit. These have the potential to fundamentally alter the region for the better, & I hope this is just the start.”

Rosen (D-NV) 9/15: Tweet – “Today marks one year since the signing of the Abraham Accords – historic agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. I’ve long supported regional cooperation & look forward to building on the Accords to advance U.S. interests, Israel’s security, and peace.”

Smucker (R-PA) 9/16: Tweet – “Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords in Washington, truly historic agreements normalizing diplomatic relations between our close ally Israel and other nations in the Middle East.”

Steil (R-WI) 9/15: Tweet – “Today marks one year since Israel, UAE, Bahrain, and the United States signed the #AbrahamAccords at the White House. This agreement marks a step forward for peace among these nations and presents a model we should follow to expand peace in the region.

Stefanik (R-NY) 9/15: Tweet – “One year ago today, President Trump signed the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain. This diplomatic result marked a historic step forward and is an incredible reminder of what it looks like when the United States leads.”

Wicker (R-MS) 9/15: Tweet – “A great accomplishment of the Trump Administration. Many said it could not be done, but peace prevailed! #AbrahamAccords”

Zeldin (R-NY) 9/15: Tweet – “A year ago, the Abraham Accords between Israel, UAE & Bahrain was signed to enhance peace, stability, cooperation & security in the Middle East. This historic agreement showed the progress we can deliver with bold US leadership on the world stage.

 

Egypt

Schiff (D-CA) 9/15: Chairman Schiff Statement on President Biden’s Decision to Withhold Military Aid from Egypt

Cardin (D-MD) 9/15: Tweet – “The conditionality being set on aid to Egypt is a modest advancement towards what it needs to do to comply with US law. Egypt needs to demonstrate greater progress in releasing political prisoners, protecting civil society & reinforcing the rule of law.” Linked to article, Facing pressure on human rights, Biden administration attaches new conditions to Egypt security aid (Washington Post)

Meeks (D-NY) 9/14: Meeks Issues Statement on Admin Placing Human Rights Conditions on Part of Egypt’s Security Aid

Murphy (D-CT) 9/13: Murphy on Administration’s Decision to Send Aid to Egypt Despite Human Rights Concerns

Rounds (R-SD) 9/12: Tweet – “Glad the U.S.-Egypt Bright Star military exercise has begun after a 3 year hiatus and that after recent events, we continue to stand by our great friend and partner Egypt.” Linked to Tweet from US Central Command.

 

Saudi Arabia

Blumenthal (D-CT) 9/12: Tweet – “These docs provide additional evidence of connections btw Saudi officials & the 9/11 hijackers. I commend the Admin for supporting the families in their quest for justice w/this significant disclosure, a crucial step toward transparency that hopefully will be followed by more.” Linked to article, FBI releases first 9/11 document after Biden order (CNN)

McCollum (D-MN) 9/10: Tweet – “This is very troubling. My office will not be meeting with him.” Linked to article, Ed Newberry, Foreign Agent for Saudi Government Agency Implicated in Khashoggi’s Murder (DAWN-MENA)

 

Iran

McCaul (R-TX) 9/15: McCaul on Iran’s “Nuclear Provocations”, Reports of Harassment of Female IAEA Inspectors

Arrington (R-TX) 9/15: Tweet – “Oil & gas production is the lifeblood of our economy & vital to our national security. Slapping more punitive taxes on our producers will hurt our global competitiveness & force us to rely on countries like Iran, China, and Russia for energy supply” Linked to video – Rep. Jodey Arrington | Ways & Means Budget Markup Day 4 – Sept. 15, 2021 – O+G Competitiveness Amdt.”

 

General

Jewish Currents 9/14: House Progressives Renew Effort to Block Bomb Deliveries to Israel

Jewish Insider 9/13: Senate Democrats offer positive outlook on major Middle East challenges following trip to region