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APN Legislative Round-Up: December 7-12, 2012

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. From the Press

NOTE: The Round-Up will not be published this Friday (the next edition will include the remainder of the current week).

ICYMI:
- Lara Friedman in the Huffington Post, 12/11: Obama: Time to Call in Bill Clinton and Jim Baker
- Comprehensive backgrounder on E-1 from Peace Now, APN, and Danny Seidemann (12/7/12)
- New report from the Congressional Research Service: Iran's Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Programs (12/6/12)

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters

(PUNISH THE PALESTINIANS) Ros-Lehtinen et al Dear Colleague: On 12/10/12, Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Berman (D-CA), Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) began circulating a letter to be sent to President Obama. The letter, which is circulating House-wide for cosponsors (reportedly through the end of the week), calls on President Obama to close the PLO office in Washington, to call the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem back to Washington for consultations, and to use "every means at our disposal to ensure that this General Assembly vote does not serve as a precedent for elevating the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums." The letter notes that this includes "reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO". The subject line of the email sent around seeking cosigners on the letter reads "Sign bipartisan, AIPAC-supported letter to the President calling for consequences for Palestinian leadership and UN for unilateral statehood scheme." APN strongly opposes this letter and has issued an Action Alert calling on activists nationwide to write their Representatives and urge them not to sign. Based on experience, it seems likely that this letter is the precursor to AIPAC-backed legislation seeking to make mandatory the actions that for now the letter merely urges the President to take.

(MORE $$$ FOR ISRAEL IN NDAA) Gillibrand-Inhofe letter: On 12/12/12, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Inhofe (R-OK) circulated a letter they sent to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees regarding funding for Israel in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (for details of the bill, see last week's edition of the Round-Up). The letter urges the leaders to accede to the House recommended level of funding for the category called "Israel Cooperative Programs" - a category that provides funding for the Arrow Weapon System, the Arrow-2 upper tier system, and David's Sling. The Obama Administration requested $99.9 million for this funding category. The House increased that funding by $168 million, for a total of $267.9 million (as detailed in the Report accompanying the House version of the bill). The Senate, for its part, increased that same funding by $100 million, for a total of $199.9 million (as detailed in the Report accompanying its version of the bill). All of this funding is in addition to funds in the bill for Iron Dome (for which the House authorized $680 million and the Senate authorized $420 million, noting "The committee is aware of reports that the additional request for Iron Dome funding could be for as much as $680.0 million over multiple fiscal years, and looks forward to receiving the Department's request, and to continuing its support for Israeli missile defense programs." All of these funds are also in addition to the $3.1 billion in cash assistance provided to Israel as part of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, under the category of Foreign Military Financing (FMF), and granted to Israel in a lump sum immediately after that bill becomes law.

(IRAN SANCTIONS) S.3254/HR 4310: As noted in the 11/30/12 edition of the Round-Up, on 11/30/12 the Senate adopted an amendment to S. 3254, "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013," to impose broad new sanctions on Iran. That fate of that new sanctions legislation will now be determined in the House-Senate conference that will iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. As noted in last week's Round-Up, in the face of objections to the sanctions legislation from the Obama Administration, efforts are already being made to put pressure on conferees to not "water down" the sanctions. Now, a document containing specific changes the White House is requesting to the text has been leaked publicly (available here), apparently as part of the effort to embarrass the White House and force them to drop objections to the language in the bill. For further reporting see:
The Cable 11/30: White House opposed new Iran sanctions
Buzzfeed 12/10/12: Administration Pushes For Lighter Iran Sanctions In Legislative Fight

(CUT AID TO EGYPT) HR 6646: Introduced 12/11/12 by Reps. Buchanan (R-FL) and Jones (R-NC), "To prohibit United States assistance to the country of Egypt." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On 12/10/12 Rep. Buchanan circulated a Dear Colleague letter around the House, seeking cosponsors for this bill (apparently he had little success).

(TARGET HIZBALLAH) S. Res. 613: Introduced 12/11/12 by Sen. Lieberman (R, I mean I-CT) and 56 cosponsors, "urging the governments of Europe and the European Union to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions, and urging the President to provide information about Hizballah to the European allies of the United States and to support to the Government of Bulgaria in investigating the July 18, 2012, terrorist attack in Burgas." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS) H. Res. 828: Introduced 12/11/12 by Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) and four cosponsors, "Calling for the unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh and all prisoners of conscience in Iran, and the utilization by the United States of direct multilateral and bilateral diplomacy with Iran to address Iran's human rights situation." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On 12/7/12 Kucinich circulated a Dear Colleague seeking cosponsors on his resolution.

2. From the Press

JTA 12/12: Congress Losing Several Longtime Pro-Israel Pillars
Arutz Sheva (settlers' media outlet) 12/12: Next Congress Will Be 'Less Jewish'