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APN Legislative Round-Up: weeks ending Jul. 26 and Aug. 2, 2013 (PART 1)

There is so much to report from the past two weeks that it doesn't fit into a single Round-Up. Please look for Part 2 of this week's Round-Up for coverage House and Senate FY14 ForOps bills. Also, please note that Congress will be in recess for the rest of the month (yippee!) so the Round-Up will be in recess, too. Happy August!

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. House Passes Sweeping New Iran Sanctions Bill (HR 850)
3. Appeals Rules Jerusalem Passport Law as Unconstitutional
4. FY14 DOD Approps: Israel, Egypt, Syria Elements
5. CUFI on the Hill
6. Members on the Record
7. Hearings/Briefings

Briefly noted:

Americans for Peace Now's Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks resource page (updated regularly)
Congressional Research Service Report: Iran Sanctions (7/26/13)
Congressional Research Service Report Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations (7/19/13)

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 850: On 7/31 the House voted to suspend the rules and pass HR 850, the so-called "Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013." The measure, which by the time it was brought to the House floor had 378 cosponsors, passed by a roll call vote of 400-20, with one member voting "present." For more details, see Section 2, below.

(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS?) S. XXXX: It was reported that activists from Christians United for Israel (CUFI), in Washington last week, urged Senators to support Senate companion legislation to HR 850, which they suggested will be introduced soon by Senators Johnson (D-ID) (D-SD), and Crapo (R-SD) (R-ID).

(SUPPORTING PEACE TALKS) S. Res. 203: Introduced 7/30 by Feinstein (D-CA) and two cosponsors, "A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding efforts by the United States to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a negotiated two-state solution." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. APN strongly supports this resolution. Feinstein's press release announcing the introduction of S. Res. 203 is available here.

(JORDAN-US FRIENDSHIP) H. Res. 222: On 8/2 the House voted to suspend the rules and adopt H. Res. 222, "Recognizing the long-term partnership and friendship between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, working together towards peace and security in the Middle East" (as amended) by unanimous consent. The amended text is available here. The resolution has 44 cosponsors.

(US MILITARY ENGAGEMENT IN SYRIA) S.960: On 7/24 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported S. 960 out of committee with a written report, Senate Report 113-79. This clears the way for floor consideration of the measure. For more on S. 960, see the May 17 & 24 edition of the Round-Up.

(SENATE FY14 FOROPS) S.1372: Introduced 7/25 by Leahy (D-VT), the "Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2014" (more commonly known as the ForOps bill). On 7/23 the Senate ForOps Subcommittee marked up the draft FY14 ForOps Approps bill (webcast here). On 7/25, the full committee marked up the bill and reported it out with a written report, No. 113-81 (webcast here). Middle East-related elements of the bill are detailed in Part 2 of this week's Round-Up.

(HOUSE FY14 FOROPS) HR 2855: On 7/30, the House FY14 ForOps bill was reported out of committee, accompanied by the committee's report, H. Rept. 113-185. For detailed analysis of the bill, as introduced in Committee, see last week's edition of the Round-Up (no Middle East-related amendments were adopted in the Committee mark-up, which took place on 7/24 - details of the markup and video are available here). The Committee's report highlights where the bill differs from the previous year's legislation with respect to the Middle East. For details, see Part 2 of this week's Round-Up.

(MOVE US EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM) HR 2846: Introduced 7/26 by Franks (R-AZ) and four cosponsors, "To transfer to Jerusalem the United States Embassy located in Tel Aviv." This is yet another effort to revoke the President's national security waiver authority in the Jerusalem Embassy Act (for more on such attempts, see here and here). Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Franks' press release on the bill is available here. On 8/1, Franks took to the House floor to deliver a speech making the case for the U.S. moving the embassy and suggesting that President Obama has been tougher on Israel (with respect to Jerusalem) than any U.S. president in history - a suggestion that does not stand up to the historical record.

(JERUSALEM-UNDIVIDED-CAPITAL-OF-ISRAEL) H. Con. Res. 48: Introduced 8/1 by Wilson (R-SC) and 8 cosponsors, "Commemorating [belatedly] the 46th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem." The "resolved" clauses of this resolution appear to reflect the view that Jerusalem should be off the table in negotiations and to fully support Israeli settlement activity that blocks a negotiated compromise on the issue. They include calling on the President and Secretary of state to, "repeatedly affirm publicly, as a matter of United States policy, that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel"; calling on the President to move the embassy to Jerusalem; urging U.S. officials to "refrain from any actions that contradict United States law on this subject"; and reaffirming "Israel's right to take necessary steps to prevent any future division of Jerusalem." Wilson's press release touting introduction of the resolution is available here.

(DOD APPROPS - MIDEAST STUFF) HR 2397: On 7/24 the House passed HR 2397, the "Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014" by a vote of 315-109. For previous reporting on the bill's Israel-related earmarks, see the 6/21/13 edition of the Round-Up. Middle East-related elements in the bill, as passed, are detailed in Section 4, below.

(DOD APPROPS - MIDEAST STUFF) S. XXXX: On 7/30 the Senate Appropriations committee's Defense Subcommittee marked up the Senate's version of the FY14 Depart of Defense Appropriations Act. The subcommittee's press release summarizing the bill is available here. The summary notes that the bill "Fully funds U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, including an additional $173 million for the Arrow programs and David's Sling." On 8/1, the full Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the bill - the full committee leadership's press release is available here and includes identical language regarding U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs."

(CUT/CONDITION EGYPT AID) S.1243: This week the Senate took up S. 1243, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations" bill. This bill has probably never before made it into the Legislative Round-Up, given that it has zero Middle East-related content (or jurisdiction). Notwithstanding that fact, two Egypt-related amendments were submitted to the bill, one of which was adopted on 7/31. The first amendment comes from Sen. Graham (R-SC), submitted 7/25. Graham's amendment, S. Amdt. 1808, comprises a lengthy provision laying out an entirely new set of conditions, restrictions, etc. on U.S. assistance for the Government of Egypt in FY14. The amendment - which as of this writing has not been considered - closely parallels the new Egypt aid formula laid out in the Senate's FY14 ForOps bill, discussed in Section 4, below. The amendment was S. Amdt. 1739. This amendment was offered by Sen. Paul (R-KY), and sought to cut off all U.S. assistance to the government of Egypt and suspend all aid-related activities already in the pipeline, unless "the President certifies to Congress that democratic national elections have taken place in Egypt followed by a peaceful transfer of power" (a condition that is somewhat humorous, given that Paul previously sought to cut off aid to Egypt following democratic elections that brought the now-deposed government to power). The amendment was tabled (rejected) on 7/31 by a vote of 86-13, following an energetic floor debate during which Senators from both sides of the aisle opposed the amendment (no one other than Paul spoke in favor) and Sen. Graham (R-SC) read into the record a letter from AIPAC laying out AIPAC's objections to the amendment (for more on Paul vs. his fellow GOP'ers on this issue, check out this report on the debate in the Washington Free Beacon; for additional reporting on the AIPAC angle, see this piece from the JTA and this piece in Open Zion).

(HONOR SHIMON PERES) HR 2939 and S. 1456: Introduced 8/1 in the House by Kennedy (D-MA) and Franks (R-AZ), and in the Senate by Ayotte (R-NH) and Bennett (D-CO), "To award the Congressional Gold Medal to Shimon Peres." Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. A press release from the four original cosponsors touting the introduction of the bills is available here.

(WMD/SYRIA) HR 1542: Introduced 4/12/13 by Meehan (R-PA) and having four cosponsors, the "WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2013." Passed by the House 7/22 under suspension of the rules by a vote of 388-3. During 7/22 floor consideration of the measure, multiple references were made to the Syria-WMD issue in making the case for the legislation.

Letters:

(IRAN DIPLOMACY - TAKE 1) Feinstein letter: On 7/29, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) began circulating a sign-on letter to President Obama on Iran, similar to last week's Dent-Price letter. The Feinstein letter urges President Obama, "to seize the opportunity presented by the upcoming inauguration of Iran's new president, Dr. Hassan Rouhani, by reinvigorating diplomatic efforts to secure a verifiable agreement that ensures that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons." APN strongly supports this letter (our Action Alert on it is available here). AIPAC reportedly expressed serious reservations about the letter to Senators and staff, suggesting that the letter is "soft" on Iran and that it could be read as calling for the removal of sanctions without any real concessions from Iran (a suggestion that is wholly at odds with the actual content of the letter). Perhaps fearing the kind of situation that it faced in the House, where similar objections failed to prevent 131 House members from signing the Dent-Price letter, some are speculating that AIPAC decided to go on the offensive in the Senate -which could explain why on 7/30, a new letter appeared, this one led by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Graham (R-SC), on the same subject as the Feinstein letter, but with a distinctly more AIPAC-backed message (see below). For reporting on the dueling letters, see this JTA article. The Feinstein letter is still open for signatures as of this writing.

(IRAN DIPLOMACY - TAKE 2) Menendez-Graham letter: In what was either an extraordinary coincidence of timing or what some are speculating was an effort, perhaps led by AIPAC, to keep people off the Feinstein letter (above), on 7/30 Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Graham (R-SC) began circulating an Iran-focused sign-on letter to President Obama. Where the Feinstein letter urges the President to seize the opportunity for diplomacy, the Menendez-Graham letter notes that while such an opening might exist, the correct course of action for the U.S. right now is to double down on sanctions and saber-rattling. The letter states: "until we see a significant slowdown in nuclear activities, our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran." The letter also doubles down on the longstanding AIPAC-backed position that "we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability" (as opposed to the actual U.S. official policy, which is that the U.S. will not permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons). The letter is reportedly being actively lobbied by AIPAC in the Senate (while AIPAC is reportedly urging members to refrain from signing the Feinstein letter). The Menendez-Graham letter is still open for signatures as of this writing. For reporting on the dueling letters, see this JTA article.

(OPPOSING HR 850 VOTE) McDermott-Ellison letter: On 7/31, 16 House members sent a letter to House leaders Boehner (R-OH), Pelosi (D-CA), Cantor (R-VA), and Hoyer (D-MD) arguing that voting at the present time on legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran (HR 850), and with the legislation in its current form, "would be counterproductive to U.S. efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran." The letter was signed by: McDermott (D-WA), Ellison (D-MN), Conyers (D-MI), McGovern (D-MA), Johnson (D-GA), McCollum (D-MN), Pocan (D-WI), Blumenauer (D-OR), Farr (D-CA), Meeks (D-NY), Moran (D-VA), Johnson (D-TX), Lee (D-CA), Pingree (D-ME), Rush (D-IL) and Rangel (D-NY). The letter makes the very pragmatic case that "it would be counterproductive and irresponsible to vote on this measure before Iran's new president is inaugurated on August 4, 2013. A diplomatic solution remains the best possible means for ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and the House of Representatives should not preempt a potential opportunity to secure such an outcome with another sanctions bill..." The letter also argues for three important changes in the final text of the bill.

(QATAR-HAMAS) Roskam-Barrow letter: On 8/2, Reps. Roskam (R-IL) and Barrow (D-GA) and 22 House colleagues sent a letter to the Ambassador of Qatar expressing concern over "the expanding diplomatic and economic ties between your government and Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization." The letter states that the signers believe that Qatar's relationship with Hamas "empowers, legitimizes, and bolsters an organization committed to violence and hatred." The letter closes with a thinly-veiled threat of consequences, stating: "In the interest of maintaining strong U.S.-Qatari relations, we urge you to promptly address these serious allegations regarding your relationship with Hamas." Further reporting on the letter here.

2. House Passes Sweeping New Iran Sanctions Bill (HR 850)

Despite the recent Iranian elections and the potential opening it offers for new, constructive diplomacy, House leaders went ahead on 7/31 and brought a long-pending, far-reaching new Iran sanctions bill to the House floor, HR 850, the so-called "Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013." There, the House voted to suspend the rules (all other committees of jurisdiction having agreed to discharge the bill without hearings). Unsurprising, the bill - which for months has been a top lobbying priority for AIPAC, NORPAC, CUFI, and various other groups - then passed by an vote of 400-20, with one member voting "present." For the list of members who voted against the measure, along with some analysis/context, see this article in the Huffington Post.

As previously reported in the Round-Up, HR 850 was introduced in conjunction with the March 2013 AIPAC policy conference and has since been a key "ask" of AIPAC supporters; it was also one of the focal points of the May 8 NORPAC lobby day. APN strongly objects to HR 850 from the time it was introduced (APN's statement on the bill is available here).

On 5/22 the bill was marked up in the House Foreign Affairs committee, which amended the text to make it even worse (for details see the May 17 & 24 edition of the Round-Up). The bill was further amended behind the scenes since then, with the result being that the text brought to the floor is in various ways different from the text passed by the committee - for example, a version of the "corruption of blood" amendment offered (and withdrawn) in committee by Rep. Cotton (R- OK) made its way into the final text of the bill. A comparison of the version of the bill that came out of Committee and the version brought to the floor, prepared by House staff, is available here.

For a summary of the key problems with the final version of the bill, see NIAC's report, here. NIAC's statement in response to the passage of HR 850 - laying out the very powerful arguments for why this move by the House is ill-timed and ill-advised - is available here.

Floor debate/discussion of the bill included both the expected grandstanding and some serious and substantive statements of concern about the content and timing of the bill. Many members also issued press releases or put separate statements in the record.

Finally, as noted above, 16 House members courageously wrote to House leadership asking them to delay action on HR 850 and to amend the bill in some important ways before moving forward. While their call was not heeded, it was nonetheless remarkable for the fact that it happened at all, given the heavyweight support behind the bill.

Selected further reading (there's tons more out there...):

The Guardian 8/1: Iran condemns tougher US oil sanctions bill passed by House
Open Zion 8/1: AIPAC's Push To Scuttle Iran Diplomacy
New York Times 7/31: Sending Message to Iran, House Approves Tougher Sanctions
LA Times 7/31: House votes for new tough sanctions against Iran
ThinkProgress 7/31: House Ignores Experts, Colleagues In Push For More Sanctions On Iran
The Hill (blog) 7/31: The making of an Iraq sequel with Iran
The Cable 7/31: Could the House's New Iran Sanctions Actually Help Forge a Nuclear Deal?
Center for Arms Control 7/31: On Iran, Two Steps Forward - And One Step Back?
New York Times 7/30: House Weighs Iran Measure Amid Doubts on Timing
New York Times (op-ed) 7/22: An Opening in Iran

3. Appeals Court Rules Jerusalem Passport Law Unconstitutional

On 7/23, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that American citizens born in Jerusalem do not have a legal right to demand that their place of birth be recorded as "Israel" in their passports. APN welcomed the ruling.

This ruling is the latest chapter in a years-long saga involving efforts by Congress and activists to compel the Executive branch of the U.S. government to change U.S. policy with respect to Jerusalem. As reported previously in the Round-Up, this multi-pronged effort has included legislation to force the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as well as laws compelling the State Department to recognize Israel as Jerusalem's capital in passports and reports of birth. Every administration, Democratic and Republican, has viewed these efforts as infringing on the Executive's foreign policy prerogative and has either vetoed such legislation or declared it unconstitutional.

As part of this effort, the parents of an American citizen child born in Jerusalem sued the U.S. government to compel it to record their son's place of birth as "Israel" in his passport. The goal of this lawsuit is to force the Secretary of State to comply with a 2002 law that seeks, in effect, force the State Department to de facto recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Bush, when he signed that bill into law, issued a signing statement declaring this particular provision unconstitutional.

Previously, the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the case should be dismissed because it presented a "political question." Subsequently the petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. A large number of Jewish organizations joined an amicus brief in support of the petitioners. APN at that time filed an Amicus Brief to the Court in support of the Executive branch's position.

In March 2012, the Supreme Court ruled, essentially, that the lower court must first rule on the merits of then case, and only then can that ruling be appealed to the Supreme Court. In effect, the Supreme Court kicked the case back down to the lower court, requiring it to rule on the constitutionality question. Last week, a federal court of appeals did just that - and this time around the court ruled, decisively, that the law in question is unconstitutional (in arguments very similar to those presented in APN amicus brief). It is unknown a this point whether the plaintiffs will again appeal to the Supreme Court, and if they do, it is unknown if the Court will decline to hear the case again.

With respect to APN's views on this case, as APN President & CEO Debra DeLee noted when APN filed the Amicus Brief:

"APN has taken a position in this case because we recognize what is at stake here: preserving the very possibility of peace and the two-state solution, the only thing that can guarantee Israel's long term security and survival as a democracy and a Jewish state. For more than six decades, the U.S. has maintained a consistent and principled policy of refusing to recognize the sovereignty of any country in Jerusalem. Changing this policy now - the clear goal of this litigation - would drive a stake into the heart of efforts to re-start the peace process, would undermine the chances of launching viable peace efforts in the future, and would fatally threaten the credibility of the United States as an honest broker in peace efforts."

"Our government's policy of refusing to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is difficult for many of our fellow members of the American Jewish community to accept. But recording someone's birthplace as "Jerusalem" rather than "Israel" in no way threatens our religious, spiritual, and historical attachment and claims in the city. In our hearts, 'Yerushalayim shel Ma'lah - celestial Jerusalem - is and will forever be Israel's capital. However, 'Yerushalayim shel Matah - mundane Jerusalem of daily life on the ground - poses extremely delicate and volatile foreign policy and national security challenges. These challenges cannot be addressed through heavy-handed Congressional declarations or legislation, and they cannot be resolved by the courts. They can only be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a peace agreement that delivers a two-state solution to the conflict."

"APN strongly believes that any action that threatens the ability of Israel and the Palestinians to resolve their conflict over Jerusalem jeopardizes a vital interest of Israel: a two-state solution. And if the door is closed on such a solution in Jerusalem, then the door is also closed on a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Further reading:

Washington Post 7/23: Court overturns passport law implying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem
LA Times 7/23: Court bars 'Jerusalem, Israel' as birthplace on American passports
FoxNews 7/23: Passport law on Jerusalem unconstitutional, federal appeals court says
JPost Op-Ed 7/31: Why 'Jerusalem, Israel' can't be on US passports

4. FY14 DOD Approps: Israel, Egypt, Syria Elements

On 7/24 the House passed HR 2397, the "Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014" by a vote of 315-109. For previous reporting on the bill's Israel-related earmarks, see the 6/21/13 edition of the Round-Up. Middle East-related elements in the bill, as passed, are as follows.

Israel - Israeli Cooperative Programs: The bill came to the floor with $489,091,000 earmarked as funding for "Israeli Cooperative Programs." Of those funds, $220,309,000 is sub-earmarked for "procurement of the Iron Dome defense system." Another $149,712,000 is sub-earmarked for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program, of which $15,000,000 is sub-sub-earmarked for "production activities of SRBMD missiles in the United States and in Israel to meet Israel's defense requirements consistent with each nation's laws, regulations, and procedures." Another $74,707,000 is earmarked for "an upper-tier component to the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture" and $44,363,000 is earmarked for "the Arrow System Improvement Program including development of a long range, ground and airborne, detection suite." Also, as noted previously in the Round-Up, the language stipulates (as has been in the case in the past) that "funds made available under this provision for production of missiles and missile components may be transferred to appropriations available for the procurement of weapons and equipment, to be merged with and to be available for the same time period and the same purposes as the appropriation to which transferred." This means that Congress is granting special permission for a portion of the funds for Israel programs in this bill to be transformed into straight FMF for Israel, to be used in addition to the $1.3 billion in FMF for Israel provided in the regular appropriations process, under the U.S.-Israel assistance MOU.

Israel - More $$ for Iron Dome: During 7/24 floor consideration of HR 2397, the House adopted by voice vote an amendment offered by Rep. Heck (R-NV), H. Amdt. 360. The amendment earmarks $15 million for the Iron Dome program (in addition to the $220,309,000 earmarked under Israeli Cooperative programs), specifically for production of components in the United States. As explained by Heck, "My amendment would provide $15 million for the Israeli Iron Dome short-range defense system to initiate co-production of missile interceptors in the United States. This is $15 million, in addition to the funds appropriated to support Israel's Iron Dome program, to help ensure that the U.S. has a role in future production and can leverage the technology that we have invested in. Specifically, these funds will support the infrastructure, tooling, transferring data, special test equipment, and related components for U.S. production. This amendment will help stabilize U.S. manufacturers who are facing an uncertain future with U.S. military procurement shrinking in the face of sequestration. By increasing opportunities for U.S. manufacturers, we will help support our Nation's struggling economy, while supporting and creating critical jobs here at home. This funding will also provide a second source of production for Israel, who can leverage the rate-production capabilities of American firms to ensure that necessary quantities of Iron Dome interceptors are fielded as rapidly as possible. Providing this funding will ensure that our most critical ally in the Middle East, Israel, has the necessary capacity to defend itself against rocket attacks launched by Hamas." Heck's press release touting passage of his amendment is available here.

Syria: During 7/24 floor consideration of HR 2397, the House adopted by voice vote an amendment offered by Rep. Radel (R-TX), H. Amdt. 410. The amendment stipulates that, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used with respect to Syria in contravention of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.), including for the introduction of United States 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 (50 U.S.C. 1542 and 1543)." Floor discussion of the Radel amendment is available here. Radel's press release touting passage of his amendment is available here.

Egypt: During 7/24 floor consideration of HR 2397, the House adopted by voice vote an amendment offered by Rep. Massie (R-KY), H. Amdt. 411. The amendment stipulates that, "No funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Defense to fund military operations in Egypt, nor may funds made available by this Act be used by the Department of Defense to fund individuals, groups, or organizations engaged in paramilitary activity (as that term is used in section 401 of title 10, United States Code) in Egypt." Floor discussion of the Massie amendment is also available here.

Other amendments: In addition, a large number of Egypt- and Syria-related amendments were offered but either withdrawn or not ruled in order (and not considered). These were:

-- Three amendments (here, here and here) offered by Buchanan (R-FL) to bar funding in the bill being used to provide assistance to Egypt. All three were withdrawn.

-- An amendment offered by Conyers (D-MI), Jones (R-NC), Welch (D-VT), Cohen (D-TN), and Lee (D-CA) to bar funding for being used to "deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of Members of the Armed Forces or private security contractors on the ground in Syria unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a Member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger." The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.
-- An amendment offered by Gibson (R-NY) and Welch (D-VT) to prohibit the use of funds for arming Syrian rebel groups and for U.S. military operations in Syria. The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.
-- An amendment offered by Grayson (D-FL) to prohibit funding for assistance to Iran or Syria unless specifically appropriated for that purpose. The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.
-- An amendment offered by Nugent (R-FL) to bar funding for U.S. military involvement or any lethal aid to Syria. The amendment was withdrawn.
-- An amendment offered by Nugent (R-FL) to bar funding to provide lethal military equipment to Egypt. The amendment was withdrawn.
-- An amendment offered by Rooney (R-FL) to bar funding to provide military equipment and support to rebel groups in Syria. The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered. Rooney's press release announcing his amendment is here.
-- An amendment offered by Schweikert (R-AZ) to bar funding for military operations in or against Syria except under a formal declaration of war. The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.
-- An amendment offered by Schweikert (R-AZ) to bar funding for the transfer of military equipment to the Government of Egypt until that government and the Department of Defense "have performed an analysis of Egypt's security needs." The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.
-- An amendment offered by Yoho (R-FL) to prohibit funds being used to "furnish, train, or support military activities to any group of individual in Syria unless Congress has formally declared war with Syria." The amendment was not ruled in order and was not considered.

5. CUFI on the Hill

Last week, 7/22-7/24, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) was in town for their Washington Summit. The final day of their summit was spent on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress. As reported by the JTA, CUFI activists' lobbying focused on three key points, the first two taken directly from the AIPAC policy conference playbook:

(1) CUFI activists pressed House members of Congress to adopt harsher Iran sanctions. Specifically, they lobbied House members to support HR 850 and Senators to support an anticipated companion measure that is reportedly going to be introduced soon by Senators Johnson, D-ID, and Crapo, R-SD. CUFI activists reportedly made the case that Iranian president-elect is no moderate, but is just another Iranian extremist who has in the past personally played a part pushing Iran's nuclear program.

(2) CUFI activists reportedly lobbied the hill in support of HR 938 and S. 462, the "best-allies-with-benefits" US-Israel strategic partnership bill that was a primary lobby focus of the AIPAC conference.

(3) CUFI activists lobbied the Hill in support of HR 301 (introduced by Wolf, R-VA, 3/15/13 and currently having 59 cosponsors) and S. 653 (introduced by Blunt, R-MO, on 3/22/13 and currently having 9 cosponsors), "To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia." CUFI activists reportedly made the case that enemies of Christians in the Middle East and enemies of Israel are one and the same.

CUFI's Conference schedule/itinerary is available here. The full list of speakers is available here. Capitol Hill participants who briefed CUFI conference-goers included: Bachmann(R-MN), Bishop (D-GA), Barrow (D-GA), Cantor (R-VA), Graham (R-SC), Lamborn (R-CO), Price (R-GA), and Roskam (R-IL). Other participants of note included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (via satellite); Malcolm Hoenlein (Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), Israeli Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau, Dan Senor, Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, and Glenn Beck.

6. Members on the Record

McCaul (R-TX) 7/31: Remarks at CSIS on the Administration's Counterterrorism Policy
Kirk (R-IL) 7/31: Kirk Welcomes House Vote on Iran Sanctions, Urges Senate to Act
McCain (R-AZ) 7/31: Statement on Syria, making the case for limited U.S. military action.
Coons (D-DE) 7/31: Floor speech urging confirmation of Samantha Power as U.N. Ambassador
Engel (D-NY) 7/29: Statement on Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
Frankel (D-FL) 7/25: Frankel Offers Amendment to Bolster Israel's Iron Dome and Arrow Defense Systems
Engel (D-NY) 7/23: Criticizing Court Ruling in Jerusalem/passport case
Meng (D-NY) 7/23: Applauding European Union for Designating Hezbollah as a Terrorist Organization
Deutch (D-FL) 7/22: Deutch Applauds Designation of Hezbollah as Terrorist Organization by EU
Franks (R-AZ), Engel (D-NY), and Lamborn (R-CO) 7/23: Congressmen Commend EU decision on Hezbollah, Call for Further Action
Feinstein (D-CA) 7/19: Statement on Resumption of Middle East Peace Negotiations
Gohmert (R-TX) 7/19: On "World Events" - including waxing nostalgic for Mubarak in Egypt and Qadaffi in Libya (and bashing the Obama Administration of hypocrisy for helping get rid of them), and accusing the Obama admin of cozying up to the Assad regime in Syria, and as a result failing to act in that context. Etc.
Meng (D-NY) 7/19: Welcoming resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Schneider (D-IL) 7/19: Statement on Prospect of Direct Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
Menendez (D-NJ) 7/19: Statement on Framework for Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks
Cotton (R-AR), 7/19: Noting his meeting with Vice Admiral Paul Bushong, US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC)

7. Hearings/Briefings

8/1: Joint Subcommittee Hearing: "Examining the State Department's Report on Iranian Presence in the Western Hemisphere 19 Years After AMIA Attack", convened by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Witnesses were: Matt Levitt, WINEP (statement); Michael Braun, Former Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration (statement); and Eric Farnsworth, Council of the Americas and Americas Society (statement). Webcast of the hearing is available here.

8/1: Senate Appropriations Full Committee markup of the FY14 defense appropriations bill. A webcast of the markup is available here.

7/31: Hearing in the House Committee of Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, "The Iran-Syria Nexus and Its Implications for the Region." Witnesses were: John Bolton, AEI (statement); Mark Dubowitz, FDD (statement) and Daniel Brumberg, United States Institute of Peace (statement). Webcast of the hearing is available here.

7/31: Hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs, "Where is Turkey Headed? Gezi Park, Taksim Square, and the Future of the Turkish Model." Webcast available here. Witnesses were: Kurt Volker (McCain Institute - testimony); James Jeffrey (WINEP - testimony); Robert Wexler (Center for Middle East Peace - testimony); and Jenny White (Boston University - testimony).

7/30: Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Defense markup of the FY14 defense appropriations bill. A webcast of the markup is available here.

7/25: The House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats held a hearing entitled "Emerging Threat of Resource Wars." Witnesses included Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow of the Russia & Eurasian Program at CSIS. His testimony (here) was entitled "Eastern Mediterranean Energy," and included extensive discussion of resource issues related to Israel and its neighbors and the related geopolitical challenges.

7/25: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, "Crisis in Egypt." Scheduled witness are: Dan Kurtzer (Princeton University - testimony), Dennis Ross (WINEP - testimony), and Michele Dunne (Atlantic Council - testimony).