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APN Legislative Round-Up - May 15, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. Update on FY09 Supplemental Appropriations Bill; 3. Details of Senate Version of FY09 Supplemental; 4. Pro-Peace Letter in the House; 5. FY10-FY11 Department of State Authorization Bill

...for the week ending May 15, 2009
 
1.  Bills and Resolutions
2.  Update on FY09 Supplemental Appropriations Bill
3.  Details of Senate Version of FY09 Supplemental
4.  Pro-Peace Letter in the House
5.  FY10-FY11 Department of State Authorization Bill

 


(The Round-Up is late this week, as the author was on travel last week.)

 


1.  BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

(
IRAN ) HR 2375: Introduced 5/12/09 by Rep. Sherman (D-CA) and currently having 5 cosponsors, "To require the application of sanctions against affiliates of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, and for other purposes." Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committees on the Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Ways and Means Committee.

 


(
IRAN ) S. XXX:  On 5/14/09, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the peace process, Sen. Casey (D-PA) stated that "Next week, I am introducing a bill in conjunction with Senator Brownback to authorize state and local governments to divest from companies that do business in Iran."

 


(
ISRAEL ) HR 2410: Introduced 5/14/09 by Rep. Berman (D-CA), "To authorize appropriations for the Department of State and the Peace Corps for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, to modernize the Foreign Service, and for other purposes."  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and scheduled for mark-up 5/20/09 .  The bill includes a number of Middle East- and Israel-related provisions, discussed in section 5, below. 

 


2.  Update on FY09 Supplemental Appropriations Bill

 


In the House:  On 5/14/09 the House passed HR 2346, its version of the FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill, by a vote of 368-60.  For a detailed analysis of the Middle East-related elements of the bill, see the 5/8/09 edition of the Round-Up. 

 


During the floor debate surrounding the bill there was virtually no discussion or controversy over Middle East-related funding and provisions in the bill, with the notable exception of Rep. Berkley (D-NV), who spoke in favor of barring even humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza.  She stated that she was "deeply concerned with the funding to the Palestinian Authority and to rebuild
Gaza . By giving this money, I believe we are sending precisely the wrong message that Hamas can partner with Iran , attack Israel with impunity, and refuse to recognize Israel 's right to exist, all the while the United States will provide aid no matter what. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.  At the very least, we should use our aid to help modify the behavior of Hamas. Before we send more money to the Gaza [sic], more money to the Palestinian Authority, all Palestinian factions should recognize Israel 's right to exist as a Jewish state, renounce terrorism, respect past agreements, and release Gilad Shalit, the young Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas and who has been held captive in the Gaza for almost 3 years. Without these conditions, we are simply writing the Palestinians another blank check to continue their self-destructive and violent behavior."

 


In addition, Rep. Coffman (R-CO) expressed his opposition to funding for URNWA, based on the argument that UNRWA supports and employs terrorists.  He noted that he had wanted to offer an amendment that would shift funding from UNRWA to USAID (he did not indicate how he thought USAID would actual implement programs on the ground in Gaza, absent any infrastructure comparable to UNRWA), but that the structure of the floor debate did not allow him to do so.

 


In the Senate:  On
5/14/09 the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its own version of the FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill (S. 1054), detailed below.  The Senate is expected to vote on the bill soon, after which House and Senate negotiators will now work behind the scenes to iron out differences between the two versions of the bill.

 


3.  Senate Version of FY09 Supplemental

 


Like the House version, the Senate fully funds President's requests for the Middle East (as detailed in the 4/24/09 edition of the Round-Up), with the only exception being a cut in the amount of security assistance provided for Lebanon - the President requested $98.4 million in FMF for Lebanon, and the Senate provides $98 million; the House funded provided only $74 million).  And like the House version, S. 1054 includes language regarding possible U.S. assistance to a Palestinian power-sharing government - language that is slightly different from the President's request (and largely similar to the House version).

 


However, the Senate version of the FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill (S. 1054) differs significantly from the House version with respect to other funding for the
Middle East .  Specifically, the Senate version:

 


--- does not impose a cap on the amount of this funding that can be moved through UNRWA or require any new reporting related to UNRWA.
--- does not include any "advanced" FMF funding (i.e. an advance on funds that would normally be part of the FY10 Foreign Operations appropriations bill) for
Israel , Jordan , and Egypt .
--- does not add any addition funding for
Egypt (the House added $50 million in ESF ).
--- provides $150 million in ESF for
Jordan (the President requested none, while the House provided $100 million) .
--- provides $3 million in additional funding for
West Bank security programs (i.e. the Dayton mission).
--- provides $15 million in ESF for
Yemen (the President requested none and the House provided none) .
--- includes bill language asserting the importance of enabling the flow of legitimate goods and people into and out of Gaza, and requires the Secretary of State to report every 45 days on efforts to achieve this .
--- includes report language requiring the Secretary of State to report to Congress regarding the damage to US-funded projects in Gaza and to UN facilities in Gaza during the Dec 2008-Jan 2009 military operations there, including cost estimates for repairs and information about the party responsible for the damage.

 


======================================================
Middle East-related Provisions of S. 1054, the Senate version of 
the FY09 Supplemental Appropriations Bill,
======================================================

 


DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR PROGRAMS

 


The report states:  "The Committee recognizes the need to engage Arab youth through television and radio broadcasts, and recommends that of the funds appropriated in this title for public diplomacy programs, $4,000,000 be made available for new Arabic language television programs for broadcast to Arabic-speaking countries. These funds are to be awarded on an open and competitive basis by the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs."

 


USAID
  
Operating Expenses:  The report language notes that the bill provides $5 million for
West Bank and Gaza operations (as requested by the President).

 


Office of the Inspector General:  The report notes that the Committee "recommends an additional $22,200,000 under this heading, of which $8,000,000 is for the Office of Inspector General for continued staffing and oversight of the Middle East Regional Offices (including Cairo, Amman, Kabul, Baghdad, and Islamabad)."

 


ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS ( ESF )
  
Bill Text
  
Not less than $150 million "shall be made available for assistance for Jordan to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis, including for health, education, water and sanitation, and other assistance for Iraqi and other refugees in Jordan ."

 


Not less than $15 million "shall be made available for assistance for
Yemen ."
  
Report Language
  
West Bank and Gaza :  The report includes an ESF funding table that breaks down ESF for the West Bank and Gaza as follows:

 


Total ESF for the West Bank and Gaza : $556 million, of which:
$353 million -- economic assistance;
$30 million -- governance and justice;
$168 million -- humanitarian assistance; and
$5 million -- program support
(total and subtotals are the same as the President's request). 

 


The report also stipulates that "Not later than 45 days after enactment of this act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committee detailing assessed damages to United States Government-funded projects and programs in Gaza caused during the military operations from December 2008 to January 2009, to include the amounts expended on such programs and projects and the estimated costs for repair and/or rehabilitation; assessed damages to United Nations facilities in Gaza caused during such period; and, to the extent known, the party responsible for such damage."

 


Jordan : The report notes that the Committee is recommending $150 million in ESF for Jordan , which is $150 million over the President's request.  The report states that "These funds are to be used to help mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis, including for health, education, water and sanitation, and other assistance for Iraqi and other refugees in Jordan , and are in addition to funds otherwise made available for assistance for Jordan in other acts."

 


Yemen :  The report states that the Committee recommends not less than $15 million for Yemen , "to support education and other programs and activities administered by USAID, consistent with the Tribal Engagement Plan."
  
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL & LAW ENFORCEMENT (INCLE)
  
Bill Text
  
Not more than $109 million "may be made available for assistance for the
West Bank " (the House version stipulated $106 million).
  
Report Language
  
The report includes an INCLE funding table that breaks down INCLE for the West Bank as follows:

 


$106 million -- Presidential Guard and National Security Forces
$3 million -- Trainers for Scanners

 


The report also stipulates that "Not later than 90 days after enactment of this act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committee, in classified form if necessary, on the use of assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and an assessment of the factors that limit the operational capabilities of forces trained."

 


Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs
  
The bill text states that not more than $50 million "may be made available to enhance security along the
Gaza border." 

 


The bill text also states that "the Secretary of State shall work assiduously to facilitate the regular flow of people and licit goods in and out of Gaza at established border crossings and shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, and every 45 days thereafter until September 30, 2010, detailing progress in this effort."
  
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING (FMF)
  
The report notes that the Committee is recommending $98 million in FMF for
Lebanon , which is $400,000 below the President's request, "for training and equipment for the Lebanese Armed Forces."

 


OTHER PROVISIONS
  
  
Palestinian Power-Sharing
  
Bill Text:  The bill includes a new section entitled "Prohibition on Assistance for Hamas."  The section:

 


-- states that "None of the funds appropriated in this title may be made available for assistance to Hamas, or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member."
-- states that notwithstanding this limitation, "assistance may be provided to a power-sharing government only if the President certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has publicly accepted and is complying with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended."
- requires that whenever this certification is exercised, "the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 120 days of the certification and every quarter thereafter on whether such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, are continuing to comply with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B). The report shall also detail the amount, purposes and delivery mechanisms for any assistance provided pursuant to the abovementioned certification and a full accounting of any direct support of such government."

 


Report Language:  The report notes that this provision "prohibits assistance to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, and it further prohibits assistance to any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member unless such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has met certain conditions. The Committee believes that a public acceptance should be an acceptance in writing by such government and its ministers."
 
4.  Pro-Peace Letter in the House

 


On 5/13/09 Reps. Cohen (D-TN), Boustany (R-LA), and Carnahan (D-MO) circulated a Dear Colleague seeking cosigners on a letter to President Obama supporting his Middle East peace policy.  APN strongly supports this letter and is urging members to sign on.  The letter, which is still circulating, states:
 
Dear President Obama,

 


As you prepare to host leaders from the
Middle East and to make a major address in Egypt in the coming weeks, we write to support the course you are charting for American policy in the Middle East .  Specifically, we applaud your intention to provide strong American leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian and broader Arab-Israeli conflicts.
 
Resolving these conflicts, and in particular, finally implementing a two-state solution, is essential for American interests in the
Middle East and around the world.  Many of America's critical national goals - from addressing Iran and withdrawing from Iraq to defeating Al-Qaeda and pushing back against extremism - will be well-served by addressing this core issue, not to mention the positive impact it will have on our standing around the world.
 
We share your conviction that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an essential cornerstone of
Middle East stability.  As friends of Israel , we believe that an end to the conflict is critical to Israel 's long-term security and survival as a Jewish and a democratic state, and we are steadfastly committed to its realization. We also believe that America best serves our historic friendship with Israel when it is actively working to de-escalate conflict and advance peace, and that our relationships throughout the Arab and Muslim world will be strengthened through a negotiated agreement that ends the conflict.
 
However, demographic trends, continued violence, settlements, escalating tensions in
Jerusalem , and other changes on the ground all threaten the window of opportunity for the two-state solution. From the first day of your administration, you recognized the urgency of the situation and made pursuit of peace in the Middle East a priority.
 
Unfortunately, Israelis and Palestinians have not been able to achieve peace on their own, and we therefore share your belief that American leadership is essential to achieving meaningful progress. Left to themselves, the parties have been unable to make the necessary progress toward ending the conflict, and an American helping hand is now needed to bridge those gaps. The appointments of Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy, both of which we strongly commend, sent the powerful message that you recognized the need for immediate engagement in the region.
 
It is also important to note that building Palestinian capacity in the economic and security sectors and building transparent institutions of self-governance are important goals, deserving of American support and central to the future success of a Palestinian state. Rather than preconditions for statehood, these are goals that can be effectively realized over time once a Palestinian state has been created, with extensive international assistance, involvement, and oversight particularly in the security arena.
 
Finally, we believe that strong consideration should be given to pursuing a regional, comprehensive approach to resolving the conflict, such as the Arab Peace Initiative. This would guarantee the full recognition of
Israel and normal relations between Israel and the Arab and Muslim countries - from Indonesia to Morocco - including all twenty-two Arab states.
 
Peace between
Israel and all its neighbors is a paramount interest of the United States , Israel , and the Arab world.  We thank you for the efforts you have made so far to achieve it, and we stand ready to support you in pursuit of this challenging goal.
 
5.  FY10-FY11 Department of State Authorization Bill

 


On 5/14/09 Rep. Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, introduced HR 2410, generally known as the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of FY10 and FY11.  The bill is scheduled for mark-up 5/20/09 .  This is a bill that in the past has not generally been passed into law, in part because it has historically become a magnet for controversial, contentious provisions, including controversial, contentious provisions related to the Middle East .

 


As noted above, HR 2410 includes a number of significant Israel-related provisions - mainly related to strengthening the US-Israel special relationship, and in particular with respect to the
US commitment to Israel 's security.   Otherwise the bill includes remarkably few Middle East-related provisions and none that are especially controversial.  That said, it is expected that Middle East-related amendments may be offered in this week's markup of the bill.

 


=================================
Middle East-related provisions in HR 2410
=================================

 


Sec. 104:  Migration and Refugee Assistance
- This section authorizes $25 million to be appropriated for FY10 and FY11 for resettlement of refugees in
Israel .

 


Sec. 235: Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons.
- This section requires the President to "develop and implement policies and strategies to address the protection, resettlement, and assistance needs of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), foster long-term solutions for stabilizing the lives of such refugees and IDPs, monitor the development and implementation of assistance strategies to countries in the Middle East that are hosting refugees from Iraq, encourage the Government of Iraq to actively engage the problem of displaced persons and refugees and monitor its resolution of the problem, and ensure that budget requests to Congress are sufficient to meet an appropriate United States contribution to the needs of Iraqi refugees, IDPs within Iraq, and other refugees in Iraq."  Among other things, it also requires Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, to "track and report funding apportioned, obligated, and expended for Iraqi refugee programs in
Jordan , Syria , Lebanon , and the other host countries, to the extent practicable."

 


Sec. 804:  Performance Goals for Processing of Applications for Licenses to Export Items on United States Munitions List
- This section deals with speeding up processing of applications for export of items on the US munitions list to national security agencies of US NATO allies Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and, as appropriate, other major non-NATO allies.

 


Sec. 809: Special Licensing Authorization for Certain Exports to NATO member states, Australia , Japan , New Zealand , Israel , and South Korea
- This section authorizes the President to provide for special licensing authorization for exports of United States-manufactured spare and replacement parts or components listed in an application for such special licensing authorization in connection with defense items previously exported to NATO member states, Australia , Japan , New Zealand , Israel , and South Korea .

 


Sec.  822:  Increase in Value of Defense Articles and Services for Congressional Review and Expediting Congressional Review for Israel
- This section would amend the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(b)) to facilitate and expedite the Congressional approval of sale of defense articles to Israel .

 


Sec.  829: Clarification of Certification Requirement Relating to Israel 's Qualitative Military Edge
- This section clarifies that a "determination" required under the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(h)(1)) is to be unclassified.

 


Sec.  830:  Expediting Congressional Defense Export Review Period for Israel .
- This section amends the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.) to include Israel in a number of sections that stipulate countries whose review periods are subject to an expedited process.  is amended--

 


Sec.  845: Report on United States ' Commitments to the Security of Israel .
- This section requires the President to transmit to Congress an unclassified report, with classified annexes if necessary, containing "(1) a complete, unedited, and unredacted copy of each assurance made by United States Government officials to officials of the Government of Israel regarding Israel's security and maintenance of Israel's qualitative military edge, as well as any other assurance regarding Israel's security and maintenance of Israel's qualitative military edge provided in conjunction with exports under the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.), for the period beginning on January 1, 1975, and ending on the date of the enactment of this Act; and (2) an analysis of the extent to which, and by what means, each such assurance has been and is continuing to be fulfilled."  It requires the submission of subsequent reports to Congress whenever any new assurances are given or existing assurances are revised.  It also required a report every 5 years containing all relevant information regarding such assurances for the preceding 5-year period.

 


Sec.  847: Excess Defense Articles for Central and South European Countries and Certain Other Countries
- This section amends Section 516(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2321j(e)) is amended to add an exception for Israel and other countries, as follows: "For fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the President may provide for the crating, packing, handling, and transportation of excess defense articles transferred under the authority of this section to Albania, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Macedonia, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine."

 


Sec.  1006:  Diplomatic Relations with Israel
- This section includes a Sense of Congress that the US "should assist Israel in its efforts to establish diplomatic relations."  It required a report to Congress by the Secretary of State - classified or unclassified - not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, that includes the following information: " (1) Actions taken by representatives of the United States to encourage other countries to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. (2) Specific responses solicited and received by the Secretary from countries that do not maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel with respect to their attitudes toward and plans for entering into diplomatic relations with Israel . (3) Other measures being undertaken, and measures that will be undertaken, by the United States to ensure and promote Israel 's full participation in the world diplomatic community."

 


Sec. 1008: Reports on Humanitarian Assistance in Gaza
- This section requires that not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, and one year thereafter, the Secretary of State submit to Congress "a report detailing the humanitarian conditions and efficacy and obstacles to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities in Gaza ."  The report must include:  "(1) An assessment of the level of access to basic necessities in Gaza , including food, fuel, water, sanitation, education, and healthcare.  (2) An assessment of the ability to successfully deliver and distribute humanitarian and reconstruction goods and supplies.  (3) A description of the efforts of the United States and its allies to facilitate the receipt and distribution of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Gaza .  (4) An assessment of the obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, including the activities and policies of Hamas and any organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  (5) Recommendations for actions the United States can take to best improve the level of access to basic necessities referred to in paragraph (1) and overcome obstacles described in paragraphs (2) through (4)."

 


=========================
Past editions of the Round-Up are archived and available online at:
http://www.peacenow.org/roundup.asp

 


Americans for Peace Now promotes Israeli security through the peace process and supports the Israeli Peace Now movement.   For more information, visit the APN web site at www.peacenow.org or contact Lara Friedman, APN Director of Policy and Government Relations, at 202/728-1893, or at lfriedman@peacenow.org.