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Legislative Round-Up: Week Ending June 29, 2012

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  Hearings
3.  Campaign to Get American Residents of Israel to Vote in US Elections, for Israel's Sake
4. Members on the Record  
5.  From the Press

New CRS Reports of note: 6/15/12: U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians; 6/21/12: Egypt: Transition under Military Rule

1.  Bills, Resolutions, & Letters

(Foreign Relations Authorization) HR 6018:  On 6/27/12 the House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up the FY13 Foreign Relations Authorization Act.  The bill received bipartisan support and passed unanimously (Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, press release here; Ranking Member Berman's, D-CA, opening statement here).  Video of the markup can be viewed here. The Committee staff's section-by-section summary is here and bill summary is here.  Reporting on the bill from the Cable is here.  It should be noted that it has been many years since Congress succeeded in passing a foreign relations authorization bill, primarily because this bill, which is not must-pass legislation (if it doesn't pass the government doesn't shut down), tends to become a legislative "Christmas tree" on which members hang all sorts of contentious and often partisan "ornaments".  This year's bill is remarkable in that, at least in its base form, it appears free of such ornaments, including with respect to the Middle East (traditionally such bills include numerous provisions aimed at scoring points at the expense of U.S. policy and interests in the Middle East).  This more responsible approach is somewhat ironic given how unlikely it is that a Foreign Operations Appropriations bill will be past this year (since it is an election year).

(U.S.-ISRAEL COOPERATION) S. 2165 Introduced 3/6/12 by Sen. Boxer (D-CA) and having 68 cosponsors, the "United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012"  Reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 6/27 with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, and placed on the Senate Calendar.  The report on the amended bill is available here.

(US MILITARY ASSISTANCE FOR ISRAEL) HR 5856:  Introduced 5/25/12 (and covered in detail in the 5/11/12 edition of the Round-Up) by Rep. Young (R-FL), "the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013."   On 5/25/12, the Committee report on the bill was published and the bill was placed on the House calendar.  On 6/28/12 the Rules committee held a hearing to adopt the rule under which HR 5856 will be brought to the floor for a vote.

(SYRIA) HR 5993:  Introduced 6/21/12 by Reps. Paul (R-TX) and Campbell (R-CA), "Syria Non-Intervention Act of 2012."  Referred to the Committees on Armed Services and Intelligence (Permanent Select).  Rep. Paul's statement on the introduction of HR 5993 is available here; his 6/19 statement on plans to introduce it (and why he is doing so) is available here.

(SYRIA) H. Res. 687: Introduced 6/15/12 by Reps. Israel (D-NY) and Cole (R-OK), and currently having an additional 4 cosponsors, "Calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be tried before the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity."  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  A group called the American Syrian Coalition (ASC) released a press release commending Israeli and Cole for introducing H. Res. 687.

:  Introduced 6/25/12 by Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) and having 33 cosponsors, "A resolution expressing support for the International Olympic Committee to recognize with a minute of silence at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony the athletes and others killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics."  Passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent 6/25.  The House version of the bill (H. Res. 663 - covered in the 5/18/12 edition of the Round-Up) was reported out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 6/7/12.

(IRAN) S. Res. 385:  Introduced 3/1/12 by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) and having 10 cosponsors, "A resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy." Reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 6/20 and placed on the Senate Calendar.

2.  Hearings

On 6/27/12, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a closed hearing on Syria.

On 6/20/12, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled "Addressing the Iranian Nuclear Challenge: Understanding the Military Options."  Video here.  Statements:  Chairman McKeon (R-CA)Former Senator Charles Robb, Bipartisan Policy Center; Mr. Stephen Rademaker, Bipartisan Policy Center; David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security.  The Weekly Standard reported on the hearing here.

On 6/20/12, the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Middle East and South Asia subcommittee held a hearing entitled, "Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, Part II." Video here.  Witnesses were: Michele Dunne, the Atlantic Council (Prepared Statement); Jon B. Alterman, CSIS (Prepared Statement); David Schenker, WINEP (Prepared Statement);  Subcommittee Chair Chabot (R-OH), (Prepared Statement)

On 6/20/12, the House Homeland Security Committee held yet another hearing convened by Chairman Peter King (R-NY) regarding his deep concern that America's Muslim citizens harbor terrorist tendencies and are being radicalized (no similar hearings have been held concerning radicalization in any other religious community in the U.S.).  This latest hearing was entitled "The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community."  The hearing is the fifth in a series of hearings spurred by the committee's publication: "Report: The Radicalization of Muslim-Americans: The Committee On Homeland Security's Investigation of The Continuing Threat."  Video and testimony here.  Reporting on the hearing from McClatchey here.

3.  Campaign to Get American Residents of Israel to Vote in US Elections, for Israel's Sake

The Israeli media is reporting on a campaign, "ivoteIsrael" that has been launched to try to get American citizens in Israel to vote in the upcoming U.S. elections in order to ensure that Congress and the White House support Israel.  

Notable about this campaign is that while its backers insist it is not partisan, its partisan leanings are apparent in its backers and the content of its messages (see this screen shot asking: "Want to see a President in the White House who will have Israel's back?" and clearly implying that the current occupant of the White House does not have Israel's back).    Also notable is its effort to "scare" Americans in Israel into voting with the threat that, if they fail to do so, Congress will turn against Israel.  The recent Rothman-Pascrell primary is used as an example of what can happen if Americans who support Israel fail to vote:  a new video produced by "ivoteIsrael" openly incites against the Arab American community, stating that Rothman lost after "radical anti-Israel elements in the New Jersey Arab community flexed their political muscle..."  (that phrase is spoken as a screenshot of the Arab American Institute's "Yalla Vote" campaign is shown...).  

4.  Members on the Record

Kucinich (D-OH), 6/27:  In Honor of H.E. Ambassador Sameh Shoukry (Egyptian ambassador to Washington, who is about to leave)
Johnson (D-TX), 6/27: Azerbaijan (among other things, an ally of Israel)
Paul (R-TX), 6/27: America's Foreign Policy of Mischief and Intervention (Syria & Middle East)
Israel (D-NY), 6/27: On the IOC's refusal to have a moment of silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre
Walsh (R-IL), 6/25: Walsh Asks U.S to Rethink Aid to Egypt
West (R-FL), 6/24: "The Muslim B'Hood takeover in Egypt shows Arab Spring is radical Islamic nightmare" (Facebook)
Deutch (D-FL), 6/21: Honoring the regional representative of AIPAC
Gallegly (R-CA), 6/21: Honoring a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition
Cohen (D-TN), Markey (D-MA), 6/20: Iran and HR 4480, a bill to provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production under oil and gas leases of Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Defense in response to a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Berman (D-CA), 6/20: Howard Berman Statement after Meeting Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz
Kerry (D-MA), 6/19: On World Refugee Day (mention of Syria situation, UNRWA)
McCain (R-AZ), 6/19: Intelligence Leaks
Menendez (D-NJ), 6/19: Menendez Reacts to Outcome of P5+1 Talks in Moscow
Jackson-Lee (D-TX), 6/18: On the crisis in Syria
Richardson (D-CA), 6/15: In Support of the Syrian People

5. From the Press

McClatchey 6/28: Cut aid to Egypt's generals
Algemeiner, 6/28: CBS Takes Down Anti-Israel Billboards in Los Angeles
Haaretz 6/28: Israeli investors: The U.S. is open for your business (by Rep. Berman, D-CA)
Haaretz 6/28: Waive the visa, wave hello to Israelis (By Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA)
The Times of Israel, 6/28: Anti-Israel candidate loses in Brooklyn's congressional primary
The Hill 6/28: Guest Post from Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh: Preserving a Palestinian identity
Reuters 6/27: FACTBOX-US Congress considers more Iran sanctions
The Hill, 6/27: Lawmakers eyeing Egypt with concern
Jerusalem Post 6/27: Washington Watch: Stumbling on Egypt's road to democracy
Algemeiner 6/27: The White House Should Follow Congress' Lead on Jerusalem
Government Security News 6/27: State Dept, congress question Egyptian diplomat's visa
JTA, 6/26: Barron loses in Brooklyn congressional primary
Washington Free Beacon 6/25: Walsh: Cut Aid to Egypt
NPR 6/25: New Presidency Prompts Look At U.S. Aid To Egypt
WaPo 6/24: Egypt appears to underline the limit of U.S. influence
The Forward 6/22: Egypt Aid Under Fire Over Power Grab
Politico 6/22: Pro-Israel group hits Barron in NY congressional race
WaPo (Jennifer Rubin) 6/22: Congress tries to lead on Iran; Obama clings to failed diplomacy
MediaMatters 6/20: Weekly Standard's Kristol Calls For Congress To Authorize War With Iran
NYT 6/20: U.S. Urged to Confront Iran on Nuclear Work
Boston Globe 6/20: US aid should be a lever to pressure Egypt's military 6/20: U.S. warns Egypt it may suspend military aid
Israeli Hayom 6/20: Why are only the Palestinians considered 'refugees'?
LA Times 6/19/12: Egypt's military takeover