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Legislative Roundup - December 9, 2005

I. Hyde/Capps Dear Colleague II. APN on Hyde/Capps letter III. Bills and Resolutions IV. On the Record V. Rice letter cosigners

for the week ending December 9, 2005

I. Hyde/Capps Dear Colleague
II. APN on Hyde/Capps letter
III. Bills and Resolutions
IV. On the Record
V. Rice letter cosigners


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I. HYDE/CAPPS DEAR COLLEAGUE
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The Hyde/Capps Dear Colleague discussed in last week's edition of the Round-Up continues to gather steam on the Hill, with 71 cosigners as of this writing (15 Republicans and 55 Democrats). The list includes six Jewish members: Lantos (D-CA), Frank (D-MA), Schiff (D-CA), Harman (D-CA), Davis (D-CA), and Schakowsky (D-IL). The letter will remain open to new signers through next week. The full list of current cosigners is included in section IV, below.


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II. APN ON HYDE-CAPPS LETTER
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APN has led efforts urging House members to sign the Hyde-Capps letter, beginning with outreach to many staffers on December 1st, when the letter was first circulated.

In addition, when members and staff returned to Washington this week from their Thanksgiving recess, APN sent a message to every House office urging support of the letter. That message, signed by APN President and CEO Debra DeLee and APN Government Relations Director Lara Friedman, stated:

"On behalf of Americans for Peace Now (APN), we urge you to cosign the letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now being circulated by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde and Representative Lois Capps. The letter commends Secretary Rice's recent success in brokering an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to allow the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, and urges her to make securing peace between Israel and the Palestinians a personal priority. APN is the premier Jewish, Zionist organization working to enhance Israel's security through peace. APN has long believed that strong U.S. leadership is the best hope for ending violence and bringing about a political process that can pave the way for security and peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

"Secretary Rice worked all through the night of November 14th with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to achieve this important agreement. Her success underscores the value of high-level U.S. engagement in efforts to achieve real progress toward security for Israel and a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even now, as Israelis and Palestinians are focused on upcoming elections, continued high-level U.S. engagement is vital to maintain and capitalize on the positive momentum that began with Israel's courageous disengagement initiative.

"The Gaza border crossing agreement is a win-win deal for all sides. It makes Israel's security needs paramount, while providing Palestinians with greater freedom of movement for people and goods - movement that is vital to the revival of the economy of Gaza, and therefore closely linked to stability and security for both Israel and the Palestinians. The U.S. role in achieving this accord also improves its stature as an honest broker between the two parties. Of course, there can be a huge distance between reaching an accord and implementation on the ground. A great deal of work remains to be done, and will require continued hands-on participation by the United States and others. We believe that these negotiations have demonstrated the kind of success that committed, high-level U.S. engagement in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy can yield.

"Secretary Rice's commitment and leadership deserves the support of Congress, and we urge you to add your name to this important letter."


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III. BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS
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H. Res. 535: Introduced November 4th by Rep. Engel (D-NY), and gathering 44 cosponsors, "Honoring the life, legacy, and example of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the tenth anniversary of his death." Considered under suspension of the rules on December 6th and passed by a vote of 399-0.

Note: While the resolution catalogues many of Rabin's accomplishments and recalls the circumstances of his death, it notably fails to make any mention of who it was that assassinated Rabin (i.e., an Israeli extremist who opposed peace with the Palestinians). Likewise, while the resolution "condemns any and all acts of terrorism," it neglects any mentions of the kind of hateful and inciting rhetoric that preceded the Rabin assassination - rhetoric that continues today and which Israeli security officials believe remains a threat to current Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Sharon. All floor statements made in support of the resolution similarly neglect to mention these important and troubling elements of the assassination.

H.RES.438: Introduced September 14th by Reps. Rothman (D-NJ) and Kirk (R-IL), and collecting 64 cosponsors, "Urging member states of the United Nations to stop supporting resolutions that unfairly castigate Israel and to promote within the United Nations a more balanced and constructive approach to resolving conflict in the Middle East." Considered under suspension of the rules on December 6th and passed by a vote of 400-1.

HR 4340: Introduced November 16th by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), "To implement the United States-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement." Passed December 7th by a vote of 327-95.


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IV. ON THE RECORD
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Excerpt from the floor statement of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the House International Relations Committee's Middle East and Central Asia Subcommittee, in support of H. Res. 535:

"...Mr. Speaker, on November 4, 1995, Prime Minister Rabin was tragically assassinated at a peace rally in Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv, Israel.

"Moments before his death, Rabin said the following to tens of thousands of Israelis: 'Peace entails difficulties, even pain. Israel knows no path devoid of pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war.'

"Prime Minister Rabin symbolized the complexities of Israeli society. He fought in the war of independence, which established the State of Israel in 1948, and spent much of his professional life in the battlefield defending the State of Israel militarily.

"However, his contributions to the greater battle for Israel's security through a negotiated solution is what the people of Israel, the Palestinians and, indeed, the rest of the world remember most 10 years after he uttered his last words of hope and peace in 1995.

"Under Prime Minister Rabin's leadership, Israel signed a Declaration of Principles Framework Agreement with the Palestinians in 1993 and a peace treaty with Jordan a year later.

"In 1994, Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize, saying the following about making peace with the Palestinians at the time: 'Mistakes could topple the whole structure and bring disaster down upon us despite the toll of murderous terrorism, despite fanatic and scheming enemies. We will pursue the course of peace with determination and fortitude. We will not let up. We will not give in. Peace will triumph over all our enemies, because the alternative is grim for us all.'

"Prime Minister Rabin paid the ultimate price for peace; and after his death, his beloved wife, Leah Rabin, carried on her husband's message. After Mrs. Rabin's passing from lung cancer, her daughter Dalia Rabin is leading her father's mission for hope and peace. This resolution is also a testament to their hard work and commitment to the ideals of their father and husband, Yitzhak Rabin..."


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IV. RICE LETTER COSIGNERS
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The following is the list of cosigners (71) on the Hyde-Capps letter to Secretary of State Rice, as of 10am, December 9th. Allen (D-ME) Baird (D-WA) Baldwin (D-WI) Bilirakis (R-FL) Blumenauer (D-OR) Boehlert (R-NY) Burton (R-IN) Butterfield (D-NC) Capps (D-CA) Chandler (D-KY) Conyers (D-MI) Davis (D-CA) Davis (D-IL) DeFazio (D-OR) Dingell (D-MI) Farr (D-CA) Frank (D-MA) Green (D-TX) Grijalva (D-AZ) Harman (D-CA) Holt (D-NJ) Hyde (R-IL) Inslee (D-WA) Issa (R-CA) Jackson Jr. (D-IL) Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Jefferson (D-LA) Johnson (R-CT) Kildee (D-MI) Kilpatrick (D-MI) Kind (D-WI) King (R-NY) LaHood (R-IL) Langevin (D-RI) Lantos (D-CA) Leach (R-IA) Lee (D-CA) Lewis (D-GA) Lungren (R-CA) Maloney (D-NY) Manzullo (R-IL) Matsui (D-CA) McCollum (D-MN) McDermott (D-WA) McGovern (D-MA) Meeks (D-NY) Millender-McDonald (D-CA) Miller, George (D-CA) Moore (D-WI) Moran (D-VA) Murphy (R-PA) Napolitano (D-CA) Obey (D-WI) Olver (D-MA) Pastor (D-AZ) Price (D-NC) Rangel (D-NY) Rohrabacher (R-CA) Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Sabo (D-MN) Sanchez (D-CA) Schakowsky (D-IL) Schiff (D-CA) Shays (R-CT) Shimkus (R-IL) Snyder (D-AR) Solis (D-CA) Udall (D-CO) Velasquez (D-NY) Visclosky (D-IN) Woolsey (D-CA)


For more information, contact APN Government Relations Director Lara Friedman at 202/728-1893, or at lfriedman@peacenow.org.