Thursday, July 19, 2012
Congress is considering a number of legislative initiatives that may be of interest to the Iranian American community. The PAAIA Public Policy Center is pleased to provide a bi-weekly round-up on the status of such legislation. In general, PAAIA focuses on bills and congressional actions, which bear on three areas: civil liberties, foreign policy towards Iran, and immigration. PAAIA recognizes it is important that Iranian Americans be informed about such legislative initiatives and the positions that their members of Congress are taking concerning these topics.
Click here to read Congressional Round-Up: Week Ending June 29, 2012.
Bills & Resolutions
S.1670: End Racial Profiling Act of 2011.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-HI) was added as a co-sponsor to S.1670 on July 10, 2012. The bill was introduced by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on October 6, 2011 and has a total of 17 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
The legislation prohibits any law enforcement agent or agency from engaging in racial profiling. It also grants the United States or an individual injured by racial profiling the right to obtain declaratory or injunctive relief and requires federal law enforcement agencies to maintain adequate policies and procedures to eliminate racial profiling and to cease existing practices that permit racial profiling.
S.J.Res.41: Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the nuclear program of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) was added as a co-sponsor to S.J.Res.41 on July 18, 2012. The bill was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on May 24, 2012 and has a total of 80 co-sponsors. It has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
The joint resolution expresses the sense of Congress regarding the nuclear program of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a revised version of S.Res.380. The joint resolution ends with following sentence: “Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.”
H.Res.134: Condemns the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
H.Res.134 gained four additional co-sponsors between July 10th and July 18th, 2012. The most recent co-sponsors include Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-14th/CA), Marsha Backburn (R-7th/TN), Steve Scalise (R-1st/LA), and Barbara Lee (D-9th/CA). The resolution was introduced by Representative Robert Dold (R-10th/IL) and has a total of 120 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The resolution calls on the government of Iran to release seven specified imprisoned Baha’i leaders and all other prisoners held on account of their religion. The resolution also urges the President and Secretary of State to utilize all available measures, such as those available under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and Executive Order 13553, to sanction Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible for human rights violations in Iran, including against the Baha’i community.
H.R. 5893: To jump-start economic recovery through the formation and growth of new businesses, and for other purposes.
Representatives Bobby Schilling (R-17th/IL) and Colleen Habusa (D- 1st/HI) were added as co-sponsors to H.R. 5893 on July 10th and July 11th, 2012. The legislation was introduced by Representative Michael Grimm (R-13th/NY) on June 5, 2012 and has a total of 23 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Ways and Means.
The legislation is intended to create and keep jobs in America; increase America’s access to talent in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by reforming high-skilled visa policies; and create opportunities for startup businesses with tax incentives and access to resources for innovation. The bill allows qualifying startup businesses to receive up to $250,000 in tax credits. It also will allow the world’s best and brightest students and entrepreneurs to remain in the U.S. to start businesses and hire Americans, rather than being forced to leave the country.