Friday, June 8, 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 May 25, 2012.
Bills & Resolutions
H.R. 4228: To direct the Secretary of State to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force as a foreign terrorist organization, and for other purposes.
On May 26, 2012, Representative Ted Poe (R-2nd/TX) signed on as a supporter of H.R.4228, becoming its 20th co-sponsor/sponsor. The bill was introduced by Representative Michael McCaul on March 21, 2012 and has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs. The legislation directs the Secretary of State to: (1) designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, and (2) report to Congress on IRGC terrorist activities.
H.R. 4173: Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act.
Representative William Lacy Clay (D-1st/MO) was added as a co-sponsor to H.R. 4173 on June 6, 2012. The bill was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-9th/CA) on March 8, 2012 and has a total of 29 co-sponsors/sponsors. It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. A similar version of H.R.4173 was offered as an amendment (Amdt. 161) to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on May 18, 2012 but failed by a vote of 77-344.
H.R.4173 directs the President to appoint a high-level U.S. representative or special envoy who shall: (1) seek to ease tensions and normalize relations between the United States and Iran, (2) lead U.S. diplomatic efforts with regard to Iran, and (3) act as liaison with U.S. and international intelligence agencies. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to: (1) rescind the no contact policy with Iran, and (2) establish an office in the Department of State to support the work of the representative or special envoy.
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 May 31st and June 7th, 2012. The most recent co-sponsors include Representatives Bob Turner (R-9th/NY), Steve Chabot (R-1st/OH), Rob Wittman (R-1st/VA), and Christopher Murphy (D-5th/CT). The resolution was introduced by Representative Robert Dold (R-10th/IL) on March1, 2011 and has a total of 108 co-sponsors/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.140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011.
Representative Ben Quayle (R- 3rd/AZ) was added on as a co-sponsor to H.R.140 on June 1, 2012. The bill was introduced by Representative Steven King (R-5th/IA) on January 5, 2011 and has a total of 89 co-sponsors/sponsors. It has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
The legislation Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national, (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States, or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
H.R. 5893: To jump-start economic recovery through the formation and growth of new businesses, and for other purposes.
H.R.5893 was introduced by Representative Michael Grimm (R-13th/NY) on June 5, 2012 and currently has a total of nine co-sponsors/sponsors. The bill has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on 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.