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 round-up on the status of the legislation. In general, PAAIA focuses on bills and congressional actions concerning three areas: civil liberties, foreign policy towards Iran, and immigration. PAAIA recognizes that it is important that Iranian Americans be informed about legislative initiatives in these areas and the positions that their members of Congress take concerning them.
BILLS & RESOLUTIONS
H.R.3707: Directs the U.S. to: (1) take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq; (2) provide all necessary assistance to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to process refugee applications by the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya and (3) admit the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya as refugees in the U.S.
On December 11, 2013, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA/48th) introduced H.R.3707. The legislation has gained a total of 55 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-CA/47th), Susan Davis (DEM-CA-53), and Judy Chu (D-CA/27th).
H.R.3707 Directs the United States to: (1) take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq; (2) provide all necessary and appropriate assistance to the United Nations (U.N.) High Commissioner for Refugees to process refugee applications by the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya and to secure their safe resettlement outside of Iraq; and (3) admit the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya as refugees in the United States and not delay or bar such resettlement because any such resident is or has been a member of, or supports or has supported, organizations or groups that were subject to the Secretary of State’s decision of September 21, 2012. H.R. 3707 also directs the Secretary and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to report to Congress on U.S. efforts to guard the safety of Camp Liberty/Hurriya residents and secure their orderly resettlement.
H.R. 4411: To prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions
On April 7, 2014, Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC/11th) introduced H.R.4411. The legislation has gained a total of 57 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Robert Pittenger (R-NC/9th), Pete Sessions (R-TX/32nd), Brad Sherman (D-CA/30th), Albio Sires (D-NJ/8th), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI/7th), Stephen Fincher (R-TN/8th), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI/2nd), David Schweikert (R-AZ/6th), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK/2nd), Corrine Brown (D-FL/5th), Virginia Foxx (R-NC/5th), Patrick Murphy (D-FL/18th), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC/1st), Tom Price (R-GA/6th), Howard Coble (R-NC/6th), Phil Gingrey (R-GA/11th), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA/1st), David McKinley (R-WV/1st), Gregory Meeks (D-NY/5th), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY/10th), Peter Roskam (R-IL/6th), Steve Stivers (R-OH/15th), Henry Waxman (D-CA/33rd), Joe Wilson (R-SC/2nd), Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI/11th), Sam Graves (R-MO/6th), George Holding (R-NC/13th), Doug Lamborn (R-CO/5th), Bob Latta (R-OH/5th), Mike Rogers (R-AL/3rd), Christopher Smith (R-NJ/4th), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL/12th), Tim Griffin (R-AR/2nd).
H.R.4411 aims to prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions, and for other purposes.
H.RES.109: Condemnation of Persecution of Baha’is
On March 12, 2013, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY/11th) introduced H.RES.109. The legislation has gained a total of 97 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA/4th), and has been referred to the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.
H.RES.109 calls on Iran to release all prisoners being held solely on account of their religion. It calls on the U.S. president and secretary of state, in cooperation with responsible nations, to condemn Iran’s continued human rights violations and demand that prisoners held for their religious beliefs be released. H.RES.109 also urges the president and secretary to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible to serious human rights abuses, including abuses against Iran’s Baha’i community.
H.RES.109 has been introduced in the Senate as S.RES.75.
H.RES.147: Calling for the release of United States citizen Saeed Abedini and condemning the Government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities
On April 10, 2013, Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA/6th) introduced H.RES.147. The legislation has gained a total of 91 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Richard Neal (D-MA/1st)
H.RES.147 Condemns the government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities, including Saeed Abedini (a U.S. citizen sentenced to prison in Iran after being tried for his religious beliefs and convicted for undermining the government of Iran). It also calls on Iran to release Saeed Abedini to the United States and calls on the U.S. government to work aggressively for his release by designating appropriate Iranian officials for human rights abuses pursuant to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.
S.1881: Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013
On December 20, 2013, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced S.1881. The legislation has gained a total of 60 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Sen. John Walsh (D-MT).
S.1881 is a bill to expand sanctions imposed with respect to Iran and to impose additional sanctions with respect to Iran, and for other purposes. The legislation requires further reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and applies additional penalties to strategic elements of the Iranian economy, to include the engineering, mining and construction sectors. It allows for the president to waive the new sanctions for up to one year to pursue a diplomatic track with Iran. It also imposes certain conditions for a final agreement, which, amongst other factors, stipulates that the administration may not suspend sanctions unless a final and verifiable agreement has been reached that will dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.
H.CON.RES.27: Supporting the formation of a bipartisan Presidential Commission to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People
On March 19, 2013, Representative James P. Moran (D-VA/8th) introduced H.CON.RES.27. The legislation has gained a total of 36 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR/3rd), and has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
H.CON.RES.27 would create a presidential commission to study the establishment of a National Museum of the American People. The museum would tell the story of all the peoples who came to the United States and contributed to its success and prosperity. The museum would also serve as a resource to assist state, local, and ethnic museums in presenting exhibits that celebrate the heritage of the people of the United States.
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