22
May

Congressional Roundup

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

 

Foreign Policy

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 61 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT/AL) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX/20th).

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 183 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO/3rd), Erik Paulsen (R-MN/3rd), Chris Stewart (R-UT/2nd), Andy Barr (R-KY/6th), Julia Brownley (D-CA/26th), Shelley Capito (R-WV/2nd), Kathy Castor (D-FL/14th), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT/3rd), John Mica (R-FL/7th), Devin Nunes (R-CA/22nd), Jackie Walorski (R-IN/2nd), Spencer Bachus (R-AL/6th), Chris Collins (R-NY/27th), Steve Daines (R-MT/AL), Ralph Hall (R-TX/4th), Ben Lujan (D-NM/3rd), Patrick Meehan (R-PA/7th), Kurt Schrader (D-OR/5th), Greg Walden (R-OR/2nd), Kevin Yoder (R-KS/3rd), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK/1st), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA/8th), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI/1st), Andy Harris (R-MD/1st), Robin Kelly (D-IL/2nd), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ/1st), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA/19th), Frank Pallone (D-NJ/6th), Gary Peters (D-MI/14th), Jose Serrano (D-NY/15th), Fred Upton (R-MI/6th), Suzan DelBene (D-WA/1st), Bill Foster (D-IL/11th), Dan Kildee (D-MI/5th), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX/16th), Dave Reichert (R-WA/8th), Jason Smith (R-MO/8th), Frederica Wilson (D-FL/24th), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR/1st), Gregg Harper (R-MS/3rd), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO/4th), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY/8th), John Kline (R-MN/2nd), Scott Perry (R-PA/4th), Joe Pitts (R-PA/16th), Mike Pompeo (R-KS/4th), Michael Turner (R-OH/10th), Chris Gibson (R-NY/19th), Richard Hanna (R-NY/22nd), John Sarbanes (D-MD/3rd), Ron Barber (D-AZ/2nd), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY/4th), Austin Scott (R-GA/8th), Cheri Bustos (D-IL/17th), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX/11th), Jim Himes (D-CT/4th), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS/1st). 

H.R.4411 aims to prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions, and for other purposes.

H.R.4435: FY15 National Defense Authorization Bill

On May 7, 2014, the House Armed Services Committee marked up H.R.4435.  The bill authorizes appropriations to the Department of Defense (DOD) for FY2015 and includes a provision in relation to Iran (Section 1239). Among other things, the provision reflects a non-binding sense of Congress that an American presence in the Persian Gulf is vital to deter Iran as well as its belief that any negotiations with Iran must address the military aspects of its nuclear program. An amendment offered by Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO/5th) states that the U.S. should only accept a comprehensive agreement with Iran if Iran ceases the enrichment of uranium, ceases the development and pursuit of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as ballistic missiles and missile launch technology, and ceases support for acts of international terrorism. 

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 114 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH/15th), Mark Takano (D-CA/41st), Mike Doyle (D-PA/14th), Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI/11th), Ted Poe (R-TX/2nd), Cheri Bustos (D-IL/17th), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA/6th).

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 92 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN/9th).

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.

Special Category

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 38 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Donald Payne (D-NJ/10th) and Marc Veasey (D-TX/33rd), 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. 

Click here to view all of the current proposed legislation and policies that impact our community.

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