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 59 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Robert Brady (D-PA/1st), David Scott (D-GA/13th), Blake Farenthold (R-TX/27th), and Bill Owens (D-NY/21st).
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 88 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA/7th), Trent Franks (R-AZ/8th), Joe Garcia (D-FL/26th), Rick Nolan (D-MN/8th), Adam Schiff (D-CA/28th), David Joyce (R-OH/14th), Derek Kilmer (D-WA/6th), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC/5th), Steve Stockman (R-TX/36th), Jeff Duncan (R-SC/3rd), David Cicilline (D-RI/1st), Gene Green (D-TX/29th), Luke Messer (R-IN/6th), Todd Young (R-IN/9th), Kevin Cramer (R-ND/AL), Reid Ribble (R-WI/8th), Ann Wagner (R-MO/2nd), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA/47th), Juan Vargas (D-CA/51st), Lou Barletta (R-PA/11th), Bob Gibbs (R-OH/7th), Jim Langevin (D-RI/2nd), Timothy Bishop (D-NY/1st), Sean Duffy (R-WI/7th), Alan Grayson (D-FL/9th), Richard Hudson (R-NC/8th), Dina Titus (D-NV/1st), Tom Cotton (R-AR/4th), Rodney Davis (R-IL/13th), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL/25th), Michael Burgess (R-TX/26th), Lois Frankel (D-FL/22nd), Tom Graves (R-GA/14th), Steve Israel (D-NY/3rd), Leonard Lance (R-NJ/7th), Linda Sanchez (D-CA/38th), Marc Veasey (D-TX/33rd), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY/7th), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN/3rd), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS/2nd), Bobby Rush (D-IL/1st), Aaron Schock (R-IL/18th), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL/23rd), Roger Williams (R-TX/25th), Paul Broun (R-GA/10th), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE/1st), and Joseph Kennedy (D-MA/4th).
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 107 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA/5th), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC/5th), Lloyd Doggett, (D-TX/35th), Del. Eleanor Norton (D-DC/AL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD/8th), Sam Farr (D-CA/20th), Tom Marino (R-PA/10th), Barbara Lee (D-CA/13th), Adam Schiff (D-CA/28th).
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.
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