1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
2. The Ilhan Omar Kerfuffle
3. FY19 Consolidated Approps
5.On the Record
*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!
1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
(US OUT OF YEMEN WAR) H. J. Res. 37: Introduced 1/30 by Khanna (D-CA) and now having 96 cosponsors, “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” Floor consideration 2/13 is here and here. The bill passed by a final vote of 248-177, with all Democrats voting in support, and 177 Republicans voting against. Apart from the Yemen-related policy issues on which this resolution is focused, three Israel-related point-scoring angles arose:
(1) Exploiting Israel as a Pretext to Oppose: The base text of H. J. Res. 37 includes language specific to Israel: “Section 3. Rule of Construction Regarding Continued Military Operations and Cooperation with Israel. This section specifies that nothing in the resolution may be construed to influence or disrupt any military operations and cooperation with Israel.” The inclusion of this section, however, did not prevent some GOP members from portraying the resolution as an attack on and threat to Israel. For example, Cole (R-OK) argued that the resolution, “would put our ongoing security arrangements with the state of Israel in question….Israel would have good cause to question the U.S. commitment to that nation and to question our commitment to providing Israel with support in the future. Should the United States provide Israel with the support it needs, our allies would have good reason to fear that a portion of the House of Representatives would try to shut off the tap by putting forward a resolution like this…” Likewise, Lamborn (R-CO) argued: “Mr. Chairman, a vote for this resolution is a vote for Iran. A vote against this resolution is a vote for Israel. I urge my colleagues to vote “no” on this dangerous resolution, and I urge the administration to veto this resolution, if it should somehow pass.”
(2) Exploiting the Resolution to (Try) to Score Political Points over Anti-Semitism: Kustoff (R-TN) offered a last-ditch amendment (using what is known as a Motion to Recommit) focusing on anti-Semitism. The amendment – which is completely non-germane, i.e., it has nothing at all to do with the underlying text it sought to amend – added the following text to the bill:
(11) It is in the national security interest of the United States to combat anti-Semitism around the world because– (A) anti-Semitism is a challenge to the basic principles of tolerance, pluralism, and democracy, and the shared values that bind Americans together; (B) there has been a significant amount of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred that must be most strongly condemned; and (C) there is an urgent need to ensure the safety and security of Jewish communities, including synagogues, schools, cemeteries, and other institutions.
(12) It is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to continue to emphasize the importance of combating anti-Semitism in our bilateral and multilateral relations, including with the United Nations, European Union institutions, Arab League, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
(13) Because it is important to the national security interest of the United States to maintain strong bipartisan support for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, all attempts to delegitimize and deny Israel’s right to exist must be denounced and rejected.
(14) It is in the national security interest of the United States to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any foreign country against other countries friendly to the United States or against any United States person.
When he offered the amendment, Kustoff said on the House floor that he opposed the underlying bill “in its current form” — suggesting that he was seeking to remedy his concerns with that current form with his amendment. This was an odd suggestion from the get-go, given that the amendment is non-germane. Moreover, how things went from there bolstered the widespread impression that the real goal behind the amendment was to get Democrats to either block consideration of it or to vote against it, in either case paving the way for Republicans to claim Democrats are soft on anti-Semitism. Neither of those things happened: the amendment was allowed and it passed by a bipartisan vote of 424-0). What happened next underscores the degree to which the introduction of this non-germane amendment was apparently about political game-playing: once it was adopted, Kustoff and fellow Republicans turned around and still voted en masse against H. J. Res. 37 – in effect, opposing their own anti-Semitism measure (but still bragging about voting for the amendment – see Hern, R-OK.)
(3) Exploiting the Resolution to Play Partisan Games and Lie About BDS: AIPAC cheered passage of the Kustoff amendment and praised Kustoff for offering it. AIPAC was, however, silent on GOP members voting en masse against the resolution as a whole – in effect appearing to give GOP members a pass for opposing, in a final vote, a resolution that now contains an AIPAC-endorsed anti-Semitism provision. This is, in itself, remarkable.
In addition, it its praising of the Kustoff amendment, AIPAC claiming that the provision was a rejection of not only anti-Semitism, but also BDS. This is factually incorrect. As noted above, the amendment deals with “restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any foreign country against other countries friendly to the United States.” This language (deliberately or not):
- Does not apply to the BDS movement, which is a grassroots movement. BDS is not fostered or imposed by a foreign country.
- Does not apply to individuals who on their own out of personal conviction engage in or support boycotts of Israel or settlements.
- Does not have any application with respect to boycotts against Israel fostered by foreign countries, given that the ONLY state-fostered boycott of Israel that exists today is the Arab League Boycott of Israel (compliance with which is illegal under US law).
- Does not have any application with respect to restrictive trade practices fostered by foreign countries against Israel, because no such practices exist. The EU’s differentiation policy (which, consistent with international law, calls on EU member states to distinguish between the sovereign state of Israel and the occupied territories) is emphatically NOT aimed at Israel – it is aimed at territories under Israeli control (which even under Israel law are not part of sovereign Israel). Even Ireland’s move to block entry of settlement products is emphatically NOT aimed at Israel – it is aimed at settlements in the occupied territories.
(HOUSE COMPANION TO S. 1) HR 336: Introduced 1/8 by McCaul (R-TX) and having 22 all-GOP cosponsors, “To make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.” This is explicitly framed as a companion to S. 1. This week saw a ratcheting up of pressure on House leaders to move the bill (which is unlikely to happen, meaning the pressure is really about scoring points against Dems for not moving it), with floor statements from Cole (R-OK), Cheney (R-WY), McCaul (R-TX), and Zeldin (R-NY).
(BAD KSA, STOP JAILING WOMEN ACTIVISTS) H. Res. 129: Introduced 2/13 by Frankel (D-FL) and 3 cosponsors “Condemning the Government of Saudi Arabia’s continued detention and alleged abuse of women’s rights activists.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Frankel press release is here. (pdf of text is here.)
(LIMITS ON KSA CIVILIAN NUKE PROGRAM) S. Con. Res. 2: Introduced 2/13 by Merkley (D-OR) and 2 cosponsors, “A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that any United States-Saudi Arabia civilian nuclear cooperation agreement must prohibit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from enriching uranium or separating plutonium on its own territory, in keeping with the strongest possible nonproliferation ‘gold standard’.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Press release is here.
(MIDEAST IN FY19 APPROPS) H. J. Res. 31: On 2/14, the House and Senate both adopted the Conference Report on H. J. Res. 31, which has become the vehicle for FY19 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Middle East-related details of the bill are covered in Section 3, below.
(HOUSE DEMS THROW REP. OMAR UNDER THE BUS, AND THEN BACK UP OVER HER A COUPLE OF TIMES): Gottheimer/Luria et al letter: On 2/11, in the context of the controversy of Rep. Omar’s (D-MN) tweets regarding AIPAC & Congress (discussed in Section 2, below) , Reps. Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Luria (D-VA) led a letter signed by 25 House Democrats urging House Democratic leadership to “address and condemn recent anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Neither the letter itself nor the press release announcing it (dated Feb 12, a day after Rep. Omar apologized for the “rhetoric” in question) mention Omar’s apology. Instead, the letter equates Omar’s tweets to an incident in 1934: “as reports of Nazi oppression of German Jews began to surface, Representative Louis McFadden read into the Congressional record excerpts from the infamous anti-Semitic tract ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’” and to “accusations and slurs [that] can also be heard in the taped conversations of President Richard Nixon released in 2013.” The letter goes on to declare BDS to be, by definition, anti-Semitic. The letter was signed by 24 Democrats: Brindisi (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), González (D-OH), Fletcher (D-TX), Gottheimer (D-NJ), Harder (D-CA), Lee (D-NV), Lipinski (D-IL), Luria (D-VA), Murphy (D-FL), Norcross (D-NJ), O’Halleran (D-AZ), Pallone (D-NJ), Panetta (D-CA), Phillips (D-MN), Rose (D-NY), Schiff (D-CA), Schrader (D-OR), Sherman (D-CA), Sherrill (D-NJ), Spanberger (D-VA), Stevens (D-MI), Suozzi (D-NY), Trone (D-MD), and Vargas (D-CA).
Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no access to news or social media, you know that this week saw a kerfuffle (one that is by no means necessarily over) related to tweets by freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). With two tweets Omar shook Congress and the world of pundits, not to mention the entire industry of organizations that work – openly – to promote U.S.-Israel ties. As a review:
- On 2/10, at 2:39pm, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald tweeted: “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.” That tweet linked to this article in Haaretz, entitled, “Kevin McCarthy Promises ‘Action’ Against Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.”
- On 2/10, at 3:58pm, Rep. Omar re-tweeted Greenwald’s tweet with the comment: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby [followed by three notes denoting music – suggesting she was quoting what a popular catchphrase that originated in the hugely popular 1996 song by Puff Daddy, “It’s all about the Benjamins” – in 2008, VH1 ranked that song at #32 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop; the song was featured in Pizza Hut’s Super Bowl ad this year].
- On 2/10, at 4:03pm, the Forward’s Batya Ungar-Sargon tweeted: “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”
- On 2/10, at 4:55pm, Rep. Omar re-tweeted Ungar-Sargon’s tweet with the comment “AIPAC!”
- On 2/11, at 11:46am, Rep. Omar tweeted an apology/statement entitled, “Listening and learning, but standing strong.” The statement reads: “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she wrote. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. That is why I unequivocally apologize. [new paragraph] At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA, or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”
I tweeted two threads related to the controversy, one related to how what I know from my own experience working for 15+years with Capitol Hill (here) and one examining whether the term “It’s all about the Benjamins” is truly, in itself, widely recognized as anti-Semitic (here). Both have also been unrolled (as in, reformatted as single page narratives), here and here. Further recommended reading:
- WSJ, “Pro-Israel Group Lobbies for U.S. Aid, Funds Congressional Trips”;
- Ady Barkan in the Nation, “What Ilhan Omar Said About AIPAC Was Right”;
- MJ Rosenberg in the Nation: “This Is How AIPAC Really Works – An AIPAC and Capitol Hill veteran explains the lobby’s tactics of reward and retribution”;
- Mitchell Plitnick writing at LobeLog, “Ilhan Omar, AIPAC, and Denial”;
- Peter Feld in the Forward, “No, Ilhan Omar Is Not Anti-Semitic For Calling Out AIPAC”; and
- Peter Beinart in the Forward, “The Sick Double Standard In The Ilhan Omar Controversy”.
- Also check out FMEP Non-Resident Fellow Peter Beinart on “Pod Save the World” for a conversation about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s tweets regarding AIPAC – you can listen to the full conversation online here.
Since the Twitter controversy broke, members of Congress from both parties have been dogpiling on Rep. Omar (D-MN), with attacks that have persisted even after she issued her apology (an apology that notably angered some of her supporters, who believe she had nothing for which to apologize, and while failing to satisfy some of her attackers, who believe that Omar’s antipathy to Israel and support for Palestinians mean she is an anti-Semite, regardless of who she expresses herself). Unsurprisingly, GOP members eagerly used the controversy over Omar’s tweets as a springboard for accusing Democrats in general of engaging in, supporting, and tolerating anti-Semitism in their ranks. Also worth noting: in calling out or scoring points on Omar, members of Congress have taken a very loose approach to characterizing what she said (reading the statements, one gets the impression that Omar referred to “Jews” and “Jewish money,” or alleged there was some form of Jewish “dual loyalty” – none of which is, in fact, the case). Below is a sampling of statements (non-comprehensive).
Democrats Throwing Rep. Omar Under the Bus
Democratic Leadership Statement “on Anti-Semitic Comments of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar”: “...Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments…”
See Sec. 1, above, for Gottheimer, Luria Lead Letter Urging House Leadership to Condemn Anti-Semitic Rhetoric, signed by 24 Democrats and publicized after Omar’s apology. Signers were:: Brindisi (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), González (D-OH), Fletcher (D-TX), Gottheimer (D-NJ), Harder (D-CA), Lee (D-NV), Lipinski (D-IL), Luria (D-VA), Murphy (D-FL), Norcross (D-NJ), O’Halleran (D-AZ), Pallone (D-NJ), Panetta (D-CA), Phillips (D-MN), Rose (D-NY), Schiff (D-CA), Schrader (D-OR), Sherman (D-CA), Sherrill (D-NJ), Spanberger (D-VA), Stevens (D-MI), Suozzi (D-NY), Trone (D-MD), Vargas (D-CA)
Engel (D-NY): “Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and it’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.’…”
Schiff (D-CA): “I was deeply dismayed to see Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments on Twitter yesterday, in which she echoed long-standing anti-Semitic tropes about Jews obtaining influence through money. Anti-Semitism has no place in the halls of Congress or civil society, and it’s incumbent upon all of us in leadership positions to speak respectfully and thoughtfully, even about issues as emotionally charged as those involving Israel and Palestine…”
Schneider (D-IL): “Claiming that U.S. support for Israel is a function of political donations rings of classic and abhorrent anti-Semitism…Criticism of Israel, or any ally, can be at times fair and appropriate, but trafficking in hateful tropes and dog whistles is dangerous and must be called out….”
Boyle (D-PA): “One can criticize the Israeli government without necessarily being anti-Semitic. Just like one can criticize the US government without necessarily being anti-American. However, there is simply no denying the fact that, for some, their anti-Israel views are rooted in anti-Semitism…”
Phillips (D-MN): “I strongly condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, including comments made by my colleague that – purposefully or not – have propagated dangerous and destructive stereotypes of the Jewish people and the State of Israel…”
Nadler (D-NY): “…While of course our nation’s leaders are free to debate the relative influence of a particular organization on our country’s policy-making process, or the factors that make our system of governance imperfect, there is an expectation of leaders—particularly those with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and equality—that they would be extremely careful not to tread into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hate. Rep. Omar failed that test of leadership with these comments.…”
Stevens (D-MI): “Make no mistake about it: a strong and enduring partnership between the United States and the State of Israel is paramount to our interests at home and abroad… Bipartisan support for Israel and a two-state solution promotes lasting peace and democracy in the Middle East. I’m eager to reaffirm my support for Israel, condemn anti-semitism in all its forms, and make clear that my beliefs on Israel and any other policy topic for that matter will never be bought and paid for.”
Shalala (D-FL): “There is no place in our country for anti-Semitic comments. I condemn them whatever the source. To suggest members of Congress are ‘bought off’ to support Israel is offensive and wrong.”
Maloney (D-NY): “Rep. Omar apologized for her comments and hopefully recognizes how hurtful her words were.It is deeply disturbing to hear a colleague give credence to anti-Semitic tropes, especially from someone who means to stand for equality and acceptance for all peoples. Differences in policy are to be expected, but personal and anti-Semitic attacks like this have no place in the halls of Congress or anywhere…”
Raskin (D-MD): “…I welcome her unequivocal apology….I of course reject the thinly disguised imputations of dual loyalty or financial subservience to Members of Congress because of their positions on the Middle East and Israel. I am glad that Representative Omar has apologized. The path of peace and reconciliation we are called to work on is difficult enough without filling the air with such ideologically charged myths.”
Sires (D-NJ): “The rhetoric used by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar earlier is deeply concerning and implies that any Member who supports the safety and prosperity of our ally Israel is incapable of resisting outside influences….”
Lieu (D-CA): “…Rep. Ilhan Omar’s tweets yesterday were offensive. Rep Omar’s words perpetuated a deeply hurtful stereotype about Jews and money. At a time when we’re seeing a national and global resurgence of anti-Semitism, it’s even more critical that we remain steadfast in condemning any and all animus towards Jewish people. I’m glad Rep. Omar has apologized for her statements.”
Coons (D-DE): ““Rep. Omar’s use of an anti-Semitic stereotype has no place in our discourse, period. We can have policy debates and disagreements without this type of hurtful language and innuendo, and public officials are particularly responsible for choosing their words carefully. I’m glad that she has apologized…”
Menendez (D-NJ): “…Rep. Omar’s comments were anti-Semitic, harmful and woefully uninformed. I join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in rejecting her anti-Semitic tropes and gross mischaracterization of the U.S.-Israeli relationship…Rep. Omar’s comments are a reminder, yet again, that anti-Semitism is never dead, but dormant and all too easily awoken.”
Republicans attacking Rep Omar & Democrats
Marshall (R-KS): Accusing Democrats of being guilty of the “type of loose, cheap, anti-Semitic rhetoric that led to the rise of the Third Reich”
Yoho (R-FL): “At a minimum, she ought to be forced off that committee…Look at the hypocrisy when Steve King said the things he said, the Democrats were up in arms…Thee weight of her words carry a lot of weight, not just here in Congress and Minnesota, but around the world. For a member of Congress to talk like that is unacceptable.”
King (R-NY): “It’s time for Democrat leaders to denounce anti-Semitic attacks against Israel. They can no longer be silent against bigotry.”
McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “We can’t allow Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic attacks to divide us. She did the right thing by apologizing to the Jewish community. America and Israel have an everlasting bond rooted in our shared values for security, opportunity, and of course, freedom. To uphold those values, we must continue to be a bipartisan, staunch, and steadfast friend of Israel. In addition, we should affirm with one voice that anti-Semitism and hateful stereotypes against Jews won’t be tolerated anywhere in our great nation. The inalienable human right to worship without fear or intimidation is part of the American Way. In not just our words, but also our actions, it’s incumbent upon all of us to protect our God-given rights for religious freedom and tolerance. That’s why I’m urging the People’s House to lead so this Congress sends the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act [a bill designed to quash criticism of Israel] to the President’s desk. We must make it abundantly clear that we will stand strong against prejudice.”
Flores (R-TX): on H. J. Res. 37, “While I voted against the underlying resolution, I did, however, support a Republican Motion which added language to the resolution to condemn anti-Semitism. This motion was made in part to respond to a stream of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments made by a Democratic Congresswoman from Minnesota. There is no place in Congress or anywhere else for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred, and this motion reaffirms our commitment to a crucial ally in the Middle East.”
On 2/14, the House and Senate both adopted the Conference version of H. J. Res. 31, which has become the vehicle for FY19 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Full text of the conference version of the bill is available here. The bill was sent to President Trump on 2/15.
Middle East-related elements in the bill are detailed below. What notably is missing from this bill is any kind of “fix” to ATCA – meaning that between (1) Trump Administration policy suspending assistance to the Palestinians, (2) the 2018 law (the Taylor Force Act) barring most assistance to the Palestinians; and (3) ATCA, under which the PA cannot afford to risk accepting any assistance that might still be provided despite (1) and (2), in effect all U.S. funding for the Palestinians (humanitarian, development, security, civil society) has ended, regardless of what might be stipulated in this bill.
TITLE I — DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations: Perennial language providing $798,196,000: “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio and television broadcasting to the Middle East.”
Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund: Perennial provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund, as authorized by section 633 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (22 U.S.C. 2078), the total amount of the interest and earnings accruing to such Fund on or before September 30, 2019, to remain available until expended.”
Israeli Arab Scholarship Program: Perennial provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452 note), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2019, to remain available until expended.
TITLE III — BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS – ESF (Total: $2,545,525,000)
Details for ESF for Middle East countries are laid out in section 7041 of the bill, discussed below.
MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total: $996,766,000]
The bill stipulates that, “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS – NADR
This section also includes a perennial stipulation that “…funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.”
PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS – PKO
The bill stipulates that, “…not less than $31,000,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $5,962,241,000]
See Section 7041, below, for details of FMF provisions for all Near East countries except Israel. Israel alone is dealt with in this section, with the text earmarking, “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act.” The text includes perennial stipulation that “…to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $815,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development.”
NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal and permission for almost $1 billion of FMF to be spent inside Israel – are unique to Israel’s aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is obligated and disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid). In the case of Israel, the entire amount is handed over in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however and wherever it likes). In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted). The logic behind this is that FMF is not just a “gift” to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy. In Israel’s case, however, almost $1 billion of FMF may be used in Israel or other countries, rather than for the benefit of U.S. industry.
TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 7007: Prohibition against direct funding for certain countries
This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.
Sec. 7008: Coups d’état
Perennial provision (which caused Congress and the Obama Administration a headache over Egypt funding) stating: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such government if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office: Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes: Provided further, That funds made available pursuant to the previous provisos shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.”
Sec. 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance
This is a perennial provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza. This reflects the genesis of the provision: the allegation in a previous year that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (and recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.
Sec. 7015: Notification Requirements
Part (f) of this provision states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, “except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.” From the Middle East the list includes (this year): Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Sec. 7021: Lethal Military Equipment Exports
This provision prohibits funding to any country “which provides lethal military equipment to a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined supports international terrorism…” and prohibits bilateral assistance to any country supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization. The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions.
Sec. 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (a) of this section earmarks not less than $2,400,000,000 for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision). Part (e) states that funding and programs under this section “shall not be subject to the prior approval by the government of any foreign country.”
Sec. 7033: International Religious Freedom
Part (a) provides funding “Office of International Religious Freedom, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State, and the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, as authorized in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–161)…”
Part (b) provides funding to (among other things) “support transitional justice, reconciliation, and reintegration programs for vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities, including in the Middle East and North Africa regions”
Sec. 7034: Special Provisions
Part (m)(11) extends the existing loan guarantee program for Israel through September 30, 2023.
Part (p)(1), permits funding to “be made available for the costs…of loan guarantees for Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, and Ukraine, which are authorized to be provided…”
Sec. 7035: Arab league boycott of Israel
Perennial Sense of Congress opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel. It is worth noting that this longstanding feature of U.S. law focuses squarely on the Arab Boycott of ISRAEL. Nowhere does it define “Israel” to mean “Israel and territories controlled by Israel,” as is happening today in the context of various pieces of legislation adopted or under consideration at the State and Federal level.
Sec. 7036: Palestinian statehood
Perennial provision (dating to the era when Congress saw its role as being to restrain the White House from being too nice to the Palestinians) barring assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority).
Sec. 7037: Restrictions concerning the Palestinian Authority
Perennial provision (dating to the era when Congress was worried about too-warm ties between the PA and the White House) barring U.S. funds for establishing any diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Sec. 7038: Prohibition on assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
Perennial bill language barring any U.S. assistance to the PBC.
Sec. 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. assistance programs (carried out through non-governmental organizations) in the West Bank and Gaza. NOTE: Between the Trump Admin’s suspension of aid, the Taylor Force Act, and ATCA, this entire section is irrelevant. And yet it persists – cuz even when there is no funding being given to the Palestinians, nobody in Congress is going to spend political capital removing language that punches the Palestinians in the face.
Sec. 7040: Limitation on Assistance for the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language banning U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, along with Presidential waiver authority. This section also includes language designed to prevent the U.S. from supporting any kind of Palestinian unity or power-sharing government. NOTE: Between the Trump Admin’s suspension of aid, the Taylor Force Act, and ATCA, this entire section is irrelevant. And yet it persists – cuz even when there is no funding being given to the Palestinians, nobody in Congress is going to spend political capital removing language that punches the Palestinians in the face.
Sec. 7041: Middle East and North Africa
This section consolidates aid provisions for the entire Middle East, except for Israel.
Sec. 7041 (a) Egypt
Overall conditions on aid: This bill stipulates that funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Egypt “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt, except for section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and may only be made available for assistance for the Government of Egypt if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is—(A) sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”
ESF: The bill earmarks for Egypt up to $112,500,000 in ESF, “of which not less than $35,000,000 should be made available for higher education programs including not less than $10,000,000 for scholarships for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education; Provided, That such funds shall be made available for democracy programs, and for development programs in the Sinai: Provided further, That such funds may not be made available for cash transfer assistance or budget support unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is taking consistent and effective steps to stabilize the economy and implement market-based economic reforms.” It also requires the Secretary of State to withhold from Egypt’s ESF an amount “equivalent to that expended by the United States Government for bail, and by nongovernmental organizations for legal and court fees, associated with democracy-related trials in Egypt until the Secretary certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt has dismissed the convictions issued by the Cairo Criminal Court on June 4, 2013, in “Public Prosecution Case No. 1110 for the Year 2012”, and has not subjected the defendants to further prosecution or if convicted they have been granted full pardons.” It also stipulates that “None of the funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs under the heading “Economic Support Fund” may be made available for a contribution, voluntary or otherwise, to the “Civil Associations and Foundations Support Fund”, or any similar fund, established pursuant to Law 70 on Associations and Other Foundations Working in the Field of Civil Work published in the Official Gazette of Egypt on May 29, 2017.”
FMF: The bill earmarks up to $1,300,000,000 in FMF for Egypt, to remain available until September 30, 2020 (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest bearing account – a benefit granted to Egypt years ago by Congress to try to create some symmetry with Israel’s early disbursal provision). It stipulates that “$300,000,000 of such funds shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is taking sustained and effective steps to [followed by a laundry list of reforms and other actions required]. It stipulates further that this certification shall not apply “to funds appropriated by this Act under such heading for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt” and it also grants the Secretary of State authority to waive the certification requirement if doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States.”
Sec. 7041 (b) Iran
This section states that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic Programs, ESF, and NADR) shall be used by the Secretary of State to: (A) to support the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon; (B) to support an expeditious response to any violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions or to efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; (C) to support the implementation and enforcement of sanctions against Iran for support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and (D) for democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.
It also states that the terms and conditions of paragraph (2) of section 7041(c) in division I of PL 112-74 shall remain in effect. These are:
(2) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act under the heading “Export-Import Bank of the United States” may be used by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to provide any new financing (including loans, guarantees, other credits, insurance, and reinsurance) to any person that is subject to sanctions under paragraph (2) or (3) of section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-172).
Finally, this section requires the Secretary of State to submit two reports to Congress:
(A) the semi-annual report required by section 135 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)), as added by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.
(B) Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, a report “on the status of the implementation and enforcement of bilateral United States and multilateral sanctions against Iran and actions taken by the United States and the international community to enforce such sanctions against Iran: Provided That the report shall also include any entities involved in providing significant support for the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran after October 1, 2015, including shipping and financing and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions…”
Sec. 7041 (c) Iraq
This section stipulates that funds shall be made available for assistance to Iraq for: “(A) bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance, including for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund; (B) stabilization assistance at not less than the amounts specified for such purpose in the table under this subsection in the joint explanatory statement accompanying this Act; (C) humanitarian assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; and (D) programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq.”
Sec. 7041 (d) Jordan
The bill states: “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under titles III and IV, not less than $1,525,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Jordan, of which: not less than $1,082,400,000 shall be made available under the heading “Economic Support Fund”, of which not less than $745,100,000 shall be made available for budget support for the Government of Jordan; and not less than $425,000,000 shall be made available under the heading “Foreign Military Financing Program”.”
Sec. 7041 (e) Lebanon
This bill text continues the prohibition on funding “for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) or the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) if the ISF or the LAF is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).”
It stipulates that INCLE and FMF funding “may be made available for programs and equipment for the ISF and the LAF to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by the conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.”
With respect to ESF, it stipulates that, “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Economic Support Fund” that are available for assistance for Lebanon may be made available notwithstanding section 1224 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107–228; 22 U.S.C. 2346 note).”
And also with respect to FMF, it stipulates that, “In addition to the activities described in paragraph (2), funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Foreign Military Financing Program” for assistance for Lebanon may be made available only to professionalize the LAF and to strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure Lebanon’s borders, interdicting arms shipments, preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups, and to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701: Provided, That funds may not be obligated for assistance for the LAF until the Secretary of State submits to the Committees on Appropriations a spend plan, including actions to be taken to ensure equipment provided to the LAF is only used for the intended purposes, except such plan may not be considered as meeting the notification requirements under section 7015 of this Act or under section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and shall be submitted not later than September 1, 2019: Provided further, That any notification submitted pursuant to such sections shall include any funds specifically intended for lethal military equipment.”
Sec. 7041 (f) Libya
This section stipulates that “Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including border security: Provided, That the limitation on the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects in section 7041(f)(2) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113–76) shall apply to such funds.” It requires that prior to the initial obligation of funds made available by this Act for assistance for Libya, the Secretary of State shall “certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations that all practicable steps have been taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such funds.” And it stipulates that none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for assistance for the central Government of Libya “unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is cooperating with United States Government efforts to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the attack on United States personnel and facilities in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012: Provided, That the limitation in this paragraph shall not apply to funds made available for the purpose of protecting United States Government personnel or facilities.”
Sec. 7041 (g) Morocco
Bill text: “(1) AVAILABILITY AND CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT.—Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara: Provided, That not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act and prior to the obligation of such funds, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of such funds. (2) FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM.—Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Foreign Military Financing Program” that are available for assistance for Morocco may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2017.”
Sec. 7041 (h) Refugee Assistance in North Africa
This subsection states that “Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing steps taken to strengthen monitoring of the delivery of humanitarian assistance provided for refugees in North Africa, including any steps taken to ensure that all vulnerable refugees are receiving such assistance.”
Sec. 7041 (i) Syria
Bill text: “(1) NON-LETHAL ASSISTANCE.—Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings “Economic Support Fund”, “International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement”, and “Peacekeeping Operations”, not less than $40,000,000 shall be made available, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, of which not less than $7,000,000 shall be made available for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations. (2) SYRIAN ORGANIZATIONS.—Funds appropriated by this Act that are made available for assistance for Syria shall be made available, on an open and competitive basis, to continue to strengthen the capability of Syrian civil society organizations to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Syrian people in Syria in a manner that supports the sustainability of such organizations in implementing Syrian-led humanitarian and development programs: Provided, That funds made available by this paragraph shall be administered by the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State. (3) LIMITATIONS.—Funds made available pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection— (A) may not be made available for a project or activity that supports or otherwise legitimizes the Government of Iran, foreign terrorist organizations (as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189)), or a proxy of Iran in Syria; and (B) should not be used in areas of Syria controlled by a government led by Bashar al-Assad or associated forces. (4) MONITORING AND OVERSIGHT.—Prior to the obligation of funds appropriated by this Act and made available for assistance for Syria, the Secretary of State shall take all practicable steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such assistance inside Syria. (5) CONSULTATION AND NOTIFICATION.—Funds made available pursuant to this subsection may only be made available following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, and shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.”
Sec. 7041 (j) Tunisia
This subsection states: “Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act, not less than $191,400,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia.”
Sec. 7041 (k) West Bank and Gaza
NOTE: Between the Trump Admin’s suspension of aid, the Taylor Force Act, and ATCA, this entire section is basically irrelevant. And yet it persists – cuz even when there is no funding being given to the Palestinians, nobody in Congress is going to spend political capital removing language that punches the Palestinians in the face.
General: Part 1 of this section requires that prior to the obligation of any funds for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress that the purpose of such assistance is to: “(A) advance Middle East peace; (B) improve security in the region; (C) continue support for transparent and accountable government institutions; (D) promote a private sector economy; or (E) address urgent humanitarian needs.”
Palestinians at the UN & ICC: Part 2 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority. Part 2(A) bars any funding for the PA if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” The provision gives the Secretary of State authority to waive the ban on aid with respect to UN agencies, but not with respect to the ICC .
**NOT A JOKE – THEY LEFT THIS IN** Closing the PLO office: 2(B): These paras grant the President limited/conditioned authority to waive longstanding legislation (dating from 1987) barring the PLO from having any representation in the United States. For decades Congress granted the President a “clean” national security or national interests waiver of that prohibition (contained in section 1003 of Public Law 100-204). In recent years Congress moved to make such waiver contingent on the President certifying that the Palestinians have not, after the date of enactment of this Act, “obtained in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or “initiated or actively supported an ICC investigation against Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” The fact that Congress left this section unchanged is odd (to say the least), given that in November 2017 President Trump declined to make the certification, the waiver lapsed, and (eventually, on Trump’s timetable, irrespective of the requirements of this law) the PLO office closed.
**NOT A JOKE – THEY LEFT THIS IN** Penalize PA for Funding Families of Prisoners: Part 3 of this section requires the Secretary of State to reduce ESF for the PA “by an amount the Secretary determines is equivalent to the amount expended by the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations with such entities for payments to individuals and the families of such individuals who are imprisoned for acts of terrorism or who died committing such acts during the previous calendar year.” This language remains in place, despite the fact that the Taylor Force Act is now the law of the land, separate from the ForOps bill. [Cuz nobody ever wants to be the one who removes language sticking it to the Palestinians, even if that language has been overtaken by events].
***NEW THIS YEAR*** Private Sector Partnership Programs: This new Part 4 of the section stipulates that “Funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs may be made available for private sector partnership programs for the West Bank and Gaza if such funds are authorized: Provided, That funds made available pursuant to this paragraph shall be subject to prior consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, and the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.”
Security report: Part 5 states that “The reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-252) shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.” As a reminder, Section 1404 of PL 110-252 states: “Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided, That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.”
Incitement report: Part 5 of this section (added for the first time in the FY18 ForOps law), requires that, “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”
Sec. 7041(l) Yemen
The bill states: “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Economic Support Fund” shall be mde available for stabilization assistance for Yemen.”
Sec. 7048: United Nations
No $$ for agencies headed by bad guys: Part (b) of this section prohibits funding expenses for expenses for any US delegation to anything having to do with any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN presided over by a country that the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, “supports international terrorism.” It also bars contributions to any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN presided over by a country that the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, is a government that “has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” It also states that “The Secretary of State may waive the restriction in this subsection if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is important to the national interest of the United States, including a description of the national interest served.”
Pressure on UN Human Rights Council (over Israel): Part (c) states: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council is important to the national interest of the United States and that such Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council: Provided, That such report shall include a description of the national interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council: Provided further, That the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than September 30, 2019, on the resolutions considered in the United Nations Human Rights Council during the previous 12 months, and on steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.”
**YES, FOLKS, THEY LEFT THIS IN***Pressure on UNRWA: Notwithstanding the fact that President Trump has cut off all US funding to UNRWA, appropriators saw fit to leave in place this section barring funding to UNRWA unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations, in writing, that UNRWA is meeting a list of conditions. Cuz bashing UNRWA – always good politics!
Pressure on UNESCO & Other UN Agencies (over Israel): Part (g) requires reporting to Congress on any U.S. contributions to international organizations that are withheld due to any provision of law [for example, U.S. funding to UNESCO, barred because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members].
***NEW THIS YEAR*** Withholding $$ from UN Agencies that are mean to Israel: This year’s bill includes a new section entitled “National Security Interest Withholding.” This section requires the Secretary of State to “withhold 5 percent of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Contributions to International Organizations” for a specialized agency or other entity of the United Nations if the Secretary, in consultation with the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such agency or entity has taken an official action that is against the national security interest of the United States or an ally of the United States, including Israel.” The Secretary of State may waive the withholding if he “determines that to do so in the national interest.”
Sec. 7049: Law Enforcement and Security
Part (a)(3) stipulates that “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs shall be made available for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund for programs in areas liberated from, under the influence of, or adversely affected by, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations: Provided, That such areas shall include the Kurdistan Region of Iraq…”
Part (b)(5) is a perennial provision providing for financing of commercial leasing of defense articles to Israel, Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies.
Part (c)(2) lays out limitations related to landmines and cluster munitions.
Part (c)(3) stipulates that, “Funds appropriated by this Act should not be used for tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for foreign security forces that use excessive force to repress peaceful expression, association, or assembly in countries that the Secretary of State determines are undemocratic or are undergoing democratic transitions.”
Sec. 7060: Sector Allocations
Part (g), “Reconciliation programs”, stipulates that, “Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings “Economic Support Fund” and “Development Assistance” shall be made available to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war: Provided, That the USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations, prior to the initial obligation of funds, on the uses of such funds, and such funds shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations: Provided further, That to the maximum extent practicable, such funds shall be matched by sources other than the United States Government: Provided further, That such funds shall be administered by the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, USAID.” NOTE: Due to ATCA, all such programs related to the Palestinians are unfundable.
Sec. 7067: Prohibition on Use of Torture
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support or justify the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by any official or contract employee of the United States Government.”
Sec. 7070 (b): Spend Plans
This paragraph notes that: “Prior to the initial obligation of funds, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a detailed spend plan for funds made available by this Act, for— (A) assistance for Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, the West Bank and Gaza, Colombia, and countries in Central America…” Reminder: due to Trump Admin policy, Taylor Force Act, and ACTA, no funds are being spend or likely to be spent for the West Bank and Gaza.
2/12: The House Financial Services Committee was scheduled (it seemed) to hold a hearing entitled, “The Use of Sanctions and Economic Statecraft in Addressing U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges.” The meeting memo can be found here (including witness list – Elizabeth Rosenberg, CNAS; Evelyn Farkas,German Marshall Fund; Daleep Singh, CNAS; and David Mortlock, Atlantic Council), the hearing notice is here, and the committee calendar entry here. But the hearing now doesn’t show up on the main calendar of the committee and there is no indication that it took place, was cancelled, or was postponed.
For statements on the H. J. Res. 37, “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress,” see floor consideration of the measure here and here.
For statements related to the controversy surrounding tweets by Rep. Omar (D-MN), see section 2, above.
McCaul (R-TX) 2/11: Statement on 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution
McCaul (R-TX) 2/9: Statement on Administration’s Response to Magnitsky Act (“…“I am deeply troubled by the letter I received from the Administration regarding the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The letter does not meet the requirements of the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act”, which were invoked by letters from the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate foreign policy committees last October…”