FMEP Legislative Round-Up: January 12, 2024


1.Bills, Resolutions
2. Letters
3. Hearings & Markups
4. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements



1. Bills, Resolutions & letters

(TARGETING ACADEMIA FOR PRO-PALESTINE STUDENTS/PROTEST) S. 3580: Introduced 1/11/23 by Cassidy (R-LA) and Fetterman (D-PA), “A bill to require institutions of higher education participating in Federal student aid programs to share information about title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including a link to the webpage of the Office for Civil Rights where an individual can submit a complaint regarding discrimination in violation of such title, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

(MAKING US NON-VIOLENT PROTEST A FEDERAL CRIME) S. 3492/HR 6926: Introduced 12/13/23 [not previously reported in the Round-Up] in the Senate by Tillis (R-NC) and Blackburn (R-TN), and 1/9/24 in the House by Rouzer (R-NC) and Republican cosponsors, the “Safe and Open Streets Act.” Referred to the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary. Why is this bill being covered in the Round-Up? See Tillis press release announcing the bill (published 1/8/24) – “The Safe and Open Streets Act is in direct response to radical tactics of pro-Palestine protestors who have intentionally blocked roads and highways across the country.” COMMENT: Coming on the heels of Senate “anti-woke” Republicans successfully exploiting hysteria over pro-Palestinian protests to get Democrats to join them on the “we must bring down “liberal” academia” bandwagon, this bill appears to be an effort to use that same hysteria to get Democrats to join Republicans on the “we must shut down liberals’ right to protest”  bandwagon (and if it doesn’t, to pave the way for Republicans to attack Democrats as anti-Israel/antisemitic).

(NO WEAPONS FOR ISRAEL WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT) S. Amdt. XXX: On 1/9/24 Sen. Kaine (D-VA) announced his intentionto file an amendment to maintain the congressional notification requirement for all U.S. assistance to foreign militaries. Specifically, the amendment would strike a provision in the proposed national security supplemental funding bill that waives oversight requirements for U.S. funding for Israel under the Foreign Military Financing Program. If passed, the amendment would preserve the congressional notification process for Israel, just as congressional notifications are required for all other nations.” Cosponsors of the amendment at the time it was announced were The amendment is sponsored by Heinrich (D-NM), Van Hollen (D-MD),  Merkley (D-OR), Warren (D-MA), Welch (D-VT), Luján (D-NM), Durbin (D-IL),  Schatz (D-HI),  Murphy (D-CT), Warnock (D-GA), Carper (D-DE), and Shaheen (D-NH).  Also see: Jewish Insider 1/10/24: Senate progressives seek to block administration from circumventing Congress on Israel arms transfers; Defense Daily 1/10/24: Kaine Leads Amendment To Ensure Congressional Review Of Arms Sales To Israel; Washington Post 1/9/24: Democrats say Biden must notify Congress about Israel arms transfers

(STATE DEPT MUST ANSWER IF ISRAEL IS VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS) S. Res. 504: On 1/10/24, Sanders (I-VT) announced (video of floor remarks) that he would be bringing a 502B(c) resolution to the Senate floor next week with respect to Israeli rights violations in its ongoing war on Gaza. As a reminder, on 12/14 23 Sanders introduced S. Res. 504, “Requesting information on Israel’s human rights practices pursuant to section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.” This is what is known as a 502B(c) or “Privileged Resolution.” As Sanders’ press release explained: “The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits security assistance to any government ‘which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.’ Section 502B(c) of this law allows Congress to request information on a country’s human rights practices – such requests are privileged, allowing the sponsor to force a floor vote on the requesting resolution. If the resolution passes, the Department of State must submit the requested report within 30 days, or all security assistance to the country in question is cut off. After the report is received, Congress may then enact changes to condition, reduce, or terminate the security assistance in question. Both the initial vote to request the information and any subsequent votes to alter security assistance are privileged and require a simple majority for passage.” [See this X-thread for details on Section 502B(c)]. Also see: What is S.Res. 504? – Sanders Resolution to Hold U.S. and Israel Accountable (NIAC 1/11/24)


2. Letters

Shutting Down Palestine-focused Free Speech — Targeting Academia (pretending it is about fighting antisemitism)

Supporting Israel Continuing the War on Gaza

Concerns re Israel’s War on Gaza

  • Reps. Pressley and Raskin’s Letter to Secretary Blinken (Americans for Peace Now press release, w/ letter text) [Excerpt – “Due to the ongoing conflict, over 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 80% of the population, have been internally displaced in the Gaza Strip. Worsening sanitary conditions, shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines, and thousands of cases of acute respiratory infections, diarrhea and chicken pox reflect an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis. The Israeli government must urgently increase the amount of humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip in order to address this humanitarian catastrophe. If Palestinian civilians choose to leave Gaza voluntarily in search of safety, they must be guaranteed to be allowed to return. Many in Gaza fear that any temporary displacement would become permanent. The United States must ensure that there is no question that Palestinian civilians who wish to remain in the Gaza Strip have the right to do so.“]

Targeting the Houthis

Targeting Iran



3. Hearings & Markups



4. Selected Media & Press releases/statements



Israel aid


Supporting/Defending Israel & EVERYTHING Israel Does in its War on Gaza


Concerns about Israel’s War on Gaza


US Military Action Against Houthis


Targeting Free Speech/Protest/Critics of Israel/Palestinian Rights