Ukraine should ally with European Union, not former Soviets
Q: Should the US be involved in this situation in Kiev?
DURBIN: Ukraine has been in a struggle internally since the fall of the Soviet Union. There are ethnic, cultural and religious connections with Russia and Moscow.
And then there are those in Ukraine looking to the West for their future. Yanukovych is caught in the middle. And at this point, he has to decide.
What Putin has offered him is an alliance with Belarus, which is ruled by the last dictator in Europe, Lukashenko, and Kazakhstan. The alternative is an alliance with the European Union.
It's fairly clear to all of us in the West where the future lies. And I certainly hope the people in the streets of Kiev will get the message clearly through to Yanukovych.
Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-S211
on Oct 1, 2008
Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe.
H.R. 3167; Gerald B. H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act of 2001, To endorse the vision of further enlargement of the NATO Alliance. Vote to pass a bill that would support further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, authorize military assistance to several eastern European countries and lift assistance restrictions on Slovakia.
Voted NO on capping foreign aid at only $12.7 billion.
Adoption of the conference report on the 2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill provided $12.7 billion for foreign aid programs in 2000.
Vetoed by President Clinton
Veto message of 10/18/1999: W cannot protect American interests at home without active engagement abroad. We must lead in the world, working with other nations to defuse crises, repel dangers, promote more open economic and political systems, and strengthen the rule of law. This bill rejects all of those principles.
The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military.
For example, A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and that we imperiled our future in the process.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)51; N)49
Reference: H.R. 2606 Conference Report;
Bill H.R. 2606
; vote number 1999-312
on Oct 6, 1999
Voted NO on limiting the President's power to impose economic sanctions.
To kill a proposal limiting President Clinton's ability to impose economic sanctions on foreign nations.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)53; N)46; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the Lugar Amdt #3156.;
Bill S. 2159
; vote number 1998-201
on Jul 15, 1998
Voted NO on limiting NATO expansion to only Poland, Hungary & Czech.
This amendment would have limited NATO Expansion to only include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)41; N)59
Reference: NATO Expansion limit-Warner Amdt. #2322;
Bill NATO Expansion Treaty #105-36
; vote number 1998-112
on Apr 30, 1998
Voted YES on $17.9 billion to IMF.
Would provide $17.9 billion for the International Monetary Fund.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)84; N)16
Reference: McConnell Amdt #2100;
Bill S. 1768
; vote number 1998-44
on Mar 26, 1998
Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.
Durbin co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill:
In an effort to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, urges the President to:
set forth five-year and ten-year strategies to achieve a reversal of current levels of hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, including a commitment to contribute an appropriate U.S. share of increased bilateral and multilateral poverty-focused resources for sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on health (including HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment), education, agriculture, private sector and free market development, democratic institutions and the rule of law, micro-finance development, and debt relief;
work with the heads of other donor countries and sub-Saharan African countries and with private and voluntary organizations and other civic organizations to implement such strategies; and calls for
Congress to undertake a multi-year commitment to provide the resources to implement those strategies; and
the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to report on such implementation.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR102 on Apr 4, 2001
Monitor human rights in Uganda-Sudan crisis.
Durbin sponsored the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should:
support efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in northern and eastern Uganda;
work with the Government of Uganda and the international community to make available sufficient resources to meet the relief and development needs of the towns and cities that are supporting large numbers of displaced people;
urge the leaders and members of the Lord's Resistance Army to stop the abduction of children, and urge all armed forces in Uganda to stop the use of child soldiers, and seek the release of all individuals who have been abducted;
urge the Government of Uganda to improve the professionalism of Ugandan military personnel currently stationed in northern and eastern Uganda, with an emphasis on respect for human rights and civilian protection;
work with the international community to assist and increase the capacity of Ugandan civil institutions to monitor the human rights situation in northern Uganda;
make clear that the relationship between Sudan and the United States cannot improve unless no credible evidence indicates that authorities of the Government of Sudan are providing support to the Lord's Resistance Army.
Became Public Law No: 108-283.
Source: Bill sponsored by 9 Senators 04-S2264 on Mar 31, 2004
Sponsored aid bill to avert humanitarian crisis in Congo.
Durbin introduced increasing aid to avert humanitarian crisis in Congo
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Obligates a specified minimum amount under the Foreign Assistance Act, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, and the Arms Export Control Act for bilateral assistance programs in the DRC.
States that the US should work with other donor nations to increase international contributions to the DRC.
Expresses the sense of Congress that the DRC government should exercise control over its Armed Forces, stop the mass rapes by its armed forces, and hold those responsible accountable before an appropriate tribunal; and
Expresses the sense of Congress that the US should withhold assistance if the government of the DRC is not making sufficient progress towards accomplishing the policy objectives.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: There is a country embroiled in conflict that has not yet
received the high-level attention or resources it needs. It's the Democratic Republic of Congo, and right now it is in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe.
31,000 people are dying in the Congo each month and 3.8 million people have died in the previous 6 years. The country, which is the size of Western Europe, lies at the geographic heart of Africa and borders every major region across the continent. If left untended, Congo's tragedy will continue to infect Africa.
I believe that the United States can make a profound difference in this crisis. According to international aid agencies, there are innumerable cost-effective interventions that could be quickly undertaken--such as the provision of basic medical care, immunization and clean water--that could save thousands of lives. On the political front, sustained U.S. leadership could fill a perilous vacuum.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Became Public Law No. 109-456
Source: Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act (S.2125) 05-S2125 on Dec 16, 2005
Suspend Russia's participation in the G-8.
Durbin co-sponsored suspending Russia's participation in the G-8
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government voluntarily accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of democracy.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
Whereas the countries that comprise the Group of 7 nations are committed to the observance of universally recognized standards of human rights, respect for individual liberties, and democratic principles;
Whereas starting in 1991, the leaders of the major free market economies invited then-Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin to the Group of 7, which in 1998 became known as the Group of 8;
Whereas under the leadership of Pres. Vladimir Putin, Russia has attempted to control the activities of independent media enterprises, religious organizations, and other pluralistic elements of Russian society in an attempt to mute criticism of the government;
Whereas Russian military forces continue to commit brutal atrocities against the civilian population in Chechnya;
Resolved; That it is the sense of Congress that--
the selective prosecution of Russia's political opponents, and the continued commission of widespread atrocities in the conduct of the brutal war in Chechnya, do not reflect the minimum democratic standards that characterize every other member state in the Group of 8 nations;
the continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of free, democratic societies;
the Group of 7 nations should suspend the participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations until Russia is committed to respecting and upholding democratic principles.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; never came to a vote.
Source: Russia in the Group of 8 (S.CON.RES.14/H.CON.RES.143) 05-SC14 on Feb 17, 2005
Impose sanctions and an import ban on Burma.
Durbin co-sponsored imposing sanctions and an import ban on Burma
A bill to impose sanctions on officials of the State Peace and Development Council in Burma, to prohibit the importation of gemstones and hardwoods from Burma, & to promote a coordinated international effort to restore civilian democratic rule to Burma.
(The two Senate versions currently differ in wording). The Saffron Revolution Support Act states that it is U.S. policy to:
support the democratic aspirations of Burma's people;
condemn the repression carried out by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); and
hold accountable individuals responsible for the repression of peaceful political activity in Burma.
Directs the President to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of:
SPDC officials who play or have played a substantial role in political repression in Burma or in the commission of human rights abuses;
Subjects persons so identified to U.S. entry prohibition and financial sanctions.
Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 to prohibit the importation into the US of Burmese gems, teak, or other hardwood timber.
Prohibits any U.S. person or corporation from investing in Burma.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. McCAIN. The world has reacted with horror and revulsion at the Burmese junta's recent brutal crackdown against peaceful demonstrators. In crushing the Saffron Revolution, killing hundreds and jailing thousands, including countless Buddhist monks, the junta has left no doubt about its blatant disregard for basic human decency. We, as Americans, stand on the side of freedom, not fear; of peace, not violence; and of the millions in Burma who aspire to a better life, not those who would keep them isolated and oppressed. Our response must go beyond statements of condemnation, and the time to act is now. This legislation imposes meaningful and effective punitive action against the cruel, thuggish, and illegitimate Burmese government.
Source: Burma Democracy Promotion Act (S.2257 & S.2172) 07-S2257 on Oct 29, 2007
Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.
Durbin introduced implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force
A resolution calling for peace in Darfur.
Calls upon the government of Sudan and other signatories and non-signatories to the May 5, 2006, Darfur Peace Agreement to cease hostilities.
Calls upon the government of Sudan to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force, including any non-African peacekeepers.
Urges all invited individuals and movements to attend the next round of peace negotiations without preconditions.
Condemns: (1) intimidation or threats against camp or civil society leaders to discourage them from attending the peace talks; and (2) actions by any party that undermines the Darfur peace process.
Calls upon all parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to support all terms of the agreement.
Legislative Outcome: Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict.
Durbin co-sponsored Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict
A resolution recognizing the 15th anniversary of the founding of Seeds of Peace, an organization promoting understanding, reconciliation, acceptance, coexistence, & peace in the Middle East, South Asia, and other regions of conflict.
Whereas Seeds of Peace is a program that brings together young people and educators from regions of conflict to study and learn about coexistence and conflict resolution;
Whereas these young people study and learn primarily at an international conflict resolution summer camp operated by Seeds of Peace in Otisfield, Maine, and
also through its regional programs such as the facilitation training course in the Middle East, the homestay programs in South Asia, and international regional conferences;
Whereas the first international conflict resolution camp welcomed Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and Egyptian youths in the summer of 1993, and has since expanded to involve youths from other regions of conflict;
Seeds of Peace reveals the human face of those whom youth may have been taught to hate, by engaging participants in both guided coexistence sessions and ordinary summer camp activities;
Whereas long-term peace between Arabs & Israelis, Indians & Pakistanis, and Afghans & Pakistanis can only be achieved with the emergence of a new generation of leaders who will choose dialogue over violence;
Whereas Seeds of Peace is strongly supported by participating governments and many world leaders; and
Whereas continued partial Federal funding for Seeds of Peace demonstrates its recognized importance in promoting peaceful resolution of conflicts as a primary goal of US policy:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress reaffirms that youth should be involved in long-term, visionary solutions to violent conflicts.
Legislative Outcome: Related bill: H.CON.RES.337; agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Rated +5 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.
Durbin scores +5 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a
negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.
Durbin co-sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense
RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:
Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;
Whereas Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;
Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the
State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Durbin sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s
WHEREAS the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and which succeeded in the elimination of more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
WHEREAS, on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers issued the joint statement of England, France, and Russia that explicitly charged, for the first time ever, another government of committing "a crime against humanity";
WHEREAS, despite the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate calls on the President, in the
President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide, to accurately characterize the systematic annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of US intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007
Condemn violence by Chinese government in Tibet.
Durbin co-sponsored condemning the violence by Chinese government in Tibet
A resolution condemning the violence in Tibet and calling for restraint by the Government of the People's Republic of China and the people of Tibet. Calls for:
a dialogue between the government of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama on religious and cultural autonomy for Tibet within China; and
release of peaceful protesters.
Calls on the PRC to:
respect the right of the people of Tibet to speak of the Dalai Lama and possess his photograph;
respect basic human rights;
allow international journalists free access to China; and
provide a full accounting of the March 2008 protests in Tibet.
Urges that the agreement permitting the PRC to open further diplomatic missions in the United States should be contingent upon establishment of a U.S. government office in Lhasa, Tibet.
Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.
Durbin co-sponsored sanctioning Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy
A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe. Expresses the sense of the Senate:
supporting the people of Zimbabwe;
that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should immediately release the legitimate results of the presidential election and ratify the previously announced results of the parliamentary elections;
that President Robert Mugabe should accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe in order to effect a timely and peaceful transition to democratic rule;
that the U.S. government and the international community should impose targeted sanctions against individuals in the government of
Zimbabwe and state security services and militias who are responsible for human rights abuses and election interference;
that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;
that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; and
that the U.N. Security Council should support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis and impose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe until a legitimate democratic government has taken power.
Source: S.RES.533&H.RES.1230 2008-SR533 on Apr 24, 2008
Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.
Durbin signed Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.
Condemn Iran for state-sponsored persecution of Baha'i.
Durbin signed bill condemning Iran for persecution of Baha'i
A resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of the Baha'i minority in Iran and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
Whereas since 1982, Congress declared that it deplored the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of the Baha'i community and would hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of the Baha'i faith;
Whereas in November 2007, the Iranian Ministry of Information in Shiraz jailed three Baha'is for educating underprivileged children and gave them 4-year prison terms, which they are serving;
Whereas they were targeted solely on the basis of their religion;
Whereas, on January 23, 2008, the US Department of State released a statement urging the Iranian regime to release all individuals held without due process and a fair trial, including the 3 young Baha'is being held;
Whereas in March 2008,
Iranian intelligence officials arrested and imprisoned seven members of the coordinating group for the Baha'i community in Iran, on charges of 'espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic';Whereas these seven Baha'i leaders were targeted solely on the basis of their religion; and
Whereas the Government of Iran is party to the International Covenants on Human Rights:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate and House of Representatives
condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights;
calls on the Government of Iran to immediately release the seven leaders and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion; and
calls on the President and Secretary of State, in cooperation with the international community, to immediately condemn Iran's continued violation of human rights.
Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.
Durbin signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members
Dear Secretary Rice, In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007