Paul Tonko on Foreign Policy
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.
Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban. To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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. For the House, we included 15 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, five bills and one letter on Palestine, two bills on Lebanon, three bills and a letter regarding civil liberties, and two bills on immigration.
RESOLUTION expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.
Congressional Summary: HR 3326: World Bank Accountability Act: Requires withholding 15% of appropriation if countries borrowing from the World Bank's International Development Association are not implementing the UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea. Withholds an additional 15% if the World Bank approved a loan to a country designated by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Statement in support by Rep. French Hill (R-AR-2): The World Bank's extravagant and unaccountable spending practices have been in conflict with the values of Americans for far too long. This bill helps put an end to sending hard-earned American dollars to despots and corrupt regimes. [We should instead] see these funds used how they were truly intended, which is to help lift individuals out of poverty and put them on the pathway to success.
Statement in opposition by IssueVoter.org: Opponents say that withholding funds may undercut the credibility and leverage the World Bank has to get reforms enacted and implemented. "America's leadership at the World Bank is 'one of the major tools in our soft power arsenal'". If the U.S. cuts obligations too much, it will cede that power.
Statement in opposition by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) on Medium.comJan 22, 2018: H.R. 3326 is taking a hammer approach to a multilateral organization that provides support for millions of people in the world's most impoverished countries. It is also concerning that this legislation is being considered at a time when the Trump Administration is actively seeking to back away from any and all international organizations. Additionally, the World Bank is already implementing a series of reforms.
Legislative outcome: Jan. 17, 2018 House Bill Passed 237-184 (Roll no. 24); bill died in Senate committee.
Legislative summary: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act:
Statement in support by Sen. Cruz: Sen. Ted Cruz joined Sen. Marco Rubio in introducing H.R.6210 to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the use of force labor. "The Chinese Communist Party has transformed Xinjiang into a technological dystopia and a human rights horror," Sen. Cruz said. "Time and time again from the CCP we see the complete and total disregard for human life and values.."
Statement in opposition in Washington Post: Researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people into internment camps in Xinjiang. While US law already prevents companies from importing goods that were made using forced labor, the law is seldom enforced. Apple is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing; alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in Apple's supply chain. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute alleged four instances in which labor from the Xinjiang region has been connected to Apple's supply chain: In 2017, the Chinese government transferred between 1,000 and 2,000 Uighurs to work at a factory owned by O-Film, which helps make selfie cameras for Apple's iPhone.
Legislative outcome: Passed House 406 3-22,(2/3 required) Roll no. 196 on 09/22/2020.
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for your ongoing work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for your commitment of $300 million in US aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip. We write to you with great concern about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
The people of Gaza have suffered enormously since the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt following Hamas’ coup, and particularly following Operation Cast Lead. We also sympathize deeply with the people of southern Israel who have suffered from abhorrent rocket and mortar attacks. We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. Truly, fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are mutually reinforcing goals.
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts.
Our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement. As the Vice-President said during his recent visit to Israel: "Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space." Steadfast American backing has helped lead to Israeli peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. And American involvement continues to be critical to the effort to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
We recognize that, despite the extraordinary closeness between our country and Israel, there will be differences over issues both large and small. Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies. We hope and expect that, with mutual effort and good faith, the United States and Israel will move beyond this disruption quickly, to the lasting benefit of both nations.
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