Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congress Watch: Nine Senators, 23 Representatives in 107th Congress "Hall of Fame"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congress Watch: Nine Senators, 23 Representatives in 107th Congress "Hall of Fame"

Article excerpt

Shirl McArthur, a retired foreign service officer, is a consultant in the Washington, DC area.

For the Washington Report's midterm 2001 scorecard for the members of the 107th Congress, two positive and four negative issues were chosen to rate the Senate members. For the House, five positive and three negative issues were chosen. Marks on the positive issues were used to identify the candidates for the "Hall of Fame," while negative marks identify candidates for the "Hall of Shame."

The results show nine senators scoring in both positive and no negative columns, and 22 representatives figuring in at least four positive and no negative columns, thereby qualifying as nominees for the Hall of Fame. On the other side, 10 senators had at least three negative marks and no positive ones, and 21 representatives scored in all three negative columns and no positive ones to qualify for the Hall of Shame.

In addition, for the first time honorary members of the House Halls of Fame and Shame were selected. Even though they did not meet this year's selected criteria (perhaps demonstrating the fallacy of trying to use arbitrary, objective criteria), these nominees clearly merit their own special category. Rep. TOM LANTOS (D-CA) earned honorary, if not lifetime, membership in the Hall of Shame for his wanton abandonment this year of U.S. national interest in favor of Israel. Among his "accomplishments" was the sponsorship of the amendment to the Foreign Affairs Authorization bill that would cut off all aid, including humanitarian and educational assistance, to Lebanon. His most egregious act, however, came shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when, to begin a House Middle East subcommittee hearing, he asked all those present to stand for a moment of silence--not in honor of the thousands of victims of the attacks, but in honor of one Israeli colonist who had been killed in occupied Palestine.

On the other side, Rep. JIM TRAFICANT (D-OH) earned honorary membership in the Hall of Fame for his relentless speeches and sponsorship of a bill recognizing the Palestinians' right to statehood.

The Issues

THE HOUSE: The Positives (+)

1. Secret evidence. In March, Rep. DAVID BONIOR (D-MI) reintroduced the Secret Evidence Repeal bill to prohibit aliens from being denied benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act based on evidence that is kept secret from them. The bill has 101 co-sponsors, including Bonior, and these 101 rate a positive mark.

2. Balanced cease-fire. In August, Rep. JOHN DINGELL (D-MI) introduced a balanced bill urging the cessation of hostilities in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and in October he introduced a modified version, H.CON.RES. 253, also endorsing the recommendations of the Mitchell report. The resolution's 47 co-sponsors, including Dingell, are marked in column 2.

3. Iraq Sanctions. In June, 45 representatives wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell saying that it is time to delink economic sanctions from the military sanctions against Iraq. A + indicates one of those 45.

4. Defy AIPAC. On at least two occasions when a measure strongly supported by Israel and AIPAC was about to be passed by a voice vote, honorary member Lantos demanded a roll call vote, presumably so that AIPAC could take names. The first occasion was on the vote to renew the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) for another five years. Six representatives had the courage to vote no or "present." Then in December, the House passed H. …

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