Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

109th Congress Gets Organized, but Looks Much like the 108th

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

109th Congress Gets Organized, but Looks Much like the 108th

Article excerpt

The 109th Congress convened officially on Jan. 6, but spent most of the month on organizational and housekeeping matters, although hundreds of bills and resolutions were introduced. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and the House International Relations Committee (HIRC) are little changed from those of the 108th.

Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Joseph Biden (D-DE) return as chair and ranking member, respectively, of the SFRC, and Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) remain the chair and ranking member of the Near Eastern subcommittee. Republican members of the Near Eastern subcommittee, in rank order, are Senators Chafee, Chuck Hagel (NE), Norm Coleman (MN), George Voinovich (OH), and John Sununu (NH). Democratic members of the subcommittee are Senators Boxer, Paul Sarbanes (MD), Bill Nelson (FL), and Barack Obama (D-IL).

In the House, Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) return as chair and ranking member, respectively, of the HIRC, and Ileana Lehtinen (R-FL) and Gary Ackerman (D-NY) remain the chair and ranking member of the Middle East subcommittee. Republican members of the Middle East subcommittee are Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Steve Chabot (OH), Jo Ann Davis (VA), Thaddeus McCotter (MI), John Boozman (AR), Connie Mack (FL), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Mike Pence (IN), Katherine Harris (FL), and Darrell Issa (CA). Democratic members of the subcommittee are Representatives Ackerman, Howard Berman (CA), Eliot Engel (NY), Joe Crowley (NY), Shelley Berkley (NV), Adam Schiff (CA), Ben Chandler (KY), and Dennis Cardoza (CA).

Congress Passes Resolutions Applauding Palestinian Elections

On Feb. 1 resolutions were introduced in both houses "Commending the Results of the Jan. 9, 2005 Palestinian Elections." The Senate resolution, S.Res. 27, was introduced by Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and new Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and co-sponsored by Senators Lugar, Biden, Carl Levin (D-MI), Sununu, Chafee, Hagel, and Russ Feingold (D-WI). It was passed unanimously also on Feb. 1. The House resolution, H.Res. 56, was passed on Feb. 2, and was introduced and co-sponsored by an interesting group of Israel's supporters, Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), as well as Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Pence.

Both resolutions contain several "resolved" clauses, including one reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the security of Israel, but also one supporting efforts to increase U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people and one supporting the "vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security." Reportedly, an early version of H.Res. 56 included some "unconstructive" language, but that language was dropped or modified before the resolution was introduced.

Hariri Assassination Elicits Condolences, Condemnations of Syria

Hours after the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanese-American Reps. Nick Rahall (DWV), Charles Boustany (R-LA), Issa, and Ray LaHood (R-IL), joined by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), introduced H.Res. 91, "Honoring the life and legacy" of Hariri. The full House passed the resolution unanimously on Feb. 17, but with an amended title: "Condemning the terrorist bombing attack" that killed Hariri and killed and wounded others. Also on Feb. 17, the Senate passed S.Res. 63 "Calling for an investigation into the assassination of [Hariri] and urging steps to pressure the Government of Syria to withdraw from Lebanon." The resolution was introduced by Biden, joined by Senators Frist, Reid, George Alien (R-VA), Chafee, Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Levin, and Lugar.

Several members of Congress, notably Congressmen Lantos and Engel and Senators Alien, Boxer and Frist, also seized the opportunity to condemn Syria, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), with 10 other senators, wrote to President George W. Bush urging "strong action against Syria. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.