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Howard Berman on Foreign Policy

Democratic Representative (CA-28)


Voted YES on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan.

Congressional Summary:Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE Act): Authorizes the President to provide assistance for Pakistan to support democratic institutions; economic development; human rights; health care; and public diplomacy.

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.

Reference: The PEACE Act; Bill H.R.1886 ; vote number 2009-H333 on Jun 11, 2009

Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:

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; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-H662 on Sep 27, 2008

Voted NO on deterring foreign arms transfers to China.

To authorize measures to deter arms transfers by foreign countries to the People's Republic of China, A YES vote would grant the President the ability to place sanctions on any individual or country that violates the arms embargo, including:
Reference: East Asia Security Act; Bill HR 3100 ; vote number 2005-374 on Jul 14, 2005

Voted NO on reforming the UN by restricting US funding.

To reform the United Nations, by limiting the US contribution to the UN by up to one-half by the year 2007, if the following reforms are not made:
Reference: United Nations Reform Act; Bill HR 2745 ; vote number 2005-282 on Jun 17, 2005

Voted YES on keeping Cuba travel ban until political prisoners released.

Stop enforcing travel restrictions on US citizens to Cuba, only after the president has certified that Cuba has released all political prisoners, and extradited all individuals sought by the US on charges of air piracy, drug trafficking and murder.
Bill HR 2590 ; vote number 2001-270 on Jul 25, 2001

Voted NO on withholding $244M in UN Back Payments until US seat restored.

Vote to adopt an amendment that would require that the United States be restored to its seat on the UN Human Rights Commission before the payment of $244 million in funds already designated to pay UN back dues.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Hyde, R-IL; Bill HR 1646 ; vote number 2001-107 on May 10, 2001

Voted YES on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction.

Vote on an amendment that would transfer $156 million from foreign military financing to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Trust Fund. The HIPC Trust fund is designed to help debtor countries pay off the money they owe to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Waters, D-CA; Bill HR 4811 ; vote number 2000-397 on Jul 13, 2000

Voted NO on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.

Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually. The measure contains provisions designed to protect the United States from Chinese import surges and the administration would have to report annually on China's compliance with the trade agreement. The bill establishes a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4444 ; vote number 2000-228 on May 24, 2000

Voted YES on $15.2 billion for foreign operations.

Vote on a bill to provide $15.2 billion for foreign operations in FY 2000. Among other provisions, the bill would provide $1.82 billion over three years for implementation of the Wye River peace accord in the Middle East. In addition, the measure would provide $123 million in multilateral debt relief and would contribute $25 million to the United National Population Fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Callahan, R-AL; Bill HR 3196 ; vote number 1999-572 on Nov 5, 1999

Allow Americans to travel to Cuba.

Berman co-sponsored allowing Americans to travel to Cuba

OnTheIssues.org explanation: The US government has forbidden US citizens from traveling to Cuba since the 1960s. Try booking a trip from Mexico City to Havana on travelocity.com (or any travel website) and it says, "Due to a U.S. government travel restriction we are unable to book this reservation." You can, however, purchase that same ticket while in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the world. Sanford's bill attempts to undo this long-standing situation.

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

EXCERPTS FROM BILL:

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere; never called for a House vote.

Source: Cuba travel bill (H.R.4471) 00-HR4471 on May 16, 2000

Member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

Berman is a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus

The Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in the United States House of Representatives that works to raise awareness about and combat human rights abuses throughout the world.

The caucus keeps members and their staff informed of opportunities to help through briefings on human rights topics and letter initiatives.

Source: Congressional Caucus Web site 01-CHRC0 on Jan 8, 2001

Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.

Berman co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill:

    In an effort to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, urges the President to:

  1. 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; and

  2. 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

  3. Congress to undertake a multi-year commitment to provide the resources to implement those strategies; and

  4. 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

Suspend Russia's participation in the G-8.

Berman 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:

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

Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.

Berman introduced removing African National Congress from terrorist list

A bill to exempt the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization. [The ANC is now the ruling party of South Africa; as head of the ANC, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government before becoming President of South Africa].

Source: S.2979 08-S2979 on May 6, 2008

Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict.

Berman 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.

Legislative Outcome: Related bill: H.CON.RES.337; agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.536 08-SR536 on Apr 28, 2008

Condemns Russia for provocative statements to Georgia.

Berman co-sponsored condemning Russia for provocative statements to Georgia

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding provocative and dangerous statements made by the Government of the Russian Federation that undermine the territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia.

Legislative Outcome: Related bills: H.RES.1166 & S.RES.418; Agreed to by Senate; Passed/agreed to in House, by recorded vote: 390-23 (Roll no. 269).
Source: Resolution on South Ossetia (S. RES. 550) 08-SR550 on May 2, 2008

Leader of House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Berman is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs , also known as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States. It is less powerful than its Senate counterpart, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, because the House committee does not consider the ratification of treaties or the confirmation of presidential appointments, such as are made for ambassador and Secretary of State.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-IR on Feb 3, 2011

Rated +1 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.

Berman scores +1 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. 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.

  1. H.Res. 88 (+): supporting democratic aspirations in Egypt
  2. H.R. 2643 (+): penalizing the Bahraini government for attacking medical personnel
  3. H.R. 1006 (-): the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act
  4. H.R. 1501 (-): withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes.
  5. H.Res. 268 (-): opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state
  6. H.R. 2457 (-): prohibiting any US government document from referring to "Palestine"
  7. H.R. 2829 (-): defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The bill's 141 co-sponsors receive a (-).
  8. 8. (+). Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) issued a letter titled "Support Palestinian Aid and Israel's Security," in which they call upon Congress to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority.
  9. H.R. 2215 (*) "to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon
  10. H.R. 996 (+): to raise awareness of the use of cluster munitions where civilians are present
  11. H.R. 140 (-): the "Birthright Citizenship Act, to eliminate "anchor babies" by changing the 14th Amendment.
  12. H. Res. 283 (+): to counter violence and discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities
  13. H.R. 1805 (-): authorizing an extension of the USA PATRIOT Act until 2013, and amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
  14. H.R. 1842 (+): the DREAM Act to protect undocumented minors pursuing higher education.
  15. H.R. 1932 (-): the Keep our Communities Safe Act for greater power to detain undocumented immigrants.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-H on May 2, 2012

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.

Berman co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s

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

Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.

Berman 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:

  1. supporting the people of Zimbabwe;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;
  6. that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; and
  7. 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

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.

Berman signed Affirmation of US Record on Armenian Genocide