Mark Kirk on Foreign Policy
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (IL-10)
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;
; 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:
- 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-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
- Denial of participation in cooperative research and development
- Prohibition of ownership and control of any business registered as a manufacturer or exporter of defense articles or services
- Removal of all licenses relative to dual-use goods or technology
- Prohibition of participation of any foreign military sales
Voted YES 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
- Requires the creation of an Independent Oversight Board with the authority to evaluate all operations of the UN
- Instructs the UN to implement procedures to protect whistle-blowers, individuals who reveal wrongdoings within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority
- Obliges the creation of a uniform code of conduct for all UN officials
- Requires the shifting of the funding mechanisms of certain organizational programs from the regular assessed UN budget to voluntarily funded programs
- Compels the US President to influence the Secretary General of the UN to waive diplomatic immunity for UN officials under investigation or charged with serious criminal offences
- Creates a certification of UN cooperation to provide documentary evidence to member states investigating the Oil-for-Food program
Voted NO 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 YES 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
Member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
Kirk 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
Keep sanctions against Syria until WMDs are dismantled.
Kirk co-sponsored keeping sanctions against Syria until WMDs are dismantled
This bill states that U.S. sanctions and controls relating to Syria shall remain in effect until the President certifies that Syria has ceased support for terrorism, has dismantled biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons programs, and has committed to combat their proliferation, respects the boundaries and sovereignty of all neighboring countries, and upholds human rights and civil liberties.
Also imposes specified trade, assistance, and military sanctions, as appropriate, on persons or countries that transfer goods or technology so as to contribute to Syria's biological, chemical, nuclear, or advanced conventional weapons programs.
Imposes specified sanctions aimed at Syria's energy sector.
Sets forth diplomatic measures intended to isolate the government of Syria.
Directs the President to provide assistance to support a democratic transition in Syria.
Source: Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (H.R.2332) 07-HR2332 on May 15, 2007
Member of the Silk Road Congressional Caucus.
Kirk is a member the Silk Road Congressional Caucus
The Silk Road refers to the ancient trade route through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan first explored by Marco Polo. The hope for the Silk Road Caucus is to help connect Central and South Asia and the Caucasus with the US, in an effort to encourage economic, cultural, and political exchange between our countries.
Why should Congress be interested in today's Silk Road?
Countries of the Silk Road are seeking a well-conceived and proactive policy of engagement, which authorizes U.S. assistance to support their economic and political independence. After decades of Communist rule, these countries have faced a tough road toward economic development and prosperity, and the cultivation of a democratic society. It is important for Congress to provide and guide increased aid to support conflict resolution, humanitarian relief, economic and democratic reform, and respect for human rights in the region.
- Silk Road countries desire a deeper engagement with the US.
- China and Russia have recently begun to project influence into the Silk Road region, in some cases at the expense of US interests.
- Silk Road petroleum reserves have the potential of expanding world supply, resulting in better prices for U.S. consumers.
- Some Silk Road nations possess weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. involvement is critical to curtailing WMD proliferation.
- Extremist Islamic fundamentalism is attempting to disrupt and dominate politics in the region.
It is clear that the U.S. can no longer abide by its current policy toward the region--one that emphasizes a stand back and watch approach. Economic prosperity, the growth of democracy, and the establishment of the rule of law in the Silk Road states is essential for regional stability and US national security. The US must actively engage this region--both economically and politically.
Source: Silk Road Caucus website 07-SRC0 on Nov 6, 2007
Rated -2 by AAI, indicating a anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record.
Kirk scores -2 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.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012
- 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.
Kirk 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:
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012
- 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.
Sponsored funding and supplying the Syrian rebels.
Kirk co-sponsored Free Syria Act
- Authorizes assistance for humanitarian activities taking place in and outside Syria, including post-transition efforts.
- Authorizes assistance to the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) and Free Syrian Army (FSA), including non-lethal equipment and training to vetted members of the FSA.
- Urges the US to develop a plan for securing conventional and unconventional weapons in Syria and preventing their illicit sale or transfer out of Syria.
Proponent's argument for bill:(by United Free Syria organization): House of Representatives: Free Syria Act (HR.1327):
- Provides funding & other assistance for a peaceful, stable, and organized political transition to a democratic, inclusive government structure, as well as robust economic aid for rebuilding.
- Permits securing and destroying chemical & biological weapons in Syria.
- Increases humanitarian aid dramatically, and also provides for conditional, limited arming
of moderate vetted opposition forces
Senate: Syria Democratic Transition Act (S.617):The House bill would set up a framework under which the Obama administration could deploy anti-aircraft systems to help the rebels fight off the Syrian regime's attacks from above, and assist a post-Assad transition by using sanctions relief and loans from international financial institutions to support a new transitional government. "We believe there are credible options at your disposal, including limited military options, that would require neither putting US troops on the ground nor acting unilaterally," Sens. Levin and McCain wrote. "First, we urge you to lead an effort, together with our friends and allies, to degrade the Assad regime's airpower and to support Turkey if they are willing to establish a safe zone inside of Syria's northern border."
Source: S.617 / H.R.1327 13-S617 on Mar 21, 2013
- Provides funding and humanitarian aid, and also provides for increased non-lethal aid to the Etilaf.
- Increases refugee aid funding
Move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; recognize as cap.
Kirk co-sponsored H.R.114 & S.117
Congressional Summary: States that it is US policy to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and that the US Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem by 2017.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (Times of Israel ): Congressional legislation would force the Obama administration to change longstanding US policy and move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill challenges presidential authority on a key foreign policy question. The bill strikes the language in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that gave the president waiver authority to delay the move. Every president since Bill Clinton has signed a presidential waiver every six months in order to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, citing concerns that a move to Jerusalem would upset the prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1980, but the US, like all other countries, maintains
its embassy in Tel Aviv.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (The Morning Call, April 16, 1984) The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) have begun a "multifaceted protest" opposing moving the US. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem from Jordan after capturing it in the 1967 war but assured free access to religious shrines. The nations of the Arab League argue that the Israelis are in Jerusalem as an "army of occupation" and they have never recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One compromise would be the placement of the American Consulate in Jerusalem with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Secretary of State George P. Shultz cautioned that a relocation "would fan Islamic extremism, possibly inciting a wave of violence against our citizens, diplomats and installations in the region."
Source: Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act 15_S117 on Jan 7, 2015
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Kirk 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
- 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.
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.
Kirk signed Affirmation of US Record on Armenian Genocide
The House of Representatives finds the following:
Source: H.RES.252 2009-HR252 on Mar 17, 2009
- 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 w
President Woodrow Wilson concurred and chartered some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.
- [Presidential concurrence has been echoed through Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush].
DECLARATION OF POLICY: Congress calls upon the President:
- to ensure that U.S. foreign policy reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the U.S. record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and
- in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, and to recall the proud history of U.S. intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Afghan laws violate women's human rights on sex & divorce.
Kirk signed Shi'ite Personal Status Law
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION: Expressing the sense of Congress that the Shi'ite Personal Status Law in Afghanistan violates the fundamental human rights of women and should be repealed.
Source: SCR.19&HCR.108 2009-SCR19 on Apr 23, 2009
- Whereas in March 2009, the Shi'ite Personal Status Law was approved by the parliament of Afghanistan and signed by President Hamid Karzai;
- Whereas according to the United Nations, the law legalizes marital rape by mandating that a wife cannot refuse sex to her husband unless she is ill;
- Whereas the law also weakens mothers' rights in the event of a divorce and prohibits a woman from leaving her home unless her husband determines it is for a 'legitimate purpose';
- Whereas President Barack Obama has called the law 'abhorrent' and stated that 'there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle';
Whereas Afghanistan acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, entered into force September 3, 1981 (CEDAW), which condemns discrimination against women in all its forms and reaffirms the equal rights and responsibilities of men and women during marriage and at its dissolution;
- Whereas the provisions in the Shi'ite Personal Status Law that restrict women's rights are diametrically opposed to those goals:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved that Congress--
- urges the Government of Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai to declare the provisions of the Shi'ite Personal Status Law on marital rape and restrictions on women's freedom of movement unconstitutional;
- encourages the Government of Afghanistan to solicit information and advice from governmental and women-led nongovernmental organizations to ensure that legislation uphold the equal rights of women.
Support Iranian demonstrators against Iranian government.
Kirk signed bill supporting demonstrations against Iran
A resolution expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.
Source: SR.193&HR.549 2009-SR193 on Jun 19, 2009
- Expresses support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.
- Condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of Iran and pro-government militias as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones.
- Affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
Sponsored bill condemning Iran for persecution of Baha'i.
Kirk sponsored 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.
Source: SR71&HR175 2009-SR71 on Feb 13, 2009
Commitment to unbreakable U.S.-Israel bond.
Kirk signed Hoyer-Cantor letter to Secy. Clinton from 327 House members
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.
Source: Hoyer-Cantor letter to Secy. Clinton from 327 House members 2010-LT-UB on Mar 25, 2010
Page last updated: Jan 21, 2016