Russell Feingold on Foreign Policy
Democratic Jr Senator (WI)
As special envoy to Congo, cajoled both sides of civil war
Last June, Feingold was named special envoy to the [African] Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In taking on eastern Congo, one of the most violent places on Earth, Feingold could hardly have chosen a more dead-end assignment.
The conflict there dates back to 1994, when Hutus fleeing Rwanda led to an invasion. Although Congo's civil war formally ended in 2003, armed rebellion has continued ever since.
Feingold's assignment came just as a new group of rebels, trained and
equipped by Rwanda, was gaining strength and even threatening to take the Congolese capital. Feingold has undertaken a dizzying round of talks in at least eight different African capitals, cajoling leaders face to face, negotiating with skittish rebels
late into the night and strategizing with fellow diplomats, all in a very uphill effort to stop a long-running conflict in a region littered with failed peace deals. He said after the trek, "this is one of the favorite things I've ever done in my life."
Source: Politico weblog 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 11, 2014
Voted NO 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-S211
on Oct 1, 2008
Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe.
H.R. 3167; Gerald B. H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act of 2001, To endorse the vision of further enlargement of the NATO Alliance. Vote to pass a bill that would support further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, authorize military assistance to several eastern European countries and lift assistance restrictions on Slovakia.
; vote number 2002-116
on May 17, 2002
Voted NO on killing a bill for trade sanctions if China sells weapons.
Vote to table [kill] an amendment that would require sanctions against China or other countries if they were found to be selling illicit weapons of mass destruction.
; vote number 2000-242
on Sep 13, 2000
Voted NO on capping foreign aid at only $12.7 billion.
Adoption of the conference report on the 2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill provided $12.7 billion for foreign aid programs in 2000.
Vetoed by President ClintonVeto message of 10/18/1999: W cannot protect American interests at home without active engagement abroad. We must lead in the world, working with other nations to defuse crises, repel dangers, promote more open economic and political systems, and strengthen the rule of law. This bill rejects all of those principles.
The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military.
For example, A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and that we imperiled our future in the process.
Reference: H.R. 2606 Conference Report;
Bill H.R. 2606
; vote number 1999-312
on Oct 6, 1999
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)51; N)49
Voted YES on limiting the President's power to impose economic sanctions.
To kill a proposal limiting President Clinton's ability to impose economic sanctions on foreign nations.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)53; N)46; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the Lugar Amdt #3156.;
Bill S. 2159
; vote number 1998-201
on Jul 15, 1998
Voted NO on limiting NATO expansion to only Poland, Hungary & Czech.
This amendment would have limited NATO Expansion to only include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)41; N)59
Reference: NATO Expansion limit-Warner Amdt. #2322;
Bill NATO Expansion Treaty #105-36
; vote number 1998-112
on Apr 30, 1998
Voted NO on $17.9 billion to IMF.
Would provide $17.9 billion for the International Monetary Fund.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)84; N)16
Reference: McConnell Amdt #2100;
Bill S. 1768
; vote number 1998-44
on Mar 26, 1998
Voted NO on Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba.
Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)74; N)22; NV)4
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 927;
Bill H.R. 927
; vote number 1996-22
on Mar 5, 1996
Voted NO on ending Vietnam embargo.
Ending U.S. trade embargos on the country of Vietnam.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)62; N)38
Reference: For. Reltns. Auth. Act FY 94 & 95;
Bill S. 1281
; vote number 1994-5
on Jan 27, 1994
Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.
Feingold co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill:
In an effort to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, urges the President to:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR102 on Apr 4, 2001
- 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;
- 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
- Congress to undertake a multi-year commitment to provide the resources to implement those strategies; and
- the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to report on such implementation.
Monitor human rights in Uganda-Sudan crisis.
Feingold introduced the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should: Became Public Law No: 108-283.
Source: Bill sponsored by 9 Senators 04-S2264 on Mar 31, 2004
- support efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in northern and eastern Uganda;
- work with the Government of Uganda and the international community to make available sufficient resources to meet the relief and development needs of the towns and cities that are supporting large numbers of displaced people;
- urge the leaders and members of the Lord's Resistance Army to stop the abduction of children, and urge all armed forces in Uganda to stop the use of child soldiers, and seek the release of all individuals who have been abducted;
- urge the Government of Uganda to improve the professionalism of Ugandan military personnel currently stationed in northern and eastern Uganda, with an emphasis on respect for human rights and civilian protection;
- work with the international community to assist and increase the capacity of Ugandan civil institutions to monitor the human rights situation in northern Uganda;
- make clear that the relationship between Sudan and the United States cannot improve unless no credible evidence indicates that authorities of the Government of Sudan are providing support to the Lord's Resistance Army.
Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.
Feingold co-sponsored 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
- For purposes of alien inadmissibility based upon terrorist-related grounds the African National Congress (ANC) shall not be considered to be a terrorist organization on the basis of any act or event that occurred before the date of enactment of such Act.
- Expresses the sense of Congress to exempt the anti-apartheid activities of aliens who are current or former officials of the government of the Republic of South Africa.
- Legislative Outcome: Related bill: H.R.5690; became Public Law 110-257 on 7/1/2008
Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.
Feingold co-sponsored implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force
A resolution calling for peace in Darfur.
Source: S.RES.455 08-SR455 on Feb 14, 2008
- Calls upon the government of Sudan and other signatories and non-signatories to the May 5, 2006, Darfur Peace Agreement to cease hostilities.
- Calls upon the government of Sudan to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force, including any non-African peacekeepers.
- Urges all invited individuals and movements to attend the next round of peace negotiations without preconditions.
- Condemns: (1) intimidation or threats against camp or civil society leaders to discourage them from attending the peace talks; and (2) actions by any party that undermines the Darfur peace process.
- Calls upon all parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to support all terms of the agreement.
- Legislative Outcome: Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Feingold 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.
Develop a strategy to protect civilians in Darfur.
Feingold sponsored developing a strategy to protect civilians in Darfur
A resolution calling on the United States Government and the international community to promptly develop, fund, and implement a comprehensive regional strategy in Africa to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian operations, contain and reduce violence, and contribute to conditions for sustainable peace in eastern Chad, northern Central African Republic, and Darfur, Sudan.
Source: Darfur Resolution (S.RES.76) 2007-SR76 on Feb 8, 2007
Condemn violence by Chinese government in Tibet.
Feingold co-sponsored condemning the violence by Chinese government in Tibet
A resolution condemning the violence in Tibet and calling for restraint by the Government of the People's Republic of China and the people of Tibet. Calls for:
- a dialogue between the government of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama on religious and cultural autonomy for Tibet within China; and
- release of peaceful protesters.
Calls on the PRC to: Urges that the agreement permitting the PRC to open further diplomatic missions in the United States should be contingent upon establishment of a U.S. government office in Lhasa, Tibet.
Source: S.RES.504 2008-SR504 on Apr 7, 2008
- respect the right of the people of Tibet to speak of the Dalai Lama and possess his photograph;
- respect basic human rights;
- allow international journalists free access to China; and
- provide a full accounting of the March 2008 protests in Tibet.
Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.
Feingold 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:
Source: S.RES.533&H.RES.1230 2008-SR533 on Apr 24, 2008
- supporting the people of Zimbabwe;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;
- that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; and
- 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.
Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.
Feingold signed Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.
Source: S.428&HR.874 2009-S428 on Feb 12, 2009
Page last updated: Jan 25, 2016