Barbara Lee on Foreign Policy
Democratic Representative (CA-9)
Led delegation to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro
The Congressional Black Caucus delegation visiting Cuba this time [after the first in 1999] is led by Barbara Lee (CA). I had the honor of meeting her personally and admire her combative spirit and capacity for struggle.
The group she is leading is
made up of 7 members of Congress. The other members of the delegation are: Mel Watt (NC); Mike Honda (CA); Laura Richardson (CA); Bobby Rush (IL); Marcia Fudge (OH); and Emanuel Cleaver (MO).
I highly appreciate the gesture of this group of lawmakers.
Among the visitors there are opinions which are shared by all; other are personal points of view. In general, they believe that 68% of US public opinion favors a change in policy toward Cuba. One of them expressed the view that it was necessary
to take advantage of this historic moment, when the presence of a black president in the White House coincides with current opinion that favors the normalization of relations.
Source: Obama and the Empire, by Fidel Castro, p. 39-41
, Apr 6, 2009
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 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-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 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
- 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 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.
Lee 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:
- Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by US citizens, or any of specified transactions incident to such travel.
- Declares that this prohibition does not authorize the importation into the US of any goods for personal consumption acquired in Cuba; &
- The restrictions on the President's authority do not apply in a case in which the US is at war with Cuba.
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
- FREEDOM OF TRAVEL FOR U.S. CITIZENS AND LEGAL RESIDENTS: The President shall not regulate or prohibit travel to or from Cuba by US citizens or legal residents.
- TRANSACTIONS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL: The President shall not regulate any transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Cuba, including the importation into Cuba or the US of accompanied baggage; the payment of living expenses; or facilitation of travel to, from, or within Cuba.
- EXCEPTION: The restrictions on authority contained in section 1 do not apply in a case in which the US is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.
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
Supported sending Colin Powell to Durban racism conference.
Lee signed the CBC statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism
The Congressional Black Caucus is exasperated with the stance of the administration and the contempt implied by its lack of commitment to the U.N. World Conference Against Racism. We believe that there is no legitimate way to pretend that racism was not, and is not, real. The refusal of the government to send the highest-ranking African-American in its history to engage the world in a discussion of racism is disrespectful of the sacrifices of all that have suffered to get him where he is.
Nevertheless, we will be at the table to engage in a substantive and meaningful dialogue. This is not the first time that the Congressional Black Caucus has had to fight against racism without the backing of the administration. Partly because of our insistence on justice, we are in a free South Africa to talk about how to free the rest of the world.
We are committed to discussing how racism affects everyone, in every part of the world,
in every part of our lives. We must dialogue with one another about health care, and technology, and the status of our youth. We need to talk openly and honestly about cultural and religious differences, and how we make the world one where our shared histories do not have to create conflict in our present. We must admit the injustices surrounding discriminatory sentencing, targeted intelligence operations, hate crimes and church burnings. We must have a frank discussion about where we are and where we need to go. There are injustices taking place today that must be corrected so that we will have a foundation on which to build the society of tomorrow. America does not have the right to abstain from its place at the table.
The Congressional Black Caucus brings to South Africa the voices of the multitude of Americans who support justice and truth, and those voices will not be muzzled. We will engage in this discussion and seize this historic opportunity.
Source: CBC Statement on the UN World Conference Against Racism 01-CBC2 on Aug 31, 2001
Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.
Lee 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.
Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.
Lee 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
Rated +7 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.
Lee scores +7 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.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-H on May 2, 2012
- H.Res. 88 (+): supporting democratic aspirations in Egypt
- H.R. 2643 (+): penalizing the Bahraini government for attacking medical personnel
- H.R. 1006 (-): the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act
- H.R. 1501 (-): withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes.
- H.Res. 268 (-): opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state
- H.R. 2457 (-): prohibiting any US government document from referring to "Palestine"
- H.R. 2829 (-): defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The bill's 141 co-sponsors receive a (-).
- 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.
- H.R. 2215 (*) "to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon
- H.R. 996 (+): to raise awareness of the use of cluster munitions where civilians are present
- H.R. 140 (-): the "Birthright Citizenship Act, to eliminate "anchor babies" by changing the 14th Amendment.
- H. Res. 283 (+): to counter violence and discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities
- H.R. 1805 (-): authorizing an extension of the USA PATRIOT Act until 2013, and amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
- H.R. 1842 (+): the DREAM Act to protect undocumented minors pursuing higher education.
- H.R. 1932 (-): the Keep our Communities Safe Act for greater power to detain undocumented immigrants.
Humanitarian aid to rebuild Haiti after earthquake.
Lee co-sponsored Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding Act
Source: H.R.3771 12-H3771 on Jan 10, 2012
- On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, the greatest natural disaster in Haiti's history, which killed more than 300,000 people & left 2,300,000 people homeless;
- Prior to the earthquake, Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated 54% of its population living on less than $1 per day;
- Although initial recovery efforts must continue to assist the people of Haiti struggling to secure basic necessities, including food, water, health care, shelter, and electricity, Haiti cannot afford to only focus on its immediate needs.
- The circumstances following the earthquake in Haiti provide a real opportunity for Haiti to break the cycle of poverty, social inequality and unrealized expectations that has marked Haiti's history;
It is the policy of the United States, in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with the international community, to support the sustainable recovery and rebuilding of Haiti in a manner that encourages greater economic equality; embraces Haitian independence; incorporates the potential of both women and men to contribute equally; providing a foundation for economic growth and economic sustainability, through investments in essential infrastructure; [and in general] to promote long-term, sustainable rebuilding and development in Haiti.
Integrate gender into diplomatic and foreign aid processes.
Lee co-sponsored Women, Peace, and Security Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
- implementation of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (NAP) is paramount in improving the lives of women around the world and increasing global stability and prosperity;
- It is US policy to implement NAP;
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID) should integrate gender into diplomatic and strategic and planning processes;
- federal agencies shall ensure that the tenets of NAP are incorporated into programs for conflict prevention, humanitarian and disaster response, peacekeeping, and democracy promotion;
- Federal agencies facilitate partner government efforts to improve women's inclusion in peace and security processes, conflict prevention, peace-building and decision-making institutions in conflict-affected environments.
White House Summary of NAP, December 2011:The goal of this National Action Plan is as simple as it is profound: to empower half the world's population
as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. Deadly conflicts can be more effectively avoided, and peace can be best forged and sustained, when women become equal partners. The National Action Plan is guided by the following five principles:
Source: H6255/S3477 12-S3477 on Aug 1, 2012
- the engagement and protection of women as agents of peace and stability
- building on goals for gender integration, gender equality, and women's empowerment
- guided by the principle of inclusion, seeking out the views and participation of a wide variety of stakeholders--women and girls, men and boys, and members of marginalized groups
- coordinate among all relevant departments and agencies of the US government, integrated into relevant United States foreign policy initiatives, and enhanced by engagement with international partners
- be accountable for the implementation of the policies and initiatives endorsed in this Plan.
$500M and 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola.
Lee signed Ebola Relief Resolution
The current outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia is an international health crisis and is the most widespread outbreak of the disease ever recorded.
Reporting pro & con by Washington Times, Sept. 16, 2014:
- RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives--
- calls on the international community to immediately provide additional resources to develop the capacity of affected nations to address current and future public health crises;
- requests that the US work in a coordinated capacity to develop a unified global health security plan to adequately respond to disease outbreaks globally;
- calls upon the US to work with international health authorities to assist endemic nations in the fielding of medical countermeasures.
Amid dire warnings from medical professionals and frantic calls from Congress for greater US intervention, Pres. Obama said he'll deploy 3,000 American troops to combat an African Ebola
outbreak that he says is "spiraling out of control."
The announcement comes as the Ebola death toll officially has reached 2,400, though specialists say underreporting in affected nations means the true numbers likely are much higher.
The US effort will be funded by $500 million in overseas contingency funding that the Pentagon wants to redirect to humanitarian missions. Specifically, the mission will include the training of as many as 500 new doctors and health care workers each week; the construction of at least 17 health care facilities in the region; the establishment of a joint command center in Monrovia, Liberia; and the distribution of home health-care kits in affected areas.
Others blasted the administration for taking a bite out of the Pentagon budget. "You can't have it both ways. You can't slash our defense budget on one hand, while expecting our military to do it on the other," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Source: H.Res.701 14_HRes701 on Jul 31, 2014
Enforce humanitarian aid access to South Sudan.
Lee signed enforcing humanitarian aid access to South Sudan
Excerpts from Letter from 12 Senators to President Trump: Since the onset of South Sudan's civil war in 2013, at least 50,000 people have been killed and approximately 3 million have fled their homes. The African Union and the United Nations have documented numerous human rights abuses and warned of potential genocide. The assaults on civilians carried out during the course of the fighting in July 2016 between government and opposition forces shocked the conscience of the world, and served to demonstrate that the August 2015 peace agreement has failed. To date, the government has not held anyone accountable for the violence, nor for attacking a U.S. diplomatic convoy.
UN peacekeepers are protecting over 200,000 people who might otherwise be dead at UN bases in South Sudan. The UN Security Council approved an additional 4,000 peacekeepers in the wake of the July violence. Unfortunately, the government continues to obstruct the deployment of these troops.
In Sudan, it is critical that we ensure that Khartoum lives up to its agreement to adhere to its ceasefires, allow free and unfettered humanitarian access to all parts of Sudan and stop supporting rebel movements in South Sudan.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, 1/22/2014): The number of casualties and refugees in South Sudan is straining government and international humanitarian efforts. Pressure must be applied to both the government of South Sudan and the rebel faction to reconcile peacefully. The U.S. has a key role to play in the mediation efforts. South Sudan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. bilateral aid in sub-Saharan Africa, and the U.S. was instrumental in helping the young country gain independence and stand up its government. The U.S. should focus now on ending the conflict, political reconciliation, and humanitarian assistance.
Source: South Sudan Letter 17LTR-SUD on Feb 27, 2017
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Lee 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.
Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.
Lee 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.
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.
Lee 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.
Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.
Lee 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
Afghan laws violate women's human rights on sex & divorce.
Lee 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.
Afghanistan-Pakistan study group to assess exit strategy.
Lee signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 11 members of Congress
Dear Mr. President,
As America heads inexorably towards its tenth year of war in Afghanistan, it is clear that the end of this, America’s longest war, is nowhere in sight. Consequently, we write to echo calls for the establishment of a bipartisan Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group (APSG) to conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. policy in these countries.
Similar to the establishment of the Iraq Study Group in 2006, the formation of an APSG is not a partisan issue. Concerns and questions regarding the direction of U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan have been expressed by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and an increasing majority of the American public.
We believe a critical component of this assessment should be the development of an alternative strategy for concluding the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Serious questions pertaining to our mission and objectives, metrics and feasibility for success, and the timeline for military engagement in the region threaten responsible oversight and execution of [current] policies. The formation of a bipartisan APSG will be critical in working toward agreement on the most responsible path forward for our nation.
Source: Letter to Pres. Obama from 11 members of Congress 2010-LT-AP on Aug 4, 2010
Ease the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
Lee signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 54 members of Congress
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for your ongoing work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for your commitment of $300 million in US aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip. We write to you with great concern about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
The people of Gaza have suffered enormously since the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt following Hamas’ coup, and particularly following Operation Cast Lead. We also sympathize deeply with the people of southern Israel who have suffered from abhorrent rocket and mortar attacks. We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. Truly, fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are mutually reinforcing goals.
We ask that you advocate for immediate improvements for
Gaza in the following areas: Despite ad hoc easing of the blockade, there has been no significant improvement in the quantity and scope of goods allowed into Gaza. Lifting these restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions.
Source: Letter to Pres. Obama from 54 members of Congress 2010-LT-IP on Jan 27, 2010
- Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza
- Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials
- Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials
- Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers
- Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials
- Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding
- Access to fuel
- Access to spare parts
- Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
- Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.
Page last updated: May 14, 2020