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Trump Pulling 12,000 Troops out of Germany

Thousands of U.S. troops will soon begin leaving Germany. This comes after continued complaints by President Trump that Germany is not contributing enough to NATO.

 

The 11,900 troops will leave Germany as part of the move to re-locate the U.S. European Command to Belgium. Around 5,600 of those troops will go to Belgium or elsewhere in Europe, but the rest will return to the U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said this would cost "several billion dollars."

 

President Trump has repeatedly faulted Germany for not increasing its defense budget and contributing more to NATO. He cites the nation's failure to reach the NATO goal of every member nation contributing 2% of its GDP to defense. According to Trump, "We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent."

 

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, are decrying the move, however. They argue that this will lead to a loss of U.S. influence in Europe, giving Vladimir Putin exactly what he wants. They also note that Germany is not delinquent in any sense on NATO dues, and that the country has committed to meeting NATO's 2% spending goal. 

 

Do you think that the U.S. should remove military personnel from Germany?

Senate Rejects Ban on Feds Giving Military Items to Police

The Senate passed the Department of Defense authorization bill this week, but defeated a bipartisan amendment to ban the transfer of some surplus military equipment to state and local police.

 

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hi) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sponsored an amendment that would place new limits on a controversial program where the Department of Defense provides surplus military items to police department around the country. This program has come under increasing scrutiny with the police response to protests over the murder of George Floyd.

 

Under the Schatz amendment, the Department of Defense could not transfer these items to state or local police departments:

  • Bayonets, grenade launchers, grenades (excluding stun and flash-bang), explosives, and firearms of .50 caliber or higher and ammunition of 0.5 caliber or higher.
  • Tracked combat vehicles.
  • Weaponized drones.
  • Asphyxiating gases, including those comprised of lachrymatory agents, and analogous liquids, materials or devices.

 

Critics argue that these items are inappropriate for local police departments. They say that military hardware that is designed to kill a foreign enemy should not be deployed by domestic police departments. Supporters of the program contend that it is a vital way for police departments to obtain law enforcement tools at no cost. They say that many of these items are necessary to protect people and property.

 

While a majority of senators agreed by a vote of 51-49, the amendment needed 60 votes to be approved. Instead, the Senate voted 90-10 for an amendment by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that bans a much narrower category of military equipment from being transferred and imposes new training requirements.

 

Do you think the federal program to provide military equipment to police departments should be ended?

Senate Votes Down Afghanistan Withdrawal Amendment

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) want to see American troops gone from Afghanistan within a year. A majority of their Senate colleagues do not agree.

 

By a vote of 60-33, the Senate voted to table the Paul-Udall amendment to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Tabling a measure effectively kills it. The amendment would have also paid those troops a $2,500 bonus and repealed the 2001 use of force authorization that began the Afghanistan war.

 

Senators Paul and Udall argued that a 19-year war was long enough. They said it was time to end the unpopular military activities in Afghanistan and bring the troops home. Senators in opposition, though, said that military action should end when certain objectives are met, not on a specific date.

 

The Trump Administration has negotiated with the Taliban to reduce U.S. troop strength in the country. Under a deal struck earlier this year, the U.S. will draw down its number of military personnel to 8,600 in mid-July.

 

The support and opposition for this amendment crossed party lines. Republican Senate leadership joined with Democrats to table it, while Democrats, Republicans, and independent Senator Bernie Sanders voted against tabling it.

 

This amendment was part of a larger defense authorization bill currently being considered by the Senate.


Do you think that the U.S. should remove troops from Afghanistan within a year?

Democrats Pushing for Quick Action on Confederate Names

Senate Democrats want to see the Department of Defense act on bases with Confederate names within the year.

 

Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and 35 other senators introduced legislation this week that will require the Department of Defense to remove any names, symbols, or monuments that are associated with the Confederate States of America within one year. Grave markers could remain. This is similar to a proposal that the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously adopted earlier this month, except that the new bill has a 1-year timeframe instead of a 3-year timeframe.

 

Those supporting Sen. Warren’s bill argue that U.S. military bases should not honor a cause that tried to destroy the union in order to protect slavery. Some of them call Confederate army officers traitors and say these people should not be honored by the federal government.

 

Republicans are split on this issue. Some, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are supportive. Others, such as President Donald Trump, are firmly opposed. There are also some in the Senate who want to explore different options. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to establish a commission to study the issue of renaming military bases. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) would like to see all military bases renamed to honor Medal of Honor recipients.

 

The Senate is likely to consider the Defense Authorization bill this summer, and discussion about military base renaming will be part of these efforts.

 

Do you think that the Defense Department should remove any names, symbols, and monuments that honor the Confederacy?

Congress Looking at Renaming Military Bases

Ten military installations in the United States are named after Confederate officers. A move in Congress to rename these installations is gaining support from both Democrats and Republicans.

 

A debate over how the U.S. should honor those who fought for the Confederacy has grown more intense due to the demonstrations resulting from the police killing of George Floyd. States and local governments are taking down statues honoring Confederates, saying that these men were traitors to the U.S. and fought to preserve slavery. Many activists are now calling on the federal government to rename those bases carrying the names of Confederate officers.

 

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would create a commission to examine this issue. The panel did so by voice vote with no opposition. This week, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, John Thune of South Dakota, also said this is something the federal government should consider. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also said he would be open to this idea.

 

That view, however, does not have support in the White House. President Trump has taken to Twitter to denounce attempts to rename military bases. He said this would dishonor the millions of soldiers who have been stationed at these places. His spokesperson said he would veto any legislation that would lead to the removal of Confederate officers’ names from bases.

 

The Senate will consider the National Defense Authorization Act in the coming weeks. The issue of renaming military bases will likely be part of the debate.


Do you think that military bases should be named for Confederate officers?

Trump, Pentagon Clash on Insurrection Act

President Trump is frustrated that rioting and looting continue across the U.S. To stop it, he has threatened to use the U.S. military to restore order. This has prompted his Defense Secretary to issue a public disagreement with his boss.

 

This week, President Trump addressed the nation from the Rose Garden and said, ““If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

 

Federal law prohibits the use of active duty military personnel within the United States except in rare instances. One of the exceptions comes from the Insurrection Act, which permits troops to be used in the case of insurrections or rebellions. Presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush have used this law to deal with riots.

 

Defense Secretary Mark Esper disagrees that the current situation warrants the use of the act, however. He said that invoking the Insurrection Act should be done as a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He then said that the situation right now does not meet those criteria.

 

The governors and mayors targeted by Trump’s words also reject the need to call in the military. They say that armed troops will only make the situation worse. They prefer to be left alone to handle any rioting and looting their own way, without having the president override their decisions.

 

Do you think that President Trump should activate the military to deal with rioting?

U.S., China Clash over Hong Kong

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, China is taking steps to lessen the independence of Hong Kong. U.S. officials are condemning these moves, setting up another area of conflict with China.

 

Chinese officials are set to pass a law concerning national security they say is necessary to combat terrorism. However, its provisions will allow it to use its police power in Hong Kong in events it deems relate to “secession, sedition and subversion.” China is imposing this law unilaterally on Hong Kong.

 

Hong Kong is a former British colony that the U.K. restored to China in 1997. Hong Kong has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy from China since then, with stronger protections for free speech and other rights than are enjoyed throughout the rest of the nation. Hong Kong also has an autonomous legislative body that largely controls the city.

 

If China imposes this new national security law in Hong Kong, U.S. officials say they will view it as a major encroachment upon the city’s autonomy. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The decision to bypass Hong Kong’s well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

 

President Trump has also signaled his displeasure with Chinese moves in this area. The president has been vocal about condemning Chinese action concerning the coronavirus, and the nation’s moves in Hong Kong add to the friction between the two nations.

 

Since last year, there have been pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. This new national security law is viewed by many in Hong Kong and internationally as a way for China to crack down on these demonstrators.

 

What do you think the U.S. government should do if China begins to undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong?

Trump Plans Withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty

President Trump has made no secret that he’s skeptical of many treaties signed by previous presidents. This week he announced that the U.S. would withdraw from one of the arms control treaty that he thinks is ineffective.

 

The treaty in question is the Open Skies treaty, which has 35 signatories. It allows nations to conduct unarmed flights over the territories of other signatories to monitor military activities. The president cited Russian violations of the treaty, which he said make it ineffective.

 

Russia has restricted flyovers in certain areas of the nation, something which Defense Department officials have long criticized. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will give formal notice of the U.S. intent to withdraw from the treaty on Friday. That withdrawal takes place 6 months after notice is given. However, Secretary Pompeo said that if Russia comes into compliance, the U.S. could reconsider its withdrawal.

 

Some observers have long wanted the U.S. to withdraw from the treaty, saying it gives Russia too much information on U.S. critical infrastructure. They hailed the president’s move, saying it was overdue. Others criticized the withdrawal, arguing that it will only increase tensions with Russia.

 

Do you support withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty?

Progressives Push for Military Cuts to Pay for Coronavirus Aid

Members of the House Progressive Caucus want to cut military spending as a way to pay the big price tag for coronavirus aid.

 

The House Armed Services Committee is considering the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which provides authority for the nation’s military activities. This bill also sets the funding level for military spending, which is then funded through the appropriations process.

 

Last year, the Progressive Caucus wanted the act to authorize military spending at $644 billion a year. Instead, the House approved legislation that set the level at $738 billion. As the process begins this year, the caucus’s members have said they will not support legislation that does not contain a significant spending cut.

 

The members argue that with other needs taking priority, specifically the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, it is time for Congress to trim military spending. They say the nation cannot afford to keep spending billions of dollars on pricey weapons systems and other military projects that, in the views of these members of Congress, foster conflict around the globe.

 

This stance puts these Democratic House members at odds with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Many moderate Democrats do not support cutting military spending, and would likely oppose any efforts to concede to the Progressive Caucus’s demands. But without the votes of the more liberal House members, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to rely on Republican votes to pass the defense bill this year.

 

Do you think that military spending should be cut to help pay for the trillions of dollars spent dealing with the coronavirus?

Senate Fails to Override Trump Veto on Iran Military Action

A majority of senators disapprove of U.S. military involvement in Iran, but they could not garner enough support to override a presidential veto of a resolution to end such action.

 

This week the Senate failed to override President Trump’s veto of Senate Joint Resolution 68. Although the vote was 49-44 in favor of a veto override, this type of vote requires two-thirds of the senators present to approve in order to pass.

 

The resolution states:

 

The United States Armed Forces have been introduced into hostilities, as defined by the War Powers Resolution, against Iran.

 

The question of whether United States forces should be engaged in hostilities against Iran should be answered following a full briefing to Congress and the American public of the issues at stake, a public debate in Congress, and a congressional vote as contemplated by the Constitution.

 

It then goes on to say:

 

Congress hereby directs the President to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force against Iran.

 

The Senate initially passed the resolution in February, with the House following in March. This action was prompted by President Trump’s drone strike, which killed a top Iranian general. Many members of Congress have said this action will likely lead to war with Iran. They point out that the Constitution requires that Congress declare war. President Trump pushed back, saying that what he did was allowed because he is commander-in-chief. He said that the drone strike saved American lives and stopped an imminent threat.

 

The War Powers Act, invoked by this resolution, requires that presidents consult with Congress before military actions and seek congressional approval for longer-term military deployments. Enacted in the 1970s in the wake of the Vietnam War, presidents have routinely claimed that the law is an unconstitutional violation of their powers as commander-in-chief.

 

President Trump vetoed SJ Res 68 on May 6.

 

Do you think that U.S. military actions against Iran should be ended?

House to Consider Ending Iraq War Authorization

 

In 2002, Congress voted to give President George W. Bush authorization to wage war in Iraq. This week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote to repeal that authorization.

 

Major military operations in Iraq by the U.S. have long been finished. There are still American troops in the nation, however, assisting Iraqi forces and protecting American assets. A recent drone strike ordered by President Trump to kill a high-ranking Iranian general in the country has renewed attention on U.S. military activities in that nation. The Iraqi parliament held a non-binding vote to expel all U.S. forces.

 

In the U.S., members of Congress complained that the president did not consult them prior to the strike. But President Trump says that he has the authority to do what he wants thanks to the 2020 use of force authorization. Repealing that authorization will make it more difficult for the president to act militarily in the Middle East.

 

Supporters of this repeal point out that the original military objectives set out in 2002 have been accomplished. Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge (and no longer living). The Iraqi government at the time has been overthrown. According to those who want this resolution passed, there is no longer any justification to continue military operations in that nation under that 18-year-old authorization. They argue that if there is a need for military force today, then Congress should pass a new authorization.

 

Opponents of this move counter that Iraq may be different than in 2002, but it is still dangerous. They argue that there is a continuing need for U.S. military activities in the region to protect American interests and allies. They say that repealing the use of force will only hamper the military’s ability to keep Americans safe.

 

There are likely enough votes in the House to pass this repeal, but it is unlikely to be considered in the Senate.

 

Do you think Congress should repeal the 2002 Iraqi use of force authorization?

Congress Votes to End Military Activities against Iran

The House of Representatives yesterday expressed its displeasure with President Trump’s military actions against Iran.

 

By a vote of 224-194, the House passed House Concurrent Resolution 83, which invokes the War Powers Act to end Iranian hostilities. The resolution states that the President must stop military action against or in Iran until:

 

(1) Congress has declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of the Armed Forces; or

 

(2) such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its Armed Forces, consistent with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution.

 

This resolution was prompted by President Trump’s drone strike, which killed a top Iranian general. Many members of Congress have said this action will likely lead to war with Iran. They point out that the Constitution requires that Congress declare war. President Trump pushed back, saying that what he did was allowed because he is commander-in-chief. He said that the drone strike saved American lives and stopped an imminent threat.

 

The War Powers Act, invoked by this resolution, requires that presidents consult with Congress before military actions and seek congressional approval for longer-term military deployments. Enacted in the 1970s in the wake of the Vietnam War, presidents have routinely claimed that the law is an unconstitutional violation of their powers as commander-in-chief.

 

The vote was mainly along party lines. Three Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the resolution. Eight Democrats voted against it. The Senate is unlikely to take up a similar resolution.

 

Do you think that military action against Iran should stop until Congress votes to declare war against that country?

Congress to Debate Iranian Military Action

President Trump thinks that he has the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. Some key members of the House and Senate disagree.

 

In the Senate, Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted the Trump Administration after receiving a briefing on the drone strike that killed an Iranian general. The Trump Administration contends that the use of force resolution for the Iraq passed by Congress in 2003 covered his strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Both Sen. Lee and Sen. Paul said this was absurd and that hostilities with Iran require new congressional approval.

 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agrees. She has introduced a use of force resolution that the House will vote on today. The premise of this resolution is that only Congress has the authority to legitimize military action against Iran.

 

The debate about which branch controls the war-making power is an old one. The Constitution says the president is commander-in-chief. Presidents argue that this gives them sole authority to direct the military. The Constitution also says that Congress must declare war. Members of Congress argue that the president can only use his power as commander-in-chief after congress has made such a declaration.

 

The House will likely pass its use of force resolution, but the Senate is unlikely to consider it. Many Senate Republicans are fine with what President Trump is doing in relation to Iran. Sen. Lindsay Graham went so far as to say that senators such as Sens. Lee and Paul who question the president’s actions are empowering the enemy.

 

Do you think that President Trump should seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran?

Iraq Votes to Expel U.S. Troops

In the wake of a drone strike killing a top Iranian military official, the Iraqi parliament has voted to expel U.S. troops.

 

The resolution, which removes Iraqi government approval for the U.S. military to remain in the nation, passed by a large margin on Sunday. The Shiite-dominated parliament met after Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi called it into an emergency session to consider the question.

 

The prime minister said that part of the motivation behind the resolution was the fear that Iraqi military forces could not protect Americans who are in the country. The U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has inflamed tensions in the region.

 

President Trump has reacted to the news by threatening to sanction Iraq.

 

The current government in Iraq is a caretaker government that has limited legal authority. It is unclear if the resolution has a binding effect. While the legal issues are being sorted out, the U.S. military presence in Iraq will continue.

 

Do you think that U.S. troops should remain in Iraq?

Trump Orders Drone Strike on Top Iranian Official

A U.S. drone strike yesterday killed Qasem Soleimani, a high-ranking Iranian military official. President Trump said he ordered the killing to disrupt a plot that would have killed Americans. Some Democrats are questioning whether it is wise for the U.S. to heighten military tensions with Iran.

 

Soleimani was a key figure in Iranian efforts to train paramilitary groups that advances Iranian goals in the Middle East. U.S. officials blamed him for playing a large role in the recent unrest that has engulfed the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

 

The U.S. and Iran have a long history of conflict since the late 1970s, when Muslim fundamentalists took over the nation from the American-backed shah. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran has been influencing Shiite militia in that nation in ways that counter American interests.

 

President Trump said that Soleimani has been responsible for American deaths in the past. Military officials say that he was planning a new attack, one that could have killed dozens or hundreds of Americans. They say that his killing will likely disrupt that plan.

 

Some Democrats in Congress accuse the president of launching the drone attack as a way to distract from impeachment. They say that the Trump Administration is focused on escalating tensions with Iran instead of seeking ways to bring peace to the region.

 

Do you support the Trump Administration’s policy towards Iran?

Congress Passes Bill to Create Space Force

The Space Force will soon be a reality for the U.S. military.

 

The Senate approved the Dense authorization bill by a vote of 86-8 today, authorizing spending on the U.S. military for the next year. Included in that legislation is the creation of the Space Force, a priority of President Trump.

 

In 2018, the president announced plans to create a sixth branch of the military to undertake operations in space.

 

It is still unclear how far the mission of the Space Force will reach. NASA undertakes peaceful missions in space, and that would remain unchanged. The new force is aimed at ensuring that space cannot be used for offensive action against the United States. Its main aim, at least initially, will be to protect satellites, which are increasingly important for both civilian and military uses.

 

Other nations have similar forces. Russia created an Aerospace Force in 2015. The U.S. Space Force will be part of the Air Force.

 

The House of Representatives has already passed the Defense authorization bill, and it now heads to President Trump for his signature.

 

Do you support creation of the Space Force?

House Endorses Two-State Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict

Since Israel became independent in 1948, there has been conflict about its existence. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for an independent Palestinian state in order to quell the latest round of violence in the region.

 

By a vote of 226-188, the House passed a House Resolution 326, a nonbinding measure that supports U.S. efforts to negotiate a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The text of the resolution reads, in part:

 

Whereas the United States remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces, including terrorism, regional instability, horrifying violence in neighboring states, and hostile regimes that call for its destruction;

 

Whereas the United States has long sought a just, stable, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and offers Israel long-term security and full normalization with its neighbors;

 

It then concludes:

 

only the outcome of a two-state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians, and their neighbors can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own…

 

And a United States proposal to achieve a just, stable, and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should expressly endorse a two-state solution as its objective and discourage steps by either side that would put a peaceful end to the conflict further out of reach, including unilateral annexation of territory or efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.

 

The idea of forming a separate Palestinian state out of Israel has long been a topic of discussion. Palestinians have demanded their own state, free from Israeli rule. However, Israel has demanded that Palestinians and other Arab states recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israel says it cannot cede any territory as long as its existence is threatened. Palestinians and many Arab leaders view Israel as an illegitimate nation that obtained its territory through theft of land.

 

Negotiations to end the violence that continues to plague this region are ongoing. 

 

Do you support creating a separate state for Palestinians? Should Arab nations and Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in exchange for such a state?

House Takes Aim at Hong Kong Crackdown

Hong Kong has seen nearly six months of protests over Chinese government policies. This week the House of Representatives voted on two measures which aim to bolster the protesters who are urging more freedom in Hong Kong.

 

 By a vote of 417-0, the House passed S. 2710, legislation that would ban the U.S. from selling tear gas, rubber bullets, or handcuffs to the Hong Kong police. And by a vote of 417-1, it passed S. 1838, legislation that could end Hong Kong’s special trade relationship with the U.S. and subject some Hong Kong officials to sanctions.

 

These two bills come in response to the Chinese crackdown of protests in Hong Kong that are demanding wider democracy and an examination of police practices. The protests began in June over legislation that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China. Hong Kong is part of China, but has a separate economic and legal system that is a remnant from its colonial rule by Great Britain. It has a freer economic system and stronger political and legal protections than the rest of China.

 

Hong Kong residents have been wary of Chinese attempts to undermine their economic and legal rights since Great Britain turned over the city to China in 1999. Protester saw the extradition bill as a way for China to persecute political dissidents, and they took to the streets to protest. The Chinese government has withdrawn the bill, but the protests continued over the violent crackdown that has met the protesters.

 

The Senate has already passed both S. 2710 and S. 1838. They now head to President Trump for his signature.

 

Do you support U.S. efforts to punish China for cracking down on Hong Kong protesters?

Honoring America’s Veterans

Today is Veterans Day – a federal holiday specifically set aside to honor the service of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

 

Originally, the holiday on November 11 was called Armistice Day. It commemorated the end of hostilities in World War I. The Allied nations and Germany signed an armistice that took place at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, that ended the fighting in that war. In 1938, the date became an official U.S. holiday, with Congress declaring it to be “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'.”

 

After World War II, a veteran from that conflict began lobbying for the day to be renamed in order to recognize veterans from all wars, not just World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill into law that officially changed the November 11 holiday to Veterans Day.

 

This holiday is celebrated in many nations that were part of the Allied cause in World War I. In the United Kingdom, it has been renamed Remembrance Day to remember the war dead.

 

How are you commemorating Veterans Day?

House Takes Aim at Turkey This Week

President Trump’s decision to remove American military forces from northern Syria, and the subsequent invasion of the area by Turkey, has provoked howls of outrage in Washington, D.C. Now the House of Representatives is targeting Turkey with votes on two bills – one symbolic and one that would have consequences for Turkish officials if signed into law.

 

The symbolic resolution is House Resolution 296, concerning the Armenian genocide, which occurred in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. It states:

 

That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that it is the policy of the United States to—

 

(1) commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance;

 

(2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and

 

(3) encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.

 

While this will not change official U.S. foreign policy, it is aimed squarely at Turkey. That nation has strongly denied that the there was ever an official policy by the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey, to massacre Armenians. It objects to any statement by the U.S. government that recognizes such a genocide.

 

The second bill is HR 4695. As described by VoteSpotter, that bill would “block the transfer of assets belonging to senior Turkish officials and deny them entry into the United States in response to Turkish military action in norther Syria. The legislation would also prohibit some arms sales to the Turkish military.”

 

If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump, HR 4685 would subject the Turkish president and other Turkish military and government officials to financial restrictions on any assets in the U.S.

 

With the bipartisan condemnation of Turkish actions in northern Syria, these two bills may pass with bipartisan support. It is unclear if the sanctions bill will be taken up by the Senate.

 

Do you support imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to its military actions in Syria?

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