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Steve Cohen on Foreign Policy

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Voted YES on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan.

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

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.

Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban. To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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

Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

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

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.

Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-H662 on Sep 27, 2008

Keep sanctions against Syria until WMDs are dismantled.

Cohen 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

Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict.

Cohen co-sponsored Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict

A resolution recognizing the 15th anniversary of the founding of Seeds of Peace, an organization promoting understanding, reconciliation, acceptance, coexistence, & peace in the Middle East, South Asia, and other regions of conflict.

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

Rated +2 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.

Cohen 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. For the House, we included 15 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, five bills and one letter on Palestine, two bills on Lebanon, three bills and a letter regarding civil liberties, and two bills on immigration.

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

Humanitarian aid to rebuild Haiti after earthquake.

Cohen co-sponsored Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding Act

Source: H.R.3771 12-H3771 on Jan 10, 2012

Condemn China's organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners.

Cohen co-sponsored Resolution on Falun Gong

RESOLUTION expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
  1. calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end the practice of organ harvesting from all prisoners, and particularly from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups;
  2. calls for a full and transparent investigation into organ transplant practices;
  3. demands an immediate end to the 14-year persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice;
  4. recommends that the United States State Department issue a travel warning for US citizens traveling to China for organ transplants informing them that the organ source for their operation may be a prisoner of conscience; and
  5. recommends that the US Government publicly condemn organ transplantation abuses in China and ban the entry of those who have participated in illegal removal of human tissues and organs.
Source: H.Res.281 14_HRes281 on Jun 27, 2013

Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

Cohen 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

Afghanistan-Pakistan study group to assess exit strategy.

Cohen 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

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