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Barney Frank on Foreign Policy

Democratic Representative (MA-4)


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

Voted YES 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

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

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.

Frank 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:

EXCERPTS FROM BILL:

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

Member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

Frank is a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus

The Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in the United States House of Representatives that works to raise awareness about and combat human rights abuses throughout the world.

The caucus keeps members and their staff informed of opportunities to help through briefings on human rights topics and letter initiatives.

Source: Congressional Caucus Web site 01-CHRC0 on Jan 8, 2001

Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.

Frank co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill:

    In an effort to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, urges the President to:

  1. 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; and

  2. 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

  3. Congress to undertake a multi-year commitment to provide the resources to implement those strategies; and

  4. the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to report on such implementation.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR102 on Apr 4, 2001

Urge China to respect religious freedom.

Frank co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution condemning China:

Title: Condemning the Government of the People's Republic of China for its poor human rights record.

    Summary: Expresses the sense of Congress that:

  1. the Government of the People's Republic of China should stop persecution of all religious practitioners and safeguard fundamental human rights; and

  2. the U.S. Government should continue to insist that China adhere to such rights.

  3. Urges the Chinese Government to release from detention all religious practitioners, Falun Gong members, and prisoners of conscience and end torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment;

  4. allow the Chinese people to pursue their personal beliefs; and

  5. adhere to the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR68 on Mar 20, 2001

End the Cuban embargo.

Frank co-sponsored ending the Cuban embargo

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: This bill lifts the harmful and counterproductive US embargo on Cuba. The sanctions have failed to remove Castro from power, and other nations are unwilling to respect the embargo.

I oppose economic sanctions for two very simple reasons. First, they don't work as effective foreign policy. Time after time, from Cuba to China to Iraq, we have failed to unseat despotic leaders by refusing to trade with the people of those nations. If anything, the anti-American sentiment aroused by sanctions often strengthens the popularity of such leaders. While sanctions may serve our patriotic fervor, they mostly harm innocent citizens and do nothing to displace the governments we claim as enemies.

Second, sanctions simply hurt American industries, particularly agriculture. Every market we close to our nation's farmers is a market exploited by foreign farmers. China, Russia, North Korea, and Cuba all represent huge markets for our farm products, yet many in Congress favor trade restrictions that prevent our farmers from selling to the billions of people in these countries.

I certainly understand the emotional feelings many Americans have toward nations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Cuba. Yet we must not let our emotions overwhelm our judgment in foreign policy matters, because ultimately human lives are at stake. Economic common sense, self-interested foreign policy goals, and humanitarian ideals all point to the same conclusion: Congress should work to end economic sanctions against all nations immediately.

The legislation I introduce today is representative of true free trade in that while it opens trade, it prohibits the US taxpayer from being compelled to subsidize the US government, the Cuban government or individuals or entities that choose to trade with Cuban citizens.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on Immigration & Border Security; never came to a vote.

Source: Cuban Embargo bill (H.R.1698) 03-HR1698 on Apr 9, 2003

Seeds of Peace: promote coexistence in regions of conflict.

Frank 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 +1 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record.

Frank scores +1 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

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.

Frank 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

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.

Frank signed Affirmation of US Record on Armenian Genocide