The Congressional China Caucus
Congressman Forbes is founder of the Congressional China Caucus, a bipartisan group of members of Congress who share a common interest in the emergence of China as a political, economic and military actor on both the regional and global stage. The primary purpose of the caucus is to educate its members on issues pertaining to China and Chinese interests and serve as a forum for discussion of such issues.
Steadfast Support of Israel
Rep. Forbes supported a resolution reaffirming the United States' commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. More...
American Interests in South China Sea
A recent report outlines American interests in South China Sea region and prescribes actions that the U.S. can take to protect those interests. More...
Religious Freedom in the World
Congressman Forbes supported a bill that directs the President to appoint a new special envoy within the State Department to promote religious freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia. More...
Supported legislation to treat manipulated exchange rates as export subsidies. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, H.R. 1276, which would increase customs duties and thus federal revenues. The Congressional Budget Office estimates those additional revenues would total $125 million over the 2011-2020 period. The legislation would provide guidance in assessing whether a “benefit” exists in circumstances involving material currency under-evaluation resulting from government intervention. Specifically, it defines "benefit conferred," in cases where the currency of a foreign country is exchanged for foreign currency (i.e., U.S. dollars) obtained from export transactions, as the difference between: (1) the amount of currency provided by a foreign country in which the subject merchandise is produced, and (2) the amount of currency such country would have provided if the real effective exchange rate of its currency were not fundamentally undervalued.
Supported Religious Freedom in the Middle East. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 301, to provide for the creation of a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom for religious minorities in the Middle East. Christians and other religious minorities in many cases are not extended the same protection as religious majorities and are regularly targets for legal and physical persecution. The bill directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy within the Department of State to promote religious freedom for minorities and to monitor and combat religious intolerance against these minorities.
Called attention to potential violations of sanctions on Iran. Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to request further investigation into potential Iran sanctions violations by Chinese companies. Recent reports show that Huawei and Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) have exported technology to restrict and censor freedom of speech within Iran. The letter requests that the Administration initiate a thorough investigation into the sales and related activities of Huawei and ZTE in Iran and determine whether they should be designated as sanctioned entities under U.S. Law.
Improved U.S.-Israeli cooperation on key defense issues. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, H.R. 938, to enhance cooperation between the United States and Israel by designating Israel a “major strategic partner.” Under this improved partnership, the President may provide assistance for cooperation in the fields of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies. The President is also encouraged to provide assistance for enhancement of the David's Sling Weapon System, the joint United States-Israel Arrow Weapon System, and the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system. The bill amends the Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 to extend authority to: (1) make additions to foreign-based defense stockpiles, and (2) transfer certain obsolete or surplus Department of Defense (DOD) items to Israel. It also amends the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to extend the grant program on research, development, and commercialization of renewable energy or energy efficiency. Finally, it establishes policy to include Israel in the visa waiver program when Israel satisfies such program’s inclusion requirements.
Proposed military tribunals for terrorist suspects. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Military Tribunals for Terrorists Act, H.R. 1081,requiring that all foreign terrorists with links to terrorist networks who attack the United States or its Government be considered enemy combatants to be tried by military tribunals instead of civilian courts. More specifically, the bill requires trial only by a military commission for any foreign national who: (1) engages or has engaged in an offense relating to a terrorist attack against persons or property in the United States or U.S. government property or personnel outside the United States; and (2) is subject to trial for that offense by a military commission under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Renewed demand for the immediate release of Pastor Abedini. Congressman Forbes has continued an urgent plea for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been detained in Iran since last summer. In concurrence with a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in February, he has co-sponsored H.Res.147, which (1) condemns the Government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities, including Saeed Abedini; (2) calls on the Government of Iran to release Saeed Abedini to the United States; and (3) calls on the United States Government to work aggressively for the quick release of Saeed Abedini by designating additional Iranian officials, as appropriate, for human rights abuses. Pastor Abedine is serving an eight-year sentence for his beliefs and has recently suffered severe internal injuries without any medical attention.
Called for justice for American hostages. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Justice for the American Diplomats Held Hostage in Tehran Act H.R. 904, establishing a common fund to pay claims to the American hostages held in Iran for 444 days after the U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized in 1979. The Algiers Accords, the final agreement that ended the hostage situation, barred the hostages from prosecuting any claim against Iran in U.S. courts. This bill would assert that Congress has determined that compensation to the hostages and their families through funds obtained by liquidating property held by Iran is fully consistent with the Algiers Accords. The fund will stem from fines and penalties collected for violations of activities with respect to any government or person by reason of a connection with Iran, and seized or frozen Iranian assets or assets from persons or entities subject to Iran-related sanctions.
Recommended stronger sanctions on Iran. Congressman Forbes joined members on both sides of the aisle to cosponsor a bill, H.R.850, to strengthen and expand existing U.S. sanctions on Iran. This bill would maintain existing restrictions on commercial trade and Iranian bank transactions, but also deny the regime hard currency by ceasing access to Euro-dominated transactions. In addition, the bill seeks expand current sanctions against human rights violators and those who transfer to Iran technology used to undermine human rights.
Continued support for Iron Dome Project. Congressman Forbes maintained his support for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system by cosponsoring the Iron Dome Support Act, H.R.1130. The Iron Dome has proven to be a highly effective, defensive weapon system and was successful in downing nearly 90% of incoming missiles during the recent Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. However, the coverage it provides is still inadequate and additional units are required to protect the civilian population of Israel. This bill authorizes the President to provide assistance, upon request by the Israeli Government, for the procurement, maintenance and sustainment of the Iron Dome.
Urged Secretary of State to re-list North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 673, to continue diplomatic, economic and military sanctions against North Korea for their support of international terrorism. The bill urges the Secretary of State to relist North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and requires the Department of State to certify that the regime of North Korea is no longer engaged in the illegal transfer of missile or nuclear technology, particularly to the regimes of Iran, Syria, or any other State Sponsor of Terrorism, and is no longer engaged in harboring, supplying, financing, or supporting in any way rogue states and foreign terrorist organizations.
Specified conditions for Egypt to receive foreign aid. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act, H.R. 416, to condition security and economic assistance to the government of Egypt. The continued civil rights violations have led to the current rise in violent protests in Egypt. This bill ensures that aid to Egypt will only be given assistance if they (1) are not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization; (2) transition to a free-market democratic government; (3) adopt and implement legal reforms that protect the rights of all citizens; (4) fully implement the Israel-Egypt peace treaty; and (5) destroy the smuggling network between Egypt and Gaza.
Delivered a keynote address on “Competitive Strategies” for addressing China’s rise at the American Enterprise Institute. Congressman Forbes was invited to give a keynote address on the military and economic rise of China. The Congressman discussed long-term strategies for what will be a prolonged, peacetime competition with China featuring diplomatic, economic and military elements. As Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Congressman Forbes has a longstanding interest in military and political developments in China and continues to work to educate the American public on potential opportunities and hazards in the Sino-American relationship.
Called upon Prime Minister Erdogan to retract anti-Zionist speech. Congressman Forbes signed a bipartisan and bicameral letter to express grave disappointment over a claim made by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that Zionism is a “crime against humanity.” The statement was made during an open session of the Alliance of Civilizations – a UN initiative designed to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries. Zionism, a non-discriminatory affirmation of Jewish nationhood, is not to be associated with the growing global threat of extremism. In conjunction with the White House and the office of the UN Secretary-General, Congressman Forbes hopes that the Prime Minister will take the earliest opportunity to retract his regrettable comment and bear in mind the commitment the Turkish government has made to meaningful international involvement to advance security and peace.
Condemned North Korea for nuclear testing. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution, H.Res.65, Condemning the Government of North Korea for its flagrant and repeated violations of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, for its repeated provocations that threaten international peace and stability, and for its February 12, 2013, test of a nuclear device. This resolution passed by a vote of 412-2.
Called for continued investigation of the attack in Benghazi. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H. Res 36, to create a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Members of this committee will include the Chairmen and ranking members of the following committees: Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and a few members appointed by the Speaker. The investigation intends to uncover information regarding the timeline of events and how both the executive branch and relative agencies responded to the attack.
Urged the Russian Government to re-establish cooperation in adoption of Russian children. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H. Res 24, which urges the Russian government to support inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens. On December 28, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted legislation that bans adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens. This law violates the November 1, 2012 agreement between Russia and the United States regarding cooperation in adoption of children, which permitted inter-country adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens and mandated that both countries must provide one year notice of intent to terminate the agreement. In Russia, there are nearly 740,000 children living without parental care. Over the last two decades, more than 60,000 Russia-born children have found homes with American families. Tragically, enactment of this law means thousands of Russian orphans will unnecessarily remain without a loving family.
Insisted on the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Senator Kerry urging him to utilize every possible option to secure the immediate release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. On September 26, 2012 Pastor Abedini was taken custody when his parents’ home was raided. In the following months, he has experienced solitary confinement, beatings, and aggressive interrogations in Evin Prison in Iran. Every American citizen traveling or living abroad should have the assurance that the U.S. government will come come vigorously to his or her defense if they are unjustly detained or imprisoned.
Called on the Secretary of State for the Unconditional Release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. On January 15, Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting a strong and sustained advocacy on behalf of the United States government for the immediate release of Saeed Abedini. Saeed was convicted and sentenced to eight years in Evin prison for “threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches.”
Supported families hoping to adopt North Korean children. Congressman Forbes supported the North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, H.R. 1464, which directs the U.S. State Department to develop a strategy for facilitating the adoption of North Korean orphans by families in the United States. This bill passed by voice vote.
Supported strengthening sanctions against Iran. Congressman Forbes supported passage of the Iran Threat Reduction Act, H.R. 1905, asserting that Congress believes that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a major threat to U.S. national security interests, and that Tehran’s material assistance to known terrorist groups provides the regime the potential to further impact U.S. national security. The bill declares that it is the policy of the United States to deny Iran the ability to support acts of terrorism and develop unconventional weapons by implementing specific sanctions that can help in successfully executing that policy. These sanctions are applied to individuals or groups who provide Iran weapons technology, nuclear technology, goods, services, technology, and information or support that could directly contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum products. This bill passed by a vote of 421-6.
Reaffirmed the importance of close U.S.-Israeli relations. Congressman Forbes supported the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, S.2165, to extend vital defense relationships and ensure that the U.S. can continue to support Israel’s capability to defend itself. The bill also set a clear statement of policy that the United States should provide Israel with the military capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat, veto any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. Security Council, and support Israel’s inherent right to self-defense. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Authorized key foreign operations programs. Congressman Forbes supported the State Department Authorization Act, H.R. 6018, a narrow reauthorization of critical foreign operations programs that included Arms Control programs, security at U.S. embassies, and international broadcasting programs. Not serving as an authorization for foreign aid programs, this bill prioritized future U.S. investment to ensure that American diplomatic missions can be conducted safely with proper oversight. This bill passed by a vote of 333-61.
Called for Boko Haram to be designated a terrorist organization. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act, H.R. 5822, requiring the State Department to submit to Congress a report on whether the Nigerian jihadist organization, Boko Haram, meets the criteria to be designated as a foreign terrorist organization. If not, the bill requires a detailed justification as to which criteria have not been met. Boko Haram has been linked to a number of bombings throughout Nigeria, many of which have targeted churches, and the Director of National Intelligence has testified before Congress that Boko Haram is growing and may be interested in future strikes against “western targets.”
Opposed U.N. control over the Internet. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H. Con. Res.127, to reject the proposed international takeover of the Internet. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialized agency for information and communication technologies at the United Nations. December 2012, the ITU will hold a conference in Dubai to renegotiate a 1988 treaty known as the International Telecommunication Regulations. During the renegotiation process, the jurisdiction and legal authority of the ITU could be expanded, resulting in greater influence over the Internet, specifically in the areas of data privacy and cyber security.
Expressed regret for discriminatory legislation of the 19th Century. Congressman Forbes supported passage of a House Resolution that expressed the regret of the House of Representatives for passage of past laws that adversely affected people of Chinese origin in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Chinese Exclusion Act denied Chinese immigrants access to the U.S. and prevented Chinese immigrants already in the nation the ability to naturalize as U.S. citizens. Later this law was expanded to anyone of Chinese dissent. This law was eventually repealed in 1943. While the House Resolution does not authorize or support any claims of compensation, H.Res.683 takes the important step of illustrating how the previous actions of the House were improper and not in line with American ideals. This resolution passed by voice-vote.
Declared support for the freedom, security and stability of Taiwan. Congressman Forbes supported H.Con.Res.39, expressing the sense of Congress regarding the freedom, security, and stability of Taiwan. This resolution expresses clearly the grave concern of Congress concerning the ballistic missile deployment by the People’s Republic of China directed toward Taiwan which threatens the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and urges the President to move forward with the sale of new and upgraded F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. These capabilities are important for Taiwan to maintain its ability to defend against the increasing military threat from the People’s Republic of China.
Stood for justice for the Iranian Embassy Hostages and their families. Congressman Forbes supported the Justice for American Diplomat Held Hostage in Tehran Act, H.R. 5796, which would establish a common fund, at no expense to the American taxpayer, to pay claims by Americans who, in 1979 were held hostage for 444 days in the American embassy in Tehran. Until now, and based on previous agreements made at the time of the hostages’ release, these victims of terrorism have been barred from seeking compensation for the treatment they received while being held against their will for over a year. This common fund would be supported by penalties charged to companies found to be in violation of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Letter to the Palestinian Authority. Congressman Forbes, along with 25 of his colleagues, sent a letter to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, urging that the PA respect religious freedom and cease its discrimination of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem. Under PA control, this church has been denied formal recognition, resulting in church member’s being denied basic documents, prevented from voting and precluded from other basic services. By refusing the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem recognition, the PA is denying the church members the basic human right of religious freedom. Congressman Forbes’ letter was signed by 26 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives.
Ensured Children and Families have Access to Child Support. Congressman Forbes supported the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act, H.R.4282, to ensure that the U.S. can comply fully with the obligations of the Hague Convention of November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, which the Senate gave its advice and consent to in 2010. Under the current child support enforcement program, states have the option to recognize child support orders from other countries; however, some countries do not reciprocate our states’ efforts to collect child support from a noncustodial parent living abroad.
Supported Efficiency in Promoting U.S. Goods Abroad. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 4041, the Export Promotion Reform Act, to create and implement a strategy for maximizing U.S. exports across the world. H.R. 4041 directs the Commerce Secretary to conduct a global assessment of overseas markets to determine those with the greatest potential for increasing U.S. exports. This bill requires the Commerce Department to regularly report to Congress on the status and effectiveness of these assessments. H.R. 4041 passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.
Supported Humanitarian Assistance for North Korean Refugees. Congressman Forbes supported the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4240) to assist refugees attempting to escape the authoritarian North Korean regime. The bill also calls on the People’s Republic of China to stop forcibly returning North Korean refugees who often faces severe punishments at the hands of the North Korean regime. North Korea remains one of the most oppressive nations in the world, employing strict censorship, torture and a police state to maintain control. Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a message that the United States will continue to support the efforts of the North Korean people to escape oppression. This bill was passed by a voice-vote.
Sent a Clear Message on the Importance of Preventing a Nuclear Iran. Congressman Forbes supported passage of H.Res. 568, a resolution to make clear the importance of preventing the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. This resolution unambiguously rejects any U.S. policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran and urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of a nuclear Iran. Congressman Forbes has consistently supported a clear policy that ensures Iran does not develop a nuclear weapons capability and was a cosponsor of H.Res. 568 prior to voting in favor of the resolution. The bill passed by a vote of 401-11.
Maintained Enhanced Security Cooperation between the United States and Israel. Congressman Forbes supported passage of H.R. 4133, the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. This bill expresses Congress’s continued support of the U.S.-Israeli security relationship and directs the President to assist Israel in ensuring our nation’s closest ally in the Middle East does not lose its qualitative military edge. To ensure Israel’s military edge, the U.S. must further develop advanced technology programs between our nation and Israel. Additionally, this bill directs the President to report to Congress on the actions being taken to expand cooperation between the United States and Israel in homeland security, counter-terrorism, cyber security and other appropriate areas. As a cosponsor of this bill, Congressman Forbes voted in favor of H.R. 4133 when it passed in the House 411-9.
Stood with Israel to foster the nation’s security. Congressman Forbes co-sponsored H.R. 4229, the Iron Dome Support Act to authorize assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The Iron Dome anti-missile system is essential to protecting the Israeli people from ongoing rocket attacks. Only by ensuring Israel’s security as a foundation can a negotiated peace settlement be pursued. Congressman Forbes knows that the Iron Dome anti-missile system is a vital component of Israel’s security and has joined over 75 of his colleagues in authorizing the President to assist Israel in the sustainment of the Iron Dome system.
Worked to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res. 568, a resolution that expresses that it is vital for U.S. interests to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In urging Iran to suspend all uranium-enrichment activities, this bill supports the use of increasing economic and diplomatic pressure to support the universal human rights of the Iranian people and opposes any attempt to implement a policy of “containment” in response to an Iranian nuclear threat. Congressman Forbes remains dedicated to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear capability that would destabilize the region and threaten Israel, our nation’s closest ally in the region.
Ensured continued support for Israel. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4133, the United States – Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which reaffirms the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security as a Jewish state, expands cooperation between our two nations, and encourages Israel’s neighbors to recognize the nation’s right to exist.
Clarified U.S. authority to impose financial sanctions against Iran. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4070, a bill that clarifies U.S. authority to seize financial assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran that are being held in the United States. This means that U.S. banks that are holding Iranian funds frozen by U.S. sanctions can be seized by the U.S. government rather than be returned to the Iranian regime. This clarification would allow victims of Iranian terrorism, such as the families of the victims of the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, to pursue these seized funds as compensation for damages. In the case of the victims of the Beirut bombing, U.S. courts have already ruled that the Iranian government owes these families compensation. This bill provides an avenue for those families to finally receive some payment from Iran for the death of their loved ones.
Supporting Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani & Religious Freedom. Congressman Forbes defended religious freedom—one of the most profound human rights in existence—by delivering a statement on the House floor in support of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and by cosponsoring H.Res.556, a resolution introduced by Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16) condemning the Iranian Government for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Mr. Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his Christian faith. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 417-1.
Required that the State Department address Iran’s growing threat in the Western Hemisphere. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, H.R. 3783. One week after the U.S. Director of National Intelligence told the Senate that Iran is now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States, it is now more important than ever that the State Department develop a strategy to address Iran’s growing presence and threatening activity in the Western Hemisphere. Last year Congressman Forbes urged the Administration to include the Western Hemisphere in the 2012 National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Now, in the face of DNI’s comments, it is clear that a coherent and comprehensive strategy for dealing with Iranian activity in our nation’s backyard is required.
Affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 271, expressing support for the State of Israel’s right to defend its sovereignty and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. In response to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s November report that Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear weapon, Congressman Forbes, along with 63 other Members of the House of Representatives, have cosponsored this resolution to ensure our nation’s closest ally in the Middle East knows that it has the support of the United States as it takes action to protect Israeli sovereignty and the Israeli people.
Asked the GAO to examine gaps in government knowledge of China. Congressman Forbes joined Congressman Frank Wolf and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in sending a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that two studies be undertaken to address deficiencies in the federal government’s awareness regarding the People’s Republic of China. The first study requested is an analysis of the degree to which China has acted upon its promises made during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue it has conducted with the U.S. Secondly, Congressman Forbes’ letter requested that the GAO conduct a study of the Department of Defense’s early warning systems to ensure that the U.S. would have sufficient timely warning prior to any military action taken by China. Both of these areas were highlighted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission as key gaps in U.S. government awareness of U.S.-China relations and GAO studies were recommended in the Commission’s 2011 Annual Report to Congress. A copy of the request is available here.
Urged the Administration to fully implement sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank. Congressman Forbes joined 88 Members of the House of Representatives in sending a bipartisan letter to the Administration urging that new sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2012 be fully implemented. Amidst a more belligerent Iran who has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and has continued to pursue a nuclear weapon, Congressman Forbes has expressed his hope that bipartisan sanctions aimed at Iran’s financial center will be implemented quickly and in their entirety. This bipartisan letter was signed by 89 Members. A copy of the letter is available here.
Strengthened sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act. This legislation stipulates that Congress believes that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a major threat to U.S. national security interests, and that Tehran’s material assistance to known terrorist groups provides the regime the potential to further impact U.S. national security. As a result, H.R. 1905 declares that it is the policy of the United States to deny Iran the ability to support acts of terrorism and develop unconventional weapons by implementing specific sanctions that can help in successfully executing that policy. These sanctions are applied to individuals or groups who provide Iran weapons technology, nuclear technology, goods, services, technology, and information or support that could directly contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum products.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 410-11.
Supported new tools to counter proliferation of weapons and technology to Iran, North Korea and Syria. Congressman Forbes supported passage of H.R. 2105, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act of 2011. This bill directs the President to report to Congress any foreign person who has transferred or acquired from Iran, North Korea and Syria certain listed nuclear, dual-use, missile, chemical, biological, toxic or prohibited technology. The bill goes one step further to prohibit any U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements with any country that is assisting Iran, North Korea or Syria, and prevents U.S. visas from being granted to individuals involved with proliferating weapons to Iran.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 418-2.
Cut U.S. funding for the United Nation’s Population Fund. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill that cut U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has been linked to China’s brutal one-child policy. Chinese law provides for coerced and forced abortion in order to enforce the birth limitation policy. Funding for the UN Population Fund was cut off from 2002-2008; however, funding resumed in 2009 under the Obama Administration and from the Fiscal Year 2009 through the Fiscal Year 2011, $145 million has been appropriated for the UN Population Fund.
Making the Palestinian Authority accountable for its support of terrorism. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2457, the Palestinian Accountability Act. This legislation restricts U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until key benchmarks of transparency and support for peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are accepted by PA leadership. These standards include the dismantling of the PA’s infrastructure that support of terrorism, an end to inciting violence through the PA educational system, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and exclusion of Hamas from any PA unity government. Until the PA meets these new standards, H.R. 2457 would prohibit U.S. foreign assistance funds from being made available to the organization and would stop U.S. funding for any United Nations entity that recognizes Palestinian statehood. Congressman Forbes remains dedicated to a peaceful resolution to the conflict that is reached by direct negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. This bill is currently cosponsored by 41 House Members.
Supported moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1006, the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011. This bill officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocates the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 became law, the Embassy has never been moved due to recurring waivers signed by the sitting President. This bill would remove the presidential authority to waive the embassy relocation and would finally implement standing U.S. law. Congressman Forbes, along with 50 other cosponsors, continues to stand with Israel and continues to support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Urged the Administration to include the Western Hemisphere in the 2012 National Strategy for Counterterrorism. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 429 to urge the Administration to ensure that appropriate focus is given to the Western Hemisphere in the formation of the 2012 National Strategy for Counterterrorism’s “Area of Focus.” Due to the significant cause for concern of evolving terrorism threats from Iran’s growing influence in the Western hemisphere, it is vital that the Administration utilize our nation’s existing counterterrorism resources to examine and protect against Iran’s presence and activities in the Western Hemisphere.
Urged the Administration to enforce standing law and stop U.S. funding of UNESCO. Congressman Forbes joined 15 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the Administration to voice strong support for enforcing our current law that prohibits U.S. contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) following their awarding of full membership status to the Palestinian Authority (PA). When the UNESCO voted to grant the PA membership status, it was done with the full knowledge that doing so would result in their loss of U.S. contributions. Congressman Forbes believes that it is now imperative that the U.S. stand by existing law and pull U.S. funding from the organization. Anything short of this action would undermine U.S. dedication in support of Israel. A copy of the letter is available here.
Met with the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Congressman Forbes met with Commissioners from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission to learn about the contents of their 2011 Annual Report to Congress that was released on November 16. This year's report covered recent developments in the U.S.-China economic and military relationship, including: bilateral investment and the role of state-owned enterprises in China, indigenous innovation and intellectual property rights, China's internal dilemmas, recent developments in China's military modernization, China's "Area Control" military strategy, China's civilian and military space capabilities, and China's relations with Iran and North Korea. Congressman Forbes' statement on the report is available here.
Continued to press DoD on National Security Implications of GE-AVIC Deal. After receiving a timely, but incomplete response to his October letter to Secretary Panetta, Congressman Forbes has renewed his call for the Department of Defense to formally review the joint venture between GE and the state-owned Chinese aviation company, AVIC. He has again written Secretary Panetta calling for the Department of Defense to ensure that the technologies developed under Department of Defense contracts for military purposes are not later diverted in any form or purported civilian iteration to strategic competitors such as China. Forbes further requested Secretary Panetta review the GE-AVIC joint venture in light of the CLASSIFIED October 7, 2011 Defense Intelligence Digest entitled “Civilian Aircraft Industry Likely to Transfer Foreign Technology to Military” as well as the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) 2011 Annual Report, which notes that "[c]ontinued improvements in China’s civil aviation capabilities, enhance Chinese military aviation capabilities because of the close integration of China’s commercial and military aviation sectors." Congressman Forbes’ most recent letter to Secretary Panetta is available here.
Urged the Government of Egypt to encourage religious freedom. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 459 to urge the new government in Egypt to ensure the full freedom of religion in their country. The 2011 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended for the first time that Egypt be named as a “Country of Particular Concern” with regards to the treatment of religious minorities. Additionally, acts of violence against Christians have repeatedly occurred in Egypt in recent months. Congressman Forbes is encouraging freedom of Christians, and other religious minorities, to practice their faith without fear of reprisal in Egypt.
Ensured our Peace Corps volunteers are protected. Congressman Forbes supported S.1280, the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act. This bill requires the Peace Corps to develop and provide sexual assault risk education and response training as well as to provide protections and advocacy for victims. Over the lifetime of the Peace Corps, hundreds of volunteers have been the victims of sexual assault. In 2009, Kate Puzey a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Georgia was murdered in the West African village of Badjoude, Benin; her case prompted this legislation that Congressman Forbes supported.
This bill passed the House unanimously by a vote of 406-0.
Urged President Obama to stand up for the rights of Christians in Egypt. Congressman Forbes and 40 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives sent a letter to the President, urging the Administration to strongly denounce violence against Coptic Christians at the hands of the Egyptian military, and to withhold military aid for Egypt while it is disregarding the basic human right of religious freedom. The letter also requests an immediate independent and transparent investigation into recent actions of the Egyptian military and violence against Egyptian Christians. A copy of the letter is available here.
Informed Congressional colleagues of China’s aggression in the South China Sea. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to his colleagues in the House of Representatives to bring to their attention a recent article published in the Financial Times that detailed comments by Chinese officials that China's regional neighbors should not “provoke Beijing under the cover of U.S. military power.” As China continues its unmitigated military modernization, it is increasing its capability to challenge regional stability and U.S. influence in the Western Pacific. As Congress considers additional drastic defense cuts, it is imperative that Members of the House are kept well informed on the capabilities and intentions of the People’s Republic of China.
Protected U.S. taxpayers from funding U.N. population control. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2059, to prohibit funding for the United Nations Population Fund. This bill prevents the Secretary of State from making any contributions to the UN Population Fund, which has been linked to China’s brutal one-child policy. Chinese law provides for coerced and forced abortion in order to enforce the birth limitation policy. Funding for the UN Population Fund was cut off from 2002-2008; however, funding resumed in 2009 under the Obama Administration and from the Fiscal Year 2009 through the Fiscal Year 2011, $145 million has been appropriated for the UN Population Fund.
Called on Iran to release Christian Pastor sentenced to death for his faith. Congressman Forbes joined five of his colleagues in sending a letter to Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei to demand the immediate release of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for refusing to reject his Christian faith. This letter followed Congressman Forbes’ public statement - calling on the Iranian government to cease their persecution of Mr. Nadarkhani immediately so that the most fundamental human right of religious freedom can be upheld. To date, Mr. Nadarkhani has not been executed. Most recently, his case has been referred by the Iranian courts to the Ayatollah who will decide his fate. A copy of the letter is available here and Congressman Forbes' statement calling for the release of Nadarkhani is available here.
Supported a strong US-Taiwan relationship. Congressman Forbes spoke at a Congressional Reception honoring Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party Chair, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Dr. Tsai is a candidate in Taiwan's Presidential election in January. He spoke about the longstanding relationship between the United States and Taiwan and the important role Congress has played in supporting Taiwan.
Worked to provide Taiwan with the new F-16 fighter jets it needs for self-defense. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2992, the Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act to provide Taiwan with the new F-16 fighter jets that it needs to maintain its capability to defend against the increasing military threat from the People’s Republic of China. Following an announcement from the White House that these new jets would not be included in an arms package to Taiwan, Congressman Forbes and 16 of his colleagues in the House have cosponsored legislation that would force the Administration to carry out the sale of new F-16 fighters in line with the legal obligations of the Taiwan Relations Act.
Urged foreign leaders to oppose Palestine’s unilateral declaration of statehood. Congressman Forbes joined the chairwoman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in sending a letter to foreign leaders at the United Nations urging that they oppose the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral declaration of independence. Congressman Forbes remains a staunch supporter of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and maintains that only through direct negotiations can a long term framework for peace be laid out and adopted. Moreover, Congressman Forbes believes that unilateral action taken by the Palestinians at the United Nations will only serve to further destabilize the region.
Urged the European Union to maintain its arms embargo against the People’s Republic of China. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res. 356, to urge the European Union (EU) and its member states to maintain its arms embargo against the People’s Republic of China. This embargo has been in place since 1989, and was first put in place due to concerns that China has routinely sold defense items to the Iranian regime, fostered armed conflicts in Africa through weapons sales, and sought foreign military technology as a means of fostering its own military capability. Congressman Forbes joined 14 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives in urging the President to take the appropriate diplomatic measures necessary to ensure that the EU continues is embargo on Chinese arms in principle and practice.
Maintained Support for a negotiated peace agreement in Israel. Congressman Forbes continued his support of a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people by joining a number of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama urging that the United States exercise its veto authority on the United Nations Security Council if a resolution seeking Palestinian accession to United Nations membership is considered. Congressman Forbes continues to believe that a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people is the only way of attaining long-term security and peace in the region. A copy of the letter is available here.
Addressing the immense inequality in Chinese state-run media visas. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2899, the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act that requires that U.S. visas provided to reporters of the People’s Republic of China’s state-run media outlets are only provided in equal number to those afforded to U.S. government media reporters in China. In contrast to the hundreds of visas provided to the Chinese nationals who are employed by a government under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, only two reporters of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors are allowed to be stationed in China.
Requiring transparency and accountability at the United Nations. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act that implements vital reforms to the United Nations to ensure that the American people know where and how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. Most importantly, this bill would prevent U.S. funds from being given to nations that support terrorism and terrorist organizations. The bill would also create an office of a U.S. Inspector General to monitor U.S. contributions to the United Nations in order to ensure that money is not being wasted or spent contrary to U.S. interests. In this time of fiscal uncertainty, Congressman Forbes continues to support efforts to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are spent in the most efficient and effective manner both at home and abroad.
Established a special envoy for religious freedom in the Middle East and South Central Asia. Congressman Forbes voted in favor of H.R.440, a bill he cosponsored, that directs the President to appoint a new special envoy within the State Department to promote religious freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia. This envoy would hold the rank of ambassador and would represent the United States in matters of religious freedom in contact with foreign governments and United Nations agencies. Congressman Forbes continues to stand for the protection of personal expressions of faith around the world and supports efforts that ensure that individuals are not repressed and punished due to their religious faith. This bill passed the House by a vote of 402-20.
Promoted human rights in Burma. Congressman Forbes supported H.J.Res.66 to renew import restrictions against Burma, a nation that has forced its citizens into slave labor-like conditions to produce goods for sale in foreign countries. In 2003, Congress enacted the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act to impose import restrictions on goods produced in Burma. These restrictions are to stay in place until the State Department reports that the Burmese government is no longer systematically violating the human rights of the Burmese people. Congressman Forbes supported legislation to ensure that these restrictions stay in place while Burma continues to subjugate its people. This resolution passed the House by voice-vote.
Stood in steadfast support of Israel. Congressman Forbes voted to support H.Res.268, a resolution reaffirming the United States’ commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. This resolution asserts that peace can only be achieved in the region when the Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist and requires that Hamas, a known terrorist organization and member of the Palestinian unity government, must accept previous agreements to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel. This resolution passed by a vote of 407-6.
Signed a letter to the Chinese Ambassador urging the release of human rights activists. Congressman Forbes, along with Congressmen Wolf, Pitts, and Wu, sent a letter to Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui urging China to release prominent human rights attorney and supporter of religious freedom, Fan Yafeng, who has been detained as part of China’s recent wide-reaching crackdown on political and cultural dissent. Mr. Fan’s family has been harassed, intimidated, and subjected to house arrest. The letter expressed the hope that China will release Mr. Fan and others who have only tried to improve and enrich the lives of the Chinese people. The letter also urged the ruling Communist Party to hold accountable the police and government officials responsible for the torture and mistreatment of human rights activists.
Supported strengthening U.S. sanctions against Iran. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011. This legislation asserts that Congress believes that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a major threat to U.S. national security interests, and that Tehran’s material assistance to known terrorist groups provides the regime the potential to further impact U.S. national security. As a result, H.R. 1905 declares that it is the policy of the United States to deny Iran the ability to support acts of terrorism and develop unconventional weapons by implementing specific sanctions that can help in successfully executing that policy. These sanctions are applied to individuals or groups who provide Iran weapons technology, nuclear technology, goods, services, technology, and information or support that could directly contribute to Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum products. Congressman Forbes believes that the United States must actively pursue efforts to limit and undermine Iran’s capability to do harm to the international community.
Stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel. Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring H.Res.268, a resolution reaffirming the United States’ commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. This resolution asserts that peace can only be achieved in the region when the Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist and requires that Hamas, a known terrorist organization and member of the Palestinian unity government, must accept previous agreements to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel.
Ensured oversight of Haiti earthquake disaster relief funds. Congressman Forbes supported the bipartisan Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, H.R.1016, directing the President to provide Congress with a report on the status of reconstruction and relief efforts in Haiti within six months of the law’s enactment. To date, the United States has provided $1.8 billion in financial assistance to Haiti following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January of 2010. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Called for openness and fairness towards Israel in the United Nations. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1501 to withhold U.S. contributions to the United Nations until the final report of the “U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” is formally retracted. This report condemned Israel for violations of international human rights law during military operations conducted in Gaza. This portion of the report was later renounced by a key author of the report, Justice Richard Goldstone, who stated in a Washington Post op-ed that new information would have changed the report’s conclusions. Congressman Forbes has joined his colleagues in calling for the United Nations to treat Israel fairly in light of this development.
Defended international human rights. Congressman Forbes joined the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to promote, defend and advocate for internationally recognized human rights. The Commission was founded in 2008 after the death of Congressional Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairman Tom Lantos.
Supported human rights and religious freedom in Pakistan. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.164, to honor Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, who was recently assassinated for advocating for religious freedom. The resolution also urges Pakistan to address abuses of its religious minorities. In the predominantly Muslim country, Christians and members of other religious minorities often face heightened persecution.
Monitored Religious Freedom Abroad. Congressman Forbes met with human rights proponents to monitor the treatment of Christians in China. Since the beginning of the year, China has instituted a wide reaching crackdown on anything that the Communist Party perceives as dissent. Thousands have been detained, many of whom are still missing. As Chairman of both the Congressional China Caucus and the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes remains committed to advocating for religious freedom in China.
Condemned North Korean aggression. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.1735, condemning North Korea, in the strongest possible terms, for the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. This bill passed the House by a vote of 403-2.
Promoted democracy in Burma. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1677) condemning the illegitimate actions of the State Peace and Development Council that seek to legitimize military rule through a flawed election process. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Expressed condolences to the families and victims of flooding in Pakistan. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1613) mourning the significant loss of life, as well as physical damage, caused by this natural disaster in Pakistan. This resolution passed by a vote of 396-2.
Protected human rights in Myanmar. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.J.Res.83), which renews for one year a ban on imports from Myanmar over alleged human rights abuses by its military government. The current ban was enacted in response to human rights abuses and anti-democratic activities of the military regime in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.
Called for the unconditional release of an Israeli soldier attacked and captured by terrorists. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1359) demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who is being held captive by the terrorist organization Hamas. This resolution passed the House by voice vote.
Supporting Israel's right to self defense. Congressman Forbes joined 78 of his colleagues in the House in sending a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing his steadfast support for the steps Israel has taken to ensure the peace and security of its homeland. Congressman Forbes also submitted remarks to the Congressional Record expressing his support for Israel’s right to protect itself from external threats.
Expressed sympathy to the victims of the South Korean ship sinking. Congressman Forbes voted to support a resolution (H.Res.1382) expressing condolences of the House to the families of those sailors killed by the at-sea actions of North Korea. The attack, initiated on March 26, resulted in the death of 46 South Korean sailors. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 411-3.
Strengthened U.S. relationship with Israel. Congressman Forbes voted to support the United States-Israel Rocket and Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act (H.R.5327), which would provide assistance to Israel to purchase and maintain a rocket defense system to intercept short-range missiles fired at Israel. This bill passed the House by a vote of 410-4.
Supported rebel disarmament in central Africa. Congressman Forbes supported the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (S.1067), which would require the President to develop a strategy to support the disarmament of the Lord's Resistance Army-a sectarian guerrilla group in central Africa. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Granted Haitian goods greater access to U.S. markets. Congressman Forbes supported the Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010 (H.R.5160), which will expand duty-free access for certain Haitian goods to U.S. markets in order to help the Haitian textile industry recover in the wake of the devastating earthquake earlier this year. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Opposed poorly designed Puerto Rico political status referendum. Congressman Forbes voted to oppose the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010 (H.R.2499), which would provide for a federal referendum regarding the political status of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The bill would provide a two-step voting process that is heavily biased towards U.S. statehood for the island, even if the majority of Puerto Ricans did not desire statehood. For instance, 51% of Puerto Ricans would only have to select “different political status” in the first vote, and then 34% would only have to select “statehood” in the second vote in order for that to become the winning selection of the referendum. This bill passed the House by a vote of 223-169.
Supported tough sanctions on Iran. Congressman Forbes voted to support an amendment to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (H.R.2194). The amendment imposes sanctions on Iran and will be a key tool in persuading the Iranian government to abandon its nuclear ambitions. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 403-11.
Supported debt relief for Haiti. Congressman Forbes supported the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R.4573), which instructs the U.S. Directors at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel all debts owed by Haiti and suspend Haiti's debt payments until the debts are canceled completely. This legislation passed the House by voice vote.
Called for an end to human rights violations in China. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.605, which calls for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners in China. Falun Gong is a system of beliefs and practices founded in China.
Supported Religious Freedom in Pakistan. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res.764, to ensure inter-religious dialogue and the protection of religious freedom and human rights for persons of all faiths and nationalities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Supported debt relief for Haiti. Congressman Forbes supported the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R.4573), which instructs the U.S. Directors at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel all debts owed by Haiti and suspend Haiti's debt payments until the debts are canceled completely. This legislation passed the House by voice vote.
Called for freedom of religion in Iraq. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.944, which calls for a comprehensive plan to protect religious minorities in Iraq and urges the Iraqi government to integrate religious minorities into the government, ensure that places of worship are safe, and work toward making elections safe, fair, and free of intimidation. This legislation passed by a vote of 415-3.
Supported tax benefits for charitable donations to Haiti. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 4462, to treat charitable cash contributions for the relief of earthquake victims in Haiti made after January 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010, as eligible for 2009 tax deductions. This legislation was approved by voice vote.
Questioned a top military official on recent security developments in China. Congressman Forbes questioned the top military official in the Pacific, Admiral Robert Williard, on recent security developments in China. Testimony by Admiral Willard revealed that for the first time, China’s 290 navy ships exceed the number of U.S. navy ships. Less than a year ago, the Department of Defense estimated that China had just 260 ships.
Offered testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Congressman Forbes was invited to testify regarding the rise of Chinese non-military influence in Southeast Asia and its implications for U.S. policy and regional security. Congressman Forbes believes that responding assertively to Chinese boundary tests in Southeast Asia ensures that China does not underestimate our Nation’s resolve to be a friend to our allies, and a peaceful, democratic presence in the region.
Supported human rights and religious freedom in Egypt. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res. 200, calling on the Egyptian government to respect human rights and freedom of religion. Recent reports have indicated that women in Egypt have been kidnapped and forced to marry and convert to Islam.
Called for sanctions against Iran. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. The legislation would impose sanctions against companies that supply Iran with gasoline or support its domestic production. The purpose of the legislation is to pressure Iran to suspend and ultimately dismantle its nuclear weapons program, including ceasing all uranium enrichment activities. The sanctions would terminate once the President determines that Iran has ceased its efforts to build a nuclear bomb. The bill passed by a vote of 412-12.
Called for a report on freedom of the press in foreign countries. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 3714, the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act of 2009. This bill requires the State Department to include information about freedom of the press in the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The bill passed by a vote of 395-3.
Called for a report on Middle East anti-Americanism. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 2278, which directs the President to submit to Congress a report on anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East, especially as it relates to sattellite operators with terrorist links that knowingly allow anti-American incitement on their airwaves. This bill passed the House by a vote of 395-3.
Urged President Obama to support Israel at the UN. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 867, which calls on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose the "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict." The report is widely considered to be biased against Israel. This resolution passed by a vote of 344-36.
Commemorated the Berlin Airlift. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 398, recognizing the success of the United States’ 1949 Berlin Airlift that brought food and supplies to starving residents of Berlin, Germany who were being blockaded by Soviet forces. This resolution passed by a vote of 367-0.
Honored the U.S. relationship with Jordan. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res. 833, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This resolution passed by voice vote.
Supported human rights activists. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 877, expressing support for Chinese human rights activists Huang Qi and Tan Zuoren for engaging in peaceful expression as they seek answers and justice for the parents whose children were killed in the Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008. This resolution passed by a vote of 426-1.
Urged government of Iran to release American hikers. Congressman Forbes supported S.Con.Res. 45 encouraging the Government of Iran to allow Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd to reunite with their families in the United States as soon as possible. The three Americans were detained by Iran when they inadvertently crossed over the unmarked Iranian border when hiking in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. This legislation passed by a vote of 423-0.
Calling for Religious Freedom in the Middle East. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res.840 condemning violations of religious freedom in the Middle East and urging governments there to respect and defend the rights of religious minorities.
Supported sanctions against Iran. Congressman Forbes voted for the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, H.R. 1327, which makes it the policy of the United States to support state and local governments and educational institutions that take action to prohibit investment with any person that has more than a $20 million investment in Iran’s energy sector. This bill passed by a vote of 414-6.
Offered condolences to the victims of tsunamis in Samoa. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res.816 to mourn the loss of life caused by the earthquakes and tsunamis that occurred on September 29, 2009 in American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga. This resolution passed by a vote of 422-0.
Supported Freedom of Speech and Free Exercise of Religion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res.763, a resolution which urges United Nations Member States to support the freedom of expression and religious liberty and oppose ‘defamation of religion’ resolutions.
Seeking Facts on Strategy in Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing in which various Washington defense policy analysts considered options for the war in Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes took this opportunity to question General Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of the Army, one of the panelists, about the overall strategy for Afghanistan since 2001. To read Congressman Forbes' questions, click here.
Called for increased sanctions on Iran. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1208, which calls for increased economic sanctions on Iran. Iran recently revealed a secret nuclear facility after Western intelligence services had learned of the plant.
Called for an end to violent attacks against Christians. Signed letters to Navin Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa State, India and President Zardari of Pakistan calling for an end to violent attacks and persecution against Christians living in those regions. Both letters were sent in direct response to attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan and in eastern Orissa in India.
Opposed trade with the Burmeses military regimes. Congressman Forbes supported H.J.Res. 56 to approve the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. This legislation renews, for three years, the President's authority to ban the import of Burmese products. The bill passed the House by unanimous consent.
Supported increased cooperation in Europe and the Mediterranean. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res. 654 to honor the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation. The legislation encourages the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation to continue to work with the OSCE participating states to enhance trade, economic development, security, and stability in the Mediterranean region. The bill passed the House by voice vote.
Opposed excessive spending for international programs. Congressman Forbes voted against H.R. 3081, the annual State Department and foreign aid bill, which includes funding for diplomatic operations, peacekeeping, foreign aid. The bill would spend 33.8% more compared to last year. This legislation also provides the largest increase ever in funding for international family planning, and reproductive health, programs. The bill passed the House by a vote of 318 - 106.
Expressed support for Israel and recognized its long-standing relationship with the United States. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to express shared values between the two countries, a steadfast commitment to democracy, peace, human rights, and fighting terrorism. The letter assured a continued commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge in the Middle East, supporting Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and addressing the growing threat of a nuclear Iran.
Supported humanitarian efforts and the rule of law in Northern Uganda. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2478, the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. This bill directs the President to develop a regional strategy to guide U.S. support for multilateral efforts to eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA.). The LRA is listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department, and is believed that the guerrilla group has forced more than 10,000 children into becoming soldiers.
Reaffirmed the United States’ solidarity with Israel. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res.557 to express support for the State of Israel's right to defend itself in the face of an imminent nuclear or military threat.
Supported Iranian citizens in their struggle for freedom. Congressman Forbes supported H. Res.560 condemning the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication. The bill affirms individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections. Congressman Forbes also cosponsored H. Res.549, which expresses support for all Iranian citizens who struggle for freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
Called for end to hostile actions by North Korea. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.309 calling for North Korea to end hostile rhetoric and activity towards the Republic of Korea and engage in mutual dialogue to enhance inter-Korean relations. The bill calls for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs and return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to comply with U.N. Security Council resolution. The legislation stresses that the United States remain committed to inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation. The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance is of strategic importance in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
Provided additional personnel essential to rehabilitate Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes supported S. 615, which authorizes the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to employee extra workers essential to the rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
Spoke on the implications of China's naval modernization for the U.S. Congressman Forbes, co-chair and founder of the Congressional China Caucus, addressed the impact of China's naval modernization and development on our national security at a Congressional Perspectives Panel. In addition, he spoke about his concern over China’s military growth.
Supported increased foreign assistance aid for Pakistan. Congressman Forbes supported an amendment to H.R.1886 that authorizes $1.5 billion a year for foreign assistance aid, while requiring the President to submit to Congress a comprehensive plan to implement his strategy for long-term security and stability on Pakistan that includes measures of effectiveness. Congressman Forbes opposed final passage of H.R.1886 because the bill would set rigid limitations and conditions on U.S. policy towards Pakistan.
Recognized the 20th anniversary of the freedom protests in Tiananmen Square. Congressman Forbes voted for H. Res. 489 expressing sympathy to the families of those killed, tortured, and imprisoned in connection with the democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and other parts of China on June 3 and 4, 1989 and thereafter.
Called for direct negotiations in an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. Joined 143 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to support an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process that involves direct negotiations between the two parties, requires the Palestinians to denounce terror and violence, and encourages other Arab nations to participate in any long-term agreement for peace. The President met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 19, 2009.
Cosponsored H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. This bill would impose sanctions on countries or businesses that conduct more than $20 million in business that refines oil for Iran. The Obama Administration has made it clear that they will have a dialogue with Iran, and this bill is aimed at strengthening the leverage of any talks with Iran. On Monday, May 18, 2009, Iran tested a long-range missile that traveled approximately 1,200 miles.
Recognized the accomplishments of Margaret Thatcher. Congressman Forbes voted for H. Res. 378, to recognize the Margret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain for her strong support of diplomatic ties with United States.
Met with members from the American Chamber of Commerce China on issues related to China. Congressman Forbes met American entrepreneurs whose companies have business ties with China. As the co-chair and founder of the China Caucus, Congressman Forbes meets regularly with those who have interests related to China.
Recognized the 61st Anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Con.Res.111, to recognize the independence of the State of Israel.
Spoke on the House Floor about the release of the Department of Defense’s Annual Report on China’s Military Power. Congressman Forbes argued that China’s persistent expansion of its already 260-ship Navy and its two decades of double digit increases in defense spending represent a shift towards a more offensive military strategy. To view Congressman Forbes’ statement, click here.
Attended a top secret briefing on the USNS Impeccable/China incident. On March 8th, an unarmed U.S. naval ship manned by a civilian crew avoided a grave escalation between China and the United States caused by dangerous and provocative action taken by Chinese ships. This classified briefing examined the actions of the Chinese in the South China Sea and events associated with the USNS Impeccable’s harassment by five Chinese boats. Rep. Forbes’ bipartisan resolution on this matter, H. Con. Res. 72, has the support of 29 other Members of Congress, and calls on China to avoid any action that could unnecessarily escalate relations between our two countries, such as the USNS Impeccable incident. Congressman Forbes spoke on the House Floor about Congress’s lack of response to this incident.
Spoke on the House floor on H.Con. Res. 72 calling on Congress to act on China's harassment of the USNS Impeccable. Ten days ago, an unarmed U.S. naval ship manned by a civilian crew avoided a grave escalation between China and the United States caused by dangerous and provocative action taken by Chinese ships. The House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling on the China to cease its repression of the Tibetan people. Congressman Forbes believes that those individuals serving our country in international water deserve a voice from Congress just as much as Tibetans. The resolution currently has 29 cosponsors.
Voted in favor of H.R. 7061, to approve the U.S.-India Peaceful Nuclear Energy Act. The agreement ends a ban on nuclear trade to India following India’s test of nuclear weapons in 1974. After the President signed this bill, India now has access to US civilian nuclear technology in return for inspections of its civilian nuclear facilities. Nuclear power currently supplies about 3% of India's electricity, and it is expected to grow to 25% of India’s needed electricity supply by 2050. India is the world’s largest democracy, with more than 1 billion people.
Supported H. Res. 1235, which expresses support for National D-Day Remembrance Day. D-Day was on June 6, 1944, and reopened a Western front against the Germans in World War II through a beach assault at Normandy, France. The D-Day assault, code-named Operation Overlord, was the most extensive amphibious invasion ever to occur, and involved 5,000 ships, over 11,000 sorties of Allied aircraft, and 150,000 American, British, and Canadian troops on the first day of the operation. American troops suffered significant losses during the assault, including over 6,500 casualties. The resolution before the House expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that June 6 should be recognized as a National D-Day Remembrance Day.
Voted in favor of H. Res. 937 to acknowledge that the emergency communications services provided by the American Red Cross are vital resources for military service members and their families.
Voted in favor of H. Res. 1069 to condemn the use of television programming by Hamas to indoctrinate hatred, violence, and anti-Semitism toward Israel in young Palestinian children.
Supported House passage of H. Res. 1159, which recognizes the historical and educational significance of the USS Constellation, a 153-year-old American warship berthed in Baltimore, Maryland, as a reminder of both American participation in the slave trade and the efforts of the United States Government to suppress this inhumane practice.
Supported House passage of H. Res. 1254 to recognize the need to promote equality and continue to work toward eliminating racial discrimination in the United States and Brazil.
Supported House passage of H. Con. Res. 385, which condemned the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994.
Supported House passage of H. Res. 1090, which honors former South African President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
Supported House passage of H. R. 3890, the Burma Democracy Promotion Act of 2007, which states that it is U.S. policy to: (1) condemn the repression carried out by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); (2) support a peaceful transition to constitutional democracy in Burma; and (3) hold accountable individuals responsible for the repression of peaceful political activity in Burma.
Signed a letter to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to thank him for the successful rescue operation that returned three American military contractors, Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves, as well as twelve other hostages, from captivity by the FARC. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known as FARC) had captured the three men in 2003 when their propeller aircraft crashed in the jungle.
Supported House passage of H.R. 5501, Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, which expands the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The global HIV/AIDS initiative is the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and care of a single disease. The bill also provides $9 billion to fight malaria and tuberculosis around the world, which together kill more than 9,300 people every day.
Signed a letter to President Bush to highlight the challenges Israel faces in its search for peace. The letter describes the worsening situation in Gaza where Hamas is rapidly building up its armed militias and from where rockets are fired into southern Israel almost every day. In addition, the letter urges the President to demand that Arab states do more to support those negotiations by providing the type of financial, political and moral support necessary for the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to succeed. The bipartisan letter was signed by more than 180 Members of Congress.
Cosponsored H.Con. Res. 362, which expresses the sense of Congress that the threat posed to peace and stability in the Middle East by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently. The measure calls on the President to exercise measures to impose economic sanction upon Iran and businesses that choose to do business with Iran. The measure is cosponsored by 169 Members of Congress.
Joined the Human Rights Caucus and the International Religious Freedom Task Force chaired Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia. The Caucus and the Task Force seek to raise the awareness of human rights violations around the world and to speak up for those in countries that restrict universal human rights such as the right to worship in the way one chooses.
Attended the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2008 Policy Conference. The event featured Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; other speakers included presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.
Attended a Central Intelligence Agency briefing for Members of Congress on links between a Syrian nuclear facility and North Korea. Media reports said the briefing to lawmakers would include videotape demonstrating that North Korea had assisted Syria in its nuclear programs. Israel destroyed the Syrian facility in September 2007.
Supported H. Con Res. 322, to honor the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel and to reaffirm the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel.
Voted against H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, which would reauthorize a foreign aid program to fight the AIDS pandemic. While Congressman Forbes supports U.S. efforts to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and voted to authorize the program in 2003, H.R. 5501 would authorize $50 billion of spending over the next five years to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which is $35 billion more than the original authorization of $15 billion. The original $15 billion commitment from the United States remains the largest amount ever provided by a single nation to fight HIV/AIDS. Congressman Forbes voted for a provision that would have provided aid at a fiscally responsible level of $30 billion rather than $50 billion. That measure failed 175-248.
Issued a statement after the Pentagon released its Annual Military Report on China. To review the Defense Department’s findings, read the Pentagon’s report.
Supported passage of H. Res 951, a resolution condemning the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. Since Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas and other terrorist organizations have fired more than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The groups have targeted their near-daily rocket fire primarily and intentionally at civilian communities in Israel, and the shelling has led to dozens of casualties, hundreds of shock victims, thousands of traumatized children and severe disruption of daily life.
Following the hearing on January 29, 2008 on Chinese espionage that was called by Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Congressman Forbes, Congressman Forbes issued a statement following the arrest of four Chinese spies within the United States on Monday, February 11 that sought classified defense secrets. To read the full statement, please click here.
Attended a dinner with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative in the United States, Joseph Wu and Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam. The members discussed the current economic and political situation in Taiwan, including the upcoming presidential election and referendum on March 20, 2008. Congressman Forbes and Congresswoman Bordallo co-chair the Congressional China Caucus, which is a forum for Members of Congress who share a common interest in the emergence of China as a political, economic and military actor on both the regional and global stage.
Cosponsored H. Res 951, a resolution condemning the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. Since Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005, more than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. The near-daily rocket fire has been targeted primarily and intentionally at civilian communities in Israel, and have led to dozens of casualties, hundreds of shock victims, thousands of traumatized children, and severe disruption of daily life.
Attended a Joint Session of Congress to hear an address of French President Nicola Sarkozy. To read the text of Nicola Sarkozy's remarks, click here.
Voted in favor of H.Res. 573, which commends the advocacy groups that raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis and genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The current crisis in Darfur began in 2003 as a result of rebel insurgent groups rising up against the Sudanese government as a result of poor treatment, and has resulted in an estimated 400,000 deaths and 2.3 million Darfuris fleeing their homes. Congressman Forbes also supported H.Res. 726, which calls upon the President and leaders of other countries to take immediate action to respond to and prevent acts of sexual violence against women in Central Africa
Voted in favor of H.Con.Res. 234, a resolution calling on the Government of the People's Republic of China to respect the human rights of refugees from North Korea. As Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Congressman Forbes hosted a briefing on refugees in China with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on October 19, 2007. The Government of China currently returns refugees to North Korea, where they often face torture or other punishment, and up to 90 percent of female North Korean refugees are sold into sexual slavery by Chinese traffickers.
Sent a letter to the President regarding a proposed sale of military hardware to Saudi Arabia. According to media reports, the $20 billion package might include Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) technology, which transforms unguided conventional bombs into precision munitions with highly accurate targeting capabilities. If it falls into the wrong hands, JDAM technology could significantly harm U.S. forces in the region and undercut Israel’s qualitative military edge. Saudi Arabia remains in a formal state of war with Israel, which is the preeminent democracy in the Middle East. Additionally, Saudi groups continue to export Wahabi extremist ideology throughout the world which is an anti-American ideology we face on the battlefields of the Global War on Terror. The letter states that any sale of JDAM technology to Saudi Arabia must come with guarantees backed by strict conditions notified to Congress followed by regular reporting, tight Congressional oversight and intense consultations with Israel.
Cosponsored H.Con.Res 235, which urges the World Bank and the United Nations to withhold loan support to Iran until it comes into compliance with U.N. resolutions and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The World Bank disbursed at least $220 million to Iran in fiscal year 2007, and more than $870 million is scheduled for disbursement in the next three years. Iran is a signatory of the NPT, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has reported several violations of the treaty by Iran earlier this year because of its expanded efforts to enrich uranium, which turns nuclear fuel into material that can be used for nuclear weapons.
Joined Congressional China Caucus co-chair Madeleine Bordallo and other Members of Congress in sending a letter to the National Security Advisor requesting that he undertake an interagency review of United States policy goals with respect to the Pacific island countries. Ensuring that there is a coordinated political, economic, trade, security, and foreign aid policy is critical to the stability of the Pacific region.
Supported H.R. 2003, the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. Sponsored by Rep. Payne, this legislation restricts U.S. aid to Ethiopia until the State Department certifies human rights and democratic reforms. The bill passed the House by voice vote and must now be considered in the Senate. Rep. Forbes led a similar effort to restrict non-humanitarian and non-defense aid to Ethiopia in the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.
Cosponsored H.R. 2332, the Syrian Accountability and Liberation Act of 2007. Sponsored by the top minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill mandates that current U.S. sanctions on Syria shall not be removed until the President can certify that Syria has ceased support for terrorism and dismantled any weapons of mass destruction programs. The legislation also strengthens sanctions on Syria’s energy sector and companies that provide assistance to support Syria’s weapons programs.
Voted in favor of H.R. 2828, a bill that provides compensation to relatives of United States citizens who were killed as a result of the bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa on August 7, 1998. The two bombings were linked to al-Qaeda, and resulted in U.S. missile strikes in Afghanistan. The bill passed 409-12, and must now be considered in the Senate.
Supported H.R. 3432, the 200th Anniversary Commemoration Commission of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act of 2007. The legislation was adopted by voice vote.
Voted in favor of H.Con.Res. 203, which condemns the persecution of labor rights advocates in Iran. The bill passed by a vote of 418-1 and must now be considered in the Senate.
Supported H.Res. 583, which recognizes the remarkable example of Sir Nicholas Winton who organized the rescue of 669 Jewish Czechoslovakian children from Nazi death camps prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Supported H.Res. 639, which commends the actions of the Government of Germany and its cooperation with United States intelligence agencies in preventing a large-scale terrorist attack against locations in Germany, including sites frequented by Americans.
Introduced and passed an amendment to cut $3 million to Ethiopia during consideration of H.R. 2764, the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Congressman Forbes offered the amendment to demonstrate Congress's concern that Ethiopia is still holding political prisoners from 2005. Among the 38 prisoners that were convicted of various crimes against the government on June 11, 2007, is Dr. Yacob Hailemariam, a former Norfolk State University professor who also led the prosecution during the U.N. tribunals on the Rwandan genocide. The amendment was unanimously accepted by the House of Representatives. Said Congressman Forbes, "I hope this will send a message to the Government of Ethiopia that we are watching. It is my hope that we see a positive resolution to this situation that has been going on for nearly two years. If I hear from the State Department that this situation is resolved before this bill goes to Conference, I'll be happy to ask that this money be restored. But we cannot accept the status quo when there are 38 prisoners facing sentencing next month."
Supported H.R. 1441, which strengthens controls on the export of surplus F-14 fighter aircraft parts. Iran is the only country in the world that still flies F-14 aircraft, so this will restrict Iran's ability to maintain those aircraft. The bill passed on Monday, June 11, 2007.
Supported H.Res.226, which recognizes John Pehle for his contributions to the United States in helping rescue Jews and other minorities from the Holocaust during World War II. John Pehle played a critical role in bringing the atrocities of the Holocaust to the attention of the United States government and then President Roosevelt.
Supported H.Res.295, which recognizes the strong alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States. The resolution also expressed appreciation to the Republic of Korea for its efforts in the global war against terrorism.
Commended the release of the Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S. State Department on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. Trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery, where perpetrators prey on the weakest among us, primarily women and children. Frequently, victims are lured into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. The President has committed the United States government to lead in combating this challenge, and Congressman Forbes continues to support these efforts.
Signed a letter to Secretary of State Rice to ensure that the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon has an effective mandate. U.N. peacekeepers have been enforcing an arrangement between Israel and Lebanon after the war between Israel and Hizballah fighters last year. This letter asks Secretary Rice to ensure the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have the capability to stop arm shipments from Syria that are prohibited under the U.N. agreement. More than seventy Members of Congress have signed the letter to date.
Voted against H.R. 2764, the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which loosens restrictions on taxpayer funds from subsidizing organizations that promote abortion overseas. The bill also eliminated funding for reconstruction in Iraq. The bill passed by a vote of 241 - 178. The President has promised a veto on any bill that weakens any federal policy or law on abortion.
Supported an amendment to H.R. 2764, the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008 that restricts the number of countries that are in the visa waiver program. Currently, foreign nationals from 27 countries can enter the United States for up to three months without a visa.
Supported an amendment to H.R. 2764, the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which restricts aid to the fractioned Palestinian Authority until the government can certify that it meets oversight requirements in the distribution of aid. Recent fighting between Hamas and Fatah has raised concerns that U.S. aid could be diverted to fund organizations that support terrorism. The amendment passed 390 to 30.
Supported H. Con. Res. 151, which calls on Russian President Vladimir Putin to cooperate with outside investigators in solving the murders of dozens of independent journalists in Russia over the last decade.
Sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requesting that the Department of State address and explain the factors that led to a serious backlog in passport processing for U.S. citizens. The letter requests that the Department explain what actions they have taken to anticipate and prepare for the increased demand in passport processing since December of 2004 when more stringent passport policies were signed into law, and what actions they will be taking in the future to meet upcoming passport application demands. Congressman Forbes also sent a letter to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs requesting that they schedule a hearing on the issue.
Supported H. Res. 422, calling on the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to use its unique influence and economic leverage to stop genocide and violence in Darfur, Sudan. This legislation follows a letter that was sent by Congressman Forbes and over 100 Members of Congress to PRC President Hu Jintao that led China to dispatch a special envoy to the region. President Bush has also tightened economic sanctions on the government of Sudan and has asked the United Nations to do the same. U.N. peacekeepers have been approved by the U.N. Security Council, but historically peacekeepers have only been sent with permission of the host government. Sudan initially agreed to accept the peacekeepers but have since prevented the peacekeepers from establishing control in Darfur.
Supported H. Con. Res. 152 which congratulates Israel on the 40th anniversary of the reunification of the City of Jerusalem. The resolution also reiterates the commitment to the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which calls upon the Administration to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Israel.
Supported H. Res. 397, which condemns recent violence in Estonia and attacks on Estonia's embassies in 2007 and expresses solidarity with the Government and the people of Estonia. Estonian embassies were subject to riot attacks in Russia and elsewhere following a decision in Estonia to relocate "the Bronze Soldier," a Russian World War II Memorial that many Estonians view as a relic of the Soviet era of occupation.
Cosponsored H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which aims to peacefully prevent Iran from securing nuclear arms and the means to produce them. This legislation severely limits the export of U.S. items to Iran and prevents nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and any countries that provide nuclear assistance to Iran. Furthermore, the legislation prevents U.S. branches of foreign oil companies that invest in Iran's oil sector from receiving U.S. tax benefits for oil and gas exploration.
Testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on Thursday, February 1 regarding the status of U.S.-China relations and the work of the Congressional China Caucus. Click here to read Congressman Forbes' testimony. For more information on the Caucus, click here.
Working to continue and expand the Congressional China Caucus for the 110th Congress. Congressman Forbes is the Founder and Chairman of the Caucus.