U.S. Reps. Lawler, Torres Applaud Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill Establishing a Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords, Push for Floor Vote and Final Passage

May 17, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mike Lawler (NY-17) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today applauded the passage of their bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3099 – the “Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act”, out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week and pushed for the bill to be swiftly brought to the floor for a full vote and final passage.

H.R. 3099 requires the State Department to establish an ambassador-level Special Envoy position for the Abraham Accords – the landmark U.S.-sanctioned 2020 normalization agreements between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East. Working as a primary advisor, the Special Envoy would be responsible for coordinating on behalf of the U.S. government with regional ambassadors, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders to strengthen and expand the Accords.

“H.R. 3099 is about demonstrating our commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East as well as cultivating the growth of the Abraham Accords,” said Rep. Lawler. “It’s about showing our allies and every nation around the world how much we value normalized relations with Israel and that we’re steadfast in our support and willing to invest our time, resources, and expertise in ensuring the Accords fulfill their promise. In short, H.R. 3099 is more than just a bill – it’s a reaffirmation of our commitment to a peaceful, prosperous Middle East. We have the unique opportunity to shape the future of this region and, by extension, the world, with this legislation. Let’s make sure we seize this opportunity. I am incredibly thankful to be working on this important piece of legislation in a bipartisan way with my colleague, Rep. Ritchie Torres. The issue of showing support for Israel, as well as regional peace and prosperity in the Middle East is not a partisan one.”

“If there’s one issue that should transcend partisan politics, it should be peace in the Middle East and the Abraham Accords, which is why I’m grateful to Rep. Lawler and my colleagues on House Foreign Affairs for their bipartisan support of our legislation,” said Rep. Torres. “The Abraham Accords have given birth to a new Middle East, where we’ve seen a transformative breakthrough between Israel and Arab nations that’s expanded the circle of peace and prosperity for Christians, Jewish people, and Muslims. The U.S. has a moral and strategic obligation to build on the momentum and progress of the Abraham Accords and not allow these landmark normalization agreements to fall victim to bureaucratic neglect. To continue promoting and maintaining meaningful bilateral partnerships, and to fulfill the promise of the Accords, there must be a clear delineation of power coming from within the U.S. government whose sole, full-time responsibility will be to work in expanding and strengthening the monumental diplomatic impact of the Abraham Accords. I’m hopeful to see this bill on the House floor very soon for a vote and final passage.”

H.R. 3099 calls for the Special Envoy to be appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and report directly to the Secretary of State. They would be required to possess high-level diplomatic experience and be knowledgeable about Islamic and Jewish worlds, economies, securities, and human rights and could come from within the State Department.

A bipartisan group of more than 20 House members are currently signed on as cosponsors, and the legislation has been endorsed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Council (AJC).

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