U.S. Reps. Lawler, Torres Issue Statements upon Full House Passage of Bipartisan Legislation Establishing Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords

Jun 13, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mike Lawler (NY-17) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) this afternoon issued the following statements about their bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3099 – the “Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords”, which just passed the full House on a suspension vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration:

“I am pleased that today the House of Representatives passed the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act,” U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17). “This is my first bill to pass the House. I have been proud to work with my New York colleague, Ritchie Torres, and a bipartisan coalition of members on this important legislation. The fact that H.R. 3099 passed both in the Foreign Affairs Committee and on the House floor with such overwhelming support shows the strong, bipartisan commitment to long-term peace in the Middle East. The Abraham Accords was a monumental milestone in normalizing relations between Israel – one of our strongest allies and a beacon of democracy in the region – and neighboring Muslim-majority countries. The progress made by the Accords would simply have been unheard of just a few years prior. We now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on this success. The addition of a Special Envoy will be critical for bringing Saudi Arabia into the Accords and continuing to strengthen and expand them. When so much of the discourse on national politics is division and gridlock, the broad bipartisan support for the ‘Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act’ shows that both parties can still come together and do something really good. We are closer to a lasting, long-term peace in the Middle East than we have ever been.”

“First and foremost, I want to thank my colleague from New York, Rep. Mike Lawler, for his partnership and leadership on this shared legislative priority and to our fellow members of the House who overwhelmingly supported our bill in a bipartisan fashion,” said U.S. Rep. Torres (NY-15) from the House floor. “If there is one cause that should transcend partisan politics, it is peace in the Middle East. Building a bridge between Israel and the Arab world is neither a Democratic value nor a Republican value. It is an American value, and the Abraham Accords is both an affirmation of Arab-Israeli peace and a rejection of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Instead of the three ‘noes’ of the Khartoum Resolution, we are living in the age of the three ‘yeses’ – yes to recognition of Israel, yes to negotiations with Israel, and yes to peace with Israel. The Abraham Accords is an American achievement so monumental that it demands and deserves its own Special Envoy whose sole and singular mission is to build on the inexorable momentum of peace in the Middle East. Today, with the full passage of H.R. 3099, we are bending the long arc of the Middle East in its proper direction – toward peace and prosperity for Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims – the children of Abraham standing together as one. The Senate should move swiftly to consider and pass this legislation, advancing it to the President’s desk so we can codify the role of Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords into law.”

H.R. 3099 requires the State Department to establish an ambassador-level Special Envoy 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.

Additionally, 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 30 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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