U.S. Reps. Torres and Lawler Successfully Pass Bill to Create Special Envoy for Abraham Accords Through Both Chambers of Congress; Heading to President Biden’s Desk

Dec 14, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a bill to create a new Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords passed in the House of Representatives. The bill was introduced by U.S. Representatives Ritchie Torres (NY-15) and Mike Lawler (NY-17) and passed Congress through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA). 

Once signed by President Biden, the legislation will require the State Department to establish an ambassador-level Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords, the Negev Forum, and Related Integration and Normalization Fora and Agreements at the State Department. 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.

“Building a bridge between Israel and the Muslim world is neither a Democratic value nor a Republican value — it is an American value. The Abraham Accords are an affirmation of the proof that peace is possible, which must be protected and strengthened,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “Today, with the passage of this bill in the House, we are bending the long arc of the Middle East in its proper direction – toward peace and prosperity for all. The timing of this bill’s passage could not be more important at this moment, in light of the war between Israel and Hamas. It is more important than ever that we fight to protect Israel’s global standing and partnerships. The U.S.-Israel relationship is sacrosanct, and today’s vote is further proof of that. The future of the Middle East is neither pro-Israel nor pro-Arab. It is BOTH pro-Israel and pro-Arab. I remain hopeful that the long arc of history will bend toward a new Middle East where the children of Abraham — Jews, Christians, and Muslims — can live in peace and prosperity. As Theodore Herzl once said, if we will it, it is no dream. Let us will into reality the Abrahamic dream of Israeli-Arab peace.”

“Today, the House passed the NDAA by a broad bipartisan vote. This year’s NDAA included policy Rep. Torres and I championed to establish the position of Special Presidential Envoy for the Abraham Accords, Negev Forum, and Related Integration and Normalization Fora and Agreements at the State Department. This is a momentous step towards long-term peace in the Middle East,” said Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17). “It underscores the United States’ commitment to strengthening and expanding this historic set of agreements that marked the first normalization of relations between Israel and Arab-majority countries in two decades. In establishing this diplomatic envoy, we also increase the prospects of bringing additional partners into the Accords, including Saudi Arabia. This feat is something Rep. Torres and I have been working on all year to achieve. H.R.3099, the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act, was my first bill to pass the House. That bill passed the House 413 to 13. With today’s vote, language establishing a Special Presidential Envoy is on its way to the White House, where President Biden is expected to sign it into law.”

Text of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 can be found here

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