Gus Bilirakis on Foreign Policy
Voted NO on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan.
Congressional Summary:Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE Act): Authorizes the President to provide assistance for Pakistan to support democratic institutions; economic development; human rights; health care; and public diplomacy.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.
Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban.
To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Reference: The PEACE Act;
; vote number 2009-H333
on Jun 11, 2009
Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-H662
on Sep 27, 2008
Keep sanctions against Syria until WMDs are dismantled.
Bilirakis co-sponsored keeping sanctions against Syria until WMDs are dismantled
This bill states that U.S. sanctions and controls relating to Syria shall remain in effect until the President certifies that Syria has ceased support for terrorism, has dismantled biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons programs, and has committed to combat their proliferation, respects the boundaries and sovereignty of all neighboring countries, and upholds human rights and civil liberties.
Also imposes specified trade, assistance, and military sanctions, as appropriate, on persons or countries that transfer goods or technology so as to contribute to Syria's biological, chemical, nuclear, or advanced conventional weapons programs.
Imposes specified sanctions aimed at Syria's energy sector.
Sets forth diplomatic measures intended to isolate the government of Syria.
Directs the President to provide assistance to support a democratic transition in Syria.
Source: Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (H.R.2332) 07-HR2332 on May 15, 2007
Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Bilirakis is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs , also known as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States. It is less powerful than its Senate counterpart, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, because the House committee does not consider the ratification of treaties or the confirmation of presidential appointments, such as are made for ambassador and Secretary of State.
Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-IR on Feb 3, 2011
Withhold UN funding until voluntary and program-specific.
Bilirakis signed United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act
Directs the President to influence the UN to shift the funding mechanism for the UN from an assessed to a voluntary basis.The Congress makes the following findings:
- Withholds up to 50% of nonvoluntary US contributions to the regular budget of the UN unless 80% of the total regular budget of the UN is apportioned on a voluntary basis.
- Requires the annual congressional budget justification to include a detailed itemized request.
- Prohibits making funds available for international peacekeeping activities for any purpose other than the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) or to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
- States that it is US policy to oppose any proposals on expansion of the Security Council that would include veto rights for new members.
- Withholds US contributions from any UN entity that recognizes a Palestinian state or upgrades the status of the Palestinian observer mission at the UN.
- Withholds funds for human rights investigations in
- Withholds support for any member state which is subject to Security Council sanctions, has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, or is a country of particular concern for religious freedom.
Source: H.R.2829 11-HR2829 on Aug 30, 2011
- The US pays billions of dollars into the UN system every year (almost $7.7 billion in 2010), significantly more than any other nation.
- The UN system suffers from unacceptably high levels of waste, fraud, and abuse, which seriously impair its ability to fulfill the lofty ideals of its founding.
- Amidst the continuing financial, corruption, and sexual abuse scandals of the past several years, American public disapproval of United Nations has reached all-time highs: 62% of Americans believe that the UN is doing a poor job
- Significant improvements in UN transparency and accountability are necessary for improving public perceptions of and American support for UN operations.
Rated -3 by AAI, indicating a anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record.
Bilirakis scores -3 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. For the House, we included 15 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, five bills and one letter on Palestine, two bills on Lebanon, three bills and a letter regarding civil liberties, and two bills on immigration.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-H on May 2, 2012
- H.Res. 88 (+): supporting democratic aspirations in Egypt
- H.R. 2643 (+): penalizing the Bahraini government for attacking medical personnel
- H.R. 1006 (-): the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act
- H.R. 1501 (-): withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes.
- H.Res. 268 (-): opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state
- H.R. 2457 (-): prohibiting any US government document from referring to "Palestine"
- H.R. 2829 (-): defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The bill's 141 co-sponsors receive a (-).
- 8. (+).
Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) issued a letter titled "Support Palestinian Aid and Israel's Security," in which they call upon Congress to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority.
- H.R. 2215 (*) "to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon
- H.R. 996 (+): to raise awareness of the use of cluster munitions where civilians are present
- H.R. 140 (-): the "Birthright Citizenship Act, to eliminate "anchor babies" by changing the 14th Amendment.
- H. Res. 283 (+): to counter violence and discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities
- H.R. 1805 (-): authorizing an extension of the USA PATRIOT Act until 2013, and amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
- H.R. 1842 (+): the DREAM Act to protect undocumented minors pursuing higher education.
- H.R. 1932 (-): the Keep our Communities Safe Act for greater power to detain undocumented immigrants.
Oppose Arms Treaty that limits gun trade to Israel & Taiwan.
Bilirakis co-sponsored Resolution Against Arms Trade Treaty
RESOLUTION: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty, or to any similar agreement on the arms trade.
- Whereas in July 2012, the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty convened to negotiate the text of the Arms Trade Treaty;
- Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the US as well as to the constitutional rights of US citizens and US sovereignty;
- Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty fails to expressly recognize the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms and the individual right of personal self-defense, and thus risks infringing on freedoms protected by the Second Amendment;
- Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty places free democracies and totalitarian regimes on a basis of equality, recognizing their equal right to transfer arms, and is thereby dangerous to the security of the US;
Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty will create opportunities to engage in 'lawfare' against the US via the misuse of the treaty's criteria in foreign tribunals;
- Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty could hinder the US from fulfilling its strategic, legal, and moral commitments to provide arms to allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel;
- Whereas the Arms Trade Treaty risks imposing costly regulatory burdens on US businesses, for example, by creating onerous reporting requirements that could damage the domestic defense manufacturing base and related firms;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that:
Source: H.Res.814 12-HRes814 on Nov 16, 2012
- the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and that, if he transmits the treaty with his signature to the Senate, the Senate should not ratify the Arms Trade Treaty; and
- no Federal funds should be appropriated or authorized to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, or any similar agreement.
Condemn China's organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners.
Bilirakis signed Resolution on Falun Gong
RESOLUTION expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.
- Whereas the People's Republic of China performs more than10,000 organ transplantations per year;
- Whereas the Department of State Country Report on Human Rights for China for 2011 reported 'instances of organ harvesting, particularly from Falun Gong practitioners and Uighurs';
- Whereas the People's Republic of China implemented regulations in 1984 that permitted the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners;
- Whereas Falun Gong, a spiritual practice involving meditative exercises, with the number of practitioners upwards of 70,000,000;
- Whereas in July 1999, the Chinese Communist Party launched an intensive, nationwide
persecution designed to eradicate the spiritual practice of Falun Gong
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
Source: H.Res.281 14_HRes281 on Jun 27, 2013
- calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to immediately end the practice of organ harvesting from all prisoners, and particularly from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups;
- calls for a full and transparent investigation into organ transplant practices;
- demands an immediate end to the 14-year persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice;
- recommends that the United States State Department issue a travel warning for US citizens traveling to China for organ transplants informing them that the organ source for their operation may be a prisoner of conscience; and
- recommends that the US Government publicly condemn organ transplantation abuses in China and ban the entry of those who have participated in illegal removal of human tissues and organs.
Two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank.
Bilirakis signed two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
- Calls for such resolution to be repealed or fundamentally altered and allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.
- Notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the UN, its specialized agencies, and other international institutions outside of the context of a bilateral peace agreement with Israel would cause severe harm to the peace process.
- Urges upholding the U.S. practice of vetoing all Security Council resolutions that recognize unilateral Palestinian actions or dictate terms and a time line for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Reaffirms that it is U.S. policy to seek a sustainable, just, and secure two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Source: Opposing UN Resolution 2334 17-HRes11 on Jan 3, 2017
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Bilirakis co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s
Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007
- WHEREAS the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and which succeeded in the elimination of more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
- WHEREAS, on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers issued the joint statement of England, France, and Russia that explicitly charged, for the first time ever, another government of committing "a crime against humanity";
- WHEREAS, despite the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides:
- NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate calls on the President, in the
President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide, to accurately characterize the systematic annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of US intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Let Ukraine & Georgia enter NATO.
Bilirakis co-sponsored including Ukraine & Georgia in NATO
Congressional Summary: A resolution expressing strong support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enter into a Membership Action Plan with Georgia and Ukraine:
- reaffirming support for enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to include democratic governments that are able to meet the membership responsibilities;
- that NATO's expansion contributes to its relevance;
- that Georgia and Ukraine are strong allies that have made important progress in the areas of defense and democratic and human rights reform;
- that a stronger relationship among Georgia, Ukraine, and NATO will benefit those countries and NATO member states; and
- that the United States should take the lead in supporting the awarding of a Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine.
Legislative Outome: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.439 & H.RES.997 2008-SR439 on Jan 31, 2008
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, as official US policy.
Bilirakis signed Affirmation of US Record on Armenian Genocide
The House of Representatives finds the following:
Source: H.RES.252 2009-HR252 on Mar 17, 2009
- The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children w
President Woodrow Wilson concurred and chartered some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.
- [Presidential concurrence has been echoed through Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush].
DECLARATION OF POLICY: Congress calls upon the President:
- to ensure that U.S. foreign policy reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the U.S. record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and
- in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, and to recall the proud history of U.S. intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Commitment to unbreakable U.S.-Israel bond.
Bilirakis signed Hoyer-Cantor letter to Secy. Clinton from 327 House members
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts.
Our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement. As the Vice-President said during his recent visit to Israel: "Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space."
Steadfast American backing has helped lead to Israeli peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. And American involvement continues to be critical to the effort to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
We recognize that, despite the extraordinary closeness between our country and Israel, there will be differences over issues both large and small. Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies. We hope and expect that, with mutual effort and good faith, the United States and Israel will move beyond this disruption quickly, to the lasting benefit of both nations.
Source: Hoyer-Cantor letter to Secy. Clinton from 327 House members 2010-LT-UB on Mar 25, 2010
Page last updated: May 26, 2020