Foreign Affairs

S.Res.116 – A resolution condemning the Assad regime for its continued use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

Description (via Countable):

“This resolution would condemn the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as being responsible for war crimes through its use of chemical weapons against civilians. It would also condemn Russia for blocking the U.N. Security Council’s efforts to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons and ask the Security Council to take immediate, decisive action to stop Assad.

The resolution also supports the U.N. organization responsible for investigating and enforcing chemical weapons laws and expresses alarm that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons may be undermining the Chemical Weapons Convention.

As a simple resolution, this legislation wouldn’t advance out of the Senate if passed or have the force of law.”

Text (Full Text):

RESOLUTION

Condemning the Assad regime for its continued use of chemical weapons
against the Syrian people.

Whereas, on August 21, 2013, the Assad regime launched rockets carrying sarin
gas, a deadly nerve agent, against Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb of
Damascus, killing 1,429 men, women, and children, according to United
States Government estimates, while injuring another 3,600 people;
Whereas, on September 14, 2013, the Assad regime agreed to enter the Convention
on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use
of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, done at Paris January 13,
1993, and entered into force April 29, 1997 (referred to in this
Resolution as the “Chemical Weapons Convention”), and to allow a joint
mission between the United Nations and the Organization for the
Prevention of Chemical Weapons (referred to in this Resolution as the
“OPCW-UN”) to oversee the removal and elimination of Syria’s chemical
weapons program;
Whereas, on September 27, 2013, the United Nations Security Council unanimously
adopted Resolution 2118, which endorsed the destruction of Syria’s
chemical weapons program and agreed that in the event of noncompliance,
it would take action under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United
Nations;
Whereas, on October 16, 2013, the OPCW-UN was formally established to
investigate and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons program and stockpiles;
Whereas, on June 23, 2014, the OPCW-UN announced that the last of Syria’s
declared chemical weapon stockpile had been shipped out of Syria for
destruction;
Whereas, on September 30, 2014, the OPCW-UN announced that it had completed its
mandate and officially ended operations;
Whereas, on October 14, 2013, the Syria Government entered into the Chemical
Weapons Convention;
Whereas the Chemical Weapons Convention has 192 member states and bans all
chemical weapons;
Whereas, the Assad regime was subsequently accused of committing more chemical
weapons attacks on Syrian civilians in opposition-held areas by using
chlorine-based chemical weapons, in violation of the Chemical Weapons
Convention;
Whereas, on August 7, 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted
Resolution 2235, which established the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative
Mechanism to identify which individuals and entities were responsible
for the use of chlorine-based chemical weapons attacks in Syria;
Whereas, on October 27, 2016, the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism
definitively confirmed that the Assad regime was responsible for the use
of chemical weapons in Syria in Talmenes in April 2014, in Qmenas in
March 2015, and in Sarmin in March 2016;
Whereas, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2319 on November
17, 2016, which renewed the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism
mandate for one year;
Whereas, the Russian Federation, along with China, blocked a United Nations
Security Council Resolution on February 28, 2017, which would have
implemented a sanctions regime against the Assad regime for its use of
chemical weapons;
Whereas, on the morning of April 4, 2017, another chemical weapons attack took
place in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province, killing at least
58 people, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory
For Human Rights;
Whereas Human Rights Watch reported that dozens of people showed symptoms
consistent with exposure to chemicals after aircraft attacked the town;
Whereas the Assad regime is the only entity operating in Syria that the UN-OPCW
Joint Investigative Mechanism has confirmed use of aircraft to launch
chemical weapons attacks;
Whereas, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced
that the United Nations Security Council would hold an emergency meeting
on April 5, 2017, to discuss the chemical weapons attack in Idlib
province: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) holds the Assad regime responsible for war crimes and
crimes against humanity, including its confirmed use of
chemical weapons;
(2) condemns Russia for repeatedly blocking collective
response to Bashar al-Assad’s confirmed use of chemical weapons
though the United Nations Security Council;
(3) calls on the United Nations Security Council to take
immediate, decisive action in response to the Assad regime’s
continued use of chemical weapons;
(4) supports the critical work of the United Nations-
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint
Investigate Mechanism;
(5) expresses alarm that the continued use of chemical
weapons by the Assad regime undermines the integrity of the
Chemical Weapons Convention;
(6) reiterates that Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy as
Syria’s leader; and
(7) insists that Bashar al-Assad must be held accountable
for his war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Animals

H.R.1406 – Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017

Short Titles as Introduced:

Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017

Official Title as Introduced:

To amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

Arts

H.R.1574 – Protecting Dissenting Viewpoints and Voices Act of 2017

Short Titles as Introduced:

Protecting Dissenting Viewpoints and Voices Act of 2017

Official Title as Introduced:

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that the Federal Communications Commission may not take action against a broadcast licensee or any other person on the basis of viewpoint, to clarify that the President may not direct an agency to take such an action, and for other purposes.

 

Women’s Health

H.R.2019 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude certain abortions from the definition of qualified medical expenses for purposes of distributions from health savings accounts.

Summary:
Introduced in House (04/06/2017)

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to specify that, for the purpose of a health savings account, an abortion is not a qualified medical expense unless: (1) the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or (2) the woman suffers from a physical disorder, injury, or illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed.

Health

H.R.1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

Short Titles as Introduced:

Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

Official Title as Introduced:

To clarify rules relating to nondiscriminatory workplace wellness programs.

Introduced in House (03/02/2017)

Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

This bill exempts workplace wellness programs from: (1) limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on medical examinations and inquiries of employees, (2) the prohibition on collecting genetic information in connection with issuing health insurance, and (3) limitations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 on collecting the genetic information of employees or family members of employees. This exemption applies to workplace wellness programs that comply with limits on rewards for employees participating in the program.

Workplace wellness programs may provide for more favorable treatment of individuals with adverse health factors, such as a disability.

Collection of information about a disease or disorder of a family member as part of a workplace wellness program is not an unlawful acquisition of genetic information about another family member.