Reps. David Kustoff, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin lead coalition of more than 100 members on bill to block Biden Administration’s plan to reopen a U.S. consulate for the Palestinians that divides Jerusalem
WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today praised Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN-08), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA-01), House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01), and over 100 other colleagues for introducing the House version of his Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 (S. 3063), a bill to protect the full and faithful implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and block the Biden Administration’s efforts to subvert the law.
“It is an important signal to the Biden Administration and to Israel, a fellow democracy and America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, that there is strongly supported bicameral legislation to block any partisan attempts to divide Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital by reopening a U.S. consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Senator Hagerty said. “I am pleased that Congressman Kustoff, my friend and colleague from Tennessee, along with House Republican Whip Scalise, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Stefanik, and Congressman Zeldin, are leading over 100 House Members to protect the Trump Administration’s full and faithful implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.”
“Let me be clear: Jerusalem is and will always remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. The Biden Administration’s proposal to reopen a U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem would be inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that specifically supported Jerusalem remaining an undivided city and recognized as the capital of Israel,” said Congressman Kustoff. “That is why I introduced the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021. This bill is necessary to ensure the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is faithfully implemented, upheld, and preserved. I thank all my colleagues for joining me in introducing this legislation and sending a strong message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest friend and ally in the Middle East, Israel.”
This legislation prohibits the use of funds for any diplomatic or consular facility in Jerusalem other than the United States Embassy to Israel. Under the Trump Administration, the United States fully implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel on December 6, 2017, by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, and by closing the U.S. Consulate General for the Palestinians and merging its functions into U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem’s new Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) under the U.S. Ambassador to Israel’s Chief of Mission authority. Prior to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995’s full and faithful implementation, the U.S. consulate for the Palestinians had previously operated completely outside of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel’s Chief of Mission authority.
“President Trump followed through on his promise to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move America’s embassy there. Now, President Biden is seeking to reopen a consulate general and provide separate diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians. This violates the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which recognizes Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel,” said House Minority Whip Scalise. “I applaud Congressman Kustoff for leading the fight against the Biden Administration’s shameful efforts to undermine the United States’ relationship with Israel.”
“President Biden must immediately abandon any plans to open this consulate and reaffirm America’s unambiguous support of an undivided Israeli capital in Jerusalem,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Stefanik said. “Not only is his decision destructive to the U.S.-Israel relationship and a misuse of taxpayer dollars, but it is inconsistent with U.S. law under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Israel is an indispensable ally of the United States, and we must stand undivided with them.”
“The Biden Administration absolutely must not betray our critical alliance with Israel by reopening the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem, which is being pushed by the Palestinian Authority to divide Israel’s eternal capital. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, including that of then-Senator Joe Biden, states that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that Jerusalem should remain undivided. Earlier this month, I led more than 200 House Republicans in a letter to President Biden opposing the reopening of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, and I am proud to join Congressman Kustoff and many of our colleagues in this latest effort to ensure that the Jerusalem Embassy Act is upheld and fully implemented, Israel’s position as host nation is respected, and that Israel’s capital remains undivided,” said Rep. Zeldin.
After Senator Hagerty authored the original version of the legislation, which is now supported by 39 senators, he succeeded in getting the U.S. State Department to confirm on the record that the Government of Israel, which opposes the reopening of a U.S. consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem, must consent before opening in diplomatic facility in their country.